2013 was a great year for movies. A year with many hilarious apocalyptic moments, beautiful love stories, dramatic struggle stories, and moving documentaries. It was hard for me to pick 10 favorite movies.
Not to mention that I didn’t watch many of the movies of the year’s highest rated movies (mentioned at the end of the post), but I will update this list once I’ve seen all of them. So here’s the list.
My top 20 in alphabetical order:
The Act of Killing: My favorite documentary of the year. The Act of Killing is about the lives of some of the many men responsible of the Indonesian killings of 1965. It documents Anwar Congo, and others, as they try to recreate scenes from the killings. The movie is terrifyingly scary at some scenes, and extremely emotional at some other. Anwar’s last scenes of redemption and regret were my favorites.
American Hustle: David O. Russell scores again with his latest work of art. American Hustle features the best ensemble cast of the year. Starring Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner and many other great actors. The movie tells the story of the Abscam scandal and how an FBI agent, with the help of two con artists, was able to take down a group of corrupt politicians. American Hustle is a hilarious movie that truly deserves all the buzz.
Before Midnight: The last entry in Richard Linklater’s magnificent ‘Before’ series. Starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, and I think that both them need to be (at least) nominated in the Oscars for their iconic roles as Céline and Jesse. In the final movie, set in Greece nine years after ‘Sunset’. The couple are now together happily with two daughter’s plus Jesse’s son from his previous marriage. The chemistry between the two is as strong as ever. Before Midnight is one of the best romances I’ve seen in a while.
Behind the Candelabra: One of my early favorites of the year. A made-for-TV movie created by HBO about the famous pianist Liberace and his secret affair with Scott Thorson, played by Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, respectively. The movie is full of beautiful scenes that show the luxurious life of Liberace. Not to mention some scary scenes too, like the surgeries, and Rob Lowe’s emotionless face. The movie’s highlight is the wonderful performances by Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.
Blue Is the Warmest Color: A beautiful French movie about a love story. The movie follows the life of Adèle, a high school student, who falls in love with Emma, an artist. Their relationship evolves and eventually, after a few years, they live together, but in the end, they break up, Adèle doesn’t give up at first, but she ultimately accepts her loss and moves on. The movie’s raw and tender storytelling is captivating. It’s one of the best coming-of-age movies I’ve seen in while. Actress Adèle Exarchopoulos was definitely the movie’s highlight.
Blue Jasmine: A wonderful movie by the one and only Woody Allen. Starring Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Bobby Cannavale, Alec Baldwin and Louis C.K.. Blue Jasmine is a great movie that shines with its talented cast. Cate Blanchett is the gem of the movie and she is the one I’m rooting for in the Oscars.
Dallas Buyers Club: Another great movie in Matthew McConaughey’s McConaissance. Matthew Conaughey plays the role of Ron Woodroof, a man who finds out that he has AIDS and that he only has a month to live. McConaughey, alongside Jared Leto, deliver one of the best moving performances of the year.
Frances Ha: A black-and-white comedy co-written by and starring the beautiful Greta Gerwig. Set in New York City. The movie tells the story of Frances (Gerwig), an ambitious twenty-something dancer struggling in her life. Between losing her best friend, having different jobs, failing relationships, and the constant changing of apartments among many other awkward situations. Greta Gerwig was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for her role.
The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza): A masterpiece directed by Paolo Sorrentino and stars Toni Servillo . Th Great Beauty follows the the story of a famous writer as he takes us into the lives of the elite in Italy. Everything in this movie is beautiful, the cinematography, the music, the acting, the story and the costumes. The movie is my choice for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.
Her: Set in the not so distant future, Her is about Theodore, a simple guy who just got divorced and is living his life in the same daily routine until one day, he buys a computer, and falls in love with the OS. Her is a simple, beautifully directed movie that surely deserves all the love.
Inside Llewyn Davis: The latest movie by the Coen Brothers. It follows a week in the life of Llewyn Davis, a folk singer who is trying to succeed as a musician. The cinematography and music in this movie are both beautifully done. Inside Lllewyn Davis may not be perfect, but it certainly is one of the best movies of the year.
It’s a Disaster: My favorite, and probably the most realistic, apocalyptic movie of the year. A comedy about a group of friends gathering for a brunch, which later turns out to be the last brunch they’ll ever have after learning that the US was hit by dirty bombs and they have a only few hours to live. An entertaining movie starring David Cross and Julia Stiles.
Nebraska: A black-and-white dramedy about an old man who receives a letter that says he won one million dollars and that he should come and get the money before he loses it. So he travels with his son (later joined by his wife and other son) to go and get the money. Nebraska is a simple, funny movie. Beautifully directed by Alexander Payne, and starring Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb and Bob Odenkirk. Bruce Dern’s performance is the highlight of this movie.
The Selfish Giant: A modern-day retelling of Oscar Wilde’s short story of the same name. Starring newcomers Conner Chapman and Shaun Thomas as Arbor and Swifty. It’s a story of two friends who are both excluded from school and started to work for a scrapdealer in their city to collect money. The Selfish Giant is powerful and beautiful, with wonderful performances by the talented young actors.
Short Term 12: A movie that is centered on the life of Grace (Brie Larson), a twenty-something who is a supervisor at a foster-care facility for troubled teenagers and how she deals with problems in her personal life and in her work. The movie is authentic and beautiful with great performances. Brie Larson shines brightly in the movie.
This Is the End: A great apocalyptic comedy. With a great ensemble cast including: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, and many other talented actors, all who play themselves. When Apocalypse occurs, most of the population is taken to heaven, and a few unlucky people, including the cast, are left to die. The movie is Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s directorial début. It will keep you laughing for hours.
Wadjda: One of my favorite movies of the year. It tells the story of Wadjda, a young girl who wants to buy a bicycle, so she enters her school’s Quran recital competition to win the money and buy the bicycle. The movie’s story might sound simple, but it really isn’t. Wadjda is a great movie for many reasons. A great story, great acting, great production, but the greatest thing about this movie is not only that it was shot here in Saudi Arabia (a place where movie theaters are banned), but it was also the first movie to be directed in Saudi Arabia by a woman (Haifa Al-Mansour). A great triumph for the Saudi Arabian film industry.
The Wolf of Wall Street: Directed by the genius Martin Scorsese, starring the talented Leonardo DiCaprio. ‘Wolf’ tells the (true) story of Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who defrauds his clients and lives a luxurious life with his beautiful wife. He wastes his money on drugs, cars, a yacht, and girls. The movie is uproariously hilarious. Not to mention Leonardo DiCaprio’s best performance to date. The Wolf of Wall Street is a must see.
The World’s End: The final piece in Edgar Wright’s hilarious ‘Three Flavors Cornetto’ trilogy. Starring the dynamic duo (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost). The World’s End tells the story of a group of friends who are on a pub crawl 20 years after their failed attempt at doing so. The movie contains, as always, hilarious fight scenes and great moments.
12 Years a Slave: Undoubtedly one of the best movies of the year. The movie tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a free African-American who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. The movie stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and Sarah Paulson. The movie’s story and performances are powerful and moving. Chiwetel Ejiofor is the highlight of the movie and I’m sure we’ll see him among the Oscars nominees.
Gravity: Thought provoking and visually stunning.
Side Effects: Surprising, thrilling and entertaining.
The Past (Le Passé): A great follow-up to ‘A Separation’.
Fruitvale Station: A movie about injustice based on a true story.
Captain Phillips: Well acted and thoroughly thrilling.
The Rest: The Bling Ring, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunt, Monsters University, Mud, The Place Beyond the Pines, Prisoners, Saving Mr. Banks, The Spectacular Now, Spring Breakers, Stories We Tell, What Maisie Knew, The Wind Rises.
On my watchlist:
Short Term 12, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, The Spectacular Now, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Fruitvale Station, The Wind Rises, Don Jon, The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug, In a World… All Is Lost, Enough Said.