Parasite is an incredibly unpredictable thriller.
A heartfelt drama, Marriage Story offers a raw portrayal of a couple going through divorce.
1917 is shot in one-take and is a visually stunning wartime film.
Booksmart had to be the best comedy of the year.
Uncut Gems shows off Adam Sandler's dramatic acting chops.
As 2019 comes to a close, I’ve decided to ponder on the greatest films I’ve seen this year. Despite a rough start to the year, with disappointing movies like The Beach Bum, Long Shot and Ad Astra, Hollywood pulled through just in time for the holidays. Some of the best films came out late this fall, including an incredible foreign thriller film, a Netflix drama about divorce, an epic war movie, coming-of-age comedy and an anxiety-inducing masterpiece.
Here are my five Best Films of 2019:
My absolute favorite film of the year was South Korean thriller film, Parasite. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, this movie was one of the most unpredictable, visually captivating, and thrilling films I’ve ever seen. The beginning is simple. A poor young man, who lives with his mother, father, and sister in a half-basement, takes a job at a wealthy family’s home as their daughter’s tutor.
Eventually, the entire lower-class family (the Kims) has jobs at the Park home. Suddenly, a game of playing house while the wealthy family is away turns into something much more treacherous. In an unsettling turn of events, the film turns into a war based on greed and class.
The only Netflix film out of this top bunch, notice I didn’t include The Irishman. This one was better. Starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a stage director and actress going through a divorce, this heartfelt drama from writer-director Noah Baumbach offers a raw portrayal of what that dissolution is like.
Marriage Story begins with a couple, who have a young son, wanting to separate in an amicable way, possibly without any lawyers. But, when Nicole (Johansson) takes an acting job on the other side of the country, and brings their son, the realities of divorce emerge. Charlie (Driver) and Nicole are pushed to their limits, with the help of cutthroat lawyers who so obviously just want to win.
1917 had to be my favorite for most visually stunning and heart-racing wartime film. Directed by Sam Mendes, the drama follows two British soldiers during World War I who must cross into enemy territory to deliver a message that could save 1,600 troops including one’s brother. A one-shot film, there isn’t a single cut to disrupt the continuous struggle and race against the clock for the two men. The premise is basic, but it’s the cinematography by Roger Deakins and performances by George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman that make it a marvel.
Booksmart was the best comedy I saw this year. Directed by Olivia Wilde, Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever star in this high school, coming-of-age comedy about two over achievers who decide to go all out the night before graduation. To make up for lost time, the two friends go on an adventure that no amount of studying could’ve prepared them for.
A delightful romp that many overly studious high schoolers can relate to, the film does not lack conflict between best friends and potential romantic relationships. Hilarious, witty, and fresh, this film is unlike any other in its genre.
One of the most stressful films to watch this year is also one of the best. Uncut Gems follows jewelry dealer Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) as he makes a high-stakes bet that could set him up for life. After purchasing a rare opal gem from Ethiopia that he plans to sell for auction, Howard mistakenly lends it to pro basketball player, Kevin Garnett (who plays himself) for good luck.
In a race against the clock, on top of dealing with family and romantic issues, Ratner must work to get the gem back in time for the biggest win of his life. Sandler’s portrayal of a smooth talking, highly-stressed, mess of a man is what makes this crazy, anxiety-inducing, but ultimately satisfying film one of the best of the year.
6. Little Women
7. The Farewell
8. The Art of Self-Defense
10. Knives Out