Sunday, January 8, 2012

Top 10 Films of 2011

I love movies. So do a lot of my friends. Which is why many of us collectively agonize over deciding which ones rank among our favorites each year. But, after much gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair, one finally just has to pull the trigger and make a damned list. So here is my round-up of the Top 10 Films of 2011. And, because the field was so incredibly packed last year, I've also ranked an additional 15 films to round out my Top 25. 2011 was as densely rich a year for movie-going as any in recent memory. Therefore, please keep in mind that there isn't really a wide margin between any of these choices in my estimation. I truly either loved or really liked them all. So, please to enjoy! And if you haven't seen any of these movies, then I sincerely hope you get the chance to screen them soon. Many of them are now available either on DVD, via online streaming, or are still playing in theaters in most major cities.

Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo in The Artist.

  1. Hugo, dir. Martin Scorsese
  2. The Artist, dir. Michel Hazanavicius
  3. A Separation, dir. Asghar Farhadi
  4. The Descendants, dir. Alexander Payne
  5. Pina 3D, dir. Wim Wenders
  6. The Tree of Life, dir. Terrence Malick
  7. House of Pleasures, dir. Bertrand Bonello
  8. Margin Call, dir. J.C. Chandor
  9. Martha Marcy May Marlene, dir. Sean Durkin
  10. Shame, dir. Steve McQueen
  11. Pariah, dir. Dee Rees
  12. Take Shelter, dir. Jeff Nichols
  13. Drive, dir. Nicolas Winding Refn
  14. Jane Eyre, dir. Cary Fukunaga
  15. The Skin I Live In, dir. Pedro Almodóvar
  16. Margaret, dir. Kenneth Lonergan
  17. Beginners, dir. Mike Mills
  18. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, dir. David Fincher
  19. Attack the Block, dir. Joe Cornish
  20. The Trip, dir. Michael Winterbottom
  21. The Loving Story, dir. Nancy Buirski
  22. Weekend, dir. Andrew Haigh
  23. For Lovers Only, dir. Michael Polish
  24. Midnight In Paris, dir. Woody Allen
  25. Melancholia, dir. Lars von Trier
  26. The Swell Season, dirs. Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins, Carlo Mirabella-Davis

*Two updates: I am aghast at having realized after posting this list that I mistakenly omitted three very worthy titles: the documentary, Bill Cunningham New York (dir. Richard Press); the modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's Coriolanus (dir. Ralph Fiennes); and the raunch comedy, Bridesmaids (dir. Paul Feig). Though none of these three would have made my Top 10, they all certainly merit inclusion in this list overall.

Secondly, you can see how my Top 10 have figured into the yearly Mini-Poll over at Ten Best Films, which represents the consensus of a small sample of current graduate students and alumni of New York University and Yale University.

*Another belated update (Feb. 9, 2012): I finally saw Martin Scorsese's absolutely beautiful and moving HUGO. Sorry, everyone. This one takes the top prize, knocking The Artist (which, for the record, I still adore) down to number 2. A new film has been crowned.

Asa Butterfield and Chloë Grace Moretz in Hugo.

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