Sunday, December 2, 2012

Favorite Films in 2012

Faithful blog readers will recall that last year at this time, I could only talk about one movie, The Tree of Life. (Revisit my raving here.) I chose it for my favorite movie in 2011 and didn't do a list at all because others seemed to fade in its presence. This year, several films touched me in one way or another. I was waiting for the release of Life of Pi to choose because, having known the novel and the film's director, I thought it might make my list. It didn't, but it was very, very good. If I had a top ten list, it would make it. As would Looper, which I liked very much. But I don't have a top ten, only a top three.

#3: Moonrise Kingdom

Quirky and funny, boldly visual and immediately human, this film was entertaining and touching from start to finish. For anyone who's ever felt love and its impossibility. Watching the trailer makes me want to see it again with my family.

#2: Safety Not Guaranteed

Another film about the gulf between individuals and the tenuous bridges we build with love. Also quirky and touching. A man advertises in the personals for a time-traveling partner and gets exactly that.

And my favorite of the year was untouchable, in terms of an encompassing theater experience. It rivaled The Tree of Life in that regard, and in the way it touched me on so many levels.

#1: Beasts of the Southern Wild

A young girl named Hushpuppy grows up in an unspecified, swampy wilderness in the southern U.S. Her father, mostly present but unreliable, provides food and not much else, and their small family of two is part of a larger community, all living in the wild and making their own rules. Searing images and at times, breathtaking imagery, wonderful acting and moments of emotional import that pretty much wrecked me. A must see.

Other, non-2012 movies I saw and and loved:

Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene: A woman finds the courage to leave a cult and rejoin her family. I wrote about the film earlier in the year here.

After the Wedding: Nominated for an Academy Award in 2007, a Danish man returns home from India to discover a startling secret from his past.

A Separation: Another Foreign Language nominee I missed the year it came out, about a couple trying to separate in modern Iran. A fatalist love story.

Every Little Step:  A documentary about the 2006 Broadway revival of A Chorus Line, which also delves into the creation of the show in 1974. Fascinating stuff.

Autumn Sonata: Sometimes I fear all my notions of Sweden come from Bergman films, his stark landscapes and starker families. This one is a knockout punch. A renowned pianist visits her daughter after many years, only to unleash a tsunami of past injuries, repressed secrets and excruciating angst. With the suspense of a Hitchcock film at times. Love those crazy Swedes.

A couple of my favorites this year were recommended to me by others, so I'm always happy to hear what others are seeing and loving. Soon, and because we all need more lists (!), a shortlist of my favorite books for the year.

1 comment:

  1. All of these look fabulous, Mary. Makes searching for a good movie a lot easier. Thanks!


"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka