The Top 5 Movies of 2019
Year's best shot beautifully, land heavily
- Parasite — Bong Joon-ho proves once again that he's one of the best working filmmakers with this poignant, dark satire about class struggle. We watch as two poor families do increasingly horrific things to each other to maintain their place as servants for a wealthy family. The result is both darkly funny and heartbreakingly sad often at the same time. However, he never really takes sides. The camera remains an impartial observer, taking us to the tragic but logical conclusion that stands as one of the best climaxes of the year and cements the film as one of the best social satires ever made. Neon. Currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, and Vudu for $5.99
2. The Souvenir — The most achingly personal film of the year, Joanna Hogg's tale of a young film student's doomed romance in the early 1980s is one of both joy and heartbreak. She deftly shows two people change in a world that seems against everything they stand for (through self-expression for one, self-destruction for another) as well as love slowly deteriorating in the wake of substance abuse. The gorgeous cinematography captures the euphoria of first love, but also the raw pain of when it is lost forever. In many ways, this love story doesn't make sense, but that's what makes it all so real. A24. Currently available for streaming free for Amazon Prime subscribers, and from $3.99 on YouTube, Google Play, and from $4.99 on Vudu.
3. Marriage Story — At its core, Noah Baumbach's film is a love story, but one that shows its characters' love at its bitter end. We see the slow, humiliating process of divorce that can be both depressing and strangely absurd, where people are turned into numbers, casual conversations are used as weapons to attack one another and the last traces of affection are dissolved before our eyes. Through a brilliant script, confident direction and the two best lead performances of the year (Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson), the film expertly displays what happens when the end of a relationship becomes a legal process. Currently streaming for free for Netflix subscribers.
4. The Irishman — Call it "the mob movie to end all mob movies." Martin Scorsese brings the whole sub-genre to task and uses mob tropes to ask what it truly means to stay loyal until the very end. Though concerning the most infamous mafia hit in history, Scorsese is less interested in the events surrounding Jimmy Hoffa's death and more with the effects it has on the perpetrators after it's over. Culminating in the final scenes which rank as some of the finest filmmaking in Scorsese's career, where all that's left are sad, broken people in a world that has all but forgotten their existence. Currently streaming for free for Netflix subscribers.
5. High Life — Claire Denis's first English-language film (released in 2019 stateside) is a hypnotic, mind-bending experience and one of the most thoughtful and terrifying depictions of life in space seen in years. The story of convicts used as test subjects to observe a black hole is more of a sensorial experience rather than a conventional narrative. We watch as human beings are made into lab rats for the purpose of scientific advancement as well as the harsh toll that deep space travel takes on people. The result is both mesmerizing and frightening, as is usually the case with most of the best science fiction. A24. Currently available for streaming free for Amazon Prime subscribers, and from $3.99 on YouTube, Google Play, and from $4.99 on Vudu.
Ash is Purest White
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Forest Taylor sees a lot of movies. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Streaming information added on Thursday, March 19, 2020.