Marya’s Top Ten of 2016
I generally do a favorite fifteen list, so cutting those five films off of this list was painful. For the record, they were: Maggie’s Plan, Born To Be Blue, The Edge of Seventeen, Certain Women, and The Invitation. I also don’t like counting films I watched not in the calendar year, so there are a few 2016 films that didn’t make it here to Atlanta before the end of the year that may have made this list. Without any further ado, here were my favorite ten films of 2016:
This may have been my favorite theater going experience of 2016. I saw this really early the day after Christmas in a packed house and the vibe was just perfect. I wish there were more films about history’s hidden women, but I’m so glad we’re starting to see more films like this get made. And get made well. This film is a crowd-pleaser in every sense of the word. It’s well made and never once patronizing or paternalistic, and it has one of my favorite ensemble casts of the year.
In a few short years Ava DuVernay has worked her way into becoming not only a household name, but one of the most interesting directors working today. She’s got a distinct point of view that she is able to apply to a variety of genres and story-telling modes. Of all the documentaries I saw on race last year, this was the most concise and had the strongest voice in terms of what it wanted to say.
8. Hunt For The Wilderpeople
If I could watch the scene where Jackie gulps wine and tries on all her dresses while wandering around the White House listening to Camelot on loop for the rest of my life I might just do it. A tone poem that dismantles the iconography of the Kennedys anchored by a career-best performance from Natalie Portman.
As far as I’m concerned Rebecca Hall in this film gave the finest lead performance this year. She’s mesmerizing as a woman on the edge, slowly losing the battle we call life.
I watched this so many times in 2016. It’s a brilliant piece of art, mixing film, poetry, lyrics, and music into a powerful message about race, womanhood, love, and life.
4. The Lobster
An unabashedly romantic black comedy that goes for the throat and never lets up. Colin Farrell is always wonderful, but he really shines in this kind of off-kilter role.
3. Bridget Jones’s Baby
While the second film is a mess, the original film in this trilogy remains one of my all-time favorite films, and comfort to revisit, so I was very excited but a bit trepidatious about this third film. And then I watched it and I fell in love with Bridget all over again. What a joy to behold. And Patrick Dempsey! Wow. If only all actors had as much fun making films as he clearly did making this film.
2. American Honey
Andrea Arnold’s films have so an amazing capacity for empathy, I’m so glad she shares them with us. Even though the film is almost three hours long, I didn’t want it to end. I could have spent another three hours on the road with these lost souls.