Since the Oscars are tomorrow night I thought I would give my top ten movies of 2007 as well as the best performances of the year. It was a good year for movies, no doubt, however when on 9/11 people said the age of irony is dead it did not prove to be true, but it seems maybe it is taking place now. Because every good movie (outside of a few) were terribly traumatic and violent films. It is the age we live in, I guess.
Best Actor - Daniel Day Lewis (by a long shot)
Best Actress - Marion Cotillard ( La Vie En Rose - also by a very long way)
Best Supporting Actor - Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild)
Best Supporting Actress - Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)
Best Screenplay (Juno)
Best Director (Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood)
Best Film (There Will Be Blood)
#10 - Knocked Up
A startlingly honest film about relationships. Maybe the greatest source of criticism for the film was how could the darling woman fall for Seth Rogen? Which is fair, but aside from that it was laugh out loud funny, sensitive and what I think many films are not doing these days, it reaches for the best in us.
#9 The Diving Bell and Butterfly
At first I thought it hard to love this character which tragedy befalls him and he makes lemonade out of lemons. But, the film stays with you because how horrific the tragedy is and how much this man made out of his situation in so little time. The camera work was also effective in giving one empathy. Powerful stuff.
#8 The Savages
This is a film that also stays with you about two flawed, albeit likable siblings who must take care of a father who never took care of them. Also, trying to find the best in humans, going above and beyond what is asked of us, or maybe what is required of us. But, the film gets at the heart of humanity, loneliness and family with all its flaws and of course its joy.
The best musical film I have ever seen. The first of two beautiful Irish films. Set in Dublin, a marvelous love story that is not typical and leaves one with a sense of beauty. The music is astounding (Falling Slowly should win best song) and the actors are believable. Made me want to move to Dublin.
#6 No Country for Old Men
Scary as hell. In other years it may be the best film of the year. The Coen Brothers are masters and Josh Brolin shows his ability to act. I thought the film let us down with the Brolin character, but that is probably the point, the senseless violence leaves us all breathless. A tough movie to take. Have a drink afterwards.
I left this film quoting Ellen Page and Michael Cera. They were so cute together and so likable. Again, like Knocked Up one has to suspend some belief, but instead of the film saying this is the way things are, it is saying this is the way things should be. Flawed families that stand by one another and do the right thing. More characters in film should be like Ellen Page, extraordinarily intelligent, sarcastic, yet vulnerable thinking she has the answers, but all the time learning from the people around her.
#4 Michael Clayton
I loved this film, mostly because it takes down corporate America. Talk about fantasy, but it had you on the edge of your seat the entire film. Clooney is great and is getting better every time out. All the performances are superb. A thriller that delivers.
#3 The Wind That Shakes the Barley
I saw this film at the beginning of the year and it stayed with me the entire year. It teaches us that many times the incitement of the terror is much worse than the terror itself. Great performances all the way around including strong and soulful performances by the women that fought beside the men (in the early 1900's) which one does not see often enough in film. In the Irish tradition (as is so in the African-American tradition) the women are the driving force. Poverty teaches us that this is how it has to be.
#2 No End in Sight
One has to accept the fact that we went to war (though, I never bought it for a second) and could have helped rather than hurt. But, this film shows the incompetence of the Bush administration and the callous disregard it showed for the people of Iraq and our soldiers. It makes the case clearly, concisely and powerfully. The best documentary of the year by far.
#1 There Will Be Blood
There Will Be Blood is the best film I have seen this decade, maybe ever. It is a sprawling tale of greed and evangelical ambition, maybe the two most powerful and destructive forces operating in America today. Daniel Day Lewis is phenomenal as is Paul Dano.
Overrated films of 2007 include Atonement and Away from Her. Julie Christie's performance was wonderful in Away from Her, but I never bought the story at all. It just seemed forced to me. La Vie en Rose was a good film, but confusing at times, but the performance by Marion C. was so good many feel it should be in the top ten. Not me, but worth the viewing.