The 100 Best Movies Of The Decade [Part One]

(Welcome to /Film's countdown of The 100 Best Movies of the Decade, examining the absolute best movies that were released between 2010 and 2019. This is part one of a five-part series and part of our Best of the Decade series.)

Last week, the /Film team sat down for an extended two-part podcast to narrow down the 100 best films of the past decade. When the dust settled, we were left with a family of movies that could not be more different: action films and intimate dramas and horror flicks and animated movies and everything in-between. What connected them was simple – they represented the collective taste of the entire staff and everything we love about the past ten years of cinema.

What follows is 100-81 of that list, a collection of films we love from the bottom of our hearts.

100. Tim’s Vermeer

This 2013 documentary is directed by Raymond Teller of Penn & Teller fame, but it is not about magic (at least not on the face of it). The film follows inventor Tim Jenison, who has a theory that 17th-century Dutch master painter Johannes Vermeer achieved photographic realism in his paintings using an unrevealed piece of technology. To prove his theory, he attempts to recreate a famous Vermeer painting with only materials found in the 17th century and no artistic ability. The film questions the difference between an artist and a craftsman, the role of technology in art, and how the process of creation might change the value of artistic creation. Should god-given talent be valued over intensely hard work? This profound documentary presents so many questions, yet remains entertaining and compelling every step of the way. I believe the only reason this film isn't higher on our cumulative best of the decade list is that I was the only person on the /Film team to have seen the film. It might be the most obscure film on this list, so seek it out. [Peter Sciretta]

Ingrid Goes West

99. Ingrid Goes West

One of the breakout films from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Ingrid Goes West is a hilarious dark comedy version of Single White Female set in the age of social media idolatry, starring Aubrey Plaza,  Elizabeth Olsen and Wyatt Russell in his breakout performance. Plaza plays a mentally disturbed woman who becomes obsessed with an Instagram celebrity who appears to have a perfect life. Ingrid decides to use her inheritance to pack up and move to Los Angeles with plans to befriend Taylor in real life. The result is more dark comedy than psychological thriller, providing a ton of laughs in otherwise horrifying circumstances. Ingrid Goes West provides smart commentary on our social media-obsessed world. [Peter Sciretta]

personal shopper best of the decade

98. Personal Shopper

If you're still operating under the uninformed assumption that Kristen Stewart is a "bad actress" because of Twilight, look no further for proof of your incorrectness than Personal Shopper. Stewart is front and center through this entire film, and while a large chunk of the proceedings involves her silently texting someone, she manages to make every moment riveting. Stewart plays Maureen, a personal shopper for a supermodel, but when she's not trying on clothes for her client, she's trying to contact the dead. Maureen's twin brother died recently of a heart condition she herself suffers from, and she desperately wants to make contact with her sibling beyond the grave. Instead, she ends up opening up a dialogue with someone else – a mysterious figure who draws her deeper into potential danger. Haunting, reflective, and melancholy, Personal Shopper is a very unconventional ghost story.  [Chris Evangelista]

97. The Muppets

James Bobins' 2011 film resurrected the famous Jim Henson-created crew in a charming heartfelt way. The story follows a Muppet fanatic, who, with some help from his two human friends, must reunite the Muppet gang to stop an oil mogul who wants to destroy The Muppet theater. Starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams, this nostalgic celebration of the famous characters is joyous, hilarious and a welcome return. Unfortunately, the sequel, 2014's Muppets Most Wanted was utter trash and ABC's contemporary Muppet sitcom was not well received, so the gang has retreated to the Disney vaults. [Peter Sciretta]

96. Burning

Lee Chang-dong paints a haunting portrait of obsession and class hostility in a drama inspired by Haruki Murakami's short story Barn Burning. When a young working class man Lee Jong-su (Yoo Ah-In) becomes obsessed with a former a childhood neighbor Shin Hae-mi (Jeon Jong-seo), her sudden disappearance and reappearance in the arms of a charming, wealthy sociopath (Steven Yeun) with a penchant for burning greenhouses sends Jong-su down a paranoid spiral that can only end in violence. Burning slowly chips away at your understanding the truth until you're unsure of reality, and simmers in your mind for days after. [Hoai-Tran Bui]

95. Force Majeure

A profoundly uncomfortable viewing experience, Force Majeure takes a wrecking ball to the family drama and gleefully watches it crumble from there. Sharing the name with the legal term meaning "superior force," which refers to an unavoidable event on par with an act of God, Ruben Östlund's razor-sharp, darkly comic marital drama shows the painful and inevitable disintegration of a marriage after a father's selfish reaction in the face of an avalanche causes fractures in his family that only deepen as the film goes on. It's a comedy of manners that slowly transforms into a family horror show, and you can't look away the entire time. [Hoai-Tran Bui]

first reformed best of the decade

94. First Reformed

Paul Schrader's tense, angry First Reformed has Ethan Hawke giving what might be the best performance of his career. Hawke is a pastor of a small church who becomes obsessed, and terrified, of climate change after one of his parishioners opens him up to the looming crisis. Hawke's man of the cloth is a lonely, tormented figure, drinking himself to death and pushing away anyone who claims to care for him. Schrader builds drama through foreshadowing – the early arrival of a suicide vest looms over the entire story as we wait to find out when and if it'll be deployed. Anchoring it all is Hawke, who pulls us inside the mind of his tortured soul. [Chris Evangelista]

93. Wild

Wild stars Reese Witherspoon in the true story of Cheryl Strayed. After destroying her marriage with drug addiction brought on by the sudden death of her mother, Cheryl decides to walk herself back to the woman that her mother thought she would be by hiking the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail. What seems like a story of woman vs. nature is actually woman vs. herself as director Jean-Marc Vallée cuts back forth through the struggles of this young woman's life and the grueling PCT itself. But as Cheryl walks the trail, hoping to become who she was supposed to be, she instead accepts the woman she is, mistakes and all, and that's a lesson we could all learn, even if we don't hike 2,560 miles to do it. [Ethan Anderton]

92. The Tale of Princess Kaguya

An melancholic fairy tale, The Tale of Princess Kaguya is the culmination of Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata's works: his experimental art style that resembled a comic strip come to life, his otherworldly whimsy, and his deep understanding of heartache. Based on the Japanese folk tale "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter," The Tale of Princess Kaguya follows an old bamboo cutter who discovers a tiny princess within a bamboo shoot and, alongside his wife, decides to raise her as their own. Like its gorgeously wild, free-drawn animation inspired by Japanese woodblock prints that flits in and off the screen in joyful bursts of color, The Tale of Princess Kaguya is an ode to the bittersweet transience of life. [Hoai-Tran Bui]

91. Melancholia

Lars von Trier may have developed a reputation as the "bad boy" of international arthouse cinema, but few filmmakers understand the devastating and overwhelming power of mental illness quite like him. Anchored by a fearless Kristen Dunst performance, Melancholia is a science fiction drama about the end of the world, with the rogue planet bearing down on Earth standing in for the all-encompassing doom of depression. Von Trier knows the agony of feeling hopeless and translates it, with horror and unexpected beauty, into a brutal tale of losing everything and welcoming oblivion. Melancholia is about our need to feel something, anything...especially for those who feel too much. [Jacob Hall]

90. Game Night

It's not often that you see comedy paired with thrillers, and that's a big part of what makes Game Night so special. Not only does it cross genres in an impressive way, but it does so without sacrificing laughs or thrills. With the visual style of David Fincher and a sharp comedic edge delivered by writer Mark Perez and directors Jonathan Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, Game Night is a stylish, fast-paced chase filled with heists, twists, and endless hilarity. With an outstanding ensemble cast where everyone gets a chance to shine along with leads Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, this movie is a prime example of outstanding original entertainment. [Ethan Anderton]

89. Jojo Rabbit

Nazis and comedy don't often go together, and even movies satirizing them like The Great Dictator and The Producers are few and far between. But Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit, based on Christine Leunens's book Caging Skies, somehow manages to not only satirize the Nazi party, but also delivers a heart-wrenching, charming and supremely funny movie about one of the most treacherous times in global history. By turning Nazis into complete buffoons and Hitler into the childish imaginary friend of a bullied boy, Jojo Rabbit is a spectacularly relevant coming-of-age tale that takes a stand against prejudice and hate and pulls at your heartstrings with a poignantly jarring but effective juxtaposition of comedy and tragedy. [Ethan Anderton]

88. The Handmaiden

Park Chan-wook's charged erotic thriller is a delight to the senses and a treat for the eyes. Set in 1930s Korea during the height of Japanese occupation, The Handmaiden is a sumptuous LGBT period romance that follows an orphaned pickpocket (Kim Tae-ri) who teams up with a smarmy con man to con man (Ha Jung-woo) to help him seduce a sheltered Japanese heiress (Kim Min-hee) out of her inheritance. But The Handmaiden is full of shocking twists and turns that transforms this psychological thriller into a swooning romance. Violence and love go hand-in-hand in The Handmaiden, and Park delicately toes the line between repulsive and romantic. [Hoai-Tran Bui]

It Follows

87. It Follows

This 2015 horror film arrived from out of nowhere and surprised us all. Directed by David Robert Mitchell, the film's premise is basically the horror version of a sexually transmitted disease: once the titular "it" starts following you, it never stops. Maika Monroe, in a career-launching role, plays a girl who learns that she is the latest recipient of a curse that is passed from victim to victim via sexual intercourse. Clever, smart, original and creepy, It Follows is one of those films that has many layers worth discovering and talking about afterward. [Peter Sciretta]

86. Cloud Atlas

Arguably the most ambitious blockbuster of the 21st century, the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer's sci-fi opus hones in on six eras and crosscuts across thousands of years to touch on the lives of multiple characters. Its unabashed earnestness won't land with everyone, but this is a powerful piece of pop entertainment that combines philosophical pondering with propulsive action, resulting in a movie unlike any other. It's a story about human nature, one with an underlying message about love and kindness that feels even more vital now than it did in 2012. We're all connected, and we're all in this together. [Ben Pearson]

selma best of the decade

85. Selma

Several films have attempted to bring Martin Luther King Jr. to life, but none are as successful as Selma, Ava DuVernay's powerful, stirring film that chronicles the events surrounding the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches. Without resorting to impersonation or mimicry, David Oyelowo fully transforms into the late civil rights leader. The secret to Oyelowo's success is to humanize King, and make him seem less like a saintly future martyr and more like a living, breathing man. It's all the more impressive when you learn that DuVernay and company were unable to obtain the rights to use King's actual speeches, which means Oyelowo and screenwriter Paul Webb had to work extra hard to put King-like words into the character's mouth. It works, astonishingly well: Oyelowo nails the cadence of King's delivery so entirely that we never once doubt that we're hearing the man's actual words. The end result is an important, emotional film that talks with its audience rather than preaching to it. It's a masterwork. [Chris Evangelista]

84. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Not unlike Steven Spielberg, director Taika Waititi has a penchant for using flawed father figures in his films, even when they're barely present in Boy or not around anymore as in Jojo Rabbit. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is no exception as troublemaking, misunderstood orphan Ricky Baker finds himself with a new foster family. Just when he thinks that he's found a family he can tolerate, his primary caretaker Bella dies, leaving Ricky in the hands of her less than enthused husband "Uncle" Hector (Sam Neill). A plan to run away suddenly turns into a survival adventure for the hilariously mismatched Ricky and Hec, who start to form an unlikely bond in the bush of New Zealand, showing that sometimes we find the people we love the most where we least expect it. [Ethan Anderton]

83. About Time

A sweet, moving, funny romance with a high-concept time travel premise, About Time is one of the best rom-coms of this century. The chemistry between Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams lights up the screen, and while there's lots of fun to be had with the central idea that Gleeson's Tim can travel back to different moments in his life, writer/director Richard Curtis also mines the concept for touching family drama – especially between Tim and his father, played by the wonderful Bill Nighy. The scene with the two of them on the beach has me close to tears just thinking about it. [Ben Pearson]

82. Wonder Woman

I don't want to be dramatic, but Wonder Woman changed my life. It's cheesy to say, but seeing the legions of empowered women sharing a screen together shifted my perspective on what a superhero movie could be, and how it feels to finally be represented onscreen. But cheese is the order of the day in Patty Jenkins' comic book film: the sincere superhero movie that we desperately need. Anchored by a star-making turn from the sublime Gal Gadot and her sizzling chemistry with Chris Pine, Wonder Woman is a delightful medley of genres — romance, comedy, war drama, Greek tragedy — that gives a surprisingly nuanced portrayal of the moral complexities of humanity, and decides that we're worth saving anyway. [Hoai-Tran Bui]

carol best of the decade

81. Carol

It's all about those silent, loaded glances. Todd Haynes' Carol is a movie all about looks – scene after scene, Haynes frames things through windows, in mirrors, and more, creating a visual grammar that forces our eyes to pay close attention to the events unfolding. And through it all, Haynes has his leads – Rooney Mara as awkward shopgirl Therese Belivet and Cate Blanchett as the wealthy Carol Aird – cast quiet but deep glances at each other. Carol and Therese spot each other in the department store Therese works at, and the attraction is instantaneous and electric. You can almost literally see sparks fly. Soon, Carol is inviting Therese up t her home, kicking-off a road trip in which the two women grow closer and closer, the potential for romance hanging over every single moment. We know this is a love story, so we know that eventually Carol and Therese will finally fall into each other's arms, but Haynes takes his time, building things up to the point where the tension caused by the attraction is almost unbearable. And then come the complications. Mara and Blanchett are dynamite together, bringing their respective characters to full life. We never doubt their romance for one second, and we swoon right along with them. [Chris Evangelista]