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)
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)
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)
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)
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 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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