10 Best Movies of 2016

It is that time of the year again, when I have to sit down and recall all the movies that I saw during the year and shortlist the ten best among them. Frankly, it is no easy task — not due of its arduous nature but because there is no clear definition of “best” when it comes to matters of art. Still, as someone who loves both cinema and cinephiles, I consider it my duty to enlist the movies that I loved the most during the year. So, here is the list of the 10 best movies of 2016. Not only I enjoyed every moment of watching these ten movies but also I feel these films will be remembered the most with the passage of time.


10. The Edge of Seventeen

In a genre that’s often ridden with clichés, ‘The Edge of Seventeen’ is full of fresh characters that are treated as human beings and not as props of entertainment. What makes the film great though is Hailee Steinfeld’s brilliantly nuanced performance. It joins the ranks of the finest teenage dramas of this century with films like ‘The Perks of Being Wall Flower’ and ‘The Spectacular Now’. (Read our review)


9. The Lobster

It’s unusual and strange — and may not cater to everyone — but that doesn’t mean it is not brilliant. An allegorical tale about the pressure that society puts on us to be a couple, ‘The Lobster’ is wildly original and absurdly humorous. It is high time that we start qualifying Yorgos Lanthimos (whose ‘Dogtooth’ is one of the best films of this century) as some sort of genius.


8. Hell or High Water

There are plenty of Westerns our there. There are arguably even more heist movies. But director David Mackenzie takes the best out of both the worlds and seamlessly merges the two. Rich in detail and atmosphere, ‘Hell or High Water’ is truly a great crime thriller. While it is entertaining all throughout, it also surprises you with its thematic richness and moral ambiguity. (Read our review)


7. Moonlight

Coming of age films don’t come in better form or shape than ‘Moonlight’. Strikingly shot and superbly acted, every moment of the film is crafted with nurture and care. While at its center lies the story of a gay black man, it is the supporting characters that make the film a cathartic experience. ‘Moonlight’ not only looks and feels fresh, but its story-telling is also completely original. (Read our review)


6. Arrival

‘Arrival’ astounds you with its concept. A concept that surprisingly no writer/filmmaker ever thought of. If ever Aliens arrive to earth, chances of them engaging in a Spielbergian warfare are less. At least not before they try to communicate with us first. What’s also beautiful about ‘Arrival’ is that at its heart, it is a story of mother and the difficult choices she has to make. (Read our review)


5. The Salesman

Nobody makes better films about moral ambiguity than Asghar Farhadi. ‘The Salesman’ starts out slow, but as it approaches its climax, it reaches a crescendo that is surely going to make you uncomfortable and question your own morality. There are no easy answers to questions that the film raises. Farhadi clearly knows how to leave you with a pondering mind and a beating heart.


4. 20th Century Women

There’s something about films that invoke nostalgia. If they work, like ’20th Century Women’ does, they magically take to you a place (and time) where you may not have been but yet you end up feeling you were always there. While watching ’20th Century Women’ I felt deeply connected to its quirky but likeable characters. By the time it came to its bittersweet, tearful conclusion, I wanted to hug each one of them.


3. Toni Erdmann

The funniest German film ever made. Period. But ‘Toni Erdmann’ is not just funny; it is surprisingly moving and purposely revealing. In the midst of all the laugh out loud moments lies a tender father-daughter story that sheds light on modern relationships. The 162 minutes of ‘Toni Erdmann’ will feel like a joyride. And joyride, sure it is! (Read our review)


2. Manchester by the Sea

There are films that you love. Then, there are films that you never forget. ‘Manchester by the Sea’ is certainly one of those rare films that stay with you all your life. Apart from fluid storytelling what is so striking about the film is how it manages to make you laugh and cry at the same time — often in the same scenes. Director Kenneth Logan has taken everyday moments of a tragedy-striken family and created a singular piece of art that is richly nuanced and humane and humorous. (Read our review)


1. La La Land

‘La La Land’ is the epitome of what a musical should look and feel like. The trick with making a successful musical is to hold no bars. Damien Chazelle does exactly that, while simultaneously ensuring that his film tells a moving story that everyone who has ever been in love can relate to. That’s why ‘La La Land’ is quite possibly the best musical made since ‘Cabaret’. Replete with eye-popping song and dance numbers, ‘La La Land’ is a mesmerizing and emotional tale of aspirations in a world where success is both the best friend and the worst enemy. I can’t recall the last time I enjoyed watching a film so much in a movie theater. (Read our review)