Top Ten Films of 2011

Top ten lists are a tricky business. It is such a subjective list when it comes to best of’s. These are my ten favorite films of 2011. The films that I am drawn to are ones that speak to the human condition and have something to say regarding said condition. It can be said in a myriad of ways, but films that cut to the core of who we are and where we are going are the ones that appeal to the way I think. These films speak directly or indirectly to those things; to morality, God, love, forgiveness, and redemption.

Honorable Mention: The Artist, Moneyball, Of Gods and Men, Bridesmaids, 50/50, X Men: First Class, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Super 8, Certified Copy, Meek’s Cutoff, Jane Eyre, Drive

10. The Muppets

This was the most fun I had at the theater in 2011. There was redemption, hope, love, self-discovery, cooperation all rolled in to a 90 minute puppet song and dance show. It proved that deep emotional themes can be portrayed well in a fun and amusing way. Watch one of the great scenes from the movie here:

9. Hanna

This modern day fairy tale proved that Joe Wright will always be an interesting filmmaker, even if it doesn’t always work. It’s a fun, tight, and thrilling film of triumph.

 8. Warrior

This was much more than an MMA movie. The most thrilling scenes were those containing family drama. The brother relationship was an incredible display. Finding forgiveness and reconciliation in the midst of such physicality was a perfect and brilliant way to do it. It was reminiscent of the story in the Bible where Jacob wrestled with God.

7. Martha Marcy May Marlene

It’s a chilling tale of one woman’s journey escaping cult life. The dichotomy between Martha’s cult life and her life with her sister is an interesting comparison. This movie will stay with you for a long time, just like the cult life haunts Martha.

6. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

A cool and calculated thinking man’s spy film. The atmosphere, the acting, the way it was shot, all coalesced into a deep and complex work that stands out amongst typical spy thrillers.

5. Win Win

A fantastic little film about the lengths we will go to to look good and to have a few extra bucks in our pocket. It’s a story of redemption and growth in weakness.

4. The Descendants

We all need a lesson in taking care of those things and people that have been entrusted to us. Throw in Alexander Payne and George Clooney and you get a dark, funny and complex human drama that is complete and altogether lovely.

3. Midnight in Paris

This is for any lovers of early 20th Century artists, novelists and filmmakers or of quality filmmaking in general. This is fun from start to finish. Ernest Hemingway steals the show, just like he used to.

2. Hugo

This is the best use of 3D that has been put to film yet. Martin Scorcese gets to the heart of the matter and takes you on a journey to the past and into the future. It’s a wonderful film full of whimsy, redemption, hope, determination and grace.

1. The Tree of Life

This is definitely not a film for everybody, but Terrence Malick’s rumination on Grace vs. Nature is just like a good tone poem. It makes you feel, think, and act. It’s deep, profound, and after a second viewing is even coherent. It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of filmmaking I have ever seen.


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One Response to Top Ten Films of 2011

  1. Meredith Johnson says:

    While Hugo is a very close second, I just can’t forget how much fun I had watching The Muppet Movie! I laughed and cried and even sang along. It really did have a deep message about finding your true identity, standing up for what you believe, and the sacrifice required for love. And even the Mnaa-Mnaa song!

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