• Film
  • Critic’s top five films of 2019


Critic’s top five films of 2019

Our film critic looks back on the best flicks of 2019. From the dizzying emotional heights of "Portrait of a Lady on Fire", to Korean masterworks and blockbusters at their best. Here's his top picks.

Image for Critic's top five films of 2019

Photo courtesy of Alamode Film. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is one of our film editor’s top five films of 2019.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Emotional hurricane

Céline Sciamma’s beautiful period drama took home Cannes’ Queer Palme and Best Screen­play, when she really should have been the first woman director to win the Palme d’Or since Jane Campion shared it for The Piano in 1993. This refined and intimate evocation of deep human connection captures the emotional hurricane of profound love. (October)



Korean masterwork

It was a banner year for South Korean cinema, with Lee Chan-dong’s intoxicating Burning and Won-tae Lee’s The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil. But Bong Joon-ho’s Cannes winner Parasite leads the pack. Blending biting social commentary with Hitchcockian tension and farcical elements, this is an unclassifiable masterwork that will linger with you long after the credits roll. (October)



More than female “Superbad”

Netflix were onto a winner with Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, a fresh and hilarious up­date on the coming-of-age comedy. Monikered “the female Superbad”, this is so much more – it offers new perspectives, plenty of laughs and no shortage of heart. (November)

Review! And check out our interview with lead actress Kaitlyn Dever.

Avengers: Endgame

Blockbuster at its best

Scoff all you want, but there’s simply no de­nying the satisfying scope and scale of this much-anticipated closing chapter of Marvel Studio’s decade-spanning masterplan. It’s the culmination of a 22-movie arc that balances humour, pathos and dramatic bombast to great effect. This is blockbuster filmmaking at its best. (April)



Golden Bear

Nadav Lapid’s Berlinale winner is a formally bold, thematically provocative study of a charismatic young Israeli man who renounces his troubled homeland and embraces a bohemian life in Paris. Avantgardist but never at the expense of narrative cohesion, the film triumphs as a broadly relatable tale of modern immigration and urban alienation. (September)

Review! And check out our interview with director Nadav Lapid.