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Top 25 Films of 2008

Top 25 Films of 2008

I find it hard to agree with the multitude of arguments that 2008 was any sort of weak year for filmmaking. The ten films I narrowed down for this list jointly represent all the adjectives you want from great cinema: affecting, challenging, ambitious, inspiring… I think a lot of the year’s collective criticism came from all the letdowns of the final few months. That dozen or so films with great gold hopes that failed to, at least personally, impress, mostly due to one common factor: a lack of any emotional relationship between the screen and the viewer. But that was not the case in the films noted here (and take note: all but one of which screened at least through a festival prior to August). All of these films I can totally go back to in my mind and regain a sense of my reaction. Every moment Poppy spent in the car with Scott. That final scene in Wendy and Lucy. The awe-inspiring first fifteen minutes of WALL-E. The first frame of Heath Ledger‘s performance in The Dark Knight. The walk home from watching Synecdoche, New York.

Though I’ll admit it was probably more challenging to place numbers in front of those films than most years. Perhaps because no one film had the overwhelming sense of artistry films that topped this list in the past had (There WIll Be Blood, Far From Heaven, Brokeback Mountain, for example). So it should be understood that had I arranged this list last week or next, the order might have been entirely different.

1. Wendy & Lucy

2. Happy-Go-Lucky


4. The Dark Knight

5. Waltz With Bashir

6. Milk

7 . A Christmas Tale

8. Synecdoche, New York

9. Ballast

10. Let The Right One In

11. The Class
12. Man on Wire
13. Rachel Getting Married
14. Pineapple Express
15. Gomorrah
16. The Wrestler
17. Slumdog Millionaire
18. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
19. Momma’s Man
20. Up The Yangtze
21. My Winnipeg
22. Love Songs
23. Frozen River
24. The Visitor
25. Burn After Reading

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