Kimberley Jones’ Top 10 Films of 2016
An exquisite exploration of how identity is shaped, the mask we make to hide that identity, and what sweet release there is in letting the mask slip.
2) La La Land
"Why do you say 'romantic' like it's a dirty word?" With song and dance, Damien Chazelle rehabilitates romance for our cynical age.
3) 20th Century Women
Mike Mills' companion piece to Beginners is a funny, tender tribute to his mother and other boss women who shaped him as a proto-feminist Seventies skate punk.
4) The Handmaiden
The crotch-cam made me hoot, but Park Chan-wook wasn't just paying lip service to the female gaze.
5) American Honey
Andrea Arnold has an eye for ferocious new talent. She doesn't harness Sasha Lane – she lets her run sublime riot.
6) The Lobster
Love is blind, amirite?
7) Don't Think Twice
Mike Birbiglia's ensemble piece about competition and community in a fracturing improv group was funny, yes, and ... so melancholic, too.
Brava, Sonia Braga. I'd throw roses at her feet if I could.
9) A Bigger Splash
So sexy. So sinister. And rock-solid proof that Tilda Swinton doesn't even have to open her mouth to dazzle.
10) Maggie's Plan
This underseen comedy was just a daffy delight.
Hail, Caesar!; Little Men; Weiner; Paterson; The Nice Guys
Doctor Strange, Finding Dory, Florence Foster Jenkins
Maggie's Plan, The Dressmaker, Passengers
Daring? Derivative? Emo MRA? A love story for the ages? Swiss Army Man was something all right, I just don't know what. But I know I'm still thinking about it.
Acting Kudos (Male)
Adam Driver (Paterson), Denzel Washington (Fences), Ralph Fiennes (A Bigger Splash), Daniel Radcliffe (Swiss Army Man), Ben Foster (Hell or High Water)
All five slots could've gone to the extraordinary cast of Moonlight: The three actors playing the silent, watchful Chiron at different ages (Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes), and Mahershala Ali and André Holland in small but impactful supporting roles.
Acting Kudos (Female)
Annette Bening (20th Century Women), Greta Gerwig (20th Century Women, Maggie's Plan), Sonia Braga (Aquarius), Min-hee Kim and Tae-ri Kim (The Handmaiden)
Annette Bening (20th Century Women) could level a building with a look. That squint is magnificent.
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Park Chan-wook (The Handmaiden)
Best Original Screenplay
Mike Mills (20th Century Women), Rebecca Miller (Maggie's Plan), Kelly Fremon Craig (The Edge of Seventeen)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Whit Stillman (Love & Friendship), Eric Heisserer (Arrival)
Bless The Great British Bake Off. It's been a damn stressful year, and I self-medicated with this reality import that's more cuddles than competition. And in the euphony sweepstakes, "self-saucing pud" gives "cellar door" a real run for the money.
Author: The JT LeRoy Story: This infuriating, ethically icky doc let itself be seduced by the literary world's most notorious con artist.