If my favourite films of 2012 had a theme it would be, Look back in sadness. So many of them were throwing their glances back to the past, whether through actual period pieces stuck in the past or characters in contemporary times stuck in days gone by. Amidst the sadness were two happier movie experiences, one in particular rooted in joy.
I didn't like 2012 as I liked 2011 but it's such a churlish, random, comment to make because in the midst of all the films I wanted to like more but didn't (Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi) I found a score of films to appreciate for things done right and even for things done (ostensibly) wrong.
So, I even made a top 11 instead of a top 10 because I've never discussed #11 on the blog and it deserved some attention.
#11 Looper (d. Rian Johnson)
#10 Tabu (d. Miguel Gomes)
#9 Holy Motors (d. Leo Carax)
most important film of the year in its magical otherworldly nature. From my review: “There is a bleak outlook when in the film’s final moments tje machines begin to congregate on the near end of their usefulness. Is Carax opining on the losing battle film is fighting with digital? Or does the lament go deeper in worrying about the future of film – in all formats? And if the outlook is so pervasively bleak how can I cheer on its conversation on movie magic? It’s because sandwiched between two potentially bleak perspectives the film is a literal offering of what cinema has the ability to do. Just observe the disparity in the first two jobs Mr Oscar has – traipsing around as an old beggar woman to some bizarre stop-motion like film, and all within a few minutes. Both scenes seem authentic even as we’re indomitably aware that they’re not. It is a literal encapsulation of the magic the cinema has in transporting you, seamlessly, from moment to moment. If done right.”
#8 Les Misérables (d. Tom Hooper)
#7 Damsels in Distress (d. Whit Stillman)
....the top 6 below of all the A(-) grade films....
#6 Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (d. Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
#5 Cloud Atlas (d. Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and Andy Wachowski)
#4 Oslo August 31 (d. Joachim Trier)
#3 Anna Karenina (d. Joe Wright)
#2 Moonrise Kingdom (d. Wes Anderson)
#1 The Deep Blue Sea (d. Terence Davies)
Rounding out the top 20 (alphabetically): Argo; Brave; Frankenweenie; The Impossible; Killing Them Softly; Magic Mike; Rust and Bone; Perks of Being a Wallflower; The Turin Horse
All of my award categories are HERE, both the Oscar-y ones and the non-traditional ones (best use of music, for the win). Random things to observe, for example Once Upon in Anatolia is number six on my list but for every category it makes the top 5 of it's my favourite.
Thanks for reading, months after the fact. Any surprises?