My Favourite Films of 2018

As a brief preamble before my list, a little bit of industry context… According to Martha M. Lauzen’s ‘2018 Celluloid Ceiling’ report, women comprised 15% of directors working on the top 500 films of 2018 (and the figures are worse for the top 100). My list is only fractionally better at 20% and there is still much, much work to do. See the suggestions and links at the end of this article as a starting point if diversity, representation and equality is important to you.

Now, here are the films that I saw and enjoyed the most in 2018. I watched some at film festivals (Bath and London), some at preview screenings, some at my local cinema and some at home via Netflix. I've written a little bit more about my top three and posted the trailers for the others. Enjoy!

10. Birdbox

Dir: Susanne Bier

Birdbox is the film that everyone on my Twitter feed seemed to watch on Boxing Day. If you haven't seen it yet, chances are you've seen the memes and videos that it inspired. It's an enjoyable thriller based on a novel of the same name and you can view it on Netflix now.

9. Black Panther

Dir: Ryan Coogler

Here's what I wrote about this Marvel superhero movie last year.

8. Adrift

Dir: Baltasar Kormákur

Another epic movie, but for very different reasons. Shailene Woodley is incredible in this gripping film, which is based on a true story.

7. The Hate U Give

Dir: George Tillman Jr.

Read my review of this film here.

6. The Old Man & the Gun

Dir: David Lowery

If this does turn out to be Robert Redford's last film, it would be a fittingly charming farewell. An apt swan song for a legend.

5. Shoplifters

Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda

I saw quite a few non-English language films this year, but this was the one that struck me the most because of the way it blurs morality lines and subverted what exactly constitutes a family.

4. Sorry to Bother You

Dir: Boots Riley

It's a shame this film didn't get a wider release in the UK because it is absolutely bonkers in the best possible way.This absurdist, satirical comedy is weird, and keeps getting weirder.

3. A Star is Born

Dir: Bradley Cooper

Although we may often question the need for sequels, remakes and reworked films, Bradley Cooper’s passion project A Star Is Born firmly asserted its necessity and relevance through exploration of identity, fame and love through a topical and tragic lens.

Lady Gaga puts in an electric performance and knowingly critiques the vacuous world of manufactured pop stardom through her character’s rise and fall, winning over even wider global audiences (and topping charts) in the process. From the meet cute to their last scene together, the relationship between Gaga and Cooper is all-consuming - for them and the audience - and when Cooper struggles to articulate his feelings with words, he does so instead through music. It’s a blissful and emotional watch, with occasional bursts of hilarity from drag queens Shangela and Willam, as well as an ongoing Sinatra gag and other laughs thanks to Gaga's on screen father, comedian Andrew Dice Clay.

At a time when we are forced to question the authenticity of an abundance of stories and people in the public eye, ASIB acts as a refreshing reminder of what true talent can look and sound like.

2. Leave No Trace

Dir: Debra Granik

It makes sense that a film which explores themes of loneliness, existence, and humanity versus nature would feature vast, serene landscapes and an equally as peaceful soundscape. Granik’s beautiful Leave No Trace is similar to Captain Fantastic (2016) in that it tells the story of a family unit (albeit a much smaller one in this case) who reject Western civilisation and opt for an alternative way of living as nomads in the Pacific Northwest instead. However, Leave No Trace is a more sobering portrayal of how outsiders are grossly misunderstood, as well as the intricacies of the human condition.

1. Beautiful Boy

Dir: Felix van Groeningen

‘Beautiful Boy’ is my number one because it moved me beyond words. The film’s screenplay was adapted from two books: ‘Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction’ by David Sheff and ‘Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines’ by Nic Sheff. The film successfully encapsulates the extreme pain and terror that addiction can cause for both the addict and their family, and it struck such a balance between the two that for a lot of the film I found myself wondering who was suffering more – the drug abusing (yet lovable) son or his loving, helpless father. I still haven’t decided, and I think about it often – a sign of a great film. That, and the sensitive performances from Timothy Chalamet and Steve Carell as father and son are wonderful.

Well done for making it this far! If you’re interested in watching more films which star, were directed or written by women, you can filter ‘F Rated’ titles on IMDB (link here) or ‘Triple F Rated’ titles (link here).

#endofyearlist #filmsof2018 #womeninfilm #frated #triplefrated