The Year In Movies

For Think Theology, my end of year round up

Instead of doing a standard Top 10 of the year, I thought I’d break down the films I’ve enjoyed into categories of why I’ve enjoyed them. This is largely because ranking films (when you see over 100 new films a year) becomes slightly arbitrary. Is Leviathan– a meaty treatise on suffering and Russian politics, made with sombre precision by the contemporary master Andrei Zvyagintsev – better or worse than Paddington, a wonderful, heart-warming family film full of creative flair and marmalade jokes? It is, of course, impossible to say (although I think I would sooner rewatch Paddington). So here are the films I’ve enjoyed the most this year, and there are slightly more than ten, just to really shake the system.

The films that are about now

Were I to pick one favourite, Boyhood would claim the prize. The film’s USP – filming it with the same cast over the course of twelve years – really did capture the spirit of the title; you get the sense of seeing a childhood unfold in front of your eyes, as the themes and ideas gently develop over the three-hour run time. It had extra resonance for me as it is about a person not much younger than me trying to work out who he wants to be. Becoming a Christian gives you a new purpose and identity, so my context is a little different from Mason, the main character in Boyhood, yet the dual sense of looking forward to an uncertain future, and backwards to a past that has shaped you, is nevertheless incredibly relevant for someone like me at a liminal stage of life. It’s a masterpiece, charged with emotion and full of warmth and humanity.

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