A. O. Scott, Manohla Dargis’ Top Ten Films of 2012

(thanks Marshall!)

Top 10 Films

1. AMOUR (Michael Haneke) With ruthless clarity, but also with tact and compassion, Mr. Haneke invites us to look at the arrival of death at the end of a Parisian couple’s long marriage, and shows, almost as if for the first time, how the saddest and most intractable facts of life can be transformed into art. Months after its debut at Cannes this film already feels permanent.

2. LINCOLN (Steven Spielberg) A great, flawed movie about a great, flawed president of a great, flawed nation. Argue about the flaws, but allow yourself to be moved by the grand, noble sentiments that swirl through Tony Kushner’s eloquent script and Daniel Day-Lewis’s sly performance.

3. BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (Benh Zeitlin) A thousand years from now scientists will know that there was a Hushpuppy, who lived in the Bathtub with her daddy.

4. FOOTNOTE (Joseph Cedar)

5. THE MASTER (Paul Thomas Anderson)

6. ZERO DARK THIRTY (Kathryn Bigelow)

7. DJANGO UNCHAINED (Quentin Tarantino) Mr. Tarantino follows “Inglourious Basterds,” his action-cartoon about the Holocaust, with an even bolder provocation: a blaxploitation spaghetti western about American slavery. More than any other director he tests and extends the power of pop-culture fantasy to engage the painful atrocities of history.

8. GOODBYE, FIRST LOVE (Mia Hansen-Love)

9. NEIGHBORING SOUNDS (Kleber Mendonça Filho)

10. THE GREY (Joe Carnahan)

Manohla Dargis:

  1. “Amour” (Michael Haneke)
  2. “The Deep Blue Sea” (Terence Davies)
  3. “The Gatekeepers” (Dror Moreh)
  4. “Holy Motors” (Leos Carax)
  5. “The Master” (Paul Thomas Anderson)
  6. “Moonrise Kingdom” (Wes Anderson)
  7. “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
  8. “Searching for Sugar Man” (Malik Bendjelloul)
  9. “Silver Linings Playbook” (David O. Russell)
  10. “Zero Dark Thirty” (Kathryn Bigelow).

Full details at the NYTimes. Honorable mentions and docs after the cut.


“Argo” (Ben Affleck)
“Barbara” (Christian Petzold)
“Brave” (Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman)
“Consuming Spirits” (Chris Sullivan)
“The Deep Blue Sea” (Terence Davies)
“Moonrise Kingdom” (Wes Anderson)
“Pitch Perfect” (Jason Moore)
“Rust and Bone” (Jacques Audiard)
“Take This Waltz” (Sarah Polley)
“The Turin Horse” (Bela Tarr).

Top Five Documentaries


2. THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES (Lauren Greenfield)


4. THIS IS NOT A FILM (Jafar Panahi)

5. THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE (Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon) A notorious crime — the rape of a jogger in Central Park in 1989 — is revisited in this painful, angry, scrupulously reported story of race, injustice and media frenzy.


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