Ten Best Films of 2013
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
The year’s Ten Best Films? As film critic Andrew O’Hehir observes, “Everybody who writes about movies dreads making these lists, yet all of us want to read each other’s lists.”
Actually, I compose a Top Ten list every week!
Nonetheless, as Oscar season approaches, these Best of the Year lists pop up like mushrooms. Here’s mine, a personal catalog that ignores likely award-winners and focuses on what I found entertaining.
10. “About Time” -- Not likely to appear on many serious lists, this quirky little comedy about time travel will steal your heart. Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) bends time to pursue Mary (Rachel McAdams), but it’s the relationship with his dad (Bill Nighy) that puts a lump in our throat.
9. “Gravity” -- Sandra Bullock adrift in space proves her previous Oscar win wasn’t a fluke. Even the spectacular special effects can’t overpower her near-wordless performance as a stranded astronaut. And George Clooney drops in to give the film gravitas.
8. “The Way Way Back” -- A bittersweet coming-of-age story about a boy and an amusement park. Adrift while his mother kowtows to her new boyfriend, 14-year old Duncan (Liam James) learns confidence from the park’s cool manager (Sam Rockwell).
7. “Philomena” -- A discredited journalist (Steve Coogan) helps an Irish woman (Dame Judi Dench) search for the illegitimate son she lost to the nuns 50 years ago.
6. “12 Years a Slave” -- A free black man is shanghaied into slavery in 1841. Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) proves that a man’s impetus to be free is key to his survival. Brad Pitt is on hand to help us deal with white guilt.
5. “Blue Jasmine” -- Woody Allen gives us two half-sisters who have made poor choices in mates. Here, Jasmine and Ginger (Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins) try to deal with their respective reversals of fortune.
4. “Nebraska” -- Woody (Bruce Dern) is a Montana farmer traveling with his son (Will Forte) to the title state hoping to claim a million-dollar sweepstake prize.
3. “August: Osage County” -- A generational shift of power takes place between mother and daughter (Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts) in this drama. Based on the stage play, but as real as a family reunion.
2. “American Hustle” -- Loosely based on the infamous ABSCAM affair, a couple of con artists (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) make a fool out of an overbearing FBI agent (Bradley Cooper).
1. “Prisoners” -- An almost-perfect mystery as a policeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) helps an angry father (Hugh Jackman) search for his kidnapped daughter. You’ll shut your eyes in parts, but the dramatic rescue lingers on like the sound of a child’s whistle.