In reflecting on this past year's films, it comes down to two films that had the most impact on me. One is my favourite, the other, in my opinion, the best film of the year.
Vicky Christina Barcelona
The latest Woody Allen movie is the favourite for many reasons. For starters, it's hilarious. I don't think I was expecting it to be quite so funny when I first ventured out to see it, but was pleasantly surprised by just how enjoyable it was. So much so I returned the following weekend to see it again...alone. Surprisingly, the only other film that I had watched alone at a theatre was another Woody Allen film, 'Match Point'. Secondly, the acting was flawless. During the first viewing, I was in love with Rachel Hall's performance. The second go round, I sat up and took notice of Penelope Cruz's brilliant performance. If it weren't for Viola Davis in 'Doubt', Penelope would be the front-runner for the Supporting Actress Oscar. In my opinion, at least. Finally, I related well to one of the characters in many ways, especially their philosophy on love. Oh, and it's one of those rare movies I not only can watch over and over, but that I actually want to watch again and again.
Waltz With Bashir
The BEST film of the year. It's the story of a man on a journey to reclaim his memories of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon by having former comrades tell stories they'd most likely wish they didn't remember. The beautiful animation distracts you from the fact that you're actually watching a documentary all the way up until the brutal, haunting final images. It had such an impact on the entire audience that not one person stirred until it was well into the credits. The film is riveting, engaging and one of the most beautiful films that I've ever seen. On a side note, Max Richter's score is breathtaking. Hopefully it will be nominated for an Oscar since the film itself has been shut out of the Documentary category due to a lame technicality.