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Top 5 Films of 2011

January 1, 2012

Deciding on a top five film list for 2011 has proved extremely difficult, with a lot of commendable movies – Senna, The Skin I Live In, The Social Network and Archipelago just missing out (and that’s not including the many films I never got the chance to see). In addition to my list below, I really recommend checking out the BFI’s full review of the cinematic year at

My Top 5 films of 2011 (in no particular order)

Beginners (Mike Mills)

I’m not usually a fan of rom-coms, but this was a romantic movie with a difference. The burgeoning relationship between Ewan McGregor and Mélanie Laurent’s ‘meet cute’ couple has a fantastical quality, yet is also laced with a healthy dose of realism. A career-best turn from Christopher Plummer and the efforts of a charming little dog, add to one of the most unusual, but best, ensemble performances of the year.

The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies)

Even a marginally off-form Terence Davies doesn’t even have to be on top form to wipe the floor with the rest of the British cinematic offerings this year. His adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s fifties play about post-war austerity and thwarted emotion was the most exquisitely beautiful film I saw this year, and featured a luminous performance from Rachel Weisz.

The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)

The world in 120 minutes. A Manhattanite’s midlife crisis is the starting point for Terrence Malick’s epic treatise on man’s primal loss of innocence. The film is heartbreakingly intimate with its tender ode to childhood and a “paradise lost”, yet also majorly grandiose with its breathtaking portrayal of the birth of grace and humanity from the beginnings of the universe.

A Screaming Man / Un homme qui crie (Mahamet-Saleh Haroun)

This is an alarming and necessary bulletin from contemporary Africa (namely Chad). A man’s struggles to retain both his job and the respect of his son, are a microcosm of his country’s many problems which include a debilitating civil war and growing economic colonisation by China.

Never Let Me Go (Mark Romanek)

I was surprisingly moved by this poignant adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s best-selling novel. Everything, from the efforts of the cast (especially a brilliant Carey Mulligan), to the bleakness of the settings and cinematography, combine for incredibly moving effect as the reality of the clones’ limited lifespan becomes clear.

Please refer to the Alphabetical Review Archive for more in-depth reviews of each of these films. (January 2012)






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