One of my favourite times of the year is when I get to compile everything I have watched throughout the year! I’ve been keeping track of my watched movies for 4 years now and the moment on new years eve when I get to save the data into a spreadsheet and add it into my folder with every other year is so exciting to me haha.
Before I get into my favourite 2018 releases I want to say that I have a letterboxd account, so if you are interested in seeing more about what I’m watching you can find it all there! I have lists of favourites and lots more! My account is here
Usually, a few of my favourite of the year come from film festivals, but I had a really weak year in terms of what I saw at TIFF. I ended up not liking most of what I saw, and what I did love weren’t actually movies, but TV shows.
There were lots of other 2018 releases that I did enjoy that aren’t on this list, but I wanted to be picky with these, and only choose films that I loved and that I felt like were well made and beautifully done.
In no particular order, my favourite 2018 releases:
Annihilation dir. Alex Garland
I am very thankful to have been able to see this film in a theatre, as it was mainly released on Netflix, only having theatrical distribution in the US, Canada, and China. At the screening for this film I attended, Garland himself mentioned his disappointment that this film was not one that would be easily accessible in a theatre. This film is really one to see in a theatre, and everyone I know who has seen this agrees. That’s not to say it’s not worth it to watch on Netflix though, it really is. Alex Garland previously directed one of my favourite films Ex Machina. I was looking forward to this movie because of my love for his previous film, and the fact that this one seemed to have a similar vibe, a thriller-esque sci-fi film. When I watching this I remember thinking it was one of the most interesting films I’d ever seen, but also one of the most terrifying. The mood of the whole film is everything that scares me in a movie, the vastness and uncertainty of the unknown and what’s beyond what our imagination.
Not only one of the best animated movies I’ve ever seen, but also one of the best superhero movies out there, Into the Spider-Verse really sets the bar exceptionally high for upcoming superhero and animated films. Every aspect of this, the writing, the animation, the voice acting etc. is amazing. Every frame of this movie completely drew me in with the incredible art and colours. It is so beautiful I could watch it over and over and still not tire of the art and animation. I can’t wait to watch this again, and to talk about it non-stop for the foreseeable future.
Widows dir. Steve McQueen
Widows was a movie that I saw had hype during TIFF, but for whatever reason, I never tried to get a ticket. I can’t really remember why, but possibly because I knew it would be getting a release pretty soon and there would be no need for me to spend the extra money to see it at the festival. When I did eventually see it early in December, I loved it. Much more than I was expecting to. I don’t know why I was convinced I wouldn’t enjoy it, but I truly did. It was almost like a more serious Oceans 8, which I can totally get behind. The ending really makes it though, it totally flips your emotions on the film as a whole and shows you its true intention. Oh, and the acting? Amazing. In particular, Daniel Kaluuya had probably one of the best performances of the year in this. I was completely captivated by his character. Also, Colin Farrell, Elizabeth Debicki and Brian Tyree Henry gave incredible performances.
Sorry To Bother You dir. Boots Riley
A movie that you really can’t even begin to explain. It starts out seemingly normal, but then everything you thought about what was happening gets thrown out the window and all you will be thinking to yourself is “…what” the whole last half of the movie. Featuring two of my favourite actors, Tessa Thompson and Lakeith Stanfield, this movie really tests everything you think is going to happen and goes beyond your wildest imagination. I’m just gonna leave this here:
Eighth Grade dir. Bo Burnham
Eighth Grade was one of my most anticipated movies for so long. Bo Burnham is my favourite comedian of all time (I’ve seen his netflix specials probably like 7 times each), and just one of my favourite people in general, so when I found out he was making a feature film? Sign me up ASAP. I missed out on the first round of screenings when it was in limited release because I wasn’t in Toronto at the time (one of the only places in Canada to have screenings then) and finally was able to catch it when it got a wider distribution. Although I didn’t like it as much as most others did, I still did really enjoy it and appreciated it for what it was. I am just incredibly glad that Bo was able to gain such an amazing response to this film, and I cannot wait for his future projects. I really wanna give this movie a rewatch, because I honestly believe I will enjoy it more upon watching for a second time, so that is on my to-do list for very very soon. The highlight of this film is the amazing performance by the lead, Elsie Fisher, in her breakthrough role. She was everything this film needed in a lead and more.
Teen Spirit dir. Max Minghella
One of the surprises of TIFF, Teen Spirit was a movie I expected pretty much nothing from, but came away from it wanting to rewatch it right away (and I am still DYING to rewatch the final scene, which is definitely the highlight of the whole film). Elle Fanning plays a teenager who enters a singing competition, and you can probably guess the rest. This movie has an incredibly charming relationship between Elle Fanning’s character and her “manager/mentor”. This was Max Minghella’s (known for his roles in The Handmaid’s Tale and The Social Network) directorial debut, and he definitely proved his talent and potential with this film.
And, as I said, that final scene is killer. I cannot wait for its release, which is set right now for April 2019.
edit: trailer is out now!
Clara dir. Akash Sherman
Another TIFF surprise, Akash Sherman (who also had his directorial debut with this film) created a beautiful film full of emotion, love and the desire to understand ourselves and the things we cannot understand. Troian Bellisario and Patrick J Adams had wonderful performances and I cannot wait to hopefully see this again sometime soon!
Burning dir. Lee Chang-dong
A beautiful film with a sinister story that brews below the surface, Burning is probably on a list of favourite movies of all time. The South Korean drama mystery is intriguing the entire 2h28m runtime and leaves you dying to know the ending. It’s twisty and exciting and It definitely deserves its Palme d’Or nomination at Cannes! I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I saw it and I really hope it gets the awards recognition that it deserves in the upcoming months.
Thank you for reading!! I hope you saw some great films in 2018 and that you see even more amazing films in 2019!’
Let me know what your favourites of this year were, book OR movies!