THR critics list top films of 2009

'Hurt Locker,' 'Up in the Air,' 'Up' get the most mentions

What strikes you about the individual lists of The Hollywood Reporter film critics' top 10 films for 2009 is the wide range of styles, genres and commercial appeal in these choices.

They run the gamut from the austere (the German-language "The White Ribbon") to the raucous (wild boys' language "The Hangover").

You get terrifically entertaining animation -- "Coraline," "Fantastic Mr. Fox," "The Princess and the Frog" and "Up" -- as well as animation-tinged, science-fiction wonders such as "Avatar" and "District 9." And there are genuinely unsettling films, like the inner-city drama "Precious" or the dolphin-hunting documentary "The Cove."

Once again, no film appears on every list. That seems a tradition of ours. The films that do appear on five of the six lists are Kathryn Bigelow's war film "The Hurt Locker," Jason Reitman's road-movie satire "Up in the Air" and Peter Docter's ingenious "Up." Louie Psihoyos' "The Cove" just misses with four mentions.

James Cameron's "Avatar," the most expensive movie ever made, appears on half of the lists, though no one lists it as their top film.

The pic that is the personal favorite of the most critics is "Up in the Air," which tops no less than four lists. The other top film is Michael Heneke's "White Ribbon," which comes in No. 1 on two lists.

One encouraging sign for animation fans is the inclusion of no less than four ani features among the year's best. That's a first.

View the complete lists on the next page.



THR Critics' Top 10 Films of 2009


Kirk Honeycutt


1. The White Ribbon
2. Up
3. Precious
4. The Hurt Locker
5. District 9
6. Avatar
7. The Cove
8. In the Loop
9. A Serious Man
10. Up in the Air


Sheri Linden

1. The White Ribbon
2. District 9
3. Police, Adjective
4. Summer Hours
5. Bright Star
6. Fantastic Mr. Fox
7. Big Fan
8. Of Time and the City
9. The Cove
10. Up


Ray Bennett


1. Up in the Air
2. The Hurt Locker
3. Tulpan
4. Bright Star
5. Moon
6. Summer Hours
7. Up
8. Star Trek
9. Broken Embraces
10. Avatar


Michael Rechtshaffen

1. Up in the Air
2. The Hurt Locker
3. Up
4. An Education
5. Everlasting Moments
6. Coraline
7. The Cove
8. Broken Embraces
9. The Hangover
10. Avatar


Stephen Farber

1. Up in the Air
2. The Last Station
3. The Hurt Locker
4. Precious
5. The Cove
6. The Princess and the Frog
7. My One and Only
8. Lemon Tree
9. Adam
10. Seraphine


Frank Scheck

1. Up in the Air
2. The Hurt Locker
3. Precious
4. Up
5. Inglourious Basterds
6. A Single Man
7. (500) Days of Summer
8. Invictus
9. The Messenger
10. The Last Station
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