A rolling list of my favourite films released this year, subsequent to frequent changes.
Note: I live in Australia so some films may have played elsewhere in 2019. I go by local release date, and we get stuff late here.
1. FIRST COW
Directed by: Kelly Reichardt
Two misfits on the Oregon frontier in the 1800s strike up an unlikely friendship, and found an even more unlikely business; stealing milk from the territory’s first cow to use in their bakery.
It’s a classic American story: the little guys with talent, clashing with the people who have the resources. And all filtered through Reichardt’s masterful, minimalist style, in a spectacular natural setting.
An instant, all time classic. Full review here.
2. NEVER, RARELY, SOMETIMES, ALWAYS
Directed by: Eliza Hittman
A teenager has an unwanted pregnancy, and takes her cousin with her to New York, seeking a termination. Watching these two young women drag their tattered suitcase around the subways and public parks of the city is something that will stay with me, for a very long time.
Full review here.
3. MARONA’S FANTASTIC TALE
Directed by: Anca Damian
A little black and white dog gets hit by a car, and thinks back over her life, and the three owners she loved. Gloriously impressionist animation in service of a heartfelt story. Dogs and humans, have a very special relationship.
4. BOY’S STATE
Directed by: Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss
The American Legion sponsors this annual political proving ground, where teenagers learn how to run for office, and fight dirty. Everything that is coming in the 2020 US Presidential election, played out in miniature. Fascinating, and an unexpected edge-of-seat conclusion.
5. A HIDDEN LIFE
Directed by: Terrence Malik
A conscientious objector on the German side in World War II is put to death by the Nazis. All of the characters urging this person to just ‘go along’ and conform, is a powerful message in the age of Trump. Then as now, the only thing you have of any real value are your principals.
And Rounding Out the Top 10:
7. DA 5 BLOODS
9. BAD EDUCATION
10. THE LIGHTHOUSE
And finally, every movie I have watched this year, ranked.