My top ten cinema releases of 2019

That’s it, guys! We have (almost) reached the end of 2019 so it is time for me to look back at the new releases I’ve seen this year and pick my favourites.

This list is comprised of UK release dates only, which means some 2020 films I’ve seen in advance (like Parasite!) don’t count and some 2019 films I saw in advance in 2018 do.

Without further ado, here are my favourite films of the year (click on the title to go through to the full review):

1. Marriage Story

I have been raving about Marriage Story ever since I saw it at the Venice Film Festival in August and there is a reason for that. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourselves a favour and check it out on Netflix. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson both deserve to win the lead acting Oscars for their performances as a couple going through a nasty divorce. Noah Baumbach also deserves an award for his amazing screenplay. It is funny, heartbreaking and so well observed.

2. Booksmart

This film makes me so happy. As soon as I saw it the first time I immediately wanted to see it again. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever as absolutely incredible as two nerdy friends who get to the end of high school and realise they’ve never experienced the social side of school life – so they decide to make up for it. This coming-of-age comedy warmed my heart, made me laugh out loud and fall in love with their friendship.

3. Avengers: Endgame

This is an extremely mainstream pick but it deserves it. To conclude so many films and storylines was an impossible feat and I don’t know how the Russo brothers managed it. The film is epic, ambitious and so satisfying. I cried A LOT. Black Widow was done dirty but I love how Iron Man and Captain America bow out.

4. The Peanut Butter Falcon

This is such a sweet, sincere film. If you want something to lift you up and put a smile on your face, then this is for you. It stars Zack Gottsagen, a man with Down’s Syndrome who escapes the care home he’s been placed into in a bid track down his wrestling hero, the Saltwater Redneck, and attend his wrestling school. This modern-day Huckleberry Finn-style adventure, which also stars Shia LaBeouf, is so so lovely.

5. The Irishman

Some people have found this to be too long, slow and boring but I thought Martin Scorsese‘s gangster epic was terrific – I was totally absorbed in the story and time seemed to fly. Robert De Niro may have been the lead but the stars of the show are Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. Don’t let the runtime put you off and try to watch it in one go without interruptions if you can.

6. Hustlers

Hustlers was so much better than I thought it was going to be and I absolutely loved seeing Jennifer Lopez as this seasoned stripper-turned-criminal mastermind. This film could have been very different with a man behind the camera so thank God it was in the hands of Lorene Scafaria. This also has some of the best use of music in a film this year – I got very excited when I heard the opening bars of Gimme More by Britney Spears.

7. Honey Boy

This isn’t an enjoyable movie exactly but it’s shocking, unflinching, raw and astonishing. Shia LaBeouf not only wrote a script detailing his volatile relationship with his father when he was a child star but also stars in it as his own abusive dad! The fact he did that is mind-blowing and his performance is equally impressive, and he is perfectly matched by his capable co-star Noah Jupe. They both deserve nominations for their work. The LaBeouf comeback is here!

8. Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Melissa McCarthy truly deserved her Oscar nomination for playing the biographer Lee Israel who became known for forging letters of literary icons. Equally brilliant was Richard E. Grant as her gay best pal. This is interesting and definitely worth checking out.

9. Joker

I had an internal debate about whether to put Joker on here because I found it so bleak and depressing, but I can’t deny that it is a bold and surprising piece of filmmaking from Todd Phillips. Joaquin Phoenix better get a nomination for this (but I want Driver to win!)

10. Long Shot/ Brittany Runs a Marathon

This is a slight cop-out because I simply couldn’t choose between them. They were both hilarious comedies that left me with a smile on my face. Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron had great chemistry as the schlubby speechwriter and polished politician who fall in love. Theron proved she needed to do more comedy. Jillian Bell totally surprised me with the depth and sincerity of her performance in Brittany, which was both funny and moving. I found it super inspiring and came away feeling like I could achieve anything I set my mind to.

What films do you love this year?

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