2019: A Year In Review

‘Women. They have minds and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty. And I’m so sick of people just saying that love is just all a woman is fit for. I’m so sick of it! But I’m so lonely!’ – Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Little Women

Having watched 136 films at the cinema (click here for the Twitter tracker thread) and lots of screeners at home (I lost count..!) here’s my top ten films of 2019.

Ordinary Love

Joan (Lesley Manville) and Tom (Liam Neeson) have been married for many years. Their lives are fully entwined, their love and life has an ease and comfortability to it. But when Joan finds a lump in her breast, that is quickly diagnosed as being cancerous they soon find themselves face challenges they would never have expected, as Tom starts to face the prospect of a life without his beloved wife. Click here for my review.

 

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel from 1868, told in a way it has never been told before. Earnest, warm, brave, powerful and lovely. With Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern and Meryl Streep at the helm – this is a truly superb adaptation. 

 

The Favourite

In the early 18th century, England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne, and her close friend, Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead, while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant, Abigail (Emma Stone), arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing, and Abigail sees a chance to return to her aristocratic roots. Click here for my review.

 

Wild Rose

Fresh out of prison, Rose-Lynn juggles her job and two children while pursuing her dream of becoming a country music star. She soon gets her chance when she travels to Nashville, Tenn., on a life-changing journey to discover her true voice. But, can anything good come from being torn between your family and your dreams? Click here for my review.

 

One Cut Of The Dead

Things go badly for a hack director and film crew shooting a low budget zombie film in an abandoned WWII Japanese facility when they are attacked by real zombies. A film of two halves that needs to be seen to be believed, go into it as blind as possible. 

 

If Beale Street Could Talk

The lives of childhood friends and lovers Tish (Kiki Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James) take a drastic turn when Fonny gets falsely accused of rape. A pregnant Tish then sets out to prove his innocence.

 

Capernaum

After running away from his negligent parents, committing a violent crime and being sentenced to five years in jail, a hardened, streetwise 12-year-old Lebanese boy sues his parents in protest of the life they have given him.

 

Booksmart

Academic overachievers Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) thought keeping their noses to the grindstone gave them a leg up on their high school peers. But on the eve of graduation, the best friends suddenly realize that they may have missed out on the special moments of their teenage years. Determined to make up for lost time, the girls decide to cram four years of not-to-be missed fun into one night — a chaotic adventure that no amount of book smarts could prepare them for.

 

Marriage Story

A stage director (Adam Driver) and his actor wife (Scarlett Johansson) struggle through a gruelling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.

 

The Souvenir

A shy but ambitious film student (Honor Swinton Byrne) falls into an intense, emotionally fraught relationship with a charismatic but untrustworthy older man (Tom Burke).

 

In conclusion….

It needs to be noted that 2019 has been an amazing year for indie cinema. So much so that I found making this top ten list a real battle. So, as a form of compromise, here’s a list of indie gems – many of which had a limited release at the cinema – that I strongly recommend you check out. (Hyperlink = my review)

La Belle Epoque, Little Monsters, For Sama, Minding The Gap, Only You, Peanut Butter Falcon, Eighth Grade, Pond Life, Gwen, High Life, In Fabric, Tucked, Support The Girls, Animals, Hail Satan?, The Last Tree and Sometimes Always Never. 

 

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