5. Phantom Thread
This has to be Paul Thomas Anderson’s sexiest movie to date.
Daniel Day-Lewis masterfully plays Reynolds Woodcock, a renowned dressmaker in 50s London who is equally genius, controlling, obsessive and charismatic. As with much of PTA’s work, it is meticulously crafted and delves right into the trenches of Reynolds’ unhealthy relationships and what it means to completely rely on someone else for your own wellbeing. This film has had slight criticism from some corners for being misogynistic and glorifying Reynolds’ toxic behaviour. That seems like a reduction of what’s being offered as Reynolds doesn’t really hold any power and his genius at making dresses means that he is tolerated more than genuinely liked. It also features the second great Johnny Greenwood score of the year, after You Were Never Really Here, and is worth the price of admission.
4. The Shape of Water
Possibly Guillermo Del Toro’s best film, The Shape of Water is a fantastical, magical fairytale that’s so understated and simultaneously so grand. It’s hard to believe this was made on a budget of $19 million and goes to show that money cannot buy taste or artistic vision. If you have heard GDT talk about this film, he mentions love often, the meaning of love, the poetry of it and how it manifests itself. It’s one of the best films of the year to deal with that emotion and only Del Toro could make it a love between human and water God.
3. BPM (Beats Per Minute)
The first film by Robin Campillo I have seen – I’ll be seeing everything he makes from this point on.
BPM is a fantastic drama about the AIDS crisis and a french activist group willing to shake things up in a time when everyone around them was dying. This film manages to shun sentimentality for joy, no easy feat given the subject matter. The film pops with lively colour and dialogue, and refuses to be anything less than uplifting even when tragedy relentlessly befalls its characters.
2. Lady Bird
I have an affinity for teen movies and a huge admiration for the way they use growing up as a metaphor for all manner of issues. Greta Gerwig’s debut film as director may be one of the best coming of age films ever. Its characters are well drawn and its events realistic and grounded. It’s also just hilarious and heartfelt. Saoirse Ronan is fantastic as the titular character but the supporting cast really shine and manage to make the film more than the sum of its parts.
1. You Were Never Really Here
Lynne Ramsay isn’t the most prolific director, her previous film We Need To Talk About Kevin was released 7 years ago, but boy does she knock it out of the park every damn time. You Were Never Really Here is my favourite film that was released this year and is the one I’ve thought most about since it was released. Joaquin Phoenix is operating on another level here and this hit-man, revenge/drama mash-up will ruin watching films for you for quite some time, it’s that good.
What do you make of this list? Let me know in the comments!