Here is a list of the films I most enjoyed this year, it was difficult to choose as there’s been so many great ones.
I truly loved this film. It was definitely the best film I’ve seen this year, it was incredibly honest about growing up and because (as i’m sure everyone knows by now) it was shot over 12 years using the same actors it was able to encapsulate the last decade in a way other ‘coming of age’ stories have not. I was particularly attached to this film because it was filmed over the years in which I grew up too and was able to relate to many of the little references. You can read my full review of this film here.
2. The Wind Rises
As a huge Studio Ghibli fan, I was both excited and saddened by the prospect of Hayao Miyazaki’s final film. Fortunately, he went out with an amazing farewell film. The Wind Rises is an incredibly beautiful animation and said a fitting goodbye to Miyazaki’s fans. My full review of this can be read here.
Written by Jon Ronson, (A writer I love.) Frank is a brilliant dark comedy about an eccentric pop band led by Frank, the mysterious singer who never takes off his huge paper-mache head. I loved how weird and creative this film was and the brilliant performances by Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
4. Gone Girl
I loved this film because of how twisted and shocking it was. Without giving away any spoilers, the plot twists and turns in ways I didn’t expect. Directed by David Fincher and based of the novel by Gillian Flynn it sparked an online controversy on whether the film was deeply misogynistic or “The most mainstream feminist movie in years” (VanDerWerff). Which ever way you see it, it would be hard to argue that Amy, played by Rosamund Pike is one of the most interesting, complex, female anti-heroes to come to screen.
5. The Way He Looks
This film directed by Daniel Ribeiro was brilliant. Like in Boyhood, I thought the characters were incredibly believable and well written. It also explored teenage sexuality and friendship in a new and interesting way using a blind protagonist to question how our sexuality develops. You can read a full review here.
6. Two Days, One Night
This Social-Realist drama about a woman who returns to work after suffering with her mental health only to find she has been fired to fund the bonuses of her co-workers is brilliant. Starring Marion Cotillard, who gives an amazing performance very different from the glamourous roles we normally see her in. The film surrounds Sandra (Cotillard) visiting her co-workers to try and convince them to give up their bonuses in order for her to keep her job. The main victory of the film is that you feel compassion for both Sandra and her co-workers. Overall, the film is very moving.
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel
Directed by Wes Anderson and very much to his ‘quirky’ style, this film was incredibly entertaining. Ralph Fiennes’ performance was very funny and I enjoyed his relationship to Toni Revolori’s character.
8. Mockingjay-Part 1
I’m a big fan of The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins but was unimpressed by the first film installment directed by Gary Ross. Whilst the second installment Catching Fire Directed by Francis Lawrence was great and true to the book. Mockingjay Part 1 again directed by Lawrence was the first to actually improve upon the book. I thought the way in which they portrayed the uprisings in the districts, the propaganda and Katniss’ mental breakdown in particular were brilliant and i’m looking forward to the final part of the film adaptation of the series.
Clearly drawing on his experience in Donnie Darko, Jake Gylanhall gives a scary performance as Lou Bloom, a sociopath who becomes a cameraman that films accidents and crimes for the news without remorse or compassion for the events that take place. He’s incredibly determined to become successful which in the film makes him dangerous. The film is incredibly tense and thrilling.
10. Jersey Boys
Directed by Clint Eastwood, based on the musical of the same name. Jersey Boys is about the 1960s band “The Four Seasons” led by Frankie Vali. Although I wouldn’t say this film is a fully fledged musical (and I love musicals) it was a compelling story of the band, their music and it’s members’ lives. One of the most interesting things about this film was that the characters would talk directly to the camera to tell the audience their opinion in a very stage-like manner and the sets/costumes used.
There have been so many great films out this year and I look forward to 2015!