Here we are, now fully two decades into the second century of cinema, and while notions of what actually constitutes a film — as opposed to television, images on your phone or something else — are more in flux than ever, 2019 has been a lively and varied enough year at the movies. Arresting films came in from different corners of the globe, in different genres, from different sources and courtesy of directors both established and up and coming.
But while there were any number of notable releases this year, serious disagreements persist as to what they were: Nowhere on my top 10 list or 10 honorable mentions, for example, will you see a certain South Korean Cannes winner (and major Oscar contender), a serio-comic Sundance tearjerker about a dying grandma or any horror films at all, including the much-debated one about a New York homicidal lunatic with a big red mouth or the latest from the director of Get Out.
What you will find are a love story, three very different buddy films, a Mafia epic, a war movie, an unusual documentary, a big literary adaptation, a complex character study and a tale of urban unrest set in a part of Paris few tourists visit. These were the best films of the year.