The 10 best films of 2019

OPINION: The last year in the decade has been a great one for film.

There were many movies I loved in 2019, but the following 10 are my absolute favourites.

Strongly agree or passionately disgaree? Let me know on Twitter, especially if I left off your favourite.

Bellbird film (2019).
Bellbird. Photo credit: NZ Film Commission

10: Bellbird

Kicking off my best of 2019 is this lovely local gem. The more Bellbird percolated in my heart, the more I loved it. There is such power in gentle and authentic storytelling, tenderly breathing life into grief and healing, infused with that special kind of real Kiwi humour. It was just wonderful to watch.

Amazing Grace film (2019).
Amazing Grace. Photo credit: Neon

9: Amazing Grace

A documentary on soul queen Aretha Franklin's historic recording of her gospel album Amazing Grace was an electrifying, remarkable, glorious, life-affirming musical time capsule. Aretha in all her gifted magnificence as we are transported back in time as if by the magic of her voice alone.

Toy Story 4 (2019).
Toy Story 4. Photo credit: Pixar

8: Toy Story 4

Raising the animation and storytelling bar once again and gifting us all a new friend in Forky - Woody, Buzz and co were back to remind us what it means to be human. Hilarious and heart-breaking in the same breath, Pixar delivered on their toy stories once again.

Rocketman movie (2019).
Rocketman. Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

7: Rocketman

For those of us still in therapy wondering how on God's green earth Bohemian Rhapsody won four Oscars, Rocketman arrived to put our spinning world back onto its axis. Rocketman was still an emotional, psychedelic rock and roller-coaster buoyed by a first-class script and a stellar song and dance from Taron Egerton.


Knives Out (2019).
Knives Out. Photo credit: Lionsgate

6: Knives Out

This gem of a whodunnit is not your average ABC Murder She Wrote on the Orient Express kind of rehash, honouring the classics by simply becoming one itself. The cast, their script, the wild and wonderful twists and turns of this finely tuned and expertly executed plot was such an enormous ingenious unguessable giggle.

Spider-man: Into The Spider-verse.
Spider-man: Into The Spider-verse. Photo credit: Sony

5: Spider-man: Into The Spider-verse

As much a hypnotically neon love letter to New York City as it is to our friendly neighbourhood Spider-guy, this animated film finally activated my spidie senses. Now I get it. It's been on high rotate in my house and I am still yet to tire of it, almost a year on.

Avengers: Endgame.
Avengers: Endgame. Photo credit: Marvel

4: Avengers: Endgame

Heroes come in many forms, cinematic heroes even more so. Making the ultimate sacrifice when it's personal, when there is simply everything to lose and you are the only one for the job? I'd argue nobody has done this better than Marvel has. Avengers: Endgame was quite simply everything we needed it to be and everything I wanted it to be.

Parasite film (2019).
Parasite. Photo credit: CJ Entertainment

3: Parasite

There are certain stories told which leave me in awe of those who tell them - Parasite is one of those. A dark, deeply funny, searingly relevant tale which will remain embedded in my subconscious for my lifetime.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Photo credit: Sony

2: Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

Tarantino invited us all to worship at his altar of movies with his long-awaited epic Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. Events, fact and fiction, play out in '70s Hollywood, soaked in sunlight and laced with a pending doom, as always to the tune of a Tarantino jukebox and delivered by perfectly cast players in their prime, reminding us all why they're movie stars. I expected to love this Tarantino, I just didn't expect to fall in love with Tarantino for making it.

Jojo Rabbit.
Jojo Rabbit. Photo credit: Piki Films

1: Jojo Rabbit

Using comedy as a gateway to the heart is Taika's speciality, but never has he used it as potently as he does with his Jojo Rabbit. He walks the tightrope of tone like an Olympian, crafting an almost perfect anti-hate satire which dismantled my heart entirely. If there was a time for a story which does nothing but spread love and not hate, then that time is right now. Jojo Rabbit is my top film for 2019.

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