The Best Films of 2019

14 Feb

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25. (TIE) Pain & Glory / Tigers Are Not Afraid

24. Avengers: Endgame

23. Marriage Story

22. Booksmart

21. Atlantics

20. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

19. Long Shot

18. Hustlers

17. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

16. Deadwood: The Movie

15. Late Night – Yeah Amazon way overpaid for this out of Sundance, but it’s genuinely great. Sometimes it’s just refreshing when you get a straightforward comedy with a clear perspective and genuinely funny writing.

14. For Sama – A heartwrenching documentary that puts you on the ground in Aleppo, told from the perspective of a mother for her daughter. It’s a tough, tough watch, but a necessary one.

13. 1917 – Roger Deakins.

12. The Art of Self Defense – I was skeptical going in because I dislike Jesse Eisenberg and am kind of over white men writing about “toxic masculinity,” but this is actually a really entertaining and interesting dark comedy – the premise is great, and there’s something wonderfully off-kilter about it the entire time.

11. Knock Down the House – A documentary that shows you how wonderfully inspiring politics can be when the right people are supported and succeed.

10. Triple Frontier – Maybe my biggest surprise of the year is how much I enjoyed watching these macho men stumble their way down a never-ending hill of misfortune. There’s a sense of humor underlying the whole thing that makes it work so well.

9. Portrait of a Lady on Fire – Portrays attraction with such subtle, sensual magic. Haenel and Merlant give fiery yet intimate performances, Sciamma’s directing is sublime, and Mathon’s cinematography does an incredible job of making the film look like a series of paintings. Also, the last 15 minutes: just ridiculously good.

8. Fighting With My Family – This is what happens when a crowdpleaser is done well. Florence Pugh is getting all the buzz this year for Midsommar and Little Women, but she also turns in a fabulous performance here. What an icon already.

7. Little Women – An updated classic told with such heart and compassion by Greta Gerwig. It’s a lovely celebration of sisterhood and individuality and the ways in which they intersect, and the cast (particularly Ronan and Pugh) is impeccable.

6. Uncut Gems – A bunch of rancid people yelling over each other for 2+ hours, and man is it glorious. It’s told with such conviction and style, with so much energy even in its slower moments. Sandler and Fox are amazing, and the last half hour or so is the most thrilling piece of filmmaking this year.

5. Knives Out – A modern whodunit with a wild cast and witty writing, one that manages to keep you entertained and on your toes the whole time. It is good for the world that this is doing well at the box office.

4. Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé – A tribute to an iconic set of performances, but also a remarkable piece of concert filmmaking in and of itself. Some of the edits in this are just otherwordly.

3. The Irishman – I will admit, I was very put off by the runtime when I first heard about the film. Yet somehow, Scorsese and Schoonmaker manage to justify that runtime better than all other 140+ min films this year. It boasts incredible performances, lively but measured filmmaking, and a reckoning with age and regret in a dying genre.

2. Parasite – A wonderfully complex yet tightly controlled narrative that builds up and breaks down its world with almost terrifying confidence. Every character, plot point, or piece of social commentary is pitch perfect in this film, with Bong’s wryness and empathy driving the whole thing home. Best Picture win please.

1. The Farewell – The film of the year is a gorgeously understated narrative about being the child of immigrants, but also about the indelible bond of family. It’s funny, it’s touching, it has a fabulous ensemble cast (led by Zhao Shuzhen and Awkwafina), and it’s under 100 minutes (take a hint, Hollywood). It’s a story that has happened in my own family as well, and it’s told with such unflinching honesty and care.

HM: Yesterday, Woman at War, Wild Rose, Between Two Ferns: The Movie, Toy Story 4, Ford v. Ferrari, John Wick Chapter 3, The Report, The Lighthouse, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Ad Astra, Gloria Bell, Noelle, Monos, One Child Nation, Climax, In Fabric

SHORT FILMS: Hair Love, I Am Easy to Find, ANIMA


One Response to “The Best Films of 2019”

  1. Carson Maitland - Smith August 19, 2020 at 2:56 am #

    I think SCOOB’s The Best Film of 2020 💜

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