The 99% Club: An Ode to the Almost-Perfect Movie

The 99% Club: You’ll find it, way past 98% on the Tomatometer, but just before 100%. Inside, a coterie of cinema’s practically-finest, movies promising an experience beyond most others – movies that are almost perfect. These are the ones to warm hearts, stir the soul, call forth eruptions of laughter, and rattle your bones. To anyone who approaches to see and hear their stories, they will enthrall the audience…save the stray naysayer or two, of course.

Its members are fleeting; membership comes with no lifetime guarantee. Any additional Rotten reviews could toss the movie from the 99% Club and into the gutter that is a 98% score, to associate with the likes of Wizard of Oz and The Godfather.

You’ll notice most in the 99% Club are from this century. Movies may or may not be getting better, but they are getting reviewed more. When a work generates nearly 400 critics’ appraisals, its Tomatometer score can better endure Rotten reviews and sustain its 99% score. Classic films, by dint of having fewer reviews in written existence, can have their scores torpedoed by a single Rotten remark.

The 99% Club: On the cusp of triple-digit Valhalla. Come join in their almost-perfection.

#45
#45
Adjusted Score: 103.327%
Critics Consensus: Rich, insightful, and occasionally heartbreaking, 20 Feet From Stardom is an energetic tribute to the passion, talent, and hard work of backup singers.
Synopsis: Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, award-winning... [More]
Directed By: Morgan Neville

#44

56 Up (2013)
99%

#44
Adjusted Score: 100.898%
Critics Consensus: Director Michael Apted continues to utilize cinema as a window into the lives of everyday people, and in the reflection of this documentary we can glimpse our own aging humanity.
Synopsis: "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man." Starting in 1964 with Seven... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Michael Apted, Paul Almond

#43

About Elly (2015)
99%

#43
Adjusted Score: 100.943%
Critics Consensus: About Elly offers viewers performances as powerful as its thought-provoking ideas, and adds another strong entry to Asghar Farhadi's impressive filmography.
Synopsis: From the Academy Award winning director of A SEPARATION comes this gripping mystery set among a group of old friends... [More]
Directed By: Asghar Farhadi

#42

Amazing Grace (2019)
99%

#42
Adjusted Score: 105.372%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly capturing a remarkable performer near the peak of her prodigious power, Amazing Grace is a thrilling must-watch documentary for Aretha Franklin fans.
Synopsis: Concert footage from 1972 of Aretha Franklin performing songs from the best-selling gospel album at the New Temple Missionary Baptist... [More]
Directed By:

#41

Apollo 11 (2019)
99%

#41
Adjusted Score: 106.624%
Critics Consensus: Edifying and inspiring in equal measure, Apollo 11 uses artfully repurposed archival footage to send audiences soaring back to a pivotal time in American history.
Synopsis: Apollo 11 is a cinematic space event film fifty years in the making. Featuring never-before-seen large-format film footage of one... [More]
Directed By: Todd Douglas Miller

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 105.034%
Critics Consensus: Ash Is Purest White finds writer-director Zhangke Jia revisiting familiar themes while continuing to observe modern Chinese society with an urgent, empathetic eye.
Synopsis: A tragicomedy initially set in the jianghu-criminal underworld-setting, ASH IS PUREST WHITE is less a gangster movie than a melodrama.... [More]
Directed By:

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 100.555%
Critics Consensus: Suffused with happiness and modest charm, Bill Cunningham New York offers a touching, gently humorous portrait of its subject without invading his jealously guarded privacy.
Synopsis: "We all get dressed for Bill," says Vogue editrix Anna Wintour. The "Bill" in question is 80+ New York Times... [More]
Directed By: Richard Press

#38

Cameraperson (2016)
99%

#38
Adjusted Score: 102.275%
Critics Consensus: Fresh and inventive yet immediately accessible, Cameraperson distills its subject's life and career into an experience that should prove immediately absorbing even for those unfamiliar with her work.
Synopsis: A boxing match in Brooklyn; life in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina; the daily routine of a Nigerian midwife; an intimate... [More]
Starring: Kirsten Johnson
Directed By: Kirsten Johnson

#37
Adjusted Score: 101.228%
Critics Consensus: The Chambermaid uses one woman's experiences to take audiences inside a life -- and a culture -- that's as bracingly unique as it is hauntingly relatable.
Synopsis: Eve, a young chambermaid at a luxurious Mexico City hotel, confronts the monotony of long workdays with quiet examinations of... [More]
Directed By: Lila Avilés

#36

Eighth Grade (2018)
99%

#36
Adjusted Score: 112.048%
Critics Consensus: Eighth Grade takes a look at its titular time period that offers a rare and resounding ring of truth while heralding breakthroughs for writer-director Bo Burnham and captivating star Elsie Fisher.
Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of... [More]
Directed By: Bo Burnham

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 100.909%
Critics Consensus: Brutally honest and utterly compelling, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me offers a riveting, vanity-free portrait of its legendary subject while offering a few essential truths about the human condition.
Synopsis: Now in her late 80s, Broadway legend Elaine Stritch remains as ferociously funny as ever. In this bold, hilarious and... [More]
Directed By: Chiemi Karasawa

#34
Adjusted Score: 104.47%
Critics Consensus: Equal parts breezily charming and poignantly powerful, Faces Places is a unique cross-generational portrait of life in rural France from the great Agnès Varda.
Synopsis: Agnès Varda and JR have things in common: a passion for and the exploration of images in general, and more... [More]
Starring: Agnès Varda, JR
Directed By: JR, Agnès Varda

#33

Finding Nemo (2003)
99%

#33
Adjusted Score: 106.883%
Critics Consensus: Breathtakingly lovely and grounded by the stellar efforts of a well-chosen cast, Finding Nemo adds another beautifully crafted gem to Pixar's crown.
Synopsis: In this stunning underwater adventure, with memorable characters, humor and heartfelt emotion, Finding Nemo follows the comedic and momentous journey... [More]

#32

For Sama (2019)
99%

#32
Adjusted Score: 102.384%
Critics Consensus: As intimate as it is heartbreakingly resonant, For Sama powerfully distills the difficult choices faced by citizens of war-torn regions.
Synopsis: FOR SAMA is both an intimate and epic journey into the female experience of war. A love letter from a... [More]
Starring:

#31

Gloria (2014)
99%

#31
Adjusted Score: 103.558%
Critics Consensus: Marvelously directed by Sebastian Lelio and beautifully led by a powerful performance from Paulina Garcia, Gloria takes an honest, sweetly poignant look at a type of character that's all too often neglected in Hollywood.
Synopsis: Gloria is a "woman of a certain age" but still feels young. Though lonely, she makes the best of her... [More]

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 101.837%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful, thoughtful, and engrossing, Jiro Dreams of Sushi should prove satisfying even for filmgoers who don't care for the cuisine.
Synopsis: Jiro Dreams of Sushi is the story of 85 year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world's greatest... [More]
Directed By: David Gelb

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 105.077%
Critics Consensus: Boasting dazzling animation, a script with surprising dramatic depth, and thrilling 3-D sequences, How to Train Your Dragon soars.
Synopsis: The son of a Viking chief must capture a dragon in order to mark his passage into manhood and prove... [More]

#28

The Interrupters (2011)
99%

#28
Adjusted Score: 101.22%
Critics Consensus: Impeccably crafted and edited, The Interrupters is a tough and honest documentary about street violence that truly has the power to inspire change.
Synopsis: The Interrupters tells the moving and surprising stories of three Violence Interrupters who try to protect their Chicago communities from... [More]
Directed By: Steve James (II)

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 100.939%
Critics Consensus: The Invisible War is a vital and frank expose on sexual assault in the U.S. military, shot by master filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film is Not Yet Rated).
Synopsis: The Invisible War is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of our country's most shameful and best kept secrets: the... [More]
Directed By: Kirby Dick

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 106%
Critics Consensus: Taut pacing, brilliantly dense writing and Oscar-worthy acting combine to produce a smart, popcorn-friendly thrill ride.
Synopsis: Based on the best-selling novel by James Ellroy and directed by Curtis Hanson, this award-winning crime drama explores both the... [More]
Directed By: Curtis Hanson

#25

Lady Bird (2017)
99%

#25
Adjusted Score: 115.668%
Critics Consensus: Lady Bird delivers fresh insights about the turmoil of adolescence -- and reveals writer-director Greta Gerwig as a fully formed filmmaking talent.
Synopsis: In Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig reveals herself to be a bold new cinematic voice with her directorial debut, excavating both... [More]
Directed By: Greta Gerwig

#24

Le Havre (2011)
99%

#24
Adjusted Score: 101.325%
Critics Consensus: Aki Kaurismäki's deadpan wit hits a graceful note with Le Havre, a comedy/drama that's sweet, sad, and uplifting in equal measure.
Synopsis: In this warmhearted portrait of the French harbor city that gives the film its name, fate throws young African refugee... [More]
Directed By: Aki Kaurismäki

#23

McQueen (2018)
99%

#23
Adjusted Score: 103.563%
Critics Consensus: McQueen offers an intimate, well-sourced, and overall moving look at a young life and brilliant career that were tragically cut short.
Synopsis: A personal look at the extraordinary life, career and artistry of Alexander McQueen. Through exclusive interviews with his closest friends... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Ian Bonhôte

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 101.821%
Critics Consensus: Thrillingly unorthodox and emotionally searing without being didactic, The Missing Picture is a uniquely poignant documentary -- and so much more.
Synopsis: SYNOPSIS: For many years, I have been looking for the missing picture: a photograph taken between 1975 and 1979 by... [More]
Directed By: Rithy Panh

#21

Moolaadé (2004)
99%

#21
Adjusted Score: 100.421%
Critics Consensus: A vibrant, powerful, and poignant glimpse into the struggles of women in modern Africa.
Synopsis: Set in a small African village, four young girls face a ritual "purification" flee to the household of Colle' Ardo... [More]
Directed By: Ousmane Sembène

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 108.526%
Critics Consensus: Gripping, suspenseful, and visually iconic, this late-period Hitchcock classic laid the groundwork for countless action thrillers to follow.
Synopsis: While having lunch at the Plaza Hotel in New York, advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) has the bad... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 118.91%
Critics Consensus: An urgent, brilliantly layered look at timely social themes, Parasite finds writer-director Bong Joon Ho in near-total command of his craft.
Synopsis: Bong Joon Ho brings his work home to Korea in this pitch-black modern fairytale. Meet the Park Family: the picture... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon Ho

#18
Adjusted Score: 100.358%
Critics Consensus: Andy Goldsworthy and his art are beautifully captured in this engaging documentary.
Synopsis: Documentarian Thomas Riedelsheimer shows us Andy Goldsworthy as he creates art in natural settings using natural materials such as driftwood,... [More]
Starring: Andy Goldsworthy
Directed By: Thomas Riedelsheimer

#17

Selma (2014)
99%

#17
Adjusted Score: 111.199%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by a gripping performance from David Oyelowo, Selma draws inspiration and dramatic power from the life and death of Martin Luther King, Jr. -- but doesn't ignore how far we remain from the ideals his work embodied.
Synopsis: SELMA is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther... [More]
Directed By: Ava DuVernay

#16

A Separation (2011)
99%

#16
Adjusted Score: 104.089%
Critics Consensus: Morally complex, suspenseful, and consistently involving, A Separation captures the messiness of a dissolving relationship with keen insight and searing intensity.
Synopsis: Set in contemporary Iran, A Separation is a compelling drama about the dissolution of a marriage. Simin wants to leave... [More]
Directed By: Asghar Farhadi

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 105.022%
Critics Consensus: Warm, funny, and brilliantly animated, Shaun the Sheep is yet another stop-motion jewel in Aardman's family-friendly crown.
Synopsis: When Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he... [More]

#14
Adjusted Score: 108.324%
Critics Consensus: Understated yet ultimately deeply affecting, Shoplifters adds another powerful chapter to director Hirokazu Koreeda's richly humanistic filmography.
Synopsis: After one of their shoplifting sessions, Osamu and his son come across a little girl in the freezing cold. At... [More]
Directed By: Hirokazu Koreeda

#13

Song Of The Sea (2014)
99%

#13
Adjusted Score: 102.081%
Critics Consensus: Song of the Sea boasts narrative depth commensurate with its visual beauty, adding up to an animated saga overflowing with family-friendly riches.
Synopsis: In this enchanting new story from the Academy Award-nominated director of The Secret of Kells, Ben and his little sister... [More]
Directed By: Tomm Moore

#12

Starred Up (2014)
99%

#12
Adjusted Score: 102.906%
Critics Consensus: Smart, hard-hitting, and queasily realistic, Starred Up is an instant classic of U.K. prison cinema.
Synopsis: 19-year-old Eric (Jack O'Connell, star of the upcoming UNBROKEN), arrogant and ultra-violent, is prematurely transferred to the same adult prison... [More]
Directed By: David Mackenzie

#11

The Tale (2018)
99%

#11
Adjusted Score: 101.536%
Critics Consensus: The Tale handles its extraordinarily challenging subject matter with sensitivity, grace, and the power of some standout performances led by a remarkable Laura Dern.
Synopsis: Based on the filmmaker's own story, THE TALE is an investigation into one woman's memory as she's forced to re-examine... [More]
Directed By: Jennifer Fox

#10
Adjusted Score: 101.96%
Critics Consensus: Tea with the Dames proves there's plenty of entertainment value to be found in rounding up a quartet of screen legends for a chat -- and is likely to leave audiences wishing these stars would keep brewing up pots for an ongoing series.
Synopsis: What happens when four legends of British stage and screen get together? Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Eileen... [More]
Directed By: Roger Michell

#9
Adjusted Score: 104.07%
Critics Consensus: A union to cherish between a writer-director and star working at peak power, Things to Come offers quietly profound observations on life, love, and the irrevocable passage of time.
Synopsis: What happens when the life you've worked so hard to build falls apart? In THINGS TO COME, Oscar nominee Isabelle... [More]
Directed By: Mia Hansen-Løve

#8

The Third Man (1949)
99%

#8
Adjusted Score: 112.269%
Critics Consensus: This atmospheric thriller is one of the undisputed masterpieces of cinema, and boasts iconic performances from Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles.
Synopsis: American writer, Holly Martins, arrives in post-war Vienna to visit his old friend Harry Lime. On arrival, he learns that... [More]
Directed By: Carol Reed

#7

Tower (2016)
99%

#7
Adjusted Score: 102.189%
Critics Consensus: Tower probes into a painful chapter of American history with sensitivity and grace -- and revisits its events from a valuable new perspective.
Synopsis: August 1st 1966 was the day our innocence was shattered. A sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of... [More]
Directed By: Keith Maitland

#6

Truman (2017)
99%

#6
Adjusted Score: 101.212%
Critics Consensus: Well-written, well-acted, and patiently crafted, Truman takes an affecting look at a long friendship separated by distance but undimmed by time.
Synopsis: Childhood friends Julián (Ricardo Darín) and Tomás (Javier Cámara) were once inseparable. Eventually, the two have lost sight of their... [More]
Directed By: Cesc Gay

#5
Adjusted Score: 100.29%
Critics Consensus: Samurai epic as a touching drama.
Synopsis: Veteran filmmaker Yoji Yamada -- who is perhaps most famous for cranking out most of the 48 films of the... [More]
Directed By: Yoji Yamada

#4

Under The Shadow (2016)
99%

#4
Adjusted Score: 101.762%
Critics Consensus: Under the Shadow deftly blends seemingly disparate genres to deliver an effective chiller with timely themes and thought-provoking social subtext.
Synopsis: Shideh (Narges Rashidi) and her family live amid the chaos of the Iran-Iraq war, a period known as The War... [More]
Directed By: Babak Anvari

#3

Varda by Agnès (2019)
98%

#3
Adjusted Score: 101.095%
Critics Consensus: An encomium that should prove illuminating for casual viewers and satisfying for fans, Varda by Agnès finds a brilliant filmmaker looking back on her own terms.
Synopsis: An unpredictable documentary from a fascinating storyteller, Agnès Varda's new feature documentary sheds light on her experience as a director,... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Agnès Varda

#2

Wadjda (2013)
99%

#2
Adjusted Score: 103.114%
Critics Consensus: Transgressive in the best possible way, Wadjda presents a startlingly assured new voice from a corner of the globe where cinema has been all but silenced.
Synopsis: WADJDA is a movie of firsts. This first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia is the story of a... [More]
Directed By: Haifaa Al-Mansour

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 101.462%
Critics Consensus: The Wailing delivers an atmospheric, cleverly constructed mystery whose supernatural thrills more than justify its imposing length.
Synopsis: The arrival of a mysterious stranger in a quiet rural village causes suspicion amongst the villagers- but as they begin... [More]
Directed By: Na Hong-jin

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