2019 has been over for a while now, but now that I’ve seen 1917 which is competing in the Oscars this year, I can finally release my Top 10 list. 2019 was truly a great year for film and I hope that 2020 and beyond will be even more diverse both in front of and behind the camera, and that we continue to support original films and new voices. Keep in mind, I cannot see every new movie released and there are some 2019 movies I have not reviewed.
Here are a couple of honorable mentions that in any other year would’ve made it in my list: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, The Irishman, and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.
10. Pain and Glory
Pain and Glory was a beautiful and incredibly personal film from Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, who uses this film to reflect on his life. Not only is Antonio Banderas the best I’ve ever seen him, but the film captures how beauty can be found in creativity.
9. The Lighthouse
The Lighthouse is admittedly a very weird film, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. The square aspect ratio, black and white film, and the location all added to the unique feel of the film. Not to mention the two impressive performances from Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.
This Elton John story is incredibly creative in that it resembles a musical more than a traditional biopic. Rocketman is my favorite soundtrack of the year. And Taron Egerton as Elton John is fantastic, not only does he have an amazing voice, but this is a career best performance from him.
7. Jojo Rabbit
Jojo Rabbit is a film that shows how love always overcomes hate. Not only is it a very heartfelt movie, but it’s my favorite comedy of the year. Director Taika Waititi has a unique sense of humor and he uses that to showcase the absurdity, corruption, and wrongdoings of the Nazi party in WWII.
6. Knives Out
There aren’t many murder mysteries movies anymore, but director Rian Johnson delivers an original one. Knives Out is an incredibly smart and fun film, but is also deeper than what meets the eye. Ana de Armas is a star in the making and is there anything better than Daniel Craig doing a southern accent?
5. Little Women
Greta Gerwig’s latest film expertly weaves childhood and adulthood of the March sisters together to reinvent Little Women into something a bit more modern. It has an amazing cast with amazing performances, but Gerwig manages to make the themes of the novel pertinent and relevant to women everywhere.
1917 is an experience to say the least. I would say out of all the films I’ve seen this year, the best filmmaking is showcased here. The cinematography, sound, and production design puts you right in the middle of the war alongside the film’s two protagonists in a way no other war film has achieved.
3. The Farewell
Stories about grandma’s always have a soft spot in my heart. Lulu Wang’s directorial debut tells the story of Nai Nai, Billi’s grandma who has cancer, but does not know about it. It exposes a shocking lie and tradition that happens in China, but is centered on a extremely heartwarming grandmother/granddaughter relationship.
2. Marriage Story
Marriage Story is not exactly a fun film to watch. Centered around a divorce and featuring two phenomenal performances from Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, Marriage Story is more likely to break your heart. It’s a film that feels more like a play, but it tells an incredibly human and relatable story of two people who loved each other, but had to grow apart.
There hasn’t been a film that surprised me as much as Parasite has. Not only because the film has a few twists and turns, but because of the story’s utter originality. It tackles the differences of class structure and is expertly crafted, written, scored, directed, and acted. Parasite still hasn’t left me, and is the film that I often go back and think about the most out of this list. In short, Parasite is a film that you cannot help but marvel at.