It’s not just the end of the year in sight, but also the end of the decade as we move into the 2020s. As a result, the last few weeks have seen a bunch of best films of the 2010s lists released by film writers, filmmakers and pundits from all over.
Today it’s my turn here at Dark Horizons. The trick with lists like these, of course, is that it’s not as simple as merely gathering the ‘best of the best’ from one’s previous ‘Top Films of the Year’ lists. With more time comes a chance to reflect, rewatch and get a better handle of where a film sits with you long term.
My thirties unfolded throughout the 2010s, and I recently began my third decade of covering films professionally. So, with that time passing, tastes and circumstances inevitably change like everything else around us. I’ve found myself more passionate about some of the films that really clicked with me, more desiring to applaud work that takes risks and defies convention, and also unfortunately more dismissive of stuff I have little patience for as opposed to being able to hold such stuff at a remove.
Like any list of this type there are also omissions, films one simply doesn’t get around to seeing. This is true of me as well, especially around the back halves of 2013 & 2014. The latter’s late Summer/early Fall period I spent three months experiencing one of the darkest times of my life due to circumstances beyond my control and there are still films from that time I need to get around to.
Some of the films I still need to see that many raves about include: “The Act of Killing,” “Before Midnight,” “Birdman,” “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” “Boyhood,” “BPM,” “Chef,” “Columbus,” “Faces Places,” “Force Majeure,” “The Great Beauty,” “Margaret,” “A Most Violent Year,” “Mr. Turner,” “Only Lovers Left Alive,” “Stories We Tell,” “Things to Come,” “Uncut Gems” and “Whiplash”.
Then there’s the other kind of films, ones that regularly make these sorts of list but I just didn’t particularly care for them – even as I admire the filmmaking on offer. Those include: “12 Years A Slave,” “Amour,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Certified Copy,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “The Florida Project,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Phoenix,” “Roma,” “Toni Erdmann” and “The Tree of Life”.
Finally there’s the obvious issue with any ‘best films’ list. How subjective does one go? Do you write a ‘best of films’ list looking at how those films impacted the culture? Or do you stick entirely to doing a ‘favorite films’ list even as you know some important or more familiar fare won’t make the cut, and a good percentage of one’s choices will be seen as proof of categorical insanity. There really is no choice but the latter and so that’s what I’ve done even as it hurt at times (“Blade Runner 2049” was #101).
Check out my list below and use the comments below to indicate what you feel were the best films of the 2010s. What were the movies that made you love cinema over the past ten years?