Article by Lauren Rosewarne /
December 31, 2019 /
Welcome to the list of the 149 new release films I saw in 2019. These were seen in the US or in Australia, or were new features with teeny tiny cinema releases that I saw on streaming services. (Note that I list by viewings in a given calendar year, which means that some films released in certain markets in 2019 appeared on last year’s list).
8–34 were films I very much enjoyed — which I’d be delighted to recommend — but which, alas, didn’t involve any swooning.
35–69 were films I liked — which fit the bill for being in, varying degrees, worthy or entertaining — but which weren’t transformative, weren’t ones I need to bully you into seeing and which aren’t masterpieces. 70–105 are in the passable/forgettable/meh category: acceptable viewing experiences but ones you needn’t prioritise. From 106 onwards are the films I hated — ones where I felt robbed, where the bad far outweighs the good, or where I simply walked out of the cinema in overwhelming frustration (as I did with Cyrano, My Love and The Mountain). The most egregious on this list were the films where the undue hype only sharpened my loathing (think Joker, The Lighthouse, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Gloria Bell, and The Irishman).
It’s hard to make generalisations about a year’s worth of film, but here’s six:
· I thoroughly enjoyed an awful lot of films about disintegrating relationships. This should surprise no one.
· While I made a concerted effort to see female-directed films, that three in my top ten — and five in my top twenty — were directed by women is just splendidly fortuitous.
· While not always directed by women, many of my high-ranking entries — from Booksmart to Portrait of a Lady on Fire to Animals, from Pink Wall to The Wolf Hour to After the Wedding and Maiden– are properly pithy takes on female stories and completely worthwhile.
· Living in small-town New England for a chunk of 2019 meant that I didn’t have easy access to many foreign films. That said, that the French, the Spaniards, the Russians and the English are represented in my Top 10 is a reminder that sometimes we — or, at least me — have to dig a little for the year’s gems because those that dominate the box office aren’t normally what I want to see. And on that note…
· I only saw two of 2019’s ten highest grossing films, both of which I hated. There’s a point here to be made about the films that make the money not being the ones I’m interested in and, more broadly, I just generally remain loathed to spend time or money on animation or superheroes.
Enjoy. Happy watching and have a wonderful 2020!
© Lauren Rosewarne 2019