Before we fully embark on a brand new decade, I wanted to take one last look in the rear-view mirror and show some love for the films that have stood out, shaped and defined the past ten years.
I first started sincerely ingesting, appreciating and talking about the medium of film round about 2010/2011, and in that time my personal palette and spectrum of taste has expanded significantly. So in an ode to the films that have been a key part of my cinematic growth, I present, my top 50 films of the decade.
50 – 41
50. INCEPTION (2010 | DIR: CHRISTOPHER NOLAN)
49. I, DANIEL BLAKE (2016 | DIR: KEN LOACH, LAURA OBIOLS)
48. PADDINGTON 2 (2017 | DIR: PAUL KING)
47. BLACK SWAN (2010 | DIR: DARREN ARONOFSKY)
46. THE FLORIDA PROJECT (2017 | DIR: SEAN BAKER)
45. ROGUE ONE (2016 | DIR: GARETH EDWARDS)
44. BABY DRIVER (2017 | DIR: EDGAR WRIGHT)
43. THE WORK (2017 | DIR: JARIUS MCLEARY & GETHIN ALDOUS)
42. TOY STORY 3 (2010 | DIR: LEE UNKRICH)
41. THE HANDMAIDEN (2016 | CHAN-WOOK PARK)
40 – 31
40. BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (2012 | DIR: BENH ZEITLIN)
39. EX-MACHINA (2014 | DIR: ALEX GARLAND)
38. THE MASTER (2014 | DIR: PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON)
37. LIKE CRAZY (2011 | DIR: DRAKE DOREMUS)
36. LEAVE NO TRACE (2018 | DIR: DEBORAH GRANIK)
35. ARRIVAL (2016 | DIR: DENIS VILLENEUVE)
34. A GHOST STORY (2017 | DIR: DAVID LOWERY)
33. GRADUATION (2016 | DIR: CRISTIAN MUNGIU)
32. PRISONERS (2013 | DIR: DENIS VILLENEUVE)
31. WHIPLASH (2014 | DIR: DAMIEN CHAZELLE)
30 – 21
30. BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO (2012 | DIR: PETER STRICKLAND)
29. LA LA LAND (2016 | DIR: DAMIEN CHAZELLE)
28. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015 | DIR: GEORGE MILLER)
27. INSIDE OUT (2015 | DIR: PETE DOCTER & RONNIE DEL CARMEN)
26. WIDOWS (2018 | DIR: STEVE MCQUEEN)
25. MOTHER! (2017 | DIR: DARREN ARONOFSKY)
24. BOYHOOD (2014 | DIR: RICHARD LINKLATER)
23. ANOMALISA (2015 | DIR: DUKE JOHNSON & CHARLIE KAUFMAN)
22. AFTER LUCIA (2012 | DIR: MICHEL FRANCO)
21. GOODBYE FIRST LOVE (2011 | MIA HANSEN-LOVE)
20 – 11
20. THE RAID (2011 | DIR: GARETH EVANS)
19. THE WITCH (2015 | DIR: ROBERT EGGERS)
18. ENTER THE VOID (2010 | DIR: GASPAR NOE)
17. BEFORE MIDNIGHT (2013 | DIR: RICHARD LINKLATER)
16. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (2017 | DIR: MARTIN MCDONAGH)
15. THE ACT OF KILLING (2012 | DIR: JOSHUA OPPENHEIMER)
14. MOONLIGHT (2016 | DIR: BARRY JENKINS)
13. PHANTOM THREAD (2017 | PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON)
12. YOUR NAME (2016 | DIR: MAKOTO SHINKAI)
11. DUNKIRK (2017 | DIR: CHRISTOPHER NOLAN)
10 – 6
10. 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2013 | DIR: STEVE MCQUEEN)
9. PARASITE (2019 | DIR: BONG JOON HO)
8. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2011 | DIR: LYNNE RAMSAY)
7. COLD WAR (2018 | DIR: PAWEL PAWLIKOWSKI)
6. THE SHAPE OF WATER (2017 | DIR: GUILLERMO DEL TORO)
5. UNDER THE SKIN (2013 | DIR: JONATHAN GLAZER)
A mesmerising and staggering piece of work from Jonathan Glazer that grapples with isolation, identity and what it is to be human. With some fantastic visuals, a cerebral presence and a killer score from Mica Levi, Under The Skin is a unique oddity worthy of its top five spot.
4. CAROL (2015 | DIR: TODD HAYNES)
Carol is nothing short of wonderful and features some of my favourite cinematography of the past ten years. A distinct projection of love and intimacy tarred by prejudice and complication. It’s spearheaded by great individual performances from Blanchett and Mara and cemented by their sizzling chemistry.
3. ROOM (2015 | DIR: LENNY ABRAHAMSON)
Not the film many people think it is. A dense drama built on unsettling foundations, Room blossoms into a heart-swelling testament to perseverance and a single parent’s love for her child. Centered on an incredibly well balanced script and a knockout lead performance from Brie Larson, Room is an absolute must see and a true calling card for Lenny Abrahamson.
2. YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE (2017 | DIR: LYNNE RAMSAY)
A menacing and melancholic look at a fractured psyche clinging onto whatever fragments of good still remain. ‘Never Really Here’ is quite possibly a career best for both Ramsay and Phoenix. It’s brutal without exploitation and explicit violence. It cuts deep with minimal, precise incisions. It never wastes a single frame. As both a character portrait and a body of film-making, it is incredible from top to bottom.
1. HER (2013 | DIR: SPIKE JONZE)
As a fan of cinema I adore this film. It’s full of rich, beautiful cinematography. Fueled by believable and relatable performances and underlined with a great score and sound design.
As a sentient being with emotions, I adore this film. For a story that is based on a relationship between a man and an A.I. it’s profoundly human. Sweet, funny, tender, heartbreaking and empathetic, ‘Her’ is a sincere and true monument to our relationship with modern technology, ourselves and each other.
If there’s one film that has encapsulated a solidified fragment of life in the 10’s it’s ‘Her’. If there’s one film that has really captured my heart this past decade…it’s ‘Her.’
So there you go…
That is my top 50 films of the year. How many of your favourites did you spot? What did I miss out?
If you want to see a glimpse of each of these films plus many more (there’s over 100 featured) then be sure to check out ‘A Decade In Cinema’ down below.