With the end of the year fast approaching, I thought I’d take a look back over some of the best films I’ve seen this year, not necessarily released this year and in no particular order, but have nevertheless have reminded me exactly why I write and what I love about film. The below have inspired me in some way and they all have stuck with me throughout this year. Enjoy!
- Behind the Candelabra (2013)
Michael Douglas takes a turn in an award-deserving performance as Liberace and Matt Damon as Scott, his gay lover. An original HBO drama deemed ‘too gay for tv’ saw huge success over the summer in theatres. Truly a spectacular film with breathtaking costumes and superb performances from the whole cast, it’ll have you weeping and laughing in hysterics right through to the best ending sequence of 2013.
- Monsters (2010)
British director Gareth Edwards 2010 first feature film was astonishing and a wonderful example of what can be achieved with a shoe-string budget. Edited and filmed with off-the-shelf software, Monsters is a true testament of the film industry’s determination to not let the economic downturn have an effect on cinematic quality. Monsters is a masterpiece of British cinema, I’m just ashamed it took me so long to see it. I certainly wont take as long to see the sequel, which began filming March this year entitled Monster: Dark Continent.
- Precious (2009)
Another film which took an embarrassingly long time for me to see, but when I finally sat down to watch it, I was blown away. A magnificent, charming, brutal and heartfelt film. Totally heart-breaking at times, enlightening and encouraging at others, it marked Gabourey Sidibe’s acting debut. Lee Daniel’s, the films director, was apprehensive about it’s release at first because of the negative depiction of African Americans, but ultimately, Precious transcends race. It’s a film about femininity, motherhood and growing up in the most horrific circumstances and never giving up. (P.S. it took me a while to recognise the ‘non-recognisable’ Mariah Carey)
- The Conjuring (2013)
When I went to see The Conjuring, I was fully expecting a naff, ridiculous horror film with crap jump scares and Paranormal Activity-esque nonsense. By doing this I broke the first rule of being a cinephile – do not judge films by those which have come before it. The Conjuring is an ode to all that is exceptional about horror films. A well crafted and terrifying dedication to the golden age of horror cinema. Invoking all the reasons why we fell in love with horror cinema in the first place, The Conjuring is well worth any horror fans time and will hopefully be regarded as one of the great horror films in modern cinema for years to come.
- Dreams of a Life (2011)
Every once in a while, you come across a film which changes you, stays with you, affects you even after the credits have rolled, and beyond. Dreams of a Life was the film which stayed with me long after I watched it. Carol Morely decided to make Dreams of a Life to find out more about a news story she’d read about a young woman who was discovered dead in her flat after three years, no explanation, no family, no friends. The TV was still on when they found her ‘melting into the carpet’. Joyce Vincent Carol’s story is harrowing and deeply upsetting but well worth your time. It left me feeling grateful for what I have, friends and family who care about me, and this makes me one of the richest people in the world. Some have criticised the film for not getting into why she died etc, but considering this woman is now known across the country for dying a lonely death, it’s only right that a film celebrates the little that was known about her life. Truly exemplary instance of British documentary cinema. I believe it’s still available on Netflix, if so, I implore you to watch it.