It’s time for the dreaded Top 10 list – an annual practice among film critics and cinephiles alike that produces fretful hand-wringing and obsessive film-watching – all in the hopes of finding the very “best” films of a given year. Of course, it’s impossible to deliver a list that’s perfect. There are too many films in the year, too many conflicting opinions, to create a list impervious to criticism. By nature of ranking, some beloved films must be deprioritized or bumped out altogether in the hopes of creating a more perfect representation of the films one loved the most.
As a result, some titles have been forgotten. Whit Stillman made his first nearly perfect film in a decade with the goofy and luxe Love & Friendship. Andrea Arnold delivered a deeply felt American epic studded with gobsmacking performances in American Honey. Anton Yelchin gave one of his last (and most flooring) appearances in Jeremy Saulnier’s vicious and gorgeous Green Room, and Pablo Larrain revolutionized the biopic with Jackie. And while all of these films (and more, I would be remiss to leave out Hell or High Water, Arrival, The Nice Guys, Hail, Caesar!, Krisha, and The Fits to name a few) deserve to be in the running for the “best” of the year, I humbly present my personal favorites: the best films of 2016.