Best Movies Of 2019
Dec 8, 2022
The Best Movies of 2019
The landscape of cinema in 2019 dazzled us with a kaleidoscope ranging from heart-stopping blockbusters to raw independent gems, sealing the year as a beacon of creativity and expression in filmmaking.
Amidst the clamor of the box office, where "Frozen II" and "Toy Story 4" rose as cultural monoliths, smaller flicks like "The Farewell" and "Marriage Story" etched deep emotional grooves in the canvas of our minds.
While "Ford v Ferrari" thundered across the finish line with adrenaline-fueled precision, it was the haunting silence of "A Hidden Life" that resonated with the quiet introspection of the human soul.
Celebrated for their craft and storytelling, these films invited audiences on journeys spanning whimsical lands to stark realities.
Keep reading to discover the elements that made these titles stand out in the vast constellation of 2019 movies.
Exploring the Top Blockbuster Hits of 2019
As a devoted cinephile, I relish the opportunity to reflect on the cinematic treasures that graced theaters last year.
The film landscape of 2019 was as diverse as it was astonishing, marked by a parade of juggernauts that not only captivated the masses but also shattered box office records with spectacular finesse.
Rocketing past expectations, these blockbuster hits—spanning from high-octane action sagas to family-friendly fantasy escapades—became the beating heart of cultural conversations.
Let's cast a spotlight on the films that dominated our collective imaginations and the zeitgeist, creating a year of film that continually raised the bar and left audiences both thrilled and awe-struck.
Box Office Successes That Defined the Year
Amidst the films that soared through the 2019 box office skies, 'Avengers: Endgame' reigned supreme, drawing legions of Marvel enthusiasts to witness the culmination of a saga that spanned over a decade. Its monumental success, a testament to the unwavering allure of superhero narratives, shattered precedents and concluded with a triumphant crescendo that echoed around the globe.
Close on its heels, 'The Lion King' roared to life in a stunning display of computer-generated mastery, capturing the hearts of both young and old with its timeless tale of honor and family. This visual feast, paired with nostalgic melodies, underscored Disney's unparalleled ability to bridge generational divides and redefine what it means to create a universally cherished cinematic experience.
Blockbusters That Broke Records in 2019
The panorama of film in 2019 was replete with stories that shattered the ceiling of visual storytelling and box office achievements. 'Joker', directed by Todd Phillips, danced its way into the realm of critical acclaim and audience adoration, earning its place as a cultural phenomenon with a haunting portrayal of its titular character, culminating in box office records for an R-rated film.
Another gem, 'Frozen II', followed the enchanting tale of Elsa and Anna with a swell of a magical, musical adventure, surpassing its predecessor in financial success and becoming the highest-grossing animated film at that time. Its resonance with families and themes of self-discovery and primal elements gripped the imaginations of viewers, proving once more the unyielding power of storytelling that harmonizes with a quest for identity and connection.
The Year's Most Talked-About Action Films
Action aficionados had much to celebrate in 2019, with a slew of films that redefined the boundaries of adrenaline-fueled spectacle. 'John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum' saw Keanu Reeves return as the eponymous hitman, navigating a gritty, expanded universe where every knife throw and judo flip displayed balletic precision.
'Ford v Ferrari' raced onto the scene, capturing the essence of speed and rivalry. The dynamic duo of Christian Bale and Matt Damon led a riveting portrayal of the pursuit to triumph over Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, making it not just a film but an homage to the relentless spirit of the American dream.
Celebrated Independent Films From 2019
As I delve into the tapestry of 2019's cinematic offerings, my affection for the underdog stories championed by independent filmmaking deserves a moment in the limelight.
Each year delivers its bounty of indie gems, yet 2019 emerged particularly rich with narratives that, although not backed by the colossal budgets of their mainstream counterparts, stole the spotlight and garnered the attention typically reserved for blockbuster giants.
This pocket of the film industry celebrated an array of lesser-known films that resonated deeply, earning critical acclaim and proving the might of storytelling that blooms outside the garden of mainstream cinema.
Indie Gems That Stole the Spotlight
In the realm of cinema, independent films often tell the most compelling stories, and 2019 was no exception. 'The Farewell', directed by Lulu Wang, weaved a heartfelt tale of family and cultural identity that resonated universally, while 'A Hidden Life' by Terrence Malick offered a meditative reflection on morality in the face of oppression.
The stir created by Noah Baumbach's 'Marriage Story' is still palpable: an intimate exploration of the complexities of love and the unraveling of a partnership. This raw, emotional narrative captured through the exceptional performances of its leads, Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, became a staple of film discussion across all platforms:
Engagement at film festivals such as Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival showed the gravitas of 'Marriage Story'.
Critical praise translated into multiple Academy Award nominations, affirming its place among the year's most significant films.
The film's influence extended into the New York theater scene, highlighting Baumbach's dexterity in both the dramatic and cinematic worlds.
These standalone pieces, nestled away from the cacophony of franchised blockbusters, invigorated the sector with fresh perspectives and showcased the potency of the independent filmmaker's vision.
Lesser-Known Films That Gained Critical Acclaim
One film that dazzled critics with its soul-stirring resonance was 'The Souvenir' from Joanna Hogg. This poignant portrait of a young woman's tumultuous romance and self-actualization struck a chord for its unflinching honesty and Hogg's autobiographical inspirations, swiftly garnering acclamation as a masterpiece of personal storytelling.
Another title that quietly rose to prominence was 'Honeyland', a Macedonian documentary that captured the intricate balance between nature and humanity through the lens of a beekeeper's solitary struggle in a vanishing countryside. Its visual poetry and stark environmental message earned it numerous accolades, etching its poignant narrative into the annals of documentary excellence:
'Honeyland' became the first film ever to be nominated for both the Best International Feature Film and Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards.
The film took home three awards at the Sundance Film Festival, signifying a strong endorsement from one of the most pivotal platforms in independent cinema.
Its critical success laid the groundwork for further dialogue about sustainable practices and the profound impact of human activities on the natural world.
Breakthrough Performances in 2019 Movies
Astounding us with tales of fantasy, drama, and exhilarating action, 2019 offered an array of performances that not only enthralled but also launched actors into the heart of cinematic accolades.
Pivotal to the films that etched their narratives in our memories were the artists who brought these stories to life with authenticity and fervor.
Some faces were familiar, portraying roles that exceeded our expectations, while others emerged as striking newcomers, stealing scenes and sparking conversations about the fresh talents gracing the screen.
My focus here shifts to those actors whose performances stood out amidst the crowded constellation of stars and the rookies who dazzled us, transforming into instant sensations over the course of a film reel.
Actors Who Delivered Stand-Out Roles
A performance that resonates long after the final credits roll is a rare gift, and 2019 was a year that offered such treasures generously. Among the bevy of skilled actors, Joaquin Phoenix's transformative rendition of the iconic Joker trekked into the dark abyss of a fractured psyche, a portrayal that garnered both critical acclaim and an Oscar for Best Actor.
In a different vein, the vibrancy and zest of Awkwafina's work in 'The Farewell' brought a breath of fresh air, her ability to shift seamlessly between moments of comedic relief and emotional depth earned her a Golden Globe, marking an indelible mark on the landscape of leading ladies in film.
Newcomers Who Became Instant Stars
Amid the myriad of performances in 2019, Roman Griffin Davis's turn in 'Jojo Rabbit' stood as a testament to youthful talent. His portrayal of a young boy caught in the throes of World War II's ideological battles demonstrated an emotional range that belied his years, propelling him into the limelight as one of the year's most unexpected revelations.
Rising star Taylor Russell's embodiment of resilience in 'Waves' captivated audiences and critics alike. Her performance brought an authentic depth to the struggles of a teenager navigating love and loss, cementing her status as a noteworthy talent in contemporary cinema:
MovieActorRoleRecognitionJojo RabbitRoman Griffin DavisJojo BetzlerBreakthrough PerformanceWavesTaylor RussellEmilyEmerging Talent
Award-Winning Masterpieces of 2019
In the tapestry of film, 2019 unfurled its cinematic canvas, dazzling us with a constellation of works that didn't merely enchant audiences but enamored the guardians of cinema's most prestigious honors.
My gaze turns toward the pieces of visual artistry that not only triumphed within the buzzing theaters but also on the silent, star-studded nights of awards season.
From under the bright lights of the Academy Awards to the international flair of the Berlin and Venice film festivals, certain films emerged, basking in adulations and embodying the pinnacle of storytelling achievement.
We'll trace the journey of these films, those that galvanized critics and juries alike, and etched their titles into the annals of filmic greatness.
Films That Swept the Awards Season
Notable among the award-sweeping sensations of 2019 was 'Parasite', Bong Joon-ho's masterful dive into the class divide. This film's gripping narrative and stylistic boldness earned it the Palme d'Or at Cannes, paving its way to make history at the Oscars as the first non-English language film to take home the award for Best Picture.
'1917', directed by Sam Mendes, traversed through the trenches with immersive cinematography, capturing the essence of World War I's harrowing frontlines. Its seamless storytelling and technical prowess garnered multiple accolades including Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director, cementing its status as a cinematic achievement of the highest order.
2019 Movies Recognized by International Film Festivals
As I turn my attention to the international stage, it's remarkable to witness how the 2019 film roster made waves across the globe, garnering acclaim and top honors at prestigious events like the Venice Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival. 'Joker', with its disturbingly magnificent lead performance by Joaquin Phoenix, not only secured the Golden Lion in Venice but also ignited discussions that blazed well beyond its screening dates.
The softly spoken power of 'Parasite' resonated with both audiences and critics, its blend of dark comedy and trenchant social commentary striking a chord to collect the coveted Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. This film, in particular, signaled a seismic shift in the appreciation of international cinema, its accolades heralding the shape of things to come.
Genre Defining Movies Released in 2019
In surveying the cinematic brilliance that emerged from 2019, it is crucial to acknowledge the genre-defining films that blazed new trails across the spectrum of storytelling.
As I embark on this segment of our journey through last year's filmic landscape, I'm poised to dissect two distinctive realms that spurred raucous laughter and spine-tingling dread in equal measure.
While horror flicks of the year delved into uncharted depths of nightmare fuel, comedies broke through the noise, generating unifying echoes of laughter.
These offerings weren't just noteworthy for their narrative innovation; they shaped and reflected our culture, refining their genres and charging into the annals of entertainment history as the year's defining moments of fear and fun.
Horror Flicks That Chilled Audiences
The year 2019 witnessed the release of some truly chilling horror films that left even the most hardened fans quaking in their seats. Among them, 'Midsommar' stood out with its hauntingly bright setting and creeping dread that defied the genre's traditional reliance on darkness and shadows to invoke fear.
'Us', directed by Jordan Peele, further cemented his status as a horror maestro with a tale that mesmerized through its clever use of doppelgängers and a spine-tingling narrative exploring identity and society. This film's success at both unnerving viewers and generating thought-provoking discourse was an achievement that made waves well beyond its genre:
FilmDirectorUnique Horror ElementMidsommarAri AsterDaylight HorrorUsJordan PeeleDoppelgängers
These groundbreaking horror flicks challenged the conventions and expanded the creative horizons of the genre, earning them not only critical acclaim but also a lasting impact on the future of horror filmmaking.
Comedies That Had Everyone Laughing
Amid the rich tapestry of 2019's big-screen offerings, laugh-out-loud comedies carved their niche with a blend of raw humor and poignant storytelling. ‘Booksmart’, helmed by Olivia Wilde, emerged as a stand-out, breathing new life into the coming-of-age genre while tapping into the pulse of adolescent angst and friendship with its smart script and dynamic duo, Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever.
The satirical 'Jojo Rabbit', directed by the ingenious Taika Waititi, flipped the script on historical comedies, delivering a gutsy mix of wit and weight as it danced on the edges of comedic taboo. Its fearless approach to humor, seen through the eyes of a young boy and his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, echoed with audacity and heart, securing its standing as one of the best movies of 2019.
Must-Watch Animated and Family Films of 2019
In 2019, filmmakers unfurled a splendid array of animated features and family-friendly movies that transcended mere entertainment to become instant classics, touching the hearts of audiences across generations.
Narratives rich with imagination and adorned with stunning visuals not only brought laughter and joy but also weaved lessons of love, courage, and friendship.
Whether it was the allure of enchanting new worlds or the relatable charms of heartfelt stories, these selections were not only a retreat for the young but a nostalgic haven for adults, rekindling the childlike wonder often lost in the hustle of daily life.
Animated Features That Enchanted Viewers of All Ages
In a year replete with cinematic wonderment, 'Toy Story 4' emerged, tenderly tugging at our heartstrings and beautifully bookending a cherished franchise that has grown alongside its audience. Pixar's craftsmanship delivered yet another poignant chapter, masterfully intertwining themes of loyalty and purpose with the enchanting journey of Woody, Buzz, and the cherished toy ensemble.
'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' soared across the screen with breathtaking animation and a touching narrative that resonated with fans who have long followed Hiccup's and Toothless's evolution. This final flight into the fantastical Viking and dragon world rendered a stirring ode to friendship and letting go, closing the trilogy with grace and leaving a lasting legacy of awe.
Family-Friendly Movies That Became Instant Classics
In the constellation of family favorites, 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood' illuminated the screen, embodying the kindness and wisdom of Fred Rogers. Its intergenerational appeal rooted in the timeless messages of empathy and understanding established it as a classic for both children and adults alike.
The rich tapestry of 2019's family films wouldn't be complete without mentioning 'Aladdin', which whisked audiences away on a magic carpet ride of adventure and romance. This live-action remake not only paid homage to the animated classic but also enchanted a new generation with its dazzling visuals and unforgettable melodies:
FilmThemeAudience ImpactA Beautiful Day in the NeighborhoodEmpathy and KindnessClassic Family AppealAladdinAdventure and RomanceNew Generational Enchantment