Thank goodness South Korea continues to blaze world cinema by making thoughtful, engaging and complex dramas like this. Refreshingly anti-Manichean and morally ambiguous, July Jung’s debut feature A Girl At…
A chilling take on a very unsettling tale of beleaguered motherhood and parental torment. Ramsay’s vision opts for a bold, raw aesthetic that brilliantly eschews common book-to-screen tropes. Plus Swinton is so fucking terrific. And you’ll never listen to Buddy Holly’s ‘Every Day’ the same way again.
Like most challenging works of art, it divides people. But to claim Last Tango in Paris as a pile of puerile sexual nonsense is an act of antagonism against intellectualism. It is one of most emotionally and sexually frank films ever made, boldly confronting society’s preconceived notions about sex, relationships, conventions and censorship. Bertolucci orchestrates a sad, devastating masterpiece, drawing the last great performance from Brando, arguably the greatest film actor to grace the entire history of celluloid.
A brilliant testament to Leigh’s status as one of the finest, most humane filmmakers around. Another Year is a sterling work, beautifully nuanced, layered and performed, most especially by Lesley Manville, capturing authentic, beating life onscreen. And believe me, portraying real life in 24 frames per second is never easy.
Although Blue Valentine is undeniably saddening, its narrative approach is too self-conscious to deliver a truly heartbreaking coda. Nevertheless, this is an emotionally blistering autopsy of a dead romance, surgically examining a bitter universal truth that love, as much as it can bring two people together, can also tear them both apart.
Possibly the most bizzare, mind-numbingly opaque Palme D’Or winner in recent memory that invests more in creating mood, Zen-like atmosphere and spiritual rhetoric rather than compelling cinematic experience. It’s seductively hypnotic and soothing like a Thai massage, but one that doesn’t leave a lasting impression.
Forget the stuffy royal period-drama trappings, this is a sparkling powerhouse of a movie. Like the best of good old-fashioned crowdpleasers, this one is an epitome of a classic triumph, exquisitely performed by a nuanced Firth in a performance of a lifetime that may just land him an Oscar gold.
A remarkably vivid and chilling portrait of red-neck, white-trash America. This is a survival guide into the Ozarks Mountains courtesy of 17 year-old feminist fighter Ree Dolly, performed to heartbreaking heights by one Jennifer Lawrence.
With its painful and sad excursion into parental grief, Rabbit Hole somehow provides hope in distress and beauty in the breakdown without reducing to schmaltz or diluting its honesty. This is a subtle, nuanced little film with a bruised humanity.
Unsettling, provocative and tragic. Dogtooth may be one of this year’s most bizarre yet genuinely haunting films, exploring parental fascism with devastating results. As soon as this bites, it leaves a lasting mark.
Impressively crafted, handsomely acted (especially by Roth) and emotionally satisfying, Almodóvar’s All About My Mother assumes a zenith in the auteur’s fascinating oeuvre. Above all, this is a heartfelt paean to motherhood and human resilience.