Top Ten Films of 2012

anna paquin1. Margaret (extended cut)

I queued up outside the Odeon on Panton Street for the UK ‘première’ of Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret in 2011 and as this beautiful but scarred film unfolded in front of me I slowly fell head of heels for it. If you followed me on Twitter towards the end of 2011 you may have become somewhat bored with the name Margaret as I almost certainly Tweeted that name more than any other.

When I then had the chance to see Lonergan’s preferred extended cut of the film when it made its début in 2012, unfortunately just on DVD, I approached it with an almost feverish excitement. Small changes in the new cut made a surprisingly significant difference and I already adored became one of my favourite films of all time. A modern masterpiece and something of a miracle film, Margaret sits high atop 2012 in film for me.

When the film was released earlier this year Fox unfortunately failed to include any extras on either the UK or US release. I remedied the situation and compiled my own. You can find them here.

2. Amour

Haneke is a director for who I have an incredible amount of respect for but whose films I have rarely actually liked. This changed in 2012 with the release of Amour, a beautiful and utterly heartbreaking film made with incredible technical precision. Read my full review here.

3. Rust and Bone

As tears rolled down my face whilst watching Rust and Bone – to the strains of Katy Perry’s Fireworks of all things – I was confident that the film would stay with me but what was surprising was quite how much the central characters lodged themselves in my brain. Alongside Amour Rust and Bone dominated my experience at Cannes this year and these two difficult films about love had a profound impact on me. Read my full review here.

4. West of Memphis

A complex and frightening story is boiled down into an easy to follow narrative in this absorbing documentary from Amy Berg. Whilst questions still remain regarding the case documented in West of Memphis, thanks to this film we are closer to the truth and three men now have their freedom. Read my full review here.

5. The Kid with a Bike

The Dardennes turned in another near flawless film in 2012. An emotionally resonant story told with real clarity of purpose. Read my full review here.

6. Young Adult

A fascinating character study in a year filled with them. Funny, biting and often incredibly sad. Theron turns in a career best performance in a film that received nowhere near the accolades or attention that it deserved.

7. The Master

From one character study to another. With The Master Paul Thomas Anderson explored two fascinating characters in a strangely arch but effective manner. Not everything in The Master works but when Anderson reaches for something and really finds it the film absolutely soars.

8. Damsels in Distress

A film that put a skip in my step in 2012. A wonderfully fun experience Damsels in Distress represented a welcome return by Whit Stillman,  a filmmaker who had been away far too long. Read my review with Whit Stillman here.

9. Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

In remaking Masaki Kobayashi and following up his wonderful 2011 film 13 Assassins Takashi Miike had a difficult task on his hands. He was up to the task though and turned in a surprisingly delicately made film with the best use of 3D I have seen to date. Read my full review here.

10. God Bless America

Like a volley of Scud missiles hitting multiple targets Bobcat Goldthwait decimates modern popular culture with a film that I’ve already happily returned to three times this year.