Critics Consensus

Frozen II and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Are Certified Fresh

Plus, 21 Bridges is a shaky thriller, and Varda by Agnès is also Certified Fresh.

by | November 21, 2019 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got an ice queen (Frozen II, featuring the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel), a nice guy (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys), and a desperate cop (21 Bridges, starring Chadwick Boseman and Sienna Miller). What are the critics saying?


Frozen II (2019) 77%

Disney had a massive hit with Frozen back in 2013, earning over $1.2 billion at the global box office and searing the words “let it go” into the public consciousness, so they naturally decided to capitalize on its success with a sequel. Frozen II reunites the original voice cast in a new adventure, as ice queen Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) begins to hear a mysterious call coming from an enchanted forest to the north. She embarks on a journey to discover its source with Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), snowman Olaf (Josh Gad), and reindeer pal Sven in tow, only for secrets from her family’s past to resurface and threaten the peace they’ve established. Critics say Frozen II holds few surprises and doesn’t quite manage to conjure up the same magic as its predecessor, but it’s still a gorgeously animated (of course) tale that tackles some important themes and delivers enough thrills to make it a worthwhile return trip to Arendelle.


A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) 96%

You’d be forgiven for thinking A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was a biopic of American children’s television icon Fred Rogers, especially considering an acclaimed documentary about the man was released just last year and Tom Hanks, who plays him in the new film, is plastered across all of the marketing. Directed by Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), the based-on-true-events story actually follows the account of journalist Tom Junod, who was assigned to profile Rogers for Esquire magazine and ended up forging a close friendship with him. Matthew Rhys plays a stand-in for Junod named Lloyd Vogel, a cynical writer who approaches the interview with the intent of rooting out a flaw and publishing a juicy exposé. Instead, Rogers gets Vogel to open up about his troubled past, and the two come to a mutual understanding as Vogel’s mistrust melts away. Critics say A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is, as expected, powerful and moving in its portrait of Fred Rogers, but it’s also clever in the way it filters the larger-than-life icon through the eyes of a skeptic. Tom Hanks is appropriately charming, and Matthew Rhys is equally effective as the man whose walls gradually come down, and Marielle Heller’s direction offers just enough surprises to ensure the emotional charge of the film feels more authentically sweet than cloying. Just make sure to bring the tissues for this one.


21 Bridges (2019) 52%

If you’re in the mood for something decidedly less feel-good this weekend than animated Disney royalty and the nicest man on television, Chadwick Boseman has you covered. In 21 Bridges, he plays Andre Davis, a brooding, trigger-happy NYPD detective with a reputation for gunning down perps rather than bringing them in. When a drug deal goes horribly sideways, resulting in the deaths of several police officers, Andre is tasked with locating the cop-killers precisely because he is expected to put them down for good. Partnered with a narcotics officer (Sienna Miller), Andre arranges for all 21 bridges leading in and out of Manhattan to be closed, and the pair set about tracking their targets. Critics say that while the cast of 21 Bridges is top notch — J.K. Simmons, Keith David, Taylor Kitsch, and Stephan James play supporting roles — their work is in service of a predictable, run-of-the-mill thriller that isn’t particularly inventive or surprising in its storytelling, even if it’s competently put together in a technical sense. There are worse movies of its kind around, to be sure, but if you’ve seen any number of others like it, you’re liable to see the twists coming far in advance.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Citizen K (2019)Alex Gibney‘s documentary about Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian oligarch who stood against the corrupt regime of Vladimir Putin, is at 100%.
  • Varda by Agnès (2019) , the late Agnès Varda‘s final film, a stream of consciousness self-portrait featuring lectures and archival footage, is Certified Fresh at 98%.
  • Dark Waters (2019) , starring Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway in Todd Haynes‘ drama about the attorney who uncovered the link between a series of mysterious deaths and the DuPont corporation, is at 92%.
  • When Lambs Become Lions (2019) , a documentary about an ivory poacher and a wildlife ranger who not only exist on opposite sides of the controversial ivory trade, but are also cousins, is at 91%.
  • Hala (2019) , a coming-of-age drama about a Muslim teen navigating her relationship with her overbearing parents, is at 89%.
  • Shooting the Mafia (2019) , a documentary about Letizia Battaglia, the Sicilian photojournalist who made a career of depicting the negative impact of the Mafia on her community, is at 77%.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

book Cosplay Tomatazos festivals Summer finale RT History TNT Chernobyl series Photos Mary Poppins Returns Turner Classic Movies werewolf CMT Nat Geo reboot miniseries LGBTQ 2016 sitcom 2015 YouTube Red BBC Kids & Family Western true crime First Reviews foreign crime Animation Extras crime drama spider-man VICE BET Food Network CNN Film Black Mirror Captain marvel 2018 Ellie Kemper A24 Ghostbusters game show medical drama Paramount adaptation Disney+ Disney Plus ratings Pet Sematary El Rey documentary Turner Awards franchise harry potter Warner Bros. NBC thriller Starz 2017 TCM cancelled television joker A&E MCU space Anna Paquin indie 2019 renewed TV shows USA Schedule Infographic Marvel Television sequel Nominations spy thriller green book RT21 spain elevated horror Disney Channel ITV Interview Amazon Prime Video anime Writers Guild of America Tarantino Film Festival science fiction Pop facebook Best and Worst video Calendar Heroines canceled TV shows dc Syfy National Geographic binge romance Classic Film Britbox DC Universe PaleyFest Marvel Adult Swim Pop TV Star Trek Walt Disney Pictures Sundance TV MSNBC Comedy Bravo kids reviews Tubi sports blaxploitation ABC Superheroes Opinion Emmys Amazon Prime dragons Lifetime Comics on TV cancelled name the review Character Guide Reality Competition YA zero dark thirty directors Reality doctor who GoT 20th Century Fox breaking bad historical drama Winter TV Pride Month Podcast APB 45 Sony Pictures rotten movies we love mockumentary FX serial killer Year in Review talk show NYCC Martial Arts television teaser TCA Winter 2020 ABC Family 24 frames Trivia spanish language Christmas latino Paramount Network Masterpiece Election technology Drama E3 Netflix crossover Netflix Christmas movies Country Sci-Fi MTV See It Skip It cats cars strong female leads 2020 Holidays Grammys Elton John dceu TV DC streaming service Star Wars Music Valentine's Day witnail 21st Century Fox screen actors guild Comic Book Chilling Adventures of Sabrina spinoff 71st Emmy Awards slashers hispanic cartoon FXX OWN CBS TruTV DirecTV Columbia Pictures BBC America natural history Binge Guide dogs award winner Hallmark Christmas movies Peacock cooking stand-up comedy ghosts Academy Awards Oscars scary movies Mindy Kaling Thanksgiving Quiz independent Spectrum Originals Spike Nickelodeon Disney Plus diversity Sneak Peek TBS GLAAD screenings Arrowverse tv talk based on movie war Logo Esquire universal monsters TIFF justice league Creative Arts Emmys Rom-Com Spring TV 007 cancelled TV series Disney streaming service Lucasfilm PBS Apple TV Plus Mystery Vudu Funimation Cartoon Network HBO Max theme song Rock Superheroe Ovation Video Games Stephen King Song of Ice and Fire Acorn TV Fall TV Set visit History supernatural The Witch Premiere Dates AMC TLC mutant composers Trophy Talk Amazon Studios casting E! cops Action Sundance Now adventure Holiday disaster Certified Fresh SXSW YouTube Biopics robots zombies Avengers nature discovery docudrama President TV Land Emmy Nominations The Walking Dead Countdown Tumblr movies TCA IFC Films LGBT Endgame boxoffice Mary Tyler Moore cinemax politics halloween Black History Month The Purge OneApp CW Seed Super Bowl VH1 TV renewals DC Comics Family CBS All Access Television Academy jamie lee curtis San Diego Comic-Con travel FX on Hulu HBO period drama USA Network comics IFC Discovery Channel transformers police drama Sundance cults richard e. Grant Showtime social media Toys streaming Hulu aliens WarnerMedia Amazon Fantasy biography anthology Dark Horse Comics revenge Marathons Pirates Freeform Crunchyroll Women's History Month singing competition psychological thriller Pixar Lifetime Christmas movies The Arrangement Trailer Marvel Studios christmas movies Rocky Teen Watching Series GIFs Mary poppins Box Office SDCC Rocketman Travel Channel Horror ESPN FOX DGA comiccon New York Comic Con Awards Tour animated quibi political drama hist sag awards cancelled TV shows SundanceTV vampires zombie Crackle Cannes psycho children's TV comic The CW X-Men game of thrones Red Carpet batman Comedy Central Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt south america toy story Epix dramedy Universal Shudder Polls and Games Baby Yoda unscripted Apple TV+ romantic comedy golden globes WGN versus Musicals blockbuster Disney Mudbound TCA 2017 what to watch First Look Shondaland canceled Apple Hallmark American Society of Cinematographers crime thriller YouTube Premium Winners Musical Fox News free movies Lionsgate Brie Larson movie