Top Ten Films of 2015
2015 was a very weak year and one of the worst in a long time unfortunately. Most of the big movies disappointed, but there still were more than enough really great movies with a couple of truly fantastic ones. Animation had a very good year and there were some truly phenomenal foreign flicks this year. As with the last year’s list, I tried to represent many genres with my list so here we go.
The tenth place belongs to this excellent French film which rightfully won the Golden Palm at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and which was wrongfully snubbed by the Academy. It is such a relevant, very emotional drama that perfectly explores its subject matter. It does have a jarring shift in tone, but that action in the second half is really well executed. The film is incredibly well acted with the two talented leads giving terrific performances and it is surprisingly funny with such a good humor present from time to time. But Dheepan is above all such a powerful and a very emotional movie that has a very sophisticated screenplay and such realistic characters. It is the year’s second best foreign film.
The only documentary on my list is Racing Extinction, a film that is also one of the most underrated of the year. It is a work of such urgent message and such an important subject matter. It is a film that everyone should see, but it is also a really well crafted, incredibly well made movie that is great in all of its aspects. It is one of the most heartbreaking movies of the year and some scenes here almost made me cry. It is a real life horror film, but the one that admirably ends on an optimistic note with such a visually dazzling, simply beautiful finale. It is such a great movie that is another shameful Oscar snub and easily the finest documentary of 2015.
And this is the year’s absolute best foreign film. This Brazilian drama has all of the reasons why I love the genre so much – the plot and the character’s problems are very relatable, the emotion is there, but never too emphasized, the characters are incredibly realistic and the dialogue is excellent. The acting is also fantastic and it is overall such a well made, very involving movie. Its humor is also really good and emerges seamlessly from the story’s scenarios. The ending is wonderful as well and The Second Mother is thematically rich and explores its themes in a great way. It isn’t perfect as it has its problems, but it is really great for the most part and I just loved watching it.
Shaun the Sheep Movie is one of the two animated films on this list. It is to me the finest Aardman feature yet which is really saying a lot. It is a stop-motion charmer that never stops to amaze with its evident craftsmanship. It is also admirably silent for its entire running time and it is such a wonderfully old-fashioned flick in every way. The movie also has a big heart with a couple of truly heartwarming scenes. The humor is good, the characters are endearing and the plot, although simple, is immensely enjoyable and always engaging. Shaun the Sheep Movie surprised me with its quality and it is such a beautifully animated, incredibly well crafted film and I just can’t wait to see the next entry in Aardman’s impressive filmography.
Coming in at number six is the shortest, but sweetest and funniest film here. Grandma is pure entertainment, but that doesn’t mean that it lacks in other areas as it has a brain as well and its heart is in the right place too. Lily Tomlin gave one of the year’s finest performances and created such a memorable character that made me laugh countless times. The humor here is amazing with many quotable lines, but the characters are real and their problems are relevant and really well dealt with. It is an infectiously funny road trip flick that is the most fun of all of 2015 films that I’ve watched, not just the ones on this list. And it takes extra points for being a great film all around.
Paper Towns lands on the middle of the list and it has the distinction of being the worst reviewed movie here. And although I can understand people not liking it for its jarring shift in tone is too distracting, I still found it to be such a fascinating, endlessly quotable and surprisingly sophisticated teen movie that is one of the better teen flicks I’ve seen. Its characters are realistic, but the themes are so good and the dialogue is just superb as is expected from a John Green story. The entire ending with that thought-provoking and really truthful observation is the highlight and the entire film is not only fun and funny, but so relatable and just honest and real in every scene.
Being not only the best animated film of the year but also the third overall best, Inside Out’s greatness came as no surprise to me as I was looking forward to it for a long time and I knew it was going to be great. It isn’t one of Pixar’s best, but it is one of the most original films I’ve seen recently with many scenes being incredibly authentic. It has great character development, excellent animation and such a wonderfully mature tone to it, but its message is the highlight as it is a rare film that teaches you how it is okay to be sad at times. Inside Out is also often heartbreaking and it is just such a great mix of sophisticated ideas and likable characters. It is a glorious return to form for Pixar which really needed it after a recent string of misfires.
The third place goes to the only worthy sci-fi film in a bad year for the genre. But what a film this is. It is the kind of hard science fiction that I just love, filled with many brilliant and thought-provoking themes and such a sophisticated dialogue. But among all of those smart observations and ideas is also a huge heart as the film can be very emotional and just beautiful to behold. It also has such amazing, seamless special effects and superb editing, acting and directing. It is a thrilling and involving look at some important questions and it is to me the best film about robots ever made and an essential science fiction movie that is going to go down in history as one of the classics.
Carol is simply put wonderful. It is a romance that works on every level. The film is not only incredibly well acted, wonderfully scored and really well made, but it is also stupendously charming and romantic. It is filled with great detail and recreates this beautiful relationship as it truly deserves – with a style, great performances and evident chemistry between the two. This is a traditional film in the best way possible and watching it was like watching a 1950s classic, that’s how good it is. The mix of new and old is brilliant, but its ending is just spectacular and it brought a big smile to my face. In fact, I was smiling during the entire running time here because this is that kind of a film – it superbly transports you to its time period, it is cozy and just beautiful in its every scene. It’s an immense charmer that did not get nearly enough attention that it deserved as it truly is a classic.
And number one goes to Room – a movie that is so obviously the very best film of the year that I honestly cannot understand how my sentiment isn’t universal. This is a perfect movie in every way and I confirmed that upon second viewing as it also has a repeat value and an evident timeless appeal to it. The characters feel real and I felt that I had just met them, the story is so involving and the film is superbly crafted with the direction, acting, pacing and writing all being terrific. Jacob Tremblay is just a revelation and Brie Larson is expectedly great and the film is emotional, but in an exhilarating, hard-hitting way. I almost cried while watching it and it can really destroy you how powerful it is. But the fact that it avoids going into an exploitative territory and becoming a thriller is the reason why it is that great. It is such a sophisticated, endlessly original film that never ceases to amaze you with its lack of plot holes and with its evident ease at which it explores its very difficult subject matter. It is a miraculous film and the only true masterpiece of 2015 and one of the very best that the entire decade has to offer. A future classic.
Crimson Peak – Guillermo Del Toro’s terrific mystery Crimson Peak unfortunately failed to make the final list, but it is such an underrated, authentic film filled with great imagery and a superb mix of genres.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – In a great year for teen flicks, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is one of the best, featuring such likable characters and an incredibly moving ending with such a great message.
Spy – Spy is a hilarious comedy with a joke after joke, but it is also a great mix of spy action and comedy. It is the finest Paul Feig movie thus far and such a fun, very satisfying com