The 10 Most Beautiful Films Of 2010

I hope everyone here had a happy holiday break! I had the chance to finally sit back, relax aimlessly for a few days, and take in some Netflix Watch Instantly films that I wouldn't get to during the normal course of events. One such film was Sweetgrass, which guest Matt Singer discussed on a previous episode of the /Filmcast. As I watched, I was struck with the film's breathtaking beauty, and I realized that there've been some great-looking films this past year.

Here are what I consider to be the 10 most beautiful films of 2010. There's no grand unifying theory to this list, other than that these are movies I personally really enjoyed looking at for one reason or another. They are presented in no particular order.

Oh, and tune in on Tuesday night at 9 PM EST at slashfilm's live page to hear us countdown our top 10 films of 2010!

[Please note: As this list is necessarily my opinion and I haven't seen every single movie that's come out this year (e.g. Enter the Void, I Am Love, etc.), my choices may differ from your own. Don't be alarmed; this is natural and to be expected. Feel free to share your own choices in the comments, but please be civil about it.]

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – Each of Edgar Wright's films is blessed with a razor-sharp sense of humor and a unique, quirky sensibility. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is also possessed of these traits, but Wright managed to bring Bryan Lee O'Malley's comic book world to life with an unforgettable aesthetic too. Several movies have attempted to adapt the look of comic books to the big screen, but I can't think of one that does so as seamlessly or successfully.

Sweetgrass – This film follows "the last modern day cowboys" as they lead hundreds of sheep through the treacherous Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains for one last time. A fascinating documentary on a lost way of American life that also serves as a testament to the beauty of nature and its creatures.

Last Train Home – As Sweetgrass passively observes its subjects, allowing their true nature to shine through, so director Lixin Fan uses his seemingly-invisible camera to observe the mass-migration of millions of Chinese laborers during Chinese New Year. This film is not as pretty as the other ones on this list, but its unflinching and miraculous portrayal of humanity in true aggregate creates some of the most spectacular visuals of any film this year.

How to Train Your Dragon – Sure, there's a lot of action, adventure, and dragon-slaying in How to Train Your Dragon. But what I'll never forget are the flight scenes, which memorably depict the dark-as-night Toothless against the backdrop of gorgeous CGI vistas. Toothless' first and second flights are absolutely transcendent.

Never Let Me Go – Each shot in Never Let Me Go is so lovingly composed that I want to frame it and bask in its glory. Director Mark Romanek is no stranger to spectacular visuals, but working with cinematographer Adam Kimmel in a world created by author Kazuo Ishiguro, Romanek infuses this alternate-reality Britain with subtlety and beauty.

True Grit – I mean, have you seen the trailer for this thing? Seriously, go watch it right now:

Working with longtime collaborator Roger Deakins, the Coen Brothers created a Western that was as enjoyable for the eyes as it was for the ears. I can't wait to own this thing on Blu-Ray to show it off on my home theater.

Monsters – One of the cheapest films of the year is also one of the most beautiful. Using remarkable resourcefulness, Gareth Edwards was able to create an alien-infested world that felt authentic and impressive. Towards the end of the film, a hurricane-ravaged Galveston subbed in for a town that had been devastated by alien attack. The results are sublime, and proof that a beautiful film need not have a $100 million budget.

Legend of the Guardians – Zack Snyder's latest outing tries to do too much with disappointing results. But Legend of the Guardians was still one of the best-looking films of the year, with unforgettable flying scenes and a distinct, intricate look for each of its owl tribes.

Shutter Island – Cinematographer Robert Richardson and production designer Dante Ferretti craft an island that is equal parts welcoming and menacing. Some people may not appreciate Laeta Kalogridis' exposition-heavy script but I hope we can all agree that Scorsese nails the look of the film completely. I was transfixed, trying to soak up all the luscious detail, while fearful of what was to come next.

Let Me In – Aside from some (intentionally?) rough CGI, Let Me In's saturated colors and yellowish glow feed in perfectly to the time period of the film. Director Matt Reeves and cinematographer Greig Fraser create a world that is cold and lonely, which is why it's so effective when Abby (Chloe Moretz) shows up to pierce that loneliness. Truly, one of the more underrated and underwatched films of the year.