Best Films of 2015

Having scaled back my film watching this year (no interstate festivals and only seeing a handful of films at local ones) I thought it was going to be tough to scrape together a decent list for my “best of” list.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the only trouble I had was having too many great films to choose from.

It was not until I looked back over the year and what I had watched that I realised 2015 was a damn solid year for films. Having skipped a lot of content from film festivals, I know there must be a wealth of incredible independent and unreleased films that probably deserve a spot on this list. I cannot wait to play catch up in the new year to discover such gems.

However, I am extremely happy with this, albeit largely mainstream, list.

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The Lobster

1 – The Lobster: Colin Farrell delivers an overdue excellent performance in this quirky satire about the pros and cons of being single versus being in a relationship. The slow pace build is worth it with so many amazingly hilarious moments to reward.

2 – Holding The Man: Honest, raw, heart wrenching and moving story that charts the relationship between two men from high school through to the bitter end. The occasional plot clichés are off-set by the tremendous cast, particularly the two leads, who bring realism.

3 – Inside Out: Pixar outdoes itself with this fun, imaginative and emotional story that takes place inside the mind of a little girl as she struggles with some family related stresses. Story may go over heads of toddlers as it deals with emotions, memory, loss and depression, but the beauty is it lends itself to multiple viewings.

4 – Mad Max: Fury Road: Pure cinematic thrill-ride with a kick-ass lead female character. Deliriously exciting and inspiring awe that has not been done at the cinema for quite some time. A feminist piece dressed as a macho rev-head action film.

5 – Mommy: Young filmmaker Xavier Dolan continued his winning streak with this amazing film about the relationship between a troubled young man and his single mother told with confidence and conviction. Different aspect ratios are cleverly used to help tell the story.

6 – The Revenant: Revenge intertwined with racism, greed and survival. Leonardo DiCaprio gets put through the ringer as a man seeking revenge in harsh climactic conditions for the murder of his half native American son in the 1820s. Spellbinding and brutally thrilling.

7 – Carol: Gorgeously photographed and impeccably performed, this love story about two women from different generations and backgrounds embraces the idea that love knows no boundaries. They are two women and yet this beautiful film refuses to use labels.

8 – Girlhood: A poor Parisian girl who struggles academically falls in with a group of “cool kids.” Sounds like a standard teen film about fitting in, but made with heart and insight and features one of the best scenes of the year.

9 – Foxcatcher: Three powerhouse performances drive this fascinating, dramatic and exceptionally creepy story of an Olympic wrestler and his unusual relationship with his coach.

10 – Force Majeure: Hilarious and spot-on satire about the roles we play in relationships and what is or is not expected of us.

Honourable mentions

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Magic Mike XXL, Joy, Selma, It Follows, The Martian, The Walk, Brooklyn, The Gift, She’s Funny That Way, Irrational Man, The Visit, Sicario, Man Up, Cooties, The Big Short, The Hunting Ground.

 

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