The most powerful film I saw in the past year was For Sama. It shocked me to my core (even having read and seen news stories about the war in Syria), and in all the carnage, one particular moment made me weep for a long time. Perhaps that moment would be the same for you, but in a film with so many devastating moments, there are countless times that you might be brought to tears.
Like each year, since it’s become a tradition, I painstakingly pondered over which films would make up the annual top ten; it took me longer to get to all of the “must watch” films this year. I have enough films in fact to also refer to a top 11-20.
Below I have listed my full top ten. The latter group of films (running 11-20, in no particular order) would comprise first of Little Women, which had so many terrific elements but in which I also found it hard to connect with the various love stories (Emma Watson’s character Meg’s love for James Norton’s John was only dimly shared before they were in a cursorily troubled marriage, Timothée Chalamet’s Laurie was miscast in his vanished love for Saoirse Ronan’s Jo and just as unbelievable in his shifted love for Florence Pugh’s Amy, and even less believable was Laura Dern’s Marmee matched with late-arrived Bob Odenkirk); the other films of this second list are the moving and strange Paddleton, Us (featuring the best and most haunting twist of the year), Hustlers, Leaving Neverland, The Lighthouse, Uncut Gems, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Knives Out, and A Hidden Life.