2018 has been a wild year for film, from wildly entertaining sequels (see Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and Paddington 2) to Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest in dry, yet tragic, humor to a horror film featuring tongue clicking, a nut allergy, and dead pigeons. It has been year for powerful women, both in front of and behind the camera, from the women of Annihilation to Crystal Moselle and her look into the world of women skateboarders. It has been a year to interrogate representations of masculinity, from Joe in You Were Never Really Here to Reverend Toller in First Reformed. It has been a year of terror, love, laughter, and exhaustion, both literally and cinematically. The films of 2018 truly captured the strange and turbulent atmosphere that has thrown us all into a state of near-constant anxiety.
The Much Ado team has relished in this anxiety, seeing many of 2018’s best, and worst films with the help of film festivals such as Cannes, NYFF, and BFI, MoviePass (RIP), and AMC Stubs A-List. After much deliberation, Letterboxd rankings, and last-minute trips to the cinema, we present Much Ado’s top 25 films of the year.
We may only be halfway through the year, but there have already been plenty of great movies to sink our teeth into. From slow-burn indie darlings to crowd-pleasing blockbusters, the past six months have provided something for all tastes, proving that we don’t have to be mid-awards season to experience great cinema. Check out the following 15 films that we think are the best of the best:
Who needs empathy when you have privilege? That’s the question Cory Finley’s razor-sharp debut raises and answers with admirable confidence and wicked style. Thoroughbreds presents the moral degradation of those who face no barriers to get what they want. Empathy may hinder ambition, but a lack of empathy is a fatal human flaw with devastating consequences.
Childhood friends Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Olivia Cooke) are forced to reconnect after Amanda kills her prized horse out of mercy. The thing is Amanda is a borderline sociopath — she has no feelings, she explains, and though she has cycled through diagnoses, she concedes that it’s just the way she’s programmed. She’s become a master imitator: perfecting “the technique” of fake crying, and practicing her empty smiles in the mirror. Someone with no emotions may ring warning bells for a dull character, but Olivia Cooke pulls it off with her hilarious deadpan delivery. Lily is the complete opposite — a prim and proper rich girl, she lies and lies to hide how unhappy she is with her life, with her cruel stepdad being the source of most of her frustrations. Lily is being paid an extortionate amount of money to hang out with Amanda, so their conversations are cold and awkward at first. But Amanda’s candour eventually melts Lily’s tough exterior, allowing her to be as open with her — ultimately revealing that she wants to kill her stepdad.