However genius may flourish, you know it when you see it, and Whiplash is it.
Although a couple of narrative twists late on threaten to drum us into melodrama, Chazelle never misses a beat and the film builds to a cathartic crescendo.
Revealing both the dangers and payoffs of artistic ambition, Whiplash is sure to establish Chazelle as a directorial force to be reckoned with.
Chazelle proves an exceptional builder of scenes, crafting loaded, need-to-succeed moments that grab our attention and hold it tight.
The thrill of watching Fletcher and Neyman's fray unfold is intensified by Damien Chazelle's attention to the craft and challenge of musicianship.
Eric D. Snider
[An] unusually unromantic approach to music education is one of many noteworthy things about Whiplash, a funny, exhilarating drama — bordering on psychological thriller.
The quest to be the best is a familiar film story, but if director-writer Chazelle has achieved anything here, it’s a deeply and richly different take on that journey—not only examining the cost of struggle but the reward of it, showing both what it takes to be great and what happens when you don’t have it.
It's rare to see a film about music that professes its love for the music and its characters equally.
The Hollywood Reporter
The antithesis of “let’s-put-on-a-show” fluff, Whiplash...is about the wages of all-out sacrifice and commitment.
Whiplash scrapes the far edge of crazy passion. It never apologizes.