Society of the Snow, JA Bayona

A lot of tears in this one. Hard to watch, but infused with hope, love, courage and humour. Inspiring, truly, as all stories of survival against the odds—that is, human resiliency—always are. Many fascinating details in this interview about how it was made: the challenges of getting funding for a film in Spanish; working with new actors (who are uniformly amazing); that some of the actors lost over 20kgs; and that the surviving survivors (and their family) endorsed the film.

Babette’s Feast, Gabriel Axel

An incredible gentle movie about grace, care, community and the life-affirming powers of a jolly good meal. And perhaps a call against ascetism, no matter how tempting it might be.

Killers of the Flower Moon, Martin Scorsese

Beautiful and distressing; a languid story of man’s lack of humanity. The lack of justice is incredibly frustrating, but sadly falls part of a broader story about mankind. I just wish it wasn’t so very, very long.

The Madness of King George, Nicholas Hytner

Want to watch an excellent British film? One that speaks to everything that is powerful about UK cinema? This is an excellent candidate. It has a little something for everyone, and I think is quite interesting in the context of modern politics where we are often choosing between the lesser of two evils: the mad King or the useless prince?

The Kitchen, Daniel Kaluuya, Kibwe Tavares

A few spectacular scenes let down by a meandering plot that does not really know what it wants to say or do. Good worldbuilding and a commendable performance by Jedaiah Bannerman.

They Cloned Tyrone, Juel Taylor

A hilarious and well acted modern subversive blaxploitation film. Smart writing, suitably ludicrous plot, and excellent acting from all. Watch with friends for the best time. And I hope Netflix invests in more films that look like this than films that look like The Killer.

Past Lives, Celine Song

I film I wanted to love more than I actually did. It felt mannered and millennial and oddly superficial at times. I failed to buy into the connection of the characters, despite, I admit, reasonable on-screen chemistry. It was just so empty. Beautiful but empty.

The Holdovers, Alexander Payne

I have this thing, an abiding passion really, for movies that deal with or explore grace. This movie is rich in grace and understanding. The characters interact with each other the way real people do. I thought this was beautiful and I cried often.

Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet

Incredible cinema. Sandra Hüller gives the performance of a life time: a multilayered, nuanced, sensitive and credible performance that compels you to focus utterly on her when she’s on the screen. The rest of the movie is smart and makes good use of its nearly two and a half hour run time. A new favourite.

Leave the World Behind, Sam Esmail

Oh boy, this film was too long, too unsure of itself, and trying to be too clever for its own good. Ethan Hawke and Julia Roberts felt like they were acting in different movies, and the constant misdirection about what was actually happening began to feel quite cheap and pointless. And it’s a pity because I love the genre of the world falling apart type films.

Talk to Me, the Philippous

creating an Australian movie that doesn’t make me cringe to a degree is a real achievement; I didn’t think this was an amazing movie, but I thought it was a good teen horror romp. I was a little dismayed to discover both a prequel and a sequel are in development, however.

The Killer, David Fincher

If anyone wants to know what the Netflix look is, send them to this movie. For how middling it is in premise I found myself oddly engaged: Fincher pulls it off, yet again! Plus there’s a far too short but amazing scene with Tilda Swinton which I assume was shot in a day.

The Quiet Girl, Colm Bairéad

A beautiful, quiet film about how we all need the right environment to be nurtured. Plus it plays very much into my interest in the idea of a found family as being more important than one’s biological family. It is also lovely to see a film set almost entirely in Irish, although I found the few English lines to be almost incomprehensible without the use of subtitles, which frustratingly weren’t available on the first platform I used to watch the film. Another sad case for piracy.

Hunger, Sittisiri Mongkolsiri

the first Thai film I’ve seen, and what a great starting point. The film is like a darker version of the Bear that is more focussed on the class divide and the corruption of the elite.