2016 may have been a disastrous year on some fronts, but it was a stand out year for films. I’m having a very hard time narrowing down the list to 10, so excuse me in advance for the honourable mentions. Unfortunately I ran out of time to see 20th Century Women, Silence, Jackie, Allied, Hacksaw Ridge or Loving. According to many others, any of these could make a top 10 list. But since the year is over, I need to make my list based on what I’ve seen.
Moonlight is by far the most surprising and beautiful film I saw in 2016. The music, the cinematography, the screenplay, the performances were all absolutely perfect. It is a film that entranced me from the start and moved me through the three chapters of this human experience with a poetic elegance that captured my heart. I loved this film.
Nocturnal Animals has divided the critics, but I thought it was clever, wild, tragically beautiful, intelligent filmmaking and I cannot wait to see what Tom Ford does next. Some have criticized it for being overly ambitious, a fashion shoot masquerading as a movie, but most agree that this is Tom Ford’s finest work. It does have a certain style that is Tom Ford. The man is an artist and his time spent as a designer is bound to influence his filmmaking. This three layered tale has many sub layers and a beauty and facade that play a huge role in the story telling. I do think this one will build a following with time.
This film wins the award for most memorable side-splitting scenes. I cannot say too much about this heartwarming father daughter tale or I would spoil it for you. Save it to say this one is re-watchable. If I spoke German I would be reciting the lines. Give me time, I will get there.
Manchester by the Sea
I need a kleenex just to write about this one. Its a heartbreaker. Again, cannot spoil it. The performances, screenplay, cinematography, music are all perfect. This quiet film is the whole package and will no doubt be going head to head with Moonlight for the finish line.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
That “Ricky Baker, happy birthday, once rejected, now accepted, by me and Hector, a trifecta” is being sung around my house by my entire family is a testament to his heartwarming gem of a film. Ricky and Hector, the wilderpeople, will have you laughing, cheering, crying and thinking there is happiness out there for everyone. I absolutely loved this little film from New Zealand.
I, Daniel Blake
Daniel Blake is an important film, depressing as hell, but a reality that many face. Ken Loach is the man to bring these important stories to the cinema and get the conversation going. It helps that the audience will love Daniel, respect him for who he is and what he stands for.
Runs a bit like a play, but that works here. Viola Davis delivers an outstanding performance in this film that you will not forget, and Denzel is incredible as are the supporting cast members, especially Stephen McKinley Henderson. Set in the 1950s, this story of an African-American family whose lives are dominated by the father who has struggled in coming to terms with his life. Denzel Washington has done a magnificent job in bringing this play to the screen.
La La Land
La La Land is just a great film. Its has all the feels and energy that a good movie should. Visually stunning, great performances and great music, this film is a favourite of many. Its not my absolute favourite of 2016, but it made my type 10.
Hell or High Water
Like I, Daniel Blake, this one is an important one. Rarely do we see films as stark as this. From the tumbleweeds, to the run down diners, this film takes us to that rural America we’ve been hearing about lately, the fogotten part of America where dreams have been abandoned. Excellent film and I do hope it gets some Oscar lovin’.
While this film might have been a bit formulaic and may not have been 100% historically accurate it was really enjoyable, refreshing and enlightening. With the success of this film perhaps producers will be more enthusiastic about telling stories about amazing women. Performances, music, cinematography, costumes, this film was the whole package. Theodore Melfi is on a roll with this after St. Vincent. Looking forward to his next one. I hope this baby goes all the way to the Oscars. That would be great.
The Handmaiden, Arrival, Paterson, Deadpool and Rogue One.