Top 10 Movies of 2016

The Chronicle film staff's overall winners of the year

La La Land

It's always a scramble, these end-of-year things that people love to argue over: an attempt to distill a year in cinema to lists. I've long loathed the task, and I especially began to hate it this year, when my short list grew longer and longer, and there were a dozen films I hadn't even seen yet. But a conversation with senior film critic (and my mentor) Marjorie Baumgarten turned me around. "It's just a moment in time," she said, "take it with a grain of salt, and move on. Life's too short."

Marge knows how to cut to the quick, as amply evidenced in her body of work here at the Chronicle. Her astute analysis and beautifully written reviews were a template on how I structured my own. But it takes a village, as they say. Steve Davis' gift for transforming a bad film into a hilarious review showed me that there is a silver lining to even the most wretched assignments. Marc Savlov's turn of phrase and encyclopedic knowledge of (mostly) everything spurred me to do the research. Kimberley Jones' acerbic wit and clear, unique voice, helped me find my own. I love being a part of this pentagrammic cadre, and really proud of our cumulative list below. But I'm particularly delighted with the individual lists, as I can see everyone's personalities coming through loud and clear in the choices they've made. It might have not been a great year for other things, but it was a stellar year for movies. We've made these lists, and now we move on, inexorably but optimistically, to the future.

The Austin Chronicle's Top 10 Films of 2016

1) La La Land

2) Moonlight

3) TIE: The Handmaiden
Manchester by the Sea

5) American Honey

6) Tower

7) The Lobster

8) TIE: Green Room

10) Captain Fantastic

More Top 10s
Jessi Cape's Top Reads of 2016
Top Books to Inspire Hope Amidst Change
Memoirs of activism and tales of suspense helped ground this reader during a roller-coaster year

Jessi Cape, Dec. 30, 2016

Rosalind Faires' Top Reads of 2016
Top Books to Make You Cry on Your Lunch Break
These three novels drew a discreet tear or two with their beautiful, brave, and bittersweet humanity

Rosalind Faires, Dec. 30, 2016

More by Josh Kupecki
A college student's burgeoning sexuality brings on psychic powers

Dec. 1, 2017

The Trauma of Thanksgiving Films
The Trauma of Thanksgiving Films
Or, how to alienate your family this holiday season

Nov. 24, 2017


Top 10s, La La Land, Moonlight, The Handmaiden, Manchester by the Sea, American Honey, Tower, The Lobster, Green Room, Aquarius, Captain Fantastic

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)