Being very strict with myself this year and definitely sticking to a top 10. It hasn’t been easy, and you can see a ranking of my 2016 film viewing here. The top 12 and bottom 5 are in order, but the stuff in between is more of a general reflection than anything precise.
One note – I’ve deliberately left off Xavier Dolan’s Juste la fin du monde from my list. I saw the UK premier at the London Film Festival this year and it would have been in my top 10, but it’s not being properly released in the UK until February 2017 so I’m being good and not including it. Which gives me room for an extra film!
Number 10 – Anomalisa
Such a beautiful animation. Every detail has been acutely observed – the way fingers curls around a cigarette, a hand opening a medication bottle – even the slight rise and fall of the chest as a character breathes gently. So, so exquisite, and a striking exploration of why romantic relationships fail so easily.
Number 9 – Captain America: Civil War
It’s like when Michael Corleone realises that his brother Fredo betrayed him – it hurts.
Number 8 – Paterson
A film about an ordinary man who writes poetry is, in fact, a poem to ordinary people.
Number 7 – I, Daniel Blake
Not an easy film to watch, but one which must be seen.
Number 6 – Umimachi Diary – Our Little Sister
Maybe I’m being predictable having a film from one of my favourite directors here, but Kore-eda Hirokazu usually hits the mark. Here he presents the delicate intricacies of family life in which on the surface not much happens, but beneath that, each family member learns something about herself and her sisters, without huge revelations or tantrums. Subtle, gentle, delightful and insightful.
Number 5 – Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Shit. Just. Got. Real. Funny, sweet and serious in equal measure – and most definitely majestical.
Number 4 – Son of Saul
This much-awarded film was released in other regions in 2015, but we had to wait until this year for it. It was worth it – required, though not easy, viewing.
Number 3 – Arrival
With a narrative exploring philosophical questions about language, semantics and culture, and how this impacts on our view of the world, it was always going to appeal to this language geek. It also presents the idea that in learning a language, we open up a window into how other cultures think, and that it might be markedly different from our own comfortable view of existence.
Number 2 – Hail, Caesar!
Joel and Ethan Coen explore the subject of faith – whether it’s faith in religion, political ideals or in other people, it all boils down to what’s important to you and what you’re willing to stand up for. I’m standing up for Channing Tatum dancing on a table.
Number 1 – A Bigger Splash
Multi-layered film with an excellent cast that took me with it wherever it wanted me to follow. No questions asked.
Agree or disagree? Let me know – would love to know your top films of the year! You can find the whole list of 2016 films I saw this year ranked here on Letterboxd.