You know the old adage, better late than never. Usually I post this list right before the Oscars debut on television, but this year they snuck up on me and here we are. But it doesn’t really matter how late this list is, it’s here now. So, without further delay, here is a list of my top ten favourite films of 2019.
11. Late Night
Late Night is one of those films that is funny and just easy to watch. It was a film that many slept on when creating their top picks of the year, but one that I knew would be on my list in some capacity. Screenwriter and co-star Mindy Kaling does a great job of writing a relatable story about topical news stories (i.e. racism/sexism in the workplace, ethnic profiling and the expiry date on women in the entertainment business, etc.) without being preachy.
10. Honey Boy
If this was the only film that Shia LaBeouf ever wrote, I would completely understand. Honey Boy is deeply personal and gives us a raw look at the real-life father-son relationship between LaBeouf and his own father. Director Alma Har’el pairs up with cinematography Natasha Brier for literally the most perfect combination of filmmaking. Ugh, can we please get more of these two?
Okay, so Florence Pugh is so good and so underrated. Midsommar is demented in the best way possible. The opening scene of the film is probably the most disturbing thing I’ve seen on screen all year. *Shivers*
8. Marriage Story
The most frustrating portrayal of two characters that can’t just communicate with each other. Well… I suppose that’s what makes it so realistic. I love the way. The story is told through the character inner dialogue that they refuse to share with one another. This film is not only about the loss of love and the messy separation, but also the loss of what their love could have been. Note to self: Tell the people I love how I actually feel about things.
7. Knives Out
This was hands down the most fun I have had in a theatre all year. The film twists and turns in the best way. It keeps you guessing and is completely original while basing its structure off of something audiences have seen one to many times. I would recommend this movie to anyone and everyone I know.
6. The Farewell
This film shattered my heart into about a billion pieces. Although I cannot personally relate to this story, my heart and tears go out to anyone who does.
5. Jojo Rabbit
Scarlett Johansson killed it this year. Also, director/writer Taika Waititi is quickly becoming one of my favourite filmmakers. Although the concept of a Nazi youth solider in training whose imaginary friend is literally Hitler, seems ultra-controversial, this film is f*cking brilliant.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Bong Joon-ho is on another level. Parasite is one of those films that does so many things right. The story and cinematography intertwine to tell a tense family drama. Like many of his past films, Parasite puts a magnifying glass up to the class structure of our society. The film shows stark differences between the wealthy Park family and the struggling Kim family. I was literally screaming with joy when this film kept bringing home the Oscars.
Okay, so J Lo is killing it and everyone who says she isn’t, is basically a h8ter. On a serious note, this film made me sympathetic towards the Cardi B scandal, say what you will about what she did (it wasn’t good or right and I definitely don’t condone it/support it) but this film gave me some perspective.
2. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
For the sake of total transparency, I am adding this film a week after the initial publishing date of this list – which is why it now includes 11 films instead of 10. Upon seeing the trailer for this film, I knew it would be something I would enjoy. I had no idea that it would make its way to the top of my list. This film is something I have never seen on screen before. A story of two women falling in love, the star-crossed lovers that cannot end up together. This broad description of the film is nothing new, nothing that hasn’t been done over and over again. But this film tells its story in such a delicate way, a way that makes you want to screen “turn around.” But she can’t, she won’t.
The story of two young women on their final days of high school before embarking on their post-secondary adventures. Many critics compared this to Superbad, but I don’t think they are comparable. Director/writer Olivia Wilde made such a badass heartfelt comedy all on her own. Also, I have been listening to the original soundtrack by Dan the Automator on repeat for months, send help for my partner Jon.
I Am Easy To Find– Probably my favourite short film of all time. Why is Mike Mills such a good director? I also love to imagine that this is a part of the 20thCentury Women universe.
Little Women– I think I’ll probably always have a sweet spot for Greta Gerwig. Also, Florence Pugh and Saoirse Ronan.
Monos– This was definitely one of the most unique films I saw all year. An incredible take on youth with aLord of the Fliestwist. That cinematography by Jasper Wolf is to die for.
Waves– Two films in one, and they are equally fantastic. I wish more films took chance like this and had killer soundtracks like this.
Uncut Gems– It’s hard to believe this Adam Sandler is the same Adam Sandler in Jack and Jill. Uncut Gems is the tensest film of the year.