Best Movies of 2016

10. PATERSON

208 LISTS | 17 TOP SPOTS
Jim Jarmusch | 118 mins | Comedy/Drama/Romance
Adam Driver |Golshifteh Farahani |Nellie |Rizwan Manji

“Small exchanges and lengthy pauses are hallmarks of Jim Jarmusch movies, but few have the profound mixture of warmth and melancholy found in “Paterson.” Carried by an appropriately low-key Adam Driver and Jarmusch’s penchant for capturing offhand remarks, “Paterson” is his most absorbing character study since “Broken Flowers,” but it has a quiet sophistication that elevates it to another level. The lightweight tale of a bus driver who moonlights as a poet magnifies the daily rhythms of his contained world and transforms them into the art he aspires to create. By turns charming, melancholic and wise, “Paterson” perfects the archetype of aimless hipster wandering through Jarmusch’s oeuvre by validating his soul-searching ways.” – Eric Kohn, IndieWire

9. THE LOBSTER

221 LISTS | 17 TOP SPOTS
Yorgos Lanthimos | 119 mins | Comedy/Drama/Romance
Colin Farrell |Rachel Weisz |Jessica Barden |Olivia Colman

“Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster is one of the strangest movies in recent memory—and one of the most hilariously (and surprisingly profound) ones as well. In this pitch-black future-society saga, a single man (Colin Farrell) checks into a hotel where, by law, he must find a mate within 45 days or be transformed into the animal of his choice. (His preference? A lobster.) In that wacko locale, Farrell’s lonely loser pals around with other equally strange sorts, and tries to forge a romance with a female counterpart, before eventually fleeing for the woods where anti-monogamy rebels are stationed. A deadpan dystopian comedy that also functions as a bizarro-world examination of love, relationships, marriage, and the basic human desire for connection, Lanthimos’ film is that rare thing in today’s cinema: an unqualified original.” – Nick Schager, Esquire

8. THE HANDMAIDEN

233 LISTS | 17 TOP SPOTS
Chan-wook Park | 145 mins | Drama/Romance/Thriller
Min-hee Kim |Jung-woo Ha |Jinwoong Cho |So-Ri Moon

“Set in Korea in the 1930s, the latest from Park Chan-wook involves two women, one a Japanese heiress and prisoner, the other an impoverished Korean con artist who could pick pockets for Fagin. Their delectable relationship takes them and the movie to places you might not imagine, while advancing an argument about gender, desire, erotica and pornography that is more complex than the movie’s slickness suggests.” – Manohla Dargis, New York Times

7. ELLE

240 LISTS | 18 TOP SPOTS
Paul Verhoeven | 130 mins | Crime/Drama/Thriller
Isabelle Huppert |Laurent Lafitte |Anne Consigny |Charles Berling

“After a decade in the wilderness, Paul Verhoeven proves himself to be just as sly and impudent in his 70s as Luis Bunuel was in this wickedly impertinent thriller about a sophisticated Parisian woman’s unusual reaction to being raped. Even with the director at the top of his form, the film would count for little without the imperishable Isabelle Huppert, who gives the performance of the year as a woman of constantly surprising, and often witty, resourcefulness.” – Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

6. TONI ERDMANN

260 LISTS | 44 TOP SPOTS
Maren Ade | 162 mins | Comedy/Drama
Sandra Hüller |Peter Simonischek |Michael Wittenborn |Thomas Loibl

“Maren Ade instantly became an international star director with this story of a waggish father (he likes to wear joke teeth) who attempts to reconnect with his tightly wound business-consultant daughter. From this simple premise, Ade explores the trickiness of familial love, the clash of generational values, and the way that globalized capitalism warps both its winners and losers. Sneakily deep, it boasts more laugh-out-loud moments than any movie this year (you wouldn’t expect that from a German film) and the most genuinely original nude scene I’ve seen in decades.” – John Powers, Vogue

5. HELL OR HIGH WATER

319 LISTS | 19 TOP SPOTS
David Mackenzie | 102 mins | Action/Crime/Drama
Chris Pine |Ben Foster |Jeff Bridges |Gil Birmingham

“David Mackenzie’s haunting neo-Western (from a witty, layered script by Taylor Sheridan) features bank robbers, rangers, cowboys, and Indians, but the time is the present and the West — here, West Texas — is a different place: The frontier that gave birth to symbols of “rugged individualism” is now a home for the collectively dispossessed. Chris Pine and Ben Foster are the brothers who steal from banks that have stolen from others, Jeff Bridges the sardonic lawman on their tail. It’s a near masterpiece.” – David Edelstein, Vulture

4. ARRIVAL

375 LISTS | 43 TOP SPOTS
Denis Villeneuve | 116 mins | Drama/Mystery/Sci-Fi
Amy Adams |Jeremy Renner |Forest Whitaker |Michael Stuhlbarg

“As long as Amy Adams is saving the world, I’ll be there. Apparently, so will you: “Arrival” is a rare box-office hit that has also stoked awards esteem. If movie culture is floundering in America, it’s projects like this that reinvigorate the glory of cinema. A cerebral sci-fi psalm that links empathy with peace, Denis Villeneuve’s film charts the emotional currency of a skilled linguist recruited to find out why a handful of large extraterrestrial pods have landed across Earth. Adams isn’t about to let us down. The reason the aliens visit is twisty and profound, doubly so thanks to Bradford Young’s crawling cinematography and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s ghostly score.” – Matthew Jacobs, Huffington Post

3. LA LA LAND

453 LISTS | 100 TOP SPOTS
Damien Chazelle | 128 mins | Comedy/Drama/Music
Ryan Gosling |Emma Stone |Rosemarie DeWitt |J.K. Simmons

“A musical as movie of the year? You bet your ass. Damien Chazelle directs this rapturous song-and-dance romance as if cinema was invented for him to play with – and for us to get high on. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling hit career peaks as lovers who try to make their creative dreams come true on the mean, art-fearing streets of the New Hollywood. La La Land swings for the fences. Chazelle puts his heart right out there where hipsters can mock him as tragically untrendy. He’s not. He’s an innovator, a fresh talent who puts technique in the service of feeling and makes the future of film seem like a bright prospect.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

2. MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

526 LISTS | 70 TOP SPOTS
Kenneth Lonergan | 137 mins | Drama
Casey Affleck |Michelle Williams |Kyle Chandler |Lucas Hedges

“However hard your 2016 was, it’s a good bet that the worst of it couldn’t quite compare to what eats away at Lee Chandler, the withdrawn Boston handyman Casey Affleck plays in Manchester By The Sea. Lee has returned to his seaside hometown to bury his older brother, and that’s just the tip of the traumatic iceberg for this broken man, whose devastating history hangs over the film’s events like a storm cloud over Massachusetts water. But for all the heartbreak that pumps through it, Kenneth Lonergan’s ambitious third feature isn’t some miserable slog: Anchored by a career-best performance from Affleck, who achieves the herculean feat of making emotional unavailability compelling, Manchester By The Sea is often as flat-out funny as it is wrenching. What makes it our favorite movie in an exceptional year for them is the way that Lonergan, the playwright-turned-filmmaker behind Margaret and You Can Count On Me, manages to ground a family tragedy of staggering proportions in the quotidian crap of everyday life. Even when reaching for the operatic, he keeps the focus on small human foibles: a cellphone going off at a funeral; a car parked who knows where; a teenager (Lucas Hedges, in what should be a star-making breakout turn) whose mourning process is no more preoccupying than his desperate attempts to get some alone time with his girlfriend. In a year many couldn’t wait to finish, Manchester By The Sea argued not that everything will be all right in the end—for some, it definitely won’t be—but that the people in your life are the reason to keep on fighting, even when hope seems lost. Now, maybe more than ever, that’s commiseration we can use.” – A.A. Dowd, AV Club

1. MOONLIGHT

662 LISTS | 163 TOP SPOTS
Barry Jenkins | 111 mins | Drama
Mahershala Ali |Naomie Harris |Trevante Rhodes |Alex R. Hibbert

“Nothing portended Moonlight as a masterpiece. Shot on a shoestring over a scant 25 days by an unknown director and largely devoid of big-name stars, Barry Jenkins’ hushed, artful indie didn’t so much arrive as drift gently into moviegoers’ consciousness. But by the time the credits rolled, the effect was both radical and sublime, a rare cinematic grace note in a noisy, bitterly fractious year. We first meet Chiron (played at various stages by Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes) as a wary latchkey kid in Miami drawn out of his shell by a local drug dealer (Mahershala Ali), then watch as he grows slowly, fitfully into his own skin. The movie could easily be dismissed as a panopticon of hot-button intersectional issues—addiction, poverty, single parenthood, black male sexuality. Instead, it’s something much richer: an achingly personal portrait of lives lived on the margins, and a filmmaking ­triumph of transcendent, heartbreaking beauty.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

Full Top 50:

RTITLEL#1ARL%#1%TCLTCL1TCL%TCL1%
1Moonlight6621633.6663%19%2666968%19%
2Manchester by the Sea526703.9250%8%2092953%8%
3La La Land4531003.5743%11%1724244%12%
4Arrival375434.4436%5%1261632%4%
5Hell or High Water319194.5530%2%110828%2%
6Toni Erdmann251453.9324%5%1172330%6%
7Elle240184.3123%2%94824%2%
8The Handmaiden233174.9122%2%90823%2%
9The Lobster221174.7821%2%84821%2%
10Paterson208174.7220%2%1021026%3%
11O.J.: Made in America199203.8119%2%1011026%3%
12Jackie19865.0119%1%79220%1%
13The Witch19565.4719%1%68117%0%
14Certain Women159125.3415%1%76519%1%
15American Honey14410514%1%53413%1%
16Green Room14365.0214%1%45211%1%
17Everybody Wants Some!!13845.1213%0%57215%1%
18Zootopia13235.3413%0%2817%0%
19Cameraperson129104.3212%1%70618%2%
20Sing Street12984.9812%1%44211%1%
21Love & Friendship12755.0412%1%56114%0%
22Loving12065.2511%1%43211%1%
23Silence118124.2811%1%60515%1%
2420th Century Women118104.9711%1%55514%1%
25Deadpool10955.9410%1%2025%1%
26I Am Not Your Negro10255.110%1%49412%1%
27Hunt for the Wilderpeople10775.8210%1%3429%1%
28Cemetery of Splendor99144.119%2%42711%2%
29Nocturnal Animals9995.159%1%2827%1%
30The Nice Guys9946.29%0%2917%0%
31Fences9765.469%1%3338%1%
32Kubo and the Two Strings9745.069%0%2316%0%
3313th9235.549%0%3629%1%
34Rogue One: A Star Wars Story8755.338%1%1313%0%
35Aquarius8344.828%0%2937%1%
36Captain America: Civil War8325.528%0%1414%0%
37Things to Come8225.678%0%38210%1%
38Sully8215.488%0%3218%0%
39Weiner8205.628%0%3509%0%
40The Fits8134.978%0%39210%1%
41Hail, Caesar!7926.157%0%2817%0%
42The Edge of Seventeen7916.467%0%3318%0%
43Hacksaw Ridge7755.267%1%1815%0%
44The Neon Demon7445.057%0%2226%1%
45Midnight Special7115.457%0%2015%0%
4610 Cloverfield Lane6926.257%0%1303%0%
47I, Daniel Blake5844.976%0%1825%1%
48Krisha6025.686%0%3018%0%
49No Home Movie58144.616%2%3288%2%
50Right Now, Wrong Then5835.36%0%2737%1%

Lists Included 1,054 | Top Critics’ Lists Included 393

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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