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Home Blog Features Top 15 Films of 2010
Top 15 Films of 2010 Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Thursday, 30 December 2010 08:41

What's that? You want another list of the Top Films of 2010? Well, I'm too indecisive to only pick 10, so I've widened my selection to include the best 15 films of the year (with five honourable mentions at the bottom).

If you missed any of these, then well done - you have a life. You also successfully disqualified yourself from disagreeing with me. Ha. So if you want to complain about what I put top of the pile, go get Greenberg on DVD. Or at least watch Kick-Ass a minumum of three times. Then we'll talk. Although by then it'll probably be 2011, and all of these films will be long forgotten...



Christopher Nolan's twisty bendy dreamy thriller was a two hour rush of stunning effects, scowling Leo, and lots of exposition. But the film's triumph lies not in Ellen Page explaining everything to the audience, but in creating an intelligent and exciting piece of science fiction that works as a successful commercial blockbuster. A bold mix of content and form.


Who cares about Mark Zuckerberg? Well, everyone does now, thanks to David Fincher's insanely accomplished drama about the founding of Facebook - an engrossing and amusing insight into a generation defined by online communication. Credit to Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield for nailing Aaron Sorkin's contradictory screenplay. And yes, I suppose, credit to Justin Timberlake too.


Making the world care about Canada, Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novels hit the raw emotional nerve of geeks glued to Tetris and Zelda for most of their life. Then Edgar Wright delivered the wit, the style and (yes) the characters right onto the big screen with a hyperactive style that made Tony Scott look like he spent the last decade on sedatives. Awesome.


Crying in dark rooms with cuddly toys is for wusses. And everyone who has ever seen this warm conclusion to Pixar's most consistent trilogy. The second animated sequel was as clever and entertaining as the original was over a decage ago - despite the 3D price, this is pixellated genius, with a cowboy who pulls right at your heartstrings. Awwww.


C-bombs and F-bombs galore in Matthew Vaughn's warped take on Mark Millar's twisted graphic novel. Featuring a career-best performance from Nicolas Cage (as Adam West-inspired hero Big Daddy), this violent tale of masked vigilantes was original, sick and hilarious. Where else could you see a foul-mouthed Chloe Moretz running around in a purple wig? Hit Girl: the top cinematic heroine of 2010.


Trust Chris Morris to make a comedy about a bunch of incompetent terrorists. From buying bottles of bleach to blowing up crows, it was a dark, demented farce that showcased human stupidity right alongside Riz Ahmed's acting talent. A post-9/11 Dad's Army, this ride on the rubber dinghy rapids was laugh out loud and awkward. Just like any suicide bomber comedy should be.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1? It's not even a complete film. And yet somehow this spectacular movie not only lived up to the hype but achieved the impossible: it proved its three child stars could act. Moving, funny, and exciting, David Yates blew stuff up with magic and then killed off Dobby. It was well sad and stuff.


Colin Firth is getting all the attention for his stuttering performance in The King's Speech, but he was even more superb in A Single Man. Tom Ford's sad, stylised and sumptuous piece mixed silent montages with skillful cinematography. And throughout it all, Firth's muted act of mourning was absolutely captivating. That and his sexy brown suit and glasses. Phwoar.


Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo all having sex? With decent jokes? Yes please. Lisa Cholodenko's honest rom-com dealt with lesbians, children and family arguments in a subtle and sincere way. Hilarious and offbeat, this is basically the film that everyone claimed Little Miss Sunshine was. There's even a Spanish gardener for those who like a little dollop of racial stereotyping. Superb.


Joaquin Phoenix played himself in this slice of gonzo film-making that had you double-guessing till the final frame. A committed exploration of celebrity, art and identity, Casey Affleck's intrusive documentary didn't flinch once. Even when someone did a poop on Joaquin's face. Which would have made for a very interesting rap the morning afterwards. At the very least, the best beard of the year.

Jennifer Lawrence. Jennifer Lawrence. Jennifer Lawrence. Is there any other actress who gave such a commanding on-screen performance this year? After watching Winter's Bone, it's hard to think of any. Debra Granik's cold, hard noir set in the bleak Ozark mountains is a low-key and gripping bit of celluloid. Uncovering secrets from the past among secluded and suspicious locals, it's an intense piece of indie film-making.


Before The American showed up being all excellent, George Clooney was classy as another lonely male: Ryan Bingham, airport hopper extraordinaire, in Jason Reitman's understated look at unemployment in America. Not just a great example of character-driven drama, but a chance for Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick to show off their skillz. Plus it has the most amazing opening credits this side of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.



Jacques Audiard's Cannes-conquering prison drama demanded your attention and refused to give it back for two sublime hours. Tense and gripping, it was like Martin Scorsese remade Shawshank Redemption - and got rid of the redemption completely. Worth watching, if only for the scene in which Tahar Rahim kills someone with a razor blade. Il sons very... edge of your seat. Or something.


This stop-motion tale of Cowboy, Horse and Indian (all playing themselves) was a quick trek from home DIY to the centre of the earth by way of giant robot penguins and catapulting cows. Surreal and unpredictable, it was like watching Monty Python for the first time. One of the most original things to be seen in 2010. Unless you often encounter piano playing horses. I've since tested it on an unwitting 5 year old. He loved it too.


Noah Baumbach followed up The Squid and the Whale and Margot at the Wedding with this gentle look at one man's mid-life crisis. A chance for Ben Stiller to stop playing Ben Stiller, Greenberg was a strong combination of uncomfortable conversations, dreadful sex and Rhys Ifans. With Greta Gerwig on beautiful form, this comedy-drama captured life with all of its pain, humour and neuroses. Because Noah Baumbach is clearly a happy person.



The Other Contenders


16. Cemetery Junction

17. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

18. The Illusionist

19. Monsters

20. Catfish


  • 2010
  • a prophet
  • a single man
  • a town called panic
  • bad lieutenant
  • catfish
  • cemetery junction
  • greenberg
  • harry potter and the deathly hallows
  • kick-ass