Before the credits rolled on Arrival as I sat in the theater on opening weekend (one of the few films I've managed to see on opening weekend recently), I knew I'd just witnessed a new favorite film. I have a hard time making such lists, but I'm starting to get the hang of it. Well, I should say, I have a hard time trying to make lists of "best films." The whole experience of cinema is so profoundly personal and subjective that I find that any list of the objectively best films I might try to make is going to be pretty tough to fully justify (even if I believe I have a fairly informed opinion). Plus, as a busy stay-at-home-dad, I don't get to watch as many films these days as I'd like to.
With that in mind, I did put together a list of my favorite films so far for this decade (2010 - present). Here they are:
The Tree of Life
12 Years a Slave
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
As I've already indicated, this is a subjective list of films that spoke to me in profound ways. With the exception of 12 Years a Slave, a film that broke my so profoundly that on the way home I literally pulled my car over and wept for a while (thank God I sometimes go to the movies alone) and Arrival (because it's just brand new) I have seen these films multiple times and find them incredibly powerful, engaging, fun, influential, and inspiring. Some are dark, some are moving, some are contemplative, some are funny. All speak to specific aspects of my soul in unique ways.
So, those are my favorites so far for this decade. I wonder if I can come up with an all-time favorite list. That really opens the field up to everything, which sounds daunting to me. Maybe I should give it a shot. I think the scary part (aside from wondering if I'm allowed to change my mind later) about picking favorites is what it reveals about my innermost self to other people. But here's to learning to be more vulnerable.
Do you make such lists? What are your favorite films of recent years?
Posters for The Tree of Life (2011), distributed by Fox Searchlight and Arrival (2016), distributed by Paramount Pictures.