My top ten of 2021

by Toby Woollaston

10.

It’s Nicholas Cage. But the good Nicholas Cage.

9.

Mads Mikkelsen and Director Thomas Vinterberg make a good combination—anyone who’s seen The Hunt will know what I mean. However, unlike The Hunt’s sobriety, Another Round opens up the liquor cabinet as it centres on a bunch of school teachers in the spin of midlife-crisis and trying to connect with their students through a questionable social experiment. It’s a tragicomedy of sorts and gets big thumbs-up for its rapturous ending.

8.

An unconventional tale told in a conventional manner. Ruby (Emilia Jones) is the only hearing person in her deaf family but ironically has a passion for singing. This coming-of-age story is wholesome, vivid, often hilarious, and ends with the a sublime rendition of Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now. Will bring a joyful tear to your eye.

7.

Carey Mulligan is electric as a young woman traumatised by her past in this vengeance film set the in the milieu of the #metoo movement. Vibrant, colourful and energetic, yet also thematically dark and cynically clever. Should be essential viewing for teenagers.

6.

This first instalment of Herbert’s sci-fi classic is pure cinematic spectacle—a sound and vision masterwork from Villeneuve. Not quite as pin-sharp as BladeRunner 2049, but will still have your eyes and ears popping out of your head. Definitely a big-screen flick. Can’t wait for the second half.

5.

Writer/director Florian Zeller’s debut feature operates like an Escher artwork as it paints an intentionally confusing (and heartbreaking) portrait of dementia. Up there with Anthony Hopkins’ best work.

4.

A Campion masterpiece to rival The Piano. See my review here.

3.

While her parents go about cleaning out the house of her recently deceased grandmother, Nelly explores the surrounding woods. She encounters Marion, a girl exactly Nelly’s age and to whom she bears a striking resemblance. Somehow writer/director Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) has crafted a complete experience in only 72 minutes. Patient, emotional and achingly beautiful.

2.

Slow? Wonderfully so. Also mesmerisingly beautiful and utterly haunting. I’m a bit of a David Lowry fan (Pete’s Dragon, Old Man & the Gun, and Ghost Story). Really looking forward to his next film, Peter Pan & Wendy.

1.

Who’d have thought a story about stealing milk from the only cow in town could be so engrossing. A sweetly tranquil film from Kelly Reichardt (Meek’s Cutoff). Loved it.

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