Review of the year – Best Films of the Year 2018

This year has been a really amazing one in my personal life, with the birth of my first baby bringing a real joyous end to the year. I still had a very enjoyable year of film watching. Here’s my top ten films of the year (in alphabetical order).

A Simple Favor – “A film that oozes style, with a top-class plot and performances to match. The two leads – Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively – are at the top of their game. The story and its resolution was one of the most memorable of the year.”

Coco – “A return to form for Pixar and one of the best animated films I’ve seen this decade. They’ve worked out the magic formula to pull on the viewers’ heartstrings and they don’t shy from using it. It’s a beautiful concept executed to perfection.”

Cold War – “Director Paweł Pawlikowski has followed up Ida with a beautifully-shot film, again teaming him up with Łukasz Żal. The story is set over a number of years during the Cold War, dipping into a relationship between the young Joanna Kulig and her musical mentor Tomasz Kot. It plays out as a series of shorter vignettes, capturing a snapshot of their lives and how they come together and fall apart. It’s short, snappy and an extremely satisfying watch. I can’t recommend it enough.”

Hereditary – “Whilst Hereditary is one of the scariest horrors I’ve seen for a while, as typified by the long list of visually-arresting moments that have been swimming around my head for the few days since I watched it, at the heart of the film is a genuinely engaging story that would make for a very good film even without any of the horror leanings.”

Isle of Dogs – “The animation is beautiful and quirky, matching well with a bizarre storyline about a boy rescuing his dog from Trash Island. The voice cast are on top form. Another Wes Anderson five star from me.”

Lady Bird – “A joy to watch. From start to finish the balance between humorous dialogue and well-paced plot progression is very fine indeed.”

Mary and the Witch’s Flower – “The animation and character design is as breathtaking as you’d expect from Hiromasa Yonebayashi.”

Phantom Thread – “Script, acting, cinematography, lighting, score – everything is just right. A masterclass in film-making.”

The Shape of Water – “It looks absolutely beautiful and the story lives up to the visuals. The lead performances from Hawkins, Shannon and Jones are all top drawer. I managed to fight through the anticipation after the plaudits and find myself enjoying an excellent film, though I do wonder if people are now expecting too much of it.”

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri – “He’s created his first real masterpiece and it’s a wonder to see it unfold for the first time. It is every bit deserving of the praise and accolades it has received.”

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