2015 was a peculiar film-watching year. Up to June, if a list such as this one had to be written, I would have to leave it blank. Of course there was a “best film”, out of everything I had watched, but not one of those earned, for me, a spot in a list that was supposed to celebrate the quality of the films of the year.
All of it changed when I watched the film that would, eventually, be at the head of this list today. After that, a film would pop every once in a while that I would deem could be, eventually, added; most of them, however, came after 2015-calendar-year was over. That, of course, has a lot to say about my taste.
(It’s worth remembering that my Top 10 list follows the arbitrary rule of “Oscar eligibility” as a general guideline. It complicates matters and usually will result in this list being released much too late. Oh, well, we will have to deal with it!)
So, my Top 10 Films of 2015:
Pixar does it again: in a way, the blueprint is recognizable (a road movie, partly). But what is done with that is brilliant; the setting is as abstract as it can be, but the imagination used to bring that setting to life is boundless. Very entertaining, in many different levels (and for many different publics); the animation is rich, beautiful.
Smartly avoiding the usual road taken by biopics (just the facts, barely any space for narrative originality), this film has the added benefits of wonderfully smart and lightning-quick dialogue, wonderfully read by the cast.
The financial meltdown is not an easy story to be told, but this film makes it look very much so. It also turns out to be both very entertaining and insightful.
While the technical achievement (shooting the film in one single two-hour-plus take) is incredible by itself, all would be for naught if the film didn’t have a pulsing heart and a relatable couple at its center.
Science fiction films (good sci-fi filmes, at least) open a window to some aspects of humanity better than other genres, and this is what happens here. The lovely acting by the central trio adds up to the wonder that this little gem of a film is.
Elegant and touching love story, this film’s heart is at the superb acting by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara; it’s also great to look at as well, with great cinematography, costume and set design.
There is no other film this year that reaches this high in terms of emotionality. Once more, the acting of the central duo must be commended; they are both great revelations.
This very entertaining film (probably the most purely entertaining film of the year) does not shy away from having quite a bit of science (it lies heavier into sci than into fi); it’s very well-executed, and has a winning performance by Matt Damon.
Two solid films that are inspired by true events and use a classic, solid narrative. They both fall under the back-handed category of “important”, but for once (or twice), there’s great underlying quality in the filmmaking as well.
The delicate, lovely story is greatly represented by the unmistakable Ghibli Studios visual style.
Honorable mentions: There’s some life in old franchises, as Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Star Wars: The Force Awakens showed. Brooklyn; Mustang; Rams; The Second Mother.
Hors concours: California, Jokesters.
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