With the Oscars just around the corner about to prove once again how irrelevant they are by making some strange movie picks, the time has come to look back on 2012 cinema and choose the ten best films the year had to offer. It’s important to note that I didn’t have the luxury of seeing absolutely everything that came out this year, so an omission from this list is not necessarily an indication that I won’t love it.
I will say that there are several films this year that, judging by critical consensus, I expected to be head-over-heels for but ended up only tolerating (Holy Motors, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln). There are also a multitude of others that I enjoyed very much, but had trouble committing to putting them in my top ten (Bernie, ParaNorman, The Sessions).
Limiting myself to a top ten was no easy task. This really was one hell of a year for movies, and the completion was stiff. Without further ado, here are the best motion pictures of 2012:
10. The Avengers
Ok. I admit this is a strange way to start things off. However, I’d be lying to myself if I said I didn’t absolutely love Marvel’s The Avengers, even going so far as to see it three times in the theaters. I’ll concede completely that it’s little more than a popcorn movie that critics largely overrated. But it really is so much fun to watch, and it’s well-made to boot.
Considering this superhero epic was little more than an amalgam of other films, the fact that director Joss Whedon was able to make something so enjoyable from the mix is an achievement that should not be overlooked. My inner child who loves heroes and epic battles is absolutely in love with this movie. My outer adult thinks my inner child is one hell of a cool guy, and I’m glad I was able to suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy this thrilling spectacle.
A real change of pace from The Avengers, Amour is a quiet, intimate film with a powerful right-to-die message. This incredibly real story of an elderly couple whose lives are shattered by a stroke is difficult to watch, especially at such a slow and methodical pace. If you’re in for a night to feel hopelessly depressed, you’ll find Amour to be a haunting experience that stays with you long after it’s over.
This is a story of love being given the ultimate test, and the result is something very human for director Michael Haneke, a man typically known for his controversial, disturbing works. This was easily the best foreign film of the year, though I have no desire to watch it ever again.