I wrote a fairly theology-free summary of the year in cinema for Think Theology.
The best performance I saw this year was Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn, a film that sets itself up as a melodrama – love triangles and long-distance relationships form crucial plot points – but undercuts it with a subtlety that makes every development seem very real and credible. Ronan is mesmerising in the central role and the camera knows it, lingering on her face as she conveys a wealth of emotions using only the smallest gestures. The rest of the ensemble is equally strong, and it is rare film that manages to be funny, sad and romantic in equal measure without any one of the elements undermining the other.
I was also moved by the study of Martin Luther King in Selma, a film anchored by David Oyelowo’s phenomenal central performance, and Italian beekeeping drama The Wonders. This one is perhaps a little more niche, but fans of slower paced dramas, Victor Erice’s films and coming-of-age tales will undoubtedly fall for its hazy, sun-baked charms. Finally, little-seen World War I drama Testament of Youth has lingered long in my memory since I first saw it in February. It’s a war film that never shows a single shot fired, instead depicting the aftermath with heart wrenching detail. It’s a film that captures the monumental loss wreaked upon Europe in the Great War with subtlety and grace.