Alice Field’s Top 10 Films of 2019
1. Daniel Isn’t Real (Adam Egypt Mortimer)
Many films (especially horror, for some reason) address mental health issues, but no other film I’ve seen does so with the care, intelligence, and imagination shown here. A gobsmacking film, with such a lot to digest, both intellectually and visually; and enough ambiguity that you have to keep on thinking about it.
2. Freaks (Zach Lipovsky, Adam B Stein)
On one hand, a sci-fi/horror take on the X-Men model (which is interesting enough in its own right); on the other, Freaks is about belonging, the family bond, and what a person might do to protect these needs. Terrific visual and sound effects, and remarkable acting from the young lead.
3. Better Days (Derek Kwok-Cheung Tsang)
A striking film about bullying and social pressures; and a strong bond between two young outcasts against that tough backdrop. I admired the story as full of surprising turns as social messages; the intimate cinematography; and the sharply drawn characters.
4. In Fabric (Peter Strickland)
My favorites aren’t always serious: this one is flippant, flamboyant, funny and utterly sensuous. Even before the opening credits finished, I loved In Fabric for its look and sound.
5. Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho)
Another film about class, and also what one would do to fit in, and move up. And it’s another one which blends genres, and keeps the audience on its toes. I loved it for how smoothly the tone and the plot kept building, and how I never quite knew who deserved my sympathy.
6. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)
An absolute joy to watch, and didn’t feel anywhere near as long as it actually was. I loved it for the sunshine, the swagger, the driving scenes, the huge grins, the passion for cinema and the what-if imagination.
7. Midsommar (Ari Aster)
Hmm, so it’s clear there are some common threads in my favorite films of this year: this film is full of sunshine again, a blend of genres and riddled with surprises. I’m still not sure how i feel about the treatment of trauma and anxiety in the main character; but I admired the film for its sheer daring, and that makes up for it.
8. First Love (Takashi Miike)
Like Better Days, this film sees an unlikely bond develop; but not in the face of bullies, but gangsters, assassins and corrupt cops. It’s not a gritty crime flick, though; but energetic, joyful and even farcical at times. Oh, and a fabulous sword fight.
9. Joker (Todd Phillips)
Flawed and controversial it may be, but I was gripped by this film from the start. Insightful film; and if it’s disjointed at times, that only reflects Fleck’s decline. Well constructed film about an empty, angry man, and the pull such a man can have.
10. Something Else aka After Midnight (Jeremy Gardner, Christian Stella)
A beguiling monster movie romance with tension, laughter, tears, karaoke and the biggest jump I’ve ever experienced at the cinema. And more sunshine.
Alice Field’s Top 10 Films of 2019 Honorable Mentions:
John Wick Chapter 3
Color Out of Space
Come to Daddy
Plus there were loads that were good, but not great. A few mediocre. A couple of poor films. And only a couple that I hated (but this isn’t the time or place for those).
Oh, by the way, just to be clear: I’m not saying those ten films at the top of the page were the best of the year (there may be some great films that I’ve not seen, or weren’t my cup of tea), but simply *my favorites*. So some appear high up because of how they made me feel, rather than their superior quality.
Alice has been writing for Ready Steady Cut since November 2017. They cover a wide variety, including genre festivals, and especially appreciates wit and representation on screen.