My top films of 2015

I did try to do what everyone else does – list top 10 films of the year. Honest. But every time I tried to narrow it down to 10, I felt guilty for leaving others out. Then I realised it’s my list, and I can do what I want. So I’m listing my top 15. Below that, it gets a bit arbitrary, but I wanted to make sure that these at least got a mention.

Click on the film title to see a longer opinion, and if you’re interested in all my 2015 films ranked in order, you’ll find the list here. The top 15 and bottom 5 are in order, but the stuff in between is more of a general reflection than anything precise.

Number 15 – The Martian

An intelligent space film that isn’t full of navel gazing introspection, fun without being silly, and helped by Matt Damon’s natural charm as a screen presence.

Number 14 – Foxcatcher

There’s something really eerie and unsettling about the tone of this film, from start to finish. It’s clear from the outset that the relationships are not right, without being able to pin things down, which leaves an edgy feeling throughout.

Number 13 – Force Majeure

A film which challenges our own view of ourselves. We probably have an idea of how we think we would react in extreme circumstances, but until we are actually put in that position, most of us will probably never know.

Number 12 – Magic Mike XXL

Warm, funny, and totally non-judgemental. I left the cinema feeling a whole lot better about myself!

Number 11 – Love and Mercy

Paul Dano’s awkward brilliance is perfect as the younger Brian Wilson. The soundtrack is sublime, and the additional score by Atticus Ross is mesmerising.

Number 10 – Phoenix

Nina Hoss is so vulnerable and delicate you can almost imagine she would snap in two if you touched her. And a literal mic drop of a finale.

Number 9 – Ex Machina

Stylish-looking film which asks some really interesting and deep questions about artificial intelligence.

Number 8 – The Look of Silence

While not quite as punch-you-in-the-face as The Act of Killing, the room left for lengthy silences together with the courage of the protagonist Adi are quite remarkable.

Number 7 – Whiplash

It’s quite a while since I was left speechless at the end of a film.

Number 6 – Taxi Tehran

Very clever, and at times very funny film made by a man who is banned from making films in the country in which he lives.

Number 5 – Clouds of Sils Maria

A powerful representation of how (some) women see themselves and how they perceive others see them at different points in their careers and lives, admirably portrayed by Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart.

Number 4 – 45 Years

Slow-paced, beautifully moving, heartbreakingly sad. Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay are outstanding.

Number 3 – The Lobster

I adored this. And I also felt incredibly sad having watched it. I felt emotionally empty and also ridiculous in myself. Colin Farrell is a revelation.

Number 2 – Mommy

I originally wrote “I certainly think this is a powerful piece of filmmaking, but I’m not sure I ever want to watch this movie again.” But this film has been in my mind on and off since I saw it in March, and I am convinced that Xavier Dolan is a genius.

Number 1 – Enemy

This was the second film I saw in a cinema in 2015, and it has remained at the top of my list since 4th January.

I love a film that has me wondering what the hell is happening from the very start, and this just does that. Jake Gyllenhaal creates two identical-looking but very different characters, and we’re never in any doubt as to which ‘Jake’ we’re with at any one time: even when one is impersonating the other.

For the first time in I can’t remember how long, I actually went and read the book which inspired the film.

Agree or disagree? Let me know – would love to know your top films of the year! You can find the whole list of 2015 films I saw this year ranked here on Letterboxd.

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