"A Separation" and Other 100% Movies

Posted 1:55 PM January 18th, 2012 by Senh Duong

While researching movies nominated for the Golden Globes, I noticed that the Iranian family drama "A Separation" was the only movie on the list with a perfect score on the Tomatometer. What's more amazing is that it did it with 68 reviews.
A Separation

In “A Separation,” a family in Iran is torn apart by their disagreement about leaving the country. The wife wants to leave, but the husband wants to stay to care for his elderly father who has Alzheimer. After a failed attempt at divorcing her husband and getting custody of their daughter, the wife moves in with her parents. The husband hires a young woman to help care for his father after her departure. Trouble ensues when he finds out that she’s been lying to him.

Like I said in my entry about the Golden Globes, the previous film I could remember receiving a perfect score on the Tomatometer after 68 reviews is Alexander Payne’s “Sideways,” which was released in 2004. That film was nominated for five Academy Awards and won for “Best Adapted Screenplay.”

That got me wondering if there are others like “A Separation” in 2011. How many other films scored 100% on the Tomatometer least year?

If only films with at least 68 reviews are counted, then there isn’t any. Even at 50, it's still zero.

If the minimum number of reviews is lowered to 40, then there is another one: “Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone,” a documentary narrated by Laurence Fishburne about the genre-breaking music band Fishbone.

Lowered to 30 reviews, there are three additional documentaries. “We Were Here” documents the AIDS epidemic of the 80’s. “Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness” is about jewish writer and humorist Sholem Aleichem. “Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune” shines a light on legendary folk singer Phil Ochs and the turbulent 60’s.

Lowering the bar to 20 reviews, four more films emerge: three documentaries and, finally, another narrative film. The documentaries are “Thunder Soul” about 70’s jazz band Kashmere High School Stage Band; “Hell and Back Again” about an Afghan soldier who returns home after being seriously injured in the war; and “Louder Than A Bomb,” which follows four Chicago high school poetry teams as they prepare for the world’s largest poetry competition. The Other non-fiction film is “Leap Year,” a dark and erotic drama from Mexico about a young and lonely journalist.

All in all, there are only nine films with a perfect Tomatometer with a minimum of 20 reviews. Seven of them are documentaries. Only two are narrative films. None of them are wide releases.

A few wide releases did come close: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" (95%), "The Muppets" (96%) and "Moneyball" (95%). It’s much harder for them because they tend to have a couple hundred reviews. And attaining 100% with that many reviews is tough, especially with contrarian film critic Armond White around.

Speaking of White, although he hasn’t written a full review of “A Separation” yet, he implies that it’s “trash” in his yearly Better-Than List.

And speaking of lists, “A Separation” just made the shortlist for the Academy Awards’s Best Foreign Language Film category. Nine films made the shortlist. Of those nine, five will be nominated.

"A Separation" trailer:

Senh Duong's Latest Blog Entries:

At the annual Arnold Sports Festival held in Columbus, Ohio, cast member Randy Couture confirms that “Expendables 4” will indeed be shooting this fall. Like I...
There hasn’t been much news about “The Expendables 4” lately, but I came upon this tidbit after reading about the “Ip Man 3” box office scandal.
“Ip Man 3” opened huge in China last weekend, grossing $72M -- the biggest opening ever for a martial arts film (as its distributor proclaimed). Shows were...
Donnie Yen was promoting “Ip Man 3” as his last martial arts film, but when it broke box office records late last year in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore (...
Despite debuting two months later than neighboring territories and amidst piracy fears, “Ip Man 3” shattered expectations with a $72M weekend opening at the...

A Separation Photo Gallery

More A Separation News