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Sight & Sound Crowns ‘The Souvenir’ as 2019’s Best Film

Joanna Hogg's intense and personal movie leads an eclectic top 20 from the BFI magazine.

"The Souvenir"

“The Souvenir”

A24

Sight & Sound has revealed its top 20 films of 2019, and the British Film Institute magazine’s eclectic list is led by Joanna Hogg’s intense and personal “The Souvenir.” That film stars breakout Honor Swinton Byrne as a burgeoning filmmaker whose life is torn to bits by the arrival of a charming, dissolute heroin addict. “The Souvenir” also recently landed on BBC’s list of the 100 greatest films directed by women.

Also factoring into the Sight & Sound top 20 are the year’s usual suspects, such as Bong Joon Ho’s South Korean Oscar entry “Parasite,” Quentin Tarantino’s Tinseltown love letter “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Martin Scorsese’s epic “The Irishman,” and Claire Denis’ space odyssey ‘High Life.” Year-end appreciation is fomenting for Jordan Peele’s “Us,” despite the fact that the doppelgänger horror story arrived in March.

The top 10s are beginning to pour in. Time Magazine recently shared film critic Stephanie Zacharek’s top films of the year, led by Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain & Glory,” which opens an autobiographical window into the Spanish director’s life and work. One film that’s not showing up on these lists is “Joker.”

Time and Sight & Sound similarly love “Marriage Story,” too. That movie, while now in theaters, drops on Netflix on Friday, December 6, just in time to bring the acrid sting of divorce to your holiday season.

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Below, check out Sight & Sound’s top 20, which features plenty of discoveries. “The Souvenir” is streaming free on Amazon Prime, as are “Midsommar” and “High Life.” “Atlantics,” first-time filmmaker Mati Diop’s moody Senegalese Oscar entry, is now on Netflix. (IndieWire made the case for that movie here.)

20. “Martin Eden” (Pietro Marcello)
19. “Hustlers” (Lorena Scafaria)
18. “Happy as Lazzaro” (Alice Rohrwacher)
17. “The Lighthouse” (Robert Eggers)
16. “Midsommar” (Ari Aster)
15. “For Sama” (Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts)
14. “Marriage Story” (Noah Baumbach)
13. “Monos” (Alejandro Landes)
12. “Uncut Gems” (Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie)
11. “High Life” (Claire Denis)
10. “Vitalina Varela” (Pedro Costa)
9. “Us” (Jordan Peele)
8. “Bait” (Mark Jenkin)
7. “Atlantics” (Mati Diop)
6. “Pain and Glory” (Pedro Almodóvar)
5. “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (Céline Sciamma)
4. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Quentin Tarantino)
3. “The Irishman” (Martin Scorsese)
2. “Parasite” (Bong Joon Ho)
1. “The Souvenir” (Joanna Hogg)

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