Nagel’s Top 10 Films Of 2019

It’s that time of the year again, folks where I round up my top 10 films. This year I didn’t watch as many films as previous years, but there were some solid gems in the mix. I hope you enjoy, and please let me know what your favourite films of the year were.

Here’s a list of films that almost made the cut. Some were released in 2018 but I only saw them early this year.

  • Suspiria
  • Glass
  • Cold War
  • Shoplifters
  • Us
  • John Wick 3
  • Doctor Sleep
  • El Camino
  • Ready Or Not
  • 1917
  • Fighting With My Family

10. Uncut Gems

Who knew Adam Sandler still had it in him to pull off a potentially award-winning performance? The Safdie Brothers take a simple idea, add a detailed plot, and take you on a pretty trippy ride through the world of an eccentric jeweler in New York City.

9. Booksmart

I didn’t know Olivia Wilde was a director, and then she ends up directing one of the smartest, funniest comedies of 2019. Comedy is ridiculously difficult to get right, and yet this film is full of it, with odd characters, a fun plot, and a great coming of age narrative overall.

8. Marriage Story

Heads up, this should be called Divorce Story, because that’s what it’s actually about. No, I don’t consider that a spoiler, because the title of the film is a really insidious way to draw audiences in. This film uses natural dialogue blended with a raw portrayal of the breakdown of a relationship to show a very realistic picture of what a modern divorce might look like. The screenplay by Noah Baumbach is fantastic, and the performances by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson are stellar, as expected.

7. Knives Out

It looks like the whodunnit is back in business! Rian Johnson crafts a film that would make Agatha Christie proud. The cast is awesome, the plot is unbelievably detailed and mysterious, and the direction is exquisite.

6. The Lighthouse

Wanna watch a black and white film where two lighthouse keepers spiral into madness because of prolonged isolation; starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson? Well, A24 has got you covered, fam. It’s an insane film and it looks gorgeous; and Dafoe puts in an especially incredible performance.


5. The Irishman

Scorsese isn’t back; he never left. De Niro, Pacino, Pesci. Do you need more convincing?

4. Midsommar

Or, “I Can’t Even: The Movie“. A kaleidoscope of grief, terror, gaslighting, loneliness and acceptance blended in a fugue of dread. This film isn’t for everyone (I didn’t even like it at first) but I appreciated what Aster put together, and Florence Pugh brings an amazing performance to the table (yeah, I’m biased).

3. The Nightingale

Some people might reduce this film to a rape revenge story. For the sake of anyone who may watch it on my recommendation, I feel obligated to provide a trigger warning; this film has significant violence and sexual violence, especially in the first act; however there’s much more to this story than meets the eye. It’s an examination of power, control and an indictment of colonialism. Jennifer Kent continues to establish herself as one of the best directors working today; while Aisling Franciosi and Baykali Ganambarr are amazing scene partners both putting in beautiful performances.

2. Portrait of a Lady on Fire

This is the most beautiful love story I’ve seen in ages.

1. Parasite

Parasite is one of those once-in-a-decade films. It’s got a smart screenplay, is amazingly well-directed, has a cast pulling off great performances across the board, and tackles classicism in modern society in a way that’s both interesting and reflective.

I hope you enjoyed my list of top films for 2019. Please share your favourite films in the comments, I’d love to check them out.

Here are more top 10 lists from previous years:

My Top 10 of 2018

Our collective Top 10 of 2017

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Editor-in-Chief at BTG Lifestyle. For cinema.


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