Following on from our reviews of the worst films of the year, we move on to Part 2 of our year end review of 2018. We’ve compiled our list of the year’s best films and we’ll start by running down from 20-11 – we’d also recommend checking out the films in the ‘narrowly missed out’ section at the bottom of this post, but ultimately these are what we’d regard as the best 20!
If you’d like to read our full reviews of any of these films, clicking on the titles will take you to them,
Steve McQueen’s latest film is a sharply written, exciting heist thriller that marries a terrific take on the genre with an intelligence not always found in traditional mainstream fare. Featuring a terrific ensemble led by Viola Davis, ‘Widows‘ is a superbly entertaining rollercoaster ride and adds another string to McQueen’s bow.
Greta Gerwig’s debut directorial feature displays a rare intelligence not seen in many movies focusing on teenagers since the days of John Hughes, in this story of Saoirse Ronan’s ‘Lady Bird’ as she tries to navigate the rocky terrain of school, relationships and parents.
This was the only documentary I caught in cinemas this year (hence no separate list!) and it’s an absolute corker. Like many great documentaries, it’s best not knowing too much about it before going in and suffice to say it is more remarkable than the premise would suggest.
This long awaited biopic about Queen and Freddie Mercury has had a troubled production so I was a little surprised by how good it turned out to be. That’s in large part down to a stunning Rami Malek performance as Mercury, culminating in a spine tingling reenactment of the iconic Live Aid set in 1985.
Notable for a mesmerising display from Glenn Close, ‘The Wife‘ is a well written drama that gets into the heart of the relationship between a famous writer and his wife of many years. It’s driven by Close’s outstandingly subtle and nuanced performance and I was captivated from the outset.
‘The Nile Hilton Incident‘ is a captivating modern day noir set in Egypt amidst the 2011 riots, centering on a detective (Fares Fares) investigating the murder of a young model. The sociopolitical backdrop and exploration of corruption adds an edge to proceedings and the performance from Fares Fares is gripping.
The first of two Palme d’Or winners on my list this year (spoiler alert!) is this year’s winner from Japan. A domestic drama about a dysfunctional family unit who operate as small time crooks, it never judges and director Hirokazu Kore-eda tells their story with humanity and insightfulness and I found myself incredibly moved by it.
This haunting Italian movie is a film that has stayed with me for a long time since seeing it in August and I hope more people get the chance to see it. Loosely based on the true story of a young boy who was kidnapped by the mafia in 1996, it uses elements of magical realism and fantastical imagery to draw out the contrasts between the innocence of childhood love and the dark reality of the Sicilian mafia and I was absorbed by it.
The year’s ‘actual’ best horror (move away ‘Ghost Stories‘ and ‘Hereditary‘!) is the directorial debut of John Krasinski (of ‘The US Office’ fame), starring himself alongside his wife as a family trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where deadly creatures roam and hunt people based on sound. It’s a terrific premise for a horror and it turned going to the cinema into a nerve shredding experience where you could literally hear a pin drop, and I thought this was really excellent.
Bradley Cooper is the latest person to have a stab at ‘A Star is Born‘, possibly one of the most told stories in Hollywood history. His approach updates the setting to present day and tells the story of Jackson Maine (Cooper) and Ally (a breathtaking Lady Gaga) as they fall in love and see their careers move in different directions. Featuring terrific music and wonderful lead performances, this film has the magic of this story down to a tee and I was really taken by it.