This is a very personal list. It does not (by any means) fully represent my taste in films – in fact, there are some glaring omissions. For example, there is no Nolan in this list, no Charlie Kaufman and no animation (Ghibli or otherwise.)
This is also not a “films that represent the decade” list – these are simply 10 films that made me laugh, cry, sing, dance, shudder, gasp and feel so lucky to be in the cinema.
2010 – Shutter Island
That’s right, campers. I didn’t choose Inception. Shutter Island got a little overlooked in 2010 – shadowed by Nolan’s masterpiece. In this amazing psychological thriller, two detectives take to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient of the mental hospital on the island. However, not all is as it seems…
I love this film because… it keeps you guessing until the last second.
Runner up for 2010: Inception
2011 – The Artist
This ‘best picture’ winner may seem like an obvious choice, but it really is the embodiment of joy. Focusing on the relationship between an older silent-film actor and a young ‘talkies’ rising star – this film looks at how the two characters navigate the change in cinema and the change in their relationship. Also…there’s a dog.
I love this film because… I smiled for the whole thing, even during the emotional scenes.
Runner up for 2011: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
2012 – The Master
Written and directed by the amazing Paul Thomas Anderson, I knew I was in for a treat when I sat down at the Prince Charles in London to see The Master. The story is of a WW2 veteran who meets a cult leader and begins travelling with him and his followers. With undertones of Scientology, the story deals with post-war trauma and how dangerous cults can be.
I love this film because… of the writing, the performances, the music and the sheer style.
Runner up for 2012: The Dark Knight Rises
2013 – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
This is a bit of an odd choice, but if I’m honest, 2013 was a weak year (in my opinion). However, the Hunger Games is one of my favourite franchises and Catching Fire is my favourite of the books – the film doesn’t do it justice! You know the story here – Katniss and Peeta are once again thrown into the Hunger Games, but this time they have allies and the rules change.
I love this film because… I love YA and the Hunger Games concept is such an amazing one.
Runner up for 2013: Escape Plan (yes, really!)
2014 – The Grand Budapest Hotel
This list would be incomplete without a Wes Anderson – he is my favourite director and created my favourite film (The Royal Tenenbaums). This artistic masterpiece follows a friendship between a young lobby boy and a confident concierge of the hotel. When the concierge is arrested for a murder, the lobby boy and concierge try to prove his innocence, with the help of the lobby boy’s girlfriend.
I love this film because… it’s a whirlwind comedy with a style that only Wes Anderson can do.
Runner up for 2014: Gone Girl
2015 – Spotlight
Based on a true story, the second ‘best picture’ winner follows The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team, who are looking into a number of Catholic priests. The (real) team won the Pulitzer prize for their work.
I love this film because… it’s a real life drama about journalists – it made me want to be a journalist.
Runner up for 2015: The Lobster
2016 – La La Land
I wrote a blog about how much I loved this film when it came out – and that hasn’t changed, despite the haters. This all singing all dancing love story is a dream for musical lovers. It’s also brutally realistic in places – enough to bring some tears as well as smiles.
I love this film because… it’s a new classic musical and I bloody love musicals.
Runner up for 2016: The Handmaiden
2017 – A Ghost Story
The best way to describe this movie is as a piece of art. When ‘C’ dies he becomes attached to the house that he and ‘M’ lived and loved in. He watches both her and the future (and past) residents of the house, trying to find peace.
I love this film because…it’s a film about grief and peace and love and finding where you fit in the world. Also the music. Also Rooney Mara is my biggest girl crush.
Runner up for 2017: Get Out
2018 – The Favourite
A fictionalised retelling of the tragi-comedy of Queen Anne’s life – and her supposed lesbianism. Taken with a pinch of historian salt, this film is both hilarious and affecting. A period drama with a twist. Coleman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weizs work so wonderfully together. There’s no film like this out there.
I love this film because… I’ve seen A LOT of period dramas, but this one is so unique, even my boyfriend enjoyed it.
Runner up for 2018: Under the Silver Lake
2019 – Jo Jo Rabbit
So, the year isn’t over yet. I haven’t seen Little Women or Parasite, which is probably set to shoot up my list. BUT, I have seen JoJo Rabbit, at the film festival. And I LOVE this movie. JoJo is a 10 year old Nazi supporter with an imaginary friend who takes the form of Hitler. He then finds out his mum is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic – and he has to grapple with conflicting feelings about it.
I love this film because… Firstly, it’s a film set at the end of WW2 and I didn’t spend the whole time looking out for inaccuracies because I was enjoying it too much and secondly, it LITERALLY made me laugh AND cry.
Runner up for 2019: Woman at War (but this may change!)