Top 3 Films for 2012

Ok, this year I’ve gone with a Top 3. I figure anyone can pick five good films in a year, but three (and in order) enforces some hard clear thinking:

3. Hugo

I have a theory about this ambitious children’s film. It flopped somewhat, commercially, but I actually wonder if it’s the perfect film every parent wishes their children would love. It’s creative, bold and have a lovely old-fashioned fantasy element to it. It’s also the first film that sold me on the (occasional) benefits of 3D.

Catching the train to Paris around the same time also added a bit. Beautiful and unashamedly bold creativity.

2. The Master

A brilliantly tedious and skilfully directed film about the influence of charismatic figures and cults on vulnerable people. Stunningly quality acting by Joaquin Phoenix, and Philip Seymour Hoffman does his usual fantastic thing.

On first thought it felt slightly overlong, but on reflection I think it’s length reinforces the effect of what it is to be worn down through repeated impression.  In this case the ‘Cause’ being built by the compelling, yet vague Lancaster Dodd, based on L Ron Hubbard & Scientology.

It also made me ponder the profound contrast to the freeing and secure person of Jesus Christ presented in the gospels.

1. A Separation

This Iranian film is the best thing I saw all year, a tight, tense and moving story which encompasses issues of race, religion, ageing, marriage and trust. In total contrast to Hugo, which made me think about how much I love films throughout – this film is so strong and resonate, it’s like nothing else exists throughout. A bold yet subtle film, heartbreaking through its genuine portrayal of the complexity of life.