If you were to only look at the blockbuster landscape of 2016, it would be easy to say that this was a bad year for cinema. There were plenty of disappointments, and the good films struggled to break through and find an audience. Thankfully, we get more than just blockbuster films released every year, and you didn’t really have to hunt too far to find excellent movies in a variety of genres. If you came away from 2016 thinking that film was dead, you frankly weren’t looking hard enough, or really, looking at anything outside of the movies with the biggest budgets.
As I note every year, my Top 10 list isn’t meant to be some definitive. I didn’t use some formula, and my evaluation of some movies over the course of the year changed based on repeat viewings and/or how much I thought about a picture. Most importantly, this list is to help guide folks to what I feel are the essential movies of the year. I know a lot of people don’t have the time to see dozens of new releases, so if you can only see ten movies from 2016, I suggest you go with these.