The past decade has been a major journey for me in film and I decided I needed to mark my journey and discuss all of the films that came out during that time that truly made it a special decade that solidified my love for film and really took that passion seriously. Of course I couldn’t catch everything and I’m interested to see how this list looks as I rewatch things, catch up on others and my taste changes come 2030. But as of today, these are the 50 best films of the 2010s.
50. Raw (2017) dir. Julia Ducournau
A French horror film about a girl who has been vegetarian her whole life goes to the wildest veterinarian school on the planet and learns a secret why her family doesn’t eat meat. The monstrous femme story has always been a great genre and to include themes about family pasts and to view it with a veggie lens that I have makes it all the more interesting. It inspired me to want to include those elements to the horror I create. It’s very French, pretty gross and queer to boot. What more could you want?
49. Son of Saul (2015) dir. László Nemes
“We are dead already.”
One of the most absolutely dreariest films I’ve ever seen, but it’s so powerful. A prisoner in Auschwitz has to burn the corpses of his own people when he sees a boy he thinks might be his son and decides he needs to try and save him. It’s as anxiety ridden as you think it is. If you’re not in the mood for another Holocaust film, I get it. But if you’re gonna see only a couple, I definitely think this should be on the list with Schindler’s List, Night and Fog and Shoah.
48. The Act of Killing (2012) dir. Joshua Oppenheimer
“In my dreams they have threatening voices. They’re like ghosts who hate me… They laugh, but frighteningly.”
Another feel good film about genocide in Indonesia. Half documentary and half acted out footage of the genocide, but not by real actors but the people who perpetuated it. Many people wouldn’t put their name on the film. A daring and disruptive piece of cinema that proves its worth in arts.
47. Gravity (2013) dir. Alfonso Cuarón
“Nobody will mourn for me, no one will pray for my soul. Will you mourn for me? Will you say a prayer for me? Or is it too late… ah, I mean I’d say one for myself but I’ve never prayed in my life. Nobody ever taught me how.”
Any film that has Sandra Bullock at the forefront and gets to do a one woman show in the emptiness of both space and life is well worth my time. Add on special effects, sound and editing that make it even more beautiful makes it a masterpiece. Many films have tried to be the new Gravity, but I don’t think any of the others have defined their characters with this much humanity, fighting through putting yourself in solidarity as a coping mechanism for grief.
46. Embrace of the Serpent (2015) dir. Ciro Guerra
“Knowledge belongs to all. You do not understand that. You are just a white man.”
Very dreamlike Columbian film with black & white cinematography. A majority of the film flowing down a river, turning into a trance. So beautiful and blessing your eyes with the looks and feels of the Columbian jungle. The film is centered around aboriginal people of the Amazon rainforest guiding explorers through the wilderness over decades of time.
45. Good Manners (2017) dir. Juliana Rojas, Marco Dutra
“Big eyes. Big mouth. Big hands. He’s a strong boy, Ana.”
A Brazilian lesbian with a werewolf child movie sounds like a pretty good gimmick for something pretty schlocky, but this film hits The Shape of Water levels in order humanize their beastly stars. I didn’t expect a film like this to make my cry by the end, but it truly did. Clearly made on a rather small budget, but you would never know because it looks phenomenal.
44. A Ghost Story (2017) dir. David Lowery
This was a film that spooked the hell out of me and not because of it being a horror film. It’s a pretty quiet and slow moving film that will make you see some events in real time but then decades turn into seconds. It plays with time and really gave me a existential rock in my stomach. I was hit pretty hard thinking about the world we leave behind when we go and if we can even hope to influence the lives of people alive a century from now.
43. O.J. Made in America (2017) dir. Ezra Edelman
“I’m not black, I’m O.J.”
I guess it’s originally considered a docuseries, but it won the Oscar so I’m counting it. It’s a very enlightening look at celebrity and racism in terms of not only the law system but also in the public eye. Not every opinion is one you want to follow but I don’t know too many documentaries that had me change my mind so many times to the point that something shitty has happened on both sides and you really can’t trust anyone.
42. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) dir. Rian Johnson
“Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you see it you’ll never make it through the night.”
It was one of those movies where I thought it was fine when I first saw it, but the discourse surrounding it made me love it even more as it tries to break the rules and tell people to dare let go of the past even though it’s now owned by the biggest nostalgia bank, Disney. Carrie Fisher is incredible in her last on screen role. The movie goes in really weird places that add to the worlds around them. Excellently directed and edited. It’s a perfect Star Wars film.
41. The Conjuring (2013) dir. James Wan
“The devil exists. God exists. And for us, as people, our very destiny hinges upon which one we elect to follow.”
This was one of the most fun theater experiences I ever had because the movie genuinely scared me. It went on to be a massive hit and I’m happy because I genuinely believe this will eventually be added to the horror movie canon. While it doesn’t have too much new stuff, it’s based on some people who are famous, and while the film is far from accurate to real life, it makes two characters out of the Warrens as people who we love and want to protect as much as they want to protect each other and that is the backbone of what makes it a great haunted house film.
40. Easy A (2010) dir. Will Gluck
“Any friend of Olive’s is a friend of my daughter.”
Probably the movie on this list I’ve seen the most? At least a dozen times. It was just a movie that meant a lot to me growing up, helping me develop my sense of humor, but also trying to figure out all the fucked up things high schoolers deal with. It’s endlessly quotable and really shows the star potential Emma Stone showed once she was given the right role for her. Overall an excellent cast really.
39. BPM (2017) dir. Robin Campbillo
A film I have previously reviewed. A stunning film about a group of activists in France determined to get their voice heard by targeting labs that may have a cure to AIDS in order to finally get their voices heard and get someone’s attention for the truth. I think AIDS films are always a weakness for me. The biggest part of the wave hit before I was born, but looking back I think about how so many lives were lost and how it was considered a non issue by so many xenophobes.
38. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010) dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul
An arthouse film I attempted to watch when I was still attempting to mature my palette that I still don’t completely understand, but I fully feel the film (that I revisited a year or so ago and got more out of it, but believe I’m still in the dark on some of it!). This is a Thai film that is so dense, but is all about reflecting on your life and the lives that have come before either yours or others. It’s absolutely beautiful and mixed with religion and magical realism. Definitely not a film to just pop in whenever, but definitely a rewarding journey when you give it the time and attention it deserves. Poetry on screen.
37. Knife + Heart (2018) dir. Yann Gonzalez
Quite possibly my favorite horror film about a woman who is directing a new gay porno based on a man who was murdered and then her entire cast is killed one by one in giallo style murders. Should definitely be a longer list. The film is eccentric and gorgeous. I love a horror film that looks pretty and is out to make itself look like a mood board. A horror film with a lot on its mind with such a complicated character arc for the protagonist. A film I watched twice last year that still never seemingly left my mind.
36. The Farewell (2019) dir. Lulu Wang
“I walked the path of life and I have to say, you will face with difficulties. But you have to have an open mind. Don’t be like a bull hitting his horns all over the walls of the room. Life isn’t just about what you do, it’s more about how you do it.”
A young woman must come to terms with her dual life as American and Chinese when her family will not tell her grandmother that she has cancer. The Oscars can fuck off if they didn’t think this wasn’t one of the best films of the year. Such an important film with its own voice and reason to be made. Awkwafina has only begun her acting career but she shows she can do anything she wants to do with this role.
35. Mary and Max (2009) dir. Adam Elliot
“When I was young, I invented an invisible friend called Mr Ravioli. My psychiatrist says I don’t need him anymore, so he just sits in the corner and reads.”
Just a note that this came out in America in 2010 and that’s what we’re going by! Stop motion animation is one of my all time favorite mediums and the best stories are told through it. This is an Australian film about a young girl named Mary who becomes penpals with an autistic man in America. They develop a beautiful relationship through relating to each other’s quirks and loneliness. It’s a deeply compassionate movie but also is packed with laughs. May not be something kids of all ages can get into, but it’s definitely something important to see as we get older.
34. Pariah (2011) dir. Dee Rees
“I am not broken, I am free.”
Dee Rees is quite possibly one of the most underrated and important directors to emerge this past decade. Her voice is tender and compassionate. The film follows Alike, a black young person who is discovering their identity whether it be transmasculine or lesbian, and how hard it is growing up queer in this environment. The film is quiet and beautiful, mixed with intense emotions of triumph through identity but also immense pain of rejection. If anyone is gonna film the musical version of The Color Purple, it has to be Dee Rees.
33. The Edge of Seventeen (2016) dir. Kelly Fremon Craig
“I had the worst thought: I’ve got to spend the rest of my life with myself.”
Hailee Steinfeld is a proven bonafide star in this coming of age dramedy. The film captures really well what it means to be a fucked up teen who truly has no idea how life is gonna be when they have to be an adult soon. Nadine is at ends with her best friend Krista when Krista decides to date her twin brother, who she hasn’t gotten along with since high school. When I saw this movie the first time, I felt totally at a loss for where I was in my life just like her and I guess a majority of why I love this film is because of how much of an emotional connection I had to it. I’m not as lost now, so I’m not sure if I’m as emotionally attached. Though, I refuse to take down the poster of this movie in my bedroom regardless.
32. The Shape of Water (2017) dir. Guillermo del Toro
“Unable to perceive the shape of You, I find You all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with Your love, It humbles my heart, For You are everywhere.”
2017 was the year I finally sat down to pronounce Guillermo and I’ve fallen in love with his films since, but this was what really set off my appreciation for his entire body of work as a whole. I saw this in the theaters twice and was just awestruck with its fairytale quality of a woman not even questioning her love for a fish monster. It’s a love not only for fellow living creatures despite differences, but also for film itself. How did a film like this win best picture? God only knows, but I’m so happy it did.
31. When Marnie Was There (2014) dir. Hiromasa Yonebayashi
This is my second favorite Studio Ghibli movie, which I don’t think that sentiment is shared with a lot of people. I love ghost stories, especially ones that are unconventional. The movie has a kind of twist that you don’t necessarily see coming, but it makes me so emotional whenever I see it. The script is just as beautiful as the animation and it gives me chills that we get to experience art this good!! Also really good introvert cinema.
30. Something Must Break (2014) dir. Ester Martin Bergsmark
“I just need a little time to get your face right out of my mind.”
It’s so rare to see trans cinema actually created by a trans filmmaker starring a trans performer. The film is a little dour, but it’s also exceptional. It’s a film not only about being gender variant, but also a film about relationships and how when we finally meet that one person who changes everything we truly believe that they’re good for us. But when we develop a new kind of confidence to break off from that, we realize that there are no bad people, but two people who met at a crossroad by chance.
29. Wolf Children (2012) dir. Mamoru Hosoda
“Why is the wolf always the bad guy?”
Magical realism is one of my all time favorite elements that anime uses a lot. This one includes a woman who falls in love with a man who happens to be a werewolf and she has two children with him before he is killed one night. She is left to raise the two kids and when they grow up, they have to decide if they want to get rid of their wolf side, or embrace it like their father. You would never expect a film with such a premise to overtake you with so much emotions and yet, here it is and it’s one of my all time favorites.
28. Weekend (2011) dir. Andrew Haigh
“The problem is that no one’s gonna come and see it, because it’s about gay sex. So the gays’ll only come because they want a glimpse of a cock, and they’ll be disappointed. The straights won’t come because, well, it’s got nothing to do with their world. They’ll go and see pictures of refugees or murder or rape. But gay sex? Fuck off.”
A film that is so real and down to earth about the gay dating scene. Two men meet a gay club, hook up and get to know each other over a weekend. They instantly fall for each other, but things don’t go exactly as plan as one is gonna break the other one’s heart. The director being gay himself, you understand where a film so personal comes from. It doesn’t matter if these two were to break up in a month or live the rest of their lives together. You believe in this miraculous connection for this one weekend and love stories hardly get that deep and true in such a short period of time.
27. Hereditary (2018) dir. Ari Aster
“It’s heartening to see so many strange, new faces here today. I know my mom would be very touched, and probably a little suspicious.”
When the first trailer for this dropped, I knew I had to see this movie. It turned into one of the worst theater going experiences I’ve had, but the movie had me on the floor. Toni Collette gives an all time great acting performance as the mother of a family who has lost her mother and tragedy begins to befall them as dark secrets of the past emerge. It’s Ordinary People meets The Exorcist. A film that deeply upset me to watch, but also deeply fascinated me with ideas of the supernatural and human tragedy, how we use one to complement the other in art, religion, and every day life.
26. A Separation (2011) dir. Asghar Farhadi
“What is wrong is wrong, no matter who said it or where it’s written.”
This is a perfect drama. We’re really getting into the undisputed masterpieces. Farhadi knows how to direct scripts that exude a mixture of mystery and melodrama without it ever feeling anything more than grounded. A couple does not get permission to divorce when the man wants to stay in Iran with his ailing father and the woman wants to leave to have a better life for their child. It’s when there is a debate to what happens to an in house nurse that may make the argument as to why they should divorce that the mystery starts and things get tense. I’ve only seen the film once, but it really has stuck with me.
25. Inside Out (2015) dir. Pete Doctor
“Take her to the moon for me. Okay?”
It’s not a controversial take that Pixar films are for more than just children in mind. This was definitely solidified with Inside Out. Riley is a girl who has to move to a new state and so her emotions are all out of wack and must go on a journey to find her happiness. A film that wanted to tell all people that having different emotions and feeling all of them in different ways is okay as long as we understand and talk about it if we need to. This is a great things for animation because so many American animated films are only interested in happiness. The story isn’t as complicated as it could be, but we wouldn’t want such a story either. The voice cast is great and the script is one of the greats in the medium.
24. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) dir. Rodney Rothman, Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti
Continuing exemplary animated films, this is one of the greatest superhero films of all time and it never left the comic book – it just started moving. A Spider-Man origin story, but this one from a different dimension with Miles Morales that comes beautifully to life in astounding colors and styles. I really hope this makes for a big push for more animated superhero movies and for animated films to use so much exciting techniques. Not to mention, to have such an incredible film to be starring an Afro-Latin superhero is an achievement on its own merits. Another voice cast that is also really on point. The best movie based on a Marvel comic, and with my own two cents, the best superhero film in almost three decades.
23. Personal Shopper (2016) dir. Olivier Assayas
“So we made this oath… Whoever died first would send the other a sign.”
I was alone in the movie theater except for one other person. Coming out of it, I was just stricken with a new grief that I had seen such an incredible film that I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days and none of my other friends had seen it yet. I love ghost stories. Especially ones that aren’t horror. (I mean I love those too, but stick with me.) I love this fancy ass French cinema Kristen Stewart in her best role to date trying to figure out how to communicate with her dead brother while also being surrounded by macabre and the finer things in life. Not a movie for everyone, but I know the people who love it LOVE it.
22. Midsommar (2019) dir. Ari Aster
“He’s my good friend and I like him, but… Dani, do you feel held by him? Does he feel like home to you?”
A film I saw three times in the theater that became my biggest coping mechanism after a pretty bad relationship. This horror film is cathartic and really reassured me that horror movies really are a form of healing. We go into these extremes to process the fucked up shit we experience in life. Dani played excellently by Florence Pugh goes on a trip to Sweden with her emotionally abusive boyfriend who is an asshole to everyone as they deal with some fucked up traditions. A horror movie that is creepy and scary in intense daylight. Not for the weak of stomach and not good to watch during a rocky relationship. But I think it’s perfectly suited for a girl and gays night out.
21. Coco (2017) dir. Lee Unkrich
“Remember me, though I have to say goodbye / Remember me, don’t let it make you cry / For even if I’m far away, I hold you in my heart / I sing a secret song to you, each night we are apart”
Another Pixar film on the list?? Best believe that’s the only section of Disney I still sort of stan. This one was a very important film for many of my friends, as it was for me. I was crying coming out of that theater. It falls in line with the unconventional ghost stories are so important to me. Dazzling animation and perfect music giving us Mexican culture and a story to melt the coldest of hearts. World building at its finest. Why haven’t I rewatched this yet?
20. Amazing Grace (2018) dir. Sydney Pollack, Alan Elliott
Was this technically filmed in 1972? Yes. Does this still count because we weren’t allowed to see it for so long? Definitely. It’s just simply one of the greatest concert films of all time and it was filmed inside of a church, recording a live album of the same name. Aretha Franklin has the voice of a generation and one we won’t hear the same way again. My experience in the theater was pretty religious and I am sad I won’t see it the same way again, but at least I have it in my heart that this is one of the best.
19. Her (2013) dir. Spike Jonze
“I think anybody who falls in love is a freak. It’s a crazy thing to do. It’s kind of like a form of socially acceptable insanity.”
2013 was the first year where I felt like film really was something I had a passion for. Of course I’ve always watched a lot, but 2013 was when I was really starting to get into more than just the stuff that played at my (limited) theater or on cable. I was a poor college kid when this came out so I watched this a little illegally, but it was revolutionary. A science fiction film that really just asks a lot of questions and I don’t think it ever answers them. Joaquin Phoenix plays a character who fallen in love with the voice inside of his phone who has become another entity in her own right, played wonderfully by Scarlet Johansson (who I much prefer her voice work). Of course the film could simply be thought of as a commentary on technology, but I think it has a lot more to say about love and how it’s a lot more complicated than most movies would have you believe.
18. The Florida Project (2017) dir. Sean Baker
“Excuse me. Could you give us some change, please? The doctor said we have asthma and we have to eat ice-cream right away.”
Sean Baker really made two of the best films of the decade (one further down the list) and he really gets the human spirit, covering the most human and underrepresented populations in film. This one focuses on residents of Florida who are effected negatively by the commerce of Disney as a giant driving force of tourism around that area. He utilizes non professional actors to fill the world of a motel where they live and Willam Defoe who is in a career best as the warmhearted, albeit grumpy motel manager. An emotional roller coaster ride with great child performances and stunning use of the Florida scenescape.
17. Nebraska (2013) dir. Alexander Payne
“Here’s Delmer, Woody’s cousin, he was a drunk. One time we were wrestling and he felt me up. Grabbed a handful of boob and Woody was right there and didn’t have a clue, did ya Woody?”
The other film from 2013 that really made me love film (that I still hold in very high regards). It’s a simple story about an old man (played by Bruce Dern) who thinks he’s won a million dollars from one of those junk mail sweepstakes things you get in the mail. His son agrees to go on a road trip with him to Nebraska to go humor him. It turns into a lovely road trip movie where they pass through their old hometown and everyone is thinking he hit it big and start asking for money. June Squibb plays one of the best supporting performances of the decade as the hilarious, but over it role of the wife. Beautiful black and white cinematography and the script is the best part of all.
16. This Is Not a Film (2011) dir. Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Jafar Panahi
An answer as to why film is so important. Film is a political act. This is the biggest evidence. Jafar Panahi was arrested by the Iranian government for his films taking a stance against them and was under house arrest for six years and not allowed to make films for twenty. He made this movie shot on someone’s iPhone in secret, snuck it out on a usb snuck into a cake so it could premiere at Cannes. That’s punk rock as hell. The film isn’t terribly loaded, mostly him talking about life and the situation that he is in. This is a rare case where the fact that this film exists is much more important than its contents.
15. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) dir. Céline Sciamma
“When you’re observing me, who do you think I’m observing?”
Heterosexual romance must be dead. It must because there’s hardly an example of incredible romantic films from this decade with them in it. Gay shit? Oh it’s all over it. I could have made a top 50 list of queer romance films from this decade I at least enjoyed. This one is one of the pinnacles and it may go up upon second viewing when it comes to American theaters this week! It is stunning. A movie about a painter painting a portrait for a woman being betrothed to her sisters’ widower, but has to do it in secret because she does not want to go get married. Objectively, the film is crafted meticulously – the set and cinematography and the costumes. Just so much beauty to take i and it’s still such an incredible beautiful story? Grab some tissues because it’s a weepy. I can’t wait to see this on a big screen.
14. Lady Bird (2017) dir. Greta Gerwig
“We’re afraid that we will never escape our past. We’re afraid of what the future will bring. We’re afraid we won’t be loved, we won’t be liked. And we won’t succeed.”
2017 might have been my favorite year for film in this decade. While most were pretty good, this one edged out with some incredible touchstones for me. Lady Bird of course being one of them. Lady Bird, the title character played excellently by Saoirse Ronan, is finally graduating high school, but has to figure out life with boys and her parents. Especially the hectic relationship with her mom also excellently played by Laurie Metcalf. It’s so funny and it’s so emotional. You can tell this was a personal story Gerwig was waiting to put on screen because it hits every beat so perfectly.
13. Blindspotting (2018) dir. Carlos López Estrada
“You monsters got me feeling like a monster in my own town!”
This movie really flew under radars and I still don’t hear a lot of people talking about it. A quasi-musical that uses a lot of beat poetry as dialogue. Starring Daveed Diggs dealing with a gentrifying neighborhood and his white best friend not really getting that even though they’re the same in terms of economics, he still has his white privilege on him at all times. The film is funny, charming and has plenty of extremely dramatic bits. The finale is incredibly tense and I held my breath. Truly an incredibly important film about culture and social politics that really isn’t being talked enough about.
12. Lemonade (2016) dir. Beyoncé Knowles, Mark Romanek, Jonas Åkerlund, Kahlil Joseph, Melina Matsoukas, Todd Tourso, Dikayl Rimmasch
“Can’t you see there’s no other man above you? / What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you”
This was a cultural reset. Everyone was talking when the visuals for Beyoncé’s newest album dropped. It was unlike anyone had done before, even herself when she released a visual album three years prior. It had cohesion and everyone had done their homework to include imagery such as references to Daughters of the Dust. I think it reserves the right to be called a film as much as anything else here. It’s rich, it’s important, and if that music video for “Formation” was not explicit enough for why white drag queens shouldn’t perform it, then I really think some films are dumbed down for a reason.
11. Sorry to Bother You (2018) dir. Boots Riley
“Let me give you a tip. You wanna make some money here? Use your white voice.”
An alternative version of Oakland has been gentrified beyond recognition and one company is trying its best to completely take over and make slaves of people once again. It’s sci-fi at its best and most high concept – especially when you get to the twist. It’s loud and punk so it’s gonna be a little messy. One of the best moments is when Lakeith Steinfeld’s character is invited to a Eyes Wide Shut esque party and he is asked to rap and everyone thinks it’s the best song ever to be written. Tessa Thompson is also in this, being sexy as fucking hell.
10. World of Tomorrow (2015) dir. Don Hertzfeldt
“Now is the envy of all of the dead.”
It’s in my top ten, but it’s only seventeen minutes long. That’s how incredible this film is. Hertzfeldt has really honed his craft in the past two decades and I think this is his masterpiece. An existential dream about our place in the universe and how we could possible effect future generations. The art style is so simplistic, but it’s made with such a concept in mind. I don’t think I realized how much high concept sci-fi was included in this list, but it truly is a genre that means a lot to me.
9. The Witch (2015) dir. Robert Eggers
“Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?”
Horror was completely shaken up when this film was released. It wasn’t meant for the casual horror viewer, especially the ones who openly mocked it in the theater I saw it in. I think the film is just pure anxiety. I truly cannot understand the things this religious family in the sixteenth century dealt with these witches in the woods, but damn it still kept me on the edge of my seat and looking for goats in the middle of the night. That score by Mark Korven has become a Halloween staple.
8. The Tale (2018) dir. Jennifer Fox
“When I was a child, I was obsessed with changing myself.”
An argument for TV films being just as important as theatrical ones. Jennifer Fox deeps into her own life and tells an autobiographical narrative feature thinking about her first sexual relationship as a child. One of the most genius things to happen in this film is she realizes that she was much younger than she first thought so she exchanges actresses when she makes that realization. It’s haunting and you can just feel how much of a burden is let go into creating this, but how much hurt was also created to get there. Laura Dern gives one of her greatest performances.
7. 13th (2016) dir. Ava DuVernay
“The Bureau of Justice reported that one in three young black males is expected to go to jail or prison during his lifetime, which is an unbelievably shocking statistic.”
An essential documentary about how American history never truly abolished slavery and found a loophole to imprison African Americans and get to be free labor for the American work force. The film is scathing and open, with people talking in really beautiful set places. I can’t imagine all of the work DuVernay took to edit and put all of this information together in such a powerful way, but thank god she did.
6. Get Out (2017) dir. Jordan Peele
“By the way, I would have voted for Obama for a third term, if I could. Best President in my lifetime, hands down.”
A true cultural reset. I saw this in an early screening and I loved it, but I didn’t expect it to be the blockbuster it turned out to be. A horror film that screams that horror movies are in fact political. The script is so tight and so right, with teeth and its ability to never veer away from what it wants to say. It’s an undisputed classic at this point and I really don’t know what else I could say to help get that point across.
5. Tangerine (2015) dir. Sean Baker
“Bitch, you know I don’t do downers, bitch. You know I’m an upper ho.”
Why don’t we get more trans people playing trans people? Why haven’t Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor got to do more acting? These are the questions that leave me without answers while watching the glory of them in this film. A film about Los Angeles and friendship between two trans women trying to navigate their hectic lives and jobs around Christmas time. Friendship has never looked so charming and real on screen.
4. Moonlight (2016) dir. Barry Jenkins
“Runnin’ around, catching up all that light. In moonlight, black boys look blue.”
“I wasn’t never worth shit. Never did anything I actually wanted to do, was all I could do to do what other folks thought I should do. I wasn’t never myself.”
A movie told in three parts about a young black gay man coming to terms with the many facets of his identity. Striking visuals and storytelling. Maybe the only best picture winner from this decade I found to be on point. People to this day say it was the wrong one, but that is an ignorant opinion. This film never once felt like it existed to be praised or to win awards. It’s poetry on film.
3. Carol (2015) dir. Todd Haynes
“My angel. Flung out of space.”
Haynes really came into this decade saying he’s going to make the best film possible, and honestly his three hit punch of Carol, Wonderstruck, and Dark Waters really is a sign of his abilities. Carol, however, is special because it tapped into this intense yearning for another person that exists in a lot of us. It’s the queer ones who see it the most, the first time we wanted someone we knew we weren’t supposed to be, but the obsession and desire kept us coming back. This is the ultimate romance film. The ultimate period film. The acting and sets and overall mood of the film is perfect.
2. Paddington 2 (2017) dir. Paul King
“Aunt Lucy said, if we’re kind and polite the world will be right.”
It’s a perfect movie? I would die for this bear.
1. Arrival (2016) dir. Denis Villeneuve
“But now I’m not so sure I believe in beginnings and endings. There are days that define your story beyond your life. Like the day they arrived.”
Amy Adams plays a language expert whose mission is to speak to these aliens who have come to Earth. It’s more than just any regular sci-fi film about aliens as it looks through her life, but also urges us to work together as humans first. Arrival is a film really special to me. I didn’t know what to make of it when I first saw it. I knew I liked it a lot. However, I didn’t know the meaning it would have for me going on in the future. I used to have a lot of anxieties about death and eternity. I used to visualize time as straight line until this film taught me that it’s better to look at it as a continuous circle so that we may be infinite instead. Infinite in any moment.
And in case you are mad I left something off, here’s the 50 runners up.