10. Hugo (dir. Martin Scorsese)
While there have been plenty of movies this year that are about classic films, Hugo truly takes the cake. Never have I been this genuinely surprised about a film’s topic. The advertising for this movie made it seem like traditional kids fare, but Scorsese’s movie was so much more than that. Martin Scorsese brings us a film about classic cinema — specifically, in the form of Georges Méliès and the magic of the silent film world. As for the 3D aspect, it totally works for the film and few directors make it work as nicely as Scorsese did.
9. Melancholia (dir. Lars von Trier)
Haunting, depressing, beautiful — all perfect words to describe Lars von Trier’s film Melancholia. Frankly, it’s gotten to the point where I can’t even just watch the trailer without tearing up a little bit. Dunst conveys depression in the best of ways and just watching Gainsbourg’s performance in the second act is one of the most heart-breaking things I’ve ever experienced. The way von Trier inspires the tiniest light of hope in people, even after the opening in which you see the world ending, is so masterful and should be seen by everyone.
8. The Skin I Live In (dir. Pedro Almodóvar)
Almodóvar is such a stunning director and he rarely ever disappoints. The Skin I Live In is an excellent example of what someone can do when they return to their roots and the things that made them marvelous in the first place. Elena Anaya stands out in this movie more than the others, although Banderas does wonderfully as well. It’s a twisted story, but it’s one that stands out this year.
7. Shame (dir. Steve McQueen)
It’s hard to find words that describe just how intense of a movie Shame is because it’s really quite the rough experience. Plenty of people will walk in expecting sex sex sex, but it’s really not like that at all. It’s actually one of the most unerotic movies ever, in my opinion. Nevertheless, it’s marvelous, features stunning performances from both Carey and Michael, and holds its NC-17 rating proudly.
6. Another Earth (dir. Mike Cahill)
For a debut film, Mike Cahill does an absolutely brilliant job. Much unlike Melancholia, the other planet in this film does not pose a threat to our world. It serves as a beacon of hope and redemption for those people who have had tragedy fill their lives. Brit Marling’s acting (and co-writing as well) helps add to the emotion of the story. It makes me excited to see the other films she’s been working on lately. Don’t take my word for how gorgeous this movie is though; experience the beauty yourself.