The top films of 2018

The top films of 2018

Off-screen, the year in film was dominated by discussions around Me Too and Time’s Up. But on screen, there were a number of cinematic offerings that stood out.

Press Association film critic Damon Smith rounds up his top 10 films of 2018: 

1. Roma (released November 30)

Yalitza Aparicio stars in Roma, directed by Alfonso Cuaron Copyright: Netflix. All Rights Reserved.
Yalitza Aparicio stars in Roma, directed by Alfonso Cuaron Copyright: Netflix. All Rights Reserved.

Filmed in lustrous black and white, predominantly in unbroken shots, Mexican writer-director Alfonso Cuaron’s valentine to politically volatile 1970s Mexico City skilfully draws parallels between fractured family units on opposite sides of the class divide.

2. Shoplifters (released November 23)

The film is the latest offering from Japanese writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda (publicity picture).
The film is the latest offering from Japanese writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda (publicity picture).

Japanese writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda silently observes but refuses to pass judgement on a surrogate family living hand to mouth from small-time crimes. With deceptive simplicity, Shoplifters steals our hearts then breaks them.

3. The Shape Of Water (released February 14)

Richard Jenkins and Sally Hawkins in the film THE SHAPE OF WATER. Photo by Kerry Hayes. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved
Richard Jenkins and Sally Hawkins in the film THE SHAPE OF WATER. Photo by Kerry Hayes. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro deservedly triumphed at this year’s Oscars with his swoon-inducing reimagining of the Beauty And The Beast fairy tale set in 1962 Baltimore. Sally Hawkins stars as a mute cleaning lady who falls for a carnivorous merman.

4. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (released January 12)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox).
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox).

Hell hath no fury like a grief-stricken mother scorned in writer-director Martin McDonagh’s blackly comic thriller, which pits Frances McDormand’s vigilante parent against the police force of a fictional midwestern town.

5. First Man (released October 12)

Academy Award-winning director Damien Chazelle is behind one of this year’s must-see films (Universal Pictures).
Academy Award-winning director Damien Chazelle is behind one of this year’s must-see films (Universal Pictures).

Academy Award-winning director Damien Chazelle takes one giant leap for immersive, nail-biting filmmaking in a thrilling dramatisation of the 1960s space race between America and the Soviet Union. First Man shoots for the moon and touches down beautifully.

6. Lady Bird (released February 23)

Saoirse Ronan attending the EE British Academy Film Awards (PA).
Saoirse Ronan attending the EE British Academy Film Awards (PA).

Although Lady Bird isn’t strictly autobiographical, writer-director Greta Gerwig draws on fond memories of her Californian hometown for a beautifully observed study of mother-daughter relationships and youthful exuberance in turn of the 21st-century Sacramento.

7. Phantom Thread (released February 2)

Daniel Day-Lewis stars in Phantom Thread (Universal Pictures).
Daniel Day-Lewis stars in Phantom Thread (Universal Pictures).

Two’s toxic company, three’s a potentially murderous crowd in Paul Thomas Anderson’s artfully stitched drama set in the salons of 1950s London. Daniel Day-Lewis delivers his final screen performance before self-imposed retirement as a perfectionist dressmaker.

8. You Were Never Really Here (released March 9)

Joaquin Phoenix stars in You Were Never Really Here (Amazon Studios).
Joaquin Phoenix stars in You Were Never Really Here (Amazon Studios).

Scottish writer-director Lynne Ramsay plumbs the murky depths of human suffering on the mean streets of present-day New York in a brutal and unflinching revenge thriller. Joaquin Phoenix delivers a fearless and heart-rending performance as a traumatised war veteran.

9. Coco (released January 19)

Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson with their Best Animated Feature Film Oscar for Coco in the press room at the 90th Academy Awards (Ian West/PA Wire).
Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson with their Best Animated Feature Film Oscar for Coco in the press room at the 90th Academy Awards (Ian West/PA Wire).

You can feel the love in every sumptuous and wildly imaginative frame of Disney Pixar’s uplifting computer-animated coming of age story, which strikes a joyous universal chord with an irresistible blend of heart-tugging emotion, uproarious comedy and toe-tapping musicality.

10. A Fantastic Woman (released March 2)

Daniela Vega is an unstoppable force of nature in A Fantastic Woman (Sony Pictures) .
Daniela Vega is an unstoppable force of nature in A Fantastic Woman (Sony Pictures) .

Director Sebastian Lelio’s timely portrait of grief and injustice in present-day Chile artfully considers the solitude and solidarity of the trans community. Daniela Vega is an unstoppable force of nature as the spirited, titular heroine.

- Press Association

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