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Just when you think things can’t get better, this year has brought tons of innovative, diverse films that had me crying, laughing, and reminiscing. Some of these I’ve seen, some of them I haven’t had the chance to yet, and some aren’t even out, but this list is carefully calculated from my own opinions, the opinions of film critics, and of the general public (and by that, I mean film Twitter). So, in no particular order, here are the best ten movies of 2019.

‘The Farewell’ by Lulu Wang

Based on an actual lie that Wang’s own family told, this film follows Billi (beautifully portrayed by the multifaceted Awkwafina) as she returns to China to visit her sick grandmother (Zhao Shuzhen) under the guise of a wedding. It is the perfect balance of drama and comedy that strikes a chord in your heart. And I should know; I spent a few minutes crying to Lulu Wang, unable to get my words out. That’s how beautiful it is.

‘Booksmart’ by Olivia Wilde

When you think of the quintessential high school coming-of-age movie, most people think of The Breakfast Club or Mean Girls. But up until now, there hasn’t been a film to define this decade as well as Wilde’s directorial debut does. Booksmart follows academic overachievers Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) as they let loose on their final day as high schoolers. Feldstein and Dever create the ultimate female duo with their raunchy, witty charm (and awkwardness) and heartfelt friendship. This film embraces our generation, which not many films get right. Read more about how I feel about this film here.

‘Parasite’ by Bong Joon-ho

There aren’t many perfect movies in my book, but Parasite is definitely at the top of the list. This dark comedy thriller (honestly, you can’t place this film in just one genre) follows the Kim family as they climb the ranks from their dilapidated basement to the Park family’s mansion on top of a hill. It is a heart-wrenching, thought-provoking story on societal class division that goes beyond all language barriers. Parasite will probably be your favorite film of the year – it definitely was mine.

Us’ by Jordan Peele

Yes, this film came out a while ago in comparison to the others on the list, but we can’t forget about it! Peele’s sophomore film after the wildly popular Get Out lived up to expectations. The film follows the Wilson family as they spend their summer vacation escaping from their evil doppelgangers. Horrifying, I know. Every red jumpsuit you see or every time you hear “I Got 5 On It,” you may be a bit psychologically traumatized, but it’s definitely worth it.

 ‘Midsommar’ by Ari Aster

In this folk horror film, a group of friends travel to Sweden for what they think is a midsummer celebration that only occurs every ninety years, but in actuality, they are being dragged into a pagan cult. Florence Pugh delivers a breakout performance and cements herself as a rising star. It’s violent and bizarre, but you need to watch for yourself to uncover all of the wonderful weirdness.

‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ by Céline Sciamma

While this film has yet to premiere worldwide, what I’ve heard and what I’ve seen about this film was enough to secure a spot. Winning best screenplay and the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, this French historical drama tells the story of a female painter who is commissioned to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman who does not want to get married at all. They begin to develop a mutual attraction, which might derail everyone’s plans.

‘Little Women’ by Greta Gerwig

Greta Gerwig, Timothée Chalamet, and Saoirse Ronan? Sign me up! Opening in theaters on Christmas day, Gerwig puts a modern spin on this classic tale. Based on her debut film Lady Bird, her goal is to put women at the forefront, which the film industry has been missing for the longest time. The March sisters return with their own individual, electric personalities and stories which I hope don’t get lost. 

‘Jojo Rabbit’ by Taika Waititi

Waititi’s filmmaking style is odd, fun, and definitely unlike anything you’ve seen before, but that’s what makes it so amazing. In this historical satire, Jojo, a member of the Hitler Youth, discovers a Jewish girl in his attic. He must fight between his blind nationalism and his imaginary friend Adolf Hitler. Sounds bizarre, but don’t knock it until you try it.

‘Waves’ by Trey Shults

From what I’ve seen, “Waves” is beautiful, raw, and brutally honest. It is a domestic melodrama following the Williams family as they navigate through hardship and come together at a time when they need to the most.

‘Uncut Gems’ by Josh and Benny Safdie

More commonly known as the Safdie brothers, these Boston University alum are about to premiere their biggest film yet. Starring Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner, a jewelry store owner and compulsive gambler, this film gives him the chance to prove one and for all that he isn’t just a comedian.  

As we say goodbye to the decade, let’s be thankful for the wonderfully diverse human experiences that these films capture and be hopeful for what the coming years have to offer.


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Sannah is a freshman at BU studying Film + TV in the College of Communication. Most of her writing is inspired by her interests in film, fashion, and activism. Other than that, you can find her working at coffee shops, watching (and rewatching) random films, and quoting Taylor Swift lyrics.
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