My Favorite Movies of 2010

Because I’ve been out of the country the past year, all 10 of my favorite movies of 2010 are non-Filipino. Hope to catch up on my local cinema diet once I get back to Manila.


1. The Social Network

Who knew one could turn the founding story of Facebook into a spellbinding Greek tragedy?



2. Mother

I dare you to so much as blink throughout this South Korean murder mystery about a middle-aged woman (a terrific Hye-ja Kim) pulling all the stops to prove to authorities that her son is innocent of a crime he is accused of.


3. A Prophet

One of the best prison dramas in many years. Tells the story of a young French Arab guy (an excellent Tahar Rahim) who rose from being an errand boy of a powerful imprisoned Mafioso to become the most feared man inside the jail complex. Oz meets The Godfather.


4. Toy Story 3

An outstanding conclusion to an outstanding trilogy. If you didn’t get at least teary-eyed by the film’s end, look for an on/off button on your body: you must be a robot.



5. The Kids Are All Right

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore play a married couple whose teenage son and daughter decide to seek out their common sperm donor-father (Mark Ruffalo). All the main characters are fully-fleshed out and wonderfully played by the actors.


6. The Ghost Writer

A writer (Ewan McGregor) is hired to finish a book that his deceased predecessor left unfinished. Roman Polanski directs this Hitchcockian thriller with calm assurance and respect for adult sensibility absent in typical gimmicky Hollywood thrillers.


7. Exit through the Gift Shop

A delightfully loopy documentary about street art and the state of art consumption in this day and age. Directed by the world’s most (in-)famous street artist Banksy with the playfulness, panache, and politics he imbues his graffiti.


8. Carlos

Tells the story of terrorist Carlos the Jackal (born Illich Ramirez Sanchez) and his decades-long struggle for communism. Set in several European and African countries and clocking in at a never-boring five and a half hours, Carlos is bravura filmmaking at its best.


9. Blue Valentine

A searing portrait of love gone sour. Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling give raw, honest portrayals of a couple whose marriage on the rocks is juxtaposed by scenes from their earlier, happier days. A welcome counterpoint to contrived love stories typically shown at cineplexes.


10. White Material

Tells the story of a coffee plantation owner (the exquisite Isabelle Huppert) trying to save her enterprise in an unnamed African country on the cusp of a violent revolution . It’s a difficult thing to do, but the director (Claire Denis) expertly weaves images of beauty amid scenes of chaos and madness.


How about you, what movies from last year did you like?


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