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The 22 Best Indie Films of 2012, According to Criticwire

Photo of Eric Kohn By Eric Kohn | Indiewire January 2, 2013 at 1:12PM

Nearly 400 critics listed in Indiewire's Criticwire network graded theatrical and VOD releases over the course of 2012. Among those, 22 films graded by 10 or more critics currently maintain an aggregate grade of A- or higher.
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Among the top-rated films released in 2012 (clockwise from left): "Oslo, August 31st," "Amour" and "The Imposter."

Nearly 400 critics listed in Indiewire's Criticwire network graded theatrical and VOD releases over the course of 2012. Among those, 22 films graded by 10 or more critics currently maintain an aggregate grade of A- or higher.

Of course, the list of all films graded positively by critics over the past year runs much longer. In June, Indiewire rounded up the highest rated films of the year so far, including a number of titles that screened at festivals but had yet to receive any kind of release. Since then, with the launch of Criticwire's new design in September, members have been provided the ability to grade films on their own and have subsequently flooded the network with grades for hundreds of films, including older titles. Readers may track recent activity in the network by visiting the homepage for the Criticwire network and using various buttons to filter through the most recent grades.

Starting with the launch of the Criticwire blog in March 2012, we began to track the latest activity in the Criticwire network with our weekly Criticwire Picks column. Since then, certain films averages have fluctuated as more critics have entered grades in our system. In two notable instance, both Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" and Joachim Trier's "Oslo, August 31st" held B+ averages when they first hit theaters, but have since jumped up to an A- ratings. Since an average grade can fluctuate wildly when only a few critics have weighed in, we've only included films that have received 10 or more grades, and divided them into two categories: The Top Narrative Features of 2012 and The Top Documentaries of 2012.

A number of the films included in this list of finalists have garnered acclaim in the usual places, with both the Palme D'Or-winning "Amour" and Indiewire year-end critics poll champ "Holy Motors" making the cut in the Top Narrative Feature Category. However, lesser noticed films such as "I Wish" and "The Island President" managed strong showings of support as well.

Still, regardless of what these high ratings suggest about these films' level of quality, we implore readers to explore the Criticwire network to look beyond consensus and focus on individual perspectives. By clicking on any of the links to film titles listed on the following pages, you can browse a film page for the list of grades and reviews submitted by members of our network.

Top Narrative Features of 2012

"Amour" (Film Page)

"Barbara" (Film Page)

"The Day He Arrives" (Film Page)

"Elena" (Film Page)

"Holy Motors" (Film Page)

"I Wish" (Film Page)

"Moonrise Kingdom" (Film Page)

"The Raid: Redemption" (Film Page)

"Tabu" (Film Page)

"Oslo, August 31st" (Film Page)

"Zero Dark Thirty" (Film Page)

Top Documentaries of 2012

"5 Broken Cameras" (Film Page)

"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" (Film Page)

"Beauty is Embarrassing" (Film Page)

"Detropia" (Film Page)

"The House I Live In" (Film Page)

"The Imposter" (Film Page)

"The Island President" (Film Page)

"Under African Skies" (Film Page)

"Searching for Sugar Man" (Film Page)

"Side By Side" (Film Page)

"West of Memphis" (Film Page)
 

This article is related to: West of Memphis, Side by Side, Searching for Sugar Man, 5 Broken Cameras, Beauty is Embarrassing, DETROPIA, The House I Live In, The Imposter, The Island President, Under African Skies, Amour, Barbara, The Day He Arrives, Elena, Holy Motors , I Wish, Moonrise Kingdom, The Raid: Redemption, Tabu, Oslo, August 31st, Zero Dark Thirty