Best Movies of 2013

10. BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR

213 LISTS | 23 TOP SPOTS
Abdellatif Kechiche | 180 mins | Drama/Romance
Léa Seydoux | Adèle Exarchopoulos | Salim Kechiouche | Aurélien Recoing

“Debate over French director Abdellatif Kechiche’s magnificent 21st-century love story got derailed first by everyone’s obsession with the film’s intensely graphic nine-minute lesbian sex scene, and then by actress Léa Seydoux’s feud with Kechiche over his reputed tyrannical style. First-time actress Adèle Exarchopoulos (the movie’s big discovery) got caught in the middle of all this; about the only thing all three agree on is that they made a sensational film, one that’s not about sex but about love and loss and possibility and European life in a new millennium.” – Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

9. THE ACT OF KILLING

217 LISTS | 28 TOP SPOTS
Joshua Oppenheimer and Christine Cynn | 117 mins | Documentary/Biography/Crime
Anwar Congo | Herman Koto | Syamsul Arifin | Ibrahim Sinik

“This hallucinatory, genre-defying documentary about a decades-old mass slaughter in North Sumatra, co-directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, and an Indonesian collaborator who worked anonymously for fear of reprisals, took the dizzying risk of inviting the still-unpunished murderers to re-enact their crimes in the form of cinematic action sequences: a film noir interrogation, a Western-style cowboys-and-Indians battle, a Bollywood-esque musical number by a waterfall. The result is a movie that’s as frightening (and sometimes, as twistedly funny) as it is profound, with a last scene that will be with me till I meet my maker.” – Dana Stevens, Slate

8. FRANCES HA

225 LISTS | 13 TOP SPOTS
Noah Baumbach | 86 mins | Comedy/Drama/ Romance
Greta Gerwig | Mickey Sumner | Adam Driver | Michael Zegen

“A confession: I saw this movie by myself in New York City on my 30th birthday. So I am perhaps a little biased, was maybe too directly spoken to by this winning film’s gentle ruminations on young-ish life in the big city. But as a means for both writer/director Noah Baumbach and writer/star Greta Gerwig (in her first genuinely likable role) to explore some very personal topics, Frances Ha sings in a swooningly perfect pitch. The film is funny and melancholy and bitterly honest, and it sent me out of the theater on a muggy late-May day feeling both understood and encouraged. Sometimes that’s exactly what a movie should do.” – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

7. AMERICAN HUSTLE

252 LISTS | 29 TOP SPOTS
David O. Russell | 138 mins | Crime/Drama
Christian Bale | Amy Adams | Bradley Cooper | Jennifer Lawrence

““American Hustle” just might be the funniest movie of the year. That’s surprising, perhaps, but understandable: pretty much every character in “American Hustle” is a schmuck. Christian Bale is a con artist with a bad hairpiece and beer belly; Bradley Cooper is a hapless FBI agent with a bad perm; Amy Adams is a former stripper with a fake British accent; and Jeremy Renner is a crooked local mayor who gets fooled by these three. (Jennifer Lawrence, meanwhile, stars as Bale’s onscreen wife, possibly the zaniest of the group.) When you put all of these schmucks in the same story, a loose interpretation of the Abscam scandal of the late 1970s, for a movie directed by David O. Russell (with the same urgent pace as “Goodfellas”) … well, it’s a glorious ride. One of the keys here is that despite that rogue’s gallery of characters, there’s so much heart surrounding the movie that audiences never ask, “Why should I care about these bozos?” (For the record: Not only are most of the characters schmucks, they are also bozos.) In a year filled with great movies, David O. Russell stands ever so slightly above the rest.” – Mike Ryan, HuffPost

6. THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

260 LISTS | 27 TOP SPOTS
Martin Scorsese | 180 mins | Biography/Crime/Drama
Leonardo DiCaprio | Jonah Hill | Margot Robbie | Matthew McConaughey

“This three-hour bolt of polarizing brilliance from Martin Scorsese, with a killer script by The Sopranos’ Terence Winter, details the true tale of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio flares like a five-alarm fire in full blaze), who lived hoggishly high on securities fraud in the 1990s. Jordan and his co-scumbags (Jonah Hill crushes it as his wingman) numb moral qualms with coke, ‘ludes and hookers. Scorsese’s high-wire act of bravura filmmaking is a lethally hilarious take on white-collar crime. No one dies, but Wall Street victims will scream bloody murder.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

5. BEFORE MIDNIGHT

344 LISTS | 46 TOP SPOTS
Richard Linklater | 109 mins | Drama/Romance
Ethan Hawke | Julie Delpy | Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick | Ariane Labed

“The story of Jesse and Céline could have ended nine years ago, with a song, a dance, and the enticing threat of a missed flight. Certainly, there would be worse ways to leave these loquacious lovers—who met on a train in 1995’s Before Sunrise and then found each other again in 2004’s Before Sunset—than frozen forever in the blissful moment. Instead, and quite daringly, director Richard Linklater and his stars/collaborators, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, have looked beyond that perfect ellipsis of an ending, to a rockier future than the characters could have imagined. Before Midnight, the smartest and prickliest of the trilogy, reveals the full scope of its creators’ ambitions: It’s clear now, if it weren’t before, that Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy have been painting a grand mosaic—not simply an episodic love story, but the decade-by-decade life of a relationship. Pitting Jesse and Céline against not just each other but also the hurdles of middle age, parenthood, and long-term companionship, Midnight loses much of the sweet, simple charm of its walk-and-talk predecessors. But it also deepens those films in retrospect, making them a part of something bigger and more meaningful. For all the vitriol exchanged between them—see: the year’s best scene—Jesse and Céline are still very much in love, their passion complicated but not extinguished with age. What could be more profoundly romantic than that?” – A.A. Dowd, AV Club

4. HER

401 LISTS | 86 TOP SPOTS
Spike Jonze | 126 mins | Drama/Romance/Sci-Fi
Joaquin Phoenix | Amy Adams | Scarlett Johansson | Rooney Mara

“Spike Jonze’s Her begins with a love letter—a misdirect. It’s a billet-doux by proxy, ghost-authored, dictated to a machine. We open on the wide-eyed mug of Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), seeming to speak from the heart, recalling fondly a first love that proves, with the reveal of an incongruous anniversary, to belong to somebody else. So the “handwritten letters” of beautifulhandwrittenletters.com are merely approximations of the form: our near-future’s phantom memorandum. But what matters here is that the love is real. Theodore’s letters, in a sense the film’s emotional through line, are never less than deeply felt, swelling with earnest affection. That he’s talking through and to another can’t reduce the depth of feeling in the sentiments. The genius of Her is that it doesn’t ask you to believe in the truth of its speculative science fiction so much as it does the truth of its romance, which is to say that Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) means more as metaphor—for a hard-won connection, long-distance or otherwise remote—than as a prediction of future tech. Her is about “the modern condition,” but not, importantly, in the strictly satirical sense: It tells us less about how we live than how we love.” – Calum Marsh, Slant Magazine

3. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS

434 LISTS | 53 TOP SPOTS
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen | 104 mins | Comedy/Drama/Music
Oscar Isaac | Carey Mulligan | John Goodman | Garrett Hedlund

“The moodiness, unexpected turns, borderline surreal blasts of bizarre incidents and deep-dish evocation of a scene and state of mind in Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen Brothers’s 16th film have stuck with me all year. Interpretations have varied as to what we’re to make of the struggling Greenwich Village folk singer who’s his own worst enemy and is so sublimely played by Oscar Isaac. I still stick with the idea that the Coens wanted to show us the guy who, for all his talent, did not become Dylan; for some, being an anti-social purist works, for others it doesn’t. It’s one of the brothers’ two or three best.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

2. GRAVITY

449 LISTS | 87 TOP SPOTS
Alfonso Cuarón | 91 mins | Drama/Sci-Fi/Thriller
Sandra Bullock | George Clooney | Ed Harris | Orto Ignatiussen

“Alfonso Cuarón’s luminous and transportive technological daydream puts us right up in space, along with a couple of U.S. shuttle astronauts. The film’s casual magic begins with how it places us on their been-there-gawked-at-that wavelength, even as the images are making our jaws drop. Then disaster strikes, and George Clooney (as a jaded veteran) and Sandra Bullock (as a troubled newbie) have to float their way to safety with nothing beneath them but a void. Some have accused Cuarón’s film of having a ”thin” story, but actually it’s just slender — and organic — enough to reinforce the feeling that every moment in Gravity is flowing into the next one. More than a ”ride,” the film is an experience, nearly tactile in its drama. The logistics of dodging hurtling debris, or of how to glide through a foreign satellite, very much become the story. So does the galvanizing image of Bullock’s Dr. Ryan Stone, with nothing left to lose, deciding to embrace life in the void.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

1. 12 YEARS A SLAVE

484 LISTS | 120 TOP SPOTS
Steve McQueen | 134 mins | Biography/Drama/History
Chiwetel Ejiofor | Michael Kenneth Williams | Michael Fassbender | Brad Pitt

“In the hands of any other director, the true story of Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free man kidnapped and forced into slavery from 1841 to 1853, could very well have been formulaic, run-of-the-mill and overly sentimental. Thankfully it landed in the hands of Steve McQueen (“Shame”), who portrays the brutality of slavery by framing Northrup’s tale as a taut thriller, creating a visceral experience for viewers akin to someone grabbing you by the throat and not letting go for two hours (in a good, somewhat cathartic way). What results is an instant classic, and the definitive slavery film of our time. Believe the hype: “12 Years a Slave” will knock you out … again, in a good way.” – Kevin Polowy, Yahoo! Movies

Full Top 50:

RTITLEL#1ARL%#1%TCLTCL1TCL%TCL1%
112 Years a Slave4841203.5656%15%2175253%14%
2Gravity449874.0752%11%1984149%11%
3Inside Llewyn Davis434533.9150%7%2233055%8%
4Her401863.8047%11%1973848%10%
5Before Midnight344464.1740%6%1632640%7%
6The Wolf of Wall Street260274.4230%3%1061126%3%
7American Hustle252294.0229%4%1101027%3%
8Frances Ha225135.1626%2%99524%1%
9The Act of Killing217284.5325%3%1191829%5%
10Blue is the Warmest Color213234.4925%3%981124%3%
11Nebraska186105.1622%1%95823%2%
12Spring Breakers181175.1421%2%77519%1%
13Upstream Color159134.8318%2%81520%1%
14Stories We Tell157104.8418%1%95923%2%
15All is Lost14865.5317%1%79119%0%
16Captain Phillips14114.8916%0%57114%0%
17Blue Jasmine13745.0916%0%64216%1%
18Short Term 12130165.3315%2%61915%2%
19The World's End11155.8913%1%52313%1%
20Leviathan (2012)110214.6013%3%631215%3%
21Mud10455.0512%1%3228%1%
22Fruitvale Station10335.3112%0%50212%1%
23A Touch of Sin10164.9312%1%62515%1%
24The Great Beauty9484.4211%1%48512%1%
25Dallas Buyers Club9055.8110%1%3128%1%
26Computer Chess8054.969%1%43411%1%
27The Spectacular Now7406.199%0%3809%0%
28Enough Said7316.038%0%3509%0%
29Museum Hours7254.538%1%44211%1%
30Prisoners7255.688%1%2817%0%
31The Hunt6525.278%0%2606%0%
32To the Wonder6595.438%1%3478%2%
33Frozen6105.897%0%2105%0%
34Like Someone in Love6054.717%1%3338%1%
35Stoker5835.647%0%2606%0%
36The Wind Rises5724.717%0%3619%0%
37The Past5535.356%0%3027%1%
38The Place Beyond the Pines5435.366%0%2105%0%
39This is the End5426.026%0%2115%0%
40Drug War5375.496%1%3228%1%
41The Grandmaster5325.716%0%2506%0%
42Beyond the Hills5055.226%1%2356%1%
43Philomena4915.516%0%1915%0%
44Bastards4725.455%0%2426%1%
45Saving Mr. Banks4725.765%0%1313%0%
46The Hunger Games: Catching Fire4025.725%0%601%0%
47Pacific Rim3915.535%0%1103%0%
48Rush3905.975%0%1504%0%
49Room 2373614.604%0%2406%0%
50The Way Way Back3735.764%0%1303%0%

Lists Included 864 | Top Critics’ Lists Included 408

R Rank
L Total number of lists where the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year
AR Average position on ranked top 10 lists
#1 Total number of lists where the film was selected as the best film of the year
L% Percentage of total lists where the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year
#1% Percentage of mentions where the film was selected as the best film of the year
TCL Number of times that the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL1 Number of times that the film was selected as the best film of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL% Percentage of times that the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL1% Percentage of lists where the film was selected as the best film of the year on top critics’ lists

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