Film Review Daily

Mansel Stimpson looks back at the year of 2019

Last year at this time when looking back on the films of 2018 I was in pessimistic mode and, despite 2019 being a year of great screen acting, little has changed. Even if some Netflix releases are spending a little longer in cinemas before becoming exclusively limited to home viewing, the number of films from that source that might once have been cinema hits is on the increase. Such big titles as Marriage Story and The Irishman are obvious examples. As for Hollywood offerings primarily made for the cinema, I am as saddened as Martin Scorsese to see blockbuster franchises dominate so much leaving such smaller works as We the Animals, Monsters and Men and American Woman alongside Vice and Knives Out to represent the best of American cinema in 2019.

Foreign language films made less of a mark than in some years as my Top Ten list shows, although two titles, The Chambermaid and Pain and Glory, were just outside it. However, once again documentaries fared well with three of them in my Top Ten and no less than five works among the runners up (América, The Cave, Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love, Diego Maradona and the overlooked Children of the Snow Land). British cinema took five places in the ten and, since four more titles came close (Rocketman, Beats, Pink Wall and Bait), it was a good year for this country even if I disagreed strongly with many of my colleagues over the merits of such works as The Souvenir and The Favourite. Finally, in support of my assertion that 2019 provided many great performances I would stress how rewarding were the contributions to British films made during the year by the likes of Vanessa Redgrave, Lesley Manville, Jonathan Pryce and Derren Nesbitt (the latter in the little-seen Tucked). And along
Ordinary Loveside these established names there was so much fresh talent to acclaim: Jessie Buckley (Wild Rose), Noah Jupe (the Brit in the American film Honey Boy), Sarah Greene (Rosie) and the stars of Sorry We Missed You, Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood and Katie Proctor - and that's just for starters.



1.   Ordinary Love
2.   Ray & Liz
3.   Non-Fiction
4.   Maiden
5.   Knives Out
6.   Sorry We Missed You
7.   For Sama
8.   Birds of Paradise
9.   Vice
10. Aquarela