Despite not watching a ton of movies in the last year, I actually had a surprising amount that passed the threshold for inclusion in my annual top movies list! Here are the ten movies that I enjoyed most in the past year.
About Time isn’t the only movie to tell a story of love and time travel, but I was pleasantly surprised by its unique approach and how it ends up being about more than just a romantic relationship. Very well done and the kind of movie that sparks some interesting thoughts about life once the credits roll.
The Accountant takes the “math savant” trope and pushes it into action-thriller territory, and the result is an interesting and fun watch. While there wasn’t anything about the movie that particularly blew me away, it is just a good solid film that was engaging from start to finish.
CODA, which went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture, gives a glimpse into a perspective that I had never really thought about: a non-deaf child with deaf parents. Add in the fact that the movie is based on a true story where the child is also passionate about music, something her family is unable to tangibly understand, and you have a fresh premise that, fortunately, comes together into a great movie. As I have grown older, I have gained an appreciation for books and movies that allow me to empathize with lives that are very different than my own, and CODA is yet another great example.
Another movie that went on to win Best Picture, Everything Everywhere All At Once is unlike anything I have ever seen, and (at least for my tastes) in a very good way. It is an off-the-walls story of a common, middle-aged Asian mom’s life intersecting with a crazy multiverse plot line that is anything but predictable. It definitely isn’t going to be a movie for everyone, but I loved its fresh approach, great acting, and balance among humor, drama, action, and science fiction.
Going into The Father, I knew a story about a man struggling with onsetting dementia was going to be a more serious and emotional watch, but I was really surprised by how director Florian Zeller was able to make the audience deeply empathize with what the titular character must be feeling. It is really well executed and gives a window into a topic that is not explored much in media despite so many families having firsthand experience with the challenging effects of having a loved one grow old.
I loved the first Knives Out, and if I’m being honest, I was a little disappointed in the follow-up Glass Onion. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because the original just set the bar so high! But despite falling short of the first installment, I can’t deny that I just enjoy these kinds of whodunit stories with fun characters and twists. We’ll see if the eventual Knives Out 3 can recreate the magic of the original, but I am all for more modern entries in this movie genre.
Prisoners is definitely a tough watch with some pretty brutal themes (e.g. child abduction, torture), but it is surrounded by a very compelling story with twists that keep you on your toes all the way to the end. A harder one to broadly recommend due to some particularly difficult scenes, but overall I appreciated the story and found it to be a very engaging thriller.
Where Prisoners was difficult to broadly recommend due to some disturbingly violent scenes, Rush is similar for some of its sexual content. That said, the story it tells based on a true rivalry from 1970s Formula 1 racing is intense and fascinating, with some unexpected turns that drive the narrative forward (please forgive the driving puns).
After Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, I haven’t kept up with all of the Marvel content that Disney has been pumping out. But I did get to see Spider-Man: No Way Home, and it is just a really fun film, especially if you have watched most of the Spider-man films over the past 20 years. I tend to know what I’m getting out of any Marvel superhero movie, but No Way Home is definitely one that rises towards the top of the list due to some fun tie-ins from the history of the series.
And speaking of movies that are simply “fun,” Top Gun: Maverick just feels like one of those classic, big-screen movie experiences that sometimes just hit the spot. It continues a trend of long-delayed sequels that still pull in original actors (e.g. Blade Runner 2049, etc.), and I don’t think they could have executed on the concept much better than they did. If you want a good popcorn, action-drama flick, Top Gun: Maverick is definitely one of the most enjoyable I saw in the last year.
Strong showing of movies for me in the last year! Maybe you found some to add to your own watchlist, I’ll be curious to see if the next year can keep things rolling with some new favorites.