It’s finally here my friends! The moment you have all been waiting for. My top 15 best movies of 2016 list!
Here is the youtube version:
You guys have no idea how much thought I have put into this list. I have moved films around and thought weighed the pros and cons countless times. It’s so hard because I like all of these movies for different reasons and how do I decide which reason is better than another? Well, I did the best I could. I must admit I am kind of proud of my list. I think it is thoroughly unique and represents me very well.
So let’s get started!
15. Hidden Figures- I love movies that make me want to cheer and this movie did that in droves. I loved how it chose to forgo the evil redneck violent racist and instead took on institutional racism which I think can be just as virulent and much harder to strike down. I loved all the performances and that it is PG so kids all over the world will know about these amazing women.
14. Hell or High Water- Basically a perfectly executed film about two brothers pushed to the edge and the officers who are following them. It has such a sense of place and feels very relevant to many issues we face today. I felt for the characters and was engrossed the entire time. Not my typical genre but it won me over any way.
13. 10 Cloverfield Lane- I don’t see that many thrillers/horror movies but this one blew me away. I loved how it kept surprising me. I really didn’t know where it was going or what was going to happen. I loved Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman in the leads and even the ending that others didn’t like I kind of dug. It’s one of the only times in recent years I had genuine fun at a horror movie.
12. Presenting Princess Shaw- 2016 was an amazing year for documentaries and this was one of my favorites. As a youtuber, this story of Samantha from Atlanta who ends up as part of a video for an Israeli man named Kutiman meant a lot to me. It reminded me that this sometimes toxic medium can be a powerful tool to serve others and bond with strangers.
11. Pete’s Dragon- Yes, I’m kind of ashamed of myself that this didn’t make my top 10 because I loved it so much. This is the kind of movie I want Disney to make. It was small, intimate with humongous heart. I can’t believe they pulled off the dragon on such a small budget. I loved the cast especially Oaks Begley as Pete. Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford were completely lovely. It reminded me of live action movies we used to get from Disney that weren’t afraid to be real and deep with kids. Now we get the next warmed over bland remake…
10. Tower- This documentary was new and fresh and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It profiles a sniper standout at the University of Texas in 1966 but it uses animation to make the experience more rich and textured. The different characters were compelling with a variety of reactions and getting to see them in the real and animated forms was very absorbing. It amazed me how some had never really dealt with the incident after all these years making the documentary very raw.
9. Zootopia- I admit some of the criticisms of Zootopia had started to get to me and then I rewatched it and remembered how much I love it. Sure the metaphor has holes if you overthink it but it’s still powerful for children and the movie isn’t only the metaphor. There are lessons about never giving up, facing bullies, forgiveness and friendship. Mostly it is about not letting our fears dictate our behaviors. I love Judy as a character and the friendship between her and Nick is very heartfelt. The world building is amazing and it is so funny.
8. Things to Come- This film has 100% on rotten tomatoes and there is a reason why- it’s amazing! Isabelle Huppert is incredible in this role of a woman who’s life goes completely upside down in every way possible. She’s devastated of course but it actually becomes this empowering experience for her. It’s a very fly on the wall kind of film without a strong plot but I loved it. Huppert is so great in the lead role and the writing is honest and powerful. It’s the only time I have felt moved to tears by the speech of an agnostic explaining her views on life.
7. The Red Turtle- A combined project between director Michael Dudok De Wit and Studio Ghibli is one of the most stunning films I saw all year. With no dialogue, The Red Turtle manages to tell a stirring story about fate, love and how nature sometimes knows best. The animation is awe inspiring and the music is the best of 2016.
6. Lion- This is how you do a true story right. I loved everything about this movie. The child actor is incredible and I felt his chaos, joy and fears as he carries the first hour of the movie. Then Dev Patel comes in and does a great job showing the highs and challenges of adoption. Nicole Kidman was fantastic as his mother and the cinematography and music were so well done.
5. Love and Friendship- This movie gave me a new Jane Austen book. How can I not love it for that reason alone but it’s not just that. It’s super funny and has an energy and pizazz to it the other Austen adaptations (as much as I love them) don’t. Lady Susan is kind of an anti-hero who’s self-interest ends up being to everyone’s benefit in the end. The dialogue is hilarious as well as the costume, product design and everything else. I love it more each time I watch it.
4. Moana- I can hear the shocks now. I am sure most thought this would be my top pick. I really do love it so much. I love Moana as a character. I love how unselfish her quest is. I love the animation, music, humor, and characters. I love that it focuses on Polynesia, which has my heart. I really don’t have any big flaws with it. I just felt my top 3 were a little more unique than this but I LOVE Moana!
3. Hacksaw Ridge- Moana entertained me. Hacksaw Ridge made me want to be a better person. Yes it is super violent but it’s a rare case where the violence actually made it a better movie. I love that Desmond’s abstaining from war is not dictated by his faith but is a personal covenant between him and God. It reminded me of Daniel and the Lions Den. Sure he could pretend and play along, just hold the gun, but that wouldn’t be true to his promise to God. So, when he cashes in that faith with his pleas for ‘One more Lord’ it blew my mind. It made me want to go out and be more faithful and serve others more.
2. Sing Street- This movie is like joy in movie form. I watch it over and over again. I love everything about it. I love the relationship between the brothers and their dialogue. I love the romance and how they make each other better. I love the music and the payoff concert. It’s a movie I could watch 100 times and never tire of.
1. Your Name- I thought long and hard about it and I believe Your Name is the best movie I saw in 2016. It’s so original, stunning and emotional. It starts off as a fun body swap movie and then a friendship grows which is challenged when a complication is introduced. Then it takes on a sci-fi element that was surprising and I had no idea what was going to happen without being too twist dependent. I loved the characters and what they learn from each other. The animation is stunning and the music (both score and songs) are perfect. It’s a movie that each time I watch I see layers I had missed the first time. It’s stunning and my favorite movie of 2016!
So there you have it! What did you think of my list? How does it match up with your list and what are your favorites of 2016?
And if you were wondering my 16-20 are
16. Kubo and the Two Strings
17. Queen of Katwe
18. Midnight Special
19. Kung fu Panda 3
20. Manchester by the Sea
If you are wondering I will see My Life as a Zucchini next week at Sundance and then I will do my 2016 animation ranking.
Now on to 2017!
17 thoughts on “My Top 15 Films of 2016”
Never even heard of Seeking Princess Shaw before.
What, Moana wasn’t #1? Gasp! Your Name was your #1? I gotta watch it sometime.
Oh yeah, did you review Lion before? I don’t think I remember you saying you saw the film yet.
I love introducing you to new films! 😀. I reviewed Lion in one of my Current Movie Review posts I believe. It’s so good
Now I’m looking through and realizing I didnt review Lion. For shame!
Well, at least it made your top list!
Great to finally get your list! I personally saw 22 films in the cinema in 2016, which is probably the most times I’ve been to the cinema in one year. I’ve only seen 4 of the films in your top 15 (6 if you include #16-20) – some of the others aren’t really my thing but I’d like to check out Your Name at least, plus I’ll be watching Hidden Figures when it comes out in the UK.
Thanks. I know you saw Zootopia, Love and Friendship and Moana. What is the 4th film? It was a very hard list to make. 22 is actually quite a bit at the cinema. Nearly 2 a month.
The fourth one was Pete’s Dragon, which was #10 on my own list. Among your #16-20, I saw Kubo & The Two Strings (#5 on my list) and Kung Fu Panda 3 (which I didn’t like as much as the first two).
Oh yeah I forgot that about Pete’s Dragon. Yay!
Especially loved Sing Street, Moana, Love and Friendship, Lion, Zootopia, 10 Cloverfield Lane, and Hell or High Water. Haven’t seen Your Name, The Red Turtle, Things to Come, Tower, or Presenting Princess Shaw but I will at some point.
I thought I had an idea of how your list would look. I must say, that while your choices don’t surprise me, the ordering of your list changed significantly from when we talked in early December. Moana took quite a tumble from the #1 spot. Also, I remember you raving about Kubo and the Two Strings. I expected it to be much much higher. I didn’t even know you had seen Things to Come. Isabelle Huppert is quite memorable in Elle as well, by the way.
I love lists like this because it’s a window into a reviewer’s likes and dislikes. Great post!!
Thanks so much! I went over the list so many times because I like them all for different reasons. Can I just make the top 5 a tie? ;).
The only reason Kubo ended at 16 is because I’ve never loved the very ending. Also I had so much animation on the list so I wanted to showcase something else. It was a very tough call.
I like reading these lists also. They can be hard for me to write but a good experience also.
Interesting. I never heard you criticize the ending, but that’s what kept me from completely embracing the film as well. The whole film was about collecting these artifacts and then the conclusion just throws all that out the window rendering everything we just watched a waste of time. Of course, it wasn’t a true waste of time because it was so beautiful to behold.
It made my #18 out of the over 100 films I watched, so I still enjoyed it immensely.
Yeah I know what you mean about Kubo. I suppose I end having to nitpick a bit when making this list. I loved Kubo as a character so much and I wish they’d have the guts to end it with a bittersweet ending instead of what they do with the Grandpa and all. But I still love it very much. These lists are tough 😀
Do you think I’d like Elle? I’ve been hesitant because of the director and subject matter
I refer you back to your review for Nocturnal Animals, “It was too violent and gratuitous for my taste.”
For me, it’s all about context. Elle’s subject matter is much stronger and more adult. The narrative is morally questionable and psychologically twisted. One way to look at it would be as a woman empowered. There are some complex themes addressed that aren’t really resolved until the end. It’s a fascinating watch, but quite disturbing too.
One thing is for sure, Isabelle Huppert’s performance is among the very best of the year.
That’s great insight. Thank you. I have no doubt Huppert is great as she is so amazing in Things to Come. She’s kind of this year’s Charlotte Rampling- great actress I should have known about but now love! I’ll have to give Elle some thought. I normally avoid anything with rape but you are right about context. Anyway thanks
Wow, surprised and glad to see Your Name at the top! I’m seriously behind on 2016 viewing, but I at least saw (and enjoyed) that, Sing Street, Zootopia, and 10 Cloverfield Lane. Lion, Hidden Figures, and The Red Turtle especially look amazing! So how does Your Name rank among your favorite anime films?