I’m posting this in June 2012 and that might seem a little strange, but the films on this list should and can be viewed no matter what the year. I have altered the order of the films since I first built the list and I consider this version the more accurate ranking of these films. I also added two films, Certified Copy and Uncle Boonmee, which I had not gotten to see the year they came out. Buried and the Coen Brothers’ True Grit were the films replaced, and I still think they are very good movies; the other films on the list are just better.
10) 127 Hours
A colorful and inspiring film that excellently vitalizes the energy and personality of its star. Franco may be alone most of the film, but he dominates every single scene. This is a great triumph.
9) Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3 is an irresistible film for families, but its magic is how it appeals to our love for the series and characters. How can any Toy Story fan not be touched by the ending?
8) The King’s Speech
An excellent film that nearly everyone could enjoy. Great performances and direction. It has the ability to deeply effect an audience and make them experience a full range of emotions, a quality of many great movies.
7) Shutter Island
A mind-bending thriller by a master director. Scorsese may have made better movies before, but he has never made a film more gripping than this.
6) Another Year
A quiet, pleasurable picture that covers the length of an entire year in the lives of the characters, season by season. Lesley Manville may have delivered the best supporting performance of the year. The cast as a whole is believable and occasionally funny. This is a joy to watch.
5) Certified Copy
A pleasure of a movie that changes mid-stream from what might have been a romance to some sort of surreal drama. It is a stroke of genius how well this shift is executed. Like Bunuel, Kiarostami seems to be messing with our heads. I have yet to see anything like it.
4) The Ghost Writer
An incredible, skillful thriller by an incredibly skilled director. It seems impossibly polished and well-made until one remembers that it was directed by the master who created Chinatown and The Pianist.
Who would have thought that one of the most creative and original films to come out in 2010 would come from Hollywood? Nolan was snubbed for a Best Director nomination, but the Academy did award the film a statuette for its groundbreaking effects.
2) The Social Network
A masterpiece in every aspect. The soundtrack is unforgettable and pulses with the intensity and darkness of the story and characters. Jesse Eisenberg’s performance is quirky, quick, and razor-sharp. He brought to light one of the most fascinating characters to hit the screen in 2010. It’s a tragic story that is magnificently told with witty dialogue and electrifying editing. This is a film that gets better every time you see it.
1) Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
This Cannes Palm D’Or winner is tender and enchanting. It is a challenging masterpiece that may shape up to be one of the best films of the following decade.
There are a few honorable mentions that I did not want to leave out:
- True Grit
- The Illusionist
- How to Train Your Dragon