You know the drill. 2015 had plenty of great movies hit the big screen, and it was pretty difficult to whittle this list down to what you’ll see below. Surely your favorite movies are not the same as mine. My list is by no means meant to be definitive, especially since there are some movies I’ve heard great things about but just haven’t seen yet (my apologies to Carol and The Revenant). This is a collection of my personal Top 10 Movies of 2015, the ones that made me laugh really hard, made me cry or just hit all the right buttons. So let’s get to it.
These movies almost made the cut.
How to Dance in Ohio
A documentary that I’ve thought about several times since it premiere at Sundance, this is such an eye-opening and charming look at the lives of teenagers on the autism spectrum as they prepare for their first formal dance. There are some sad moments as these teens struggle with their condition, but the film is mostly upbeat and hopeful for them as they begin their journey into adulthood, a time that can be scary for anyone.
Run through the ups and downs of love and happiness in a way that only Charlie Kaufman can deliver. At first it seems weird that this kind of movie is stop-motion animated, but as you begin to realize the presentation of all but two of the characters is meant to be exactly the same, the core of the story becomes clear. There’s as much romance and heartbreak as there was in the Kaufman-scripted Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind along with the quirkiness of his Being John Malkovich. Part of me feels like this is one of those movies that will be higher on my list in a few years, but I still loved it quite a bit in this moment.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
One of my favorite films from the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, this was The Fault in Our Stars for the cinephiles. Chock full of Criterion Collection references and indie romance, this is a tearjerker of a coming-of-age tale with some stellar performances from the young cast.
Brie Larson always seemed like she was going places, and Room is finally where she gets to shine to her full potential. As the captive mother of a son, himself a product of her kidnapper’s lust, she brings hope to a place where there otherwise shouldn’t be. And the film is only bolstered by the astounding performance of young Jacob Tremblay as the young Jack. It’s just an all-around fantastic drama.
Emily Blunt kicked plenty of ass in Edge of Tomorrow, but in Sicario, she’s a little out of the loop and out of control. The law enforcement agency she believes in is seemingly no less corrupt and dangerous than the criminals she’s chasing down. This is the world we’ve created, where certain drug cartels are empowered by the officials taking others down. Benicio del Toro steals the show with just some silent glances, but Blunt is still a force to be reckoned with, making this one knockout of a thriller.
Other Honorable Mentions: The Martian, Bridge of Spies, Diary of a Teenage Girl, Trainwreck, Ex Machina, Tangerine, Trumbo, Dope, Straight Outta Compton
Movies I Missed: Carol, The Revenant, Slow West, Kumiko the Treasure Hunter, The Look of Silence, The Duke of Burgundy