• Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Best Films of 2018

ByMarc Nelson

Dec 28, 2018
Universal Pictures International

Film in 2018 contained many things. There were superheroes imperilled more seriously than ever before, there was a romance between Sally Hawkins and a fishman, there was code-switching, there was an astronaut motivated by grief, there was a woman caught in a series of terrible dates, there was a man whose despair manifested into something much worse, and most importantly — there was buttered asparagus.

This reductive catalogue aside, the writers in the film section celebrate the year in cinema, presented in the form of individual writers’ lists, all working towards an official film section top ten and film of the year.

Marc Nelson:

The film moment of the year for me comes from Let the Sunshine In, Claire Denis’s film about a Parisian artist (Juliette Binoche), whose attempts to find love are constantly undone by her unwavering, exacting standards for herself — and the fact that the men she meets are, to varying degrees (and with one exception), all a bit rubbish.

She takes to the dancefloor in one scene, swaying contentedly to the lovely sound of Etta James’s ‘At Last.’ She’s joined by Sylvain, wordlessly, and the two seem completely in step with each other’s rhythms. Of course, as soon as he opens his mouth, he reveals himself to be an utter flannel of a man, yet there was an instant in which she was aglow with happiness. Asked later why she was attracted to him, she answers only, with a wonderful shrug: “he dances well.” What else is needed?

Marc’s Top 10:

  1. Let The Sunshine In
  2. Zama
  3. Phantom Thread
  4. Shoplifters
  5. Lady Bird
  6. Ex-Libris: The New York Public Library
  7. First Reformed
  8. Cold War
  9. Faces Places
  10. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Cara Stobo: 

2018 has surely been the year for women, with 7 of my top 10 being female-led movies. It seems also to be the year of reboots, sequels and musicals. Marvel dominated the screen with three big releases, though only two of these were fan favourites. Surprisingly, smaller budget movies really packed a punch this year, with both Anna and the Apocalypse and My Name is Myeisha being stand-out movies during the Edinburgh International Film Festival. A shout out has to go to Frances McDormand’s Oscar-winning performance in Three Billboards, her raw and unfiltered portrayal of Mildred quite possibly being the performance of the year. There are still some great contenders for top ten movies, such as Mary Poppins Returns, so let’s hope the year ends as strongly femme as it began.

Cara’s Top 10:

  1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  2. A Star Is Born
  3. The Hate U Give
  4. Bohemian Rhapsody
  5. Black Panther
  6. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
  7. Avengers: Infinity War
  8. Anna And the Apocalypse
  9. A Quiet Place
  10. My Name Myeisha

Eoin O’Donnell:

This year had some really moving dramas (Damian Chazelle’s First Man and Paul Dano’s directorial debut Wildlife are sure to take part in the end-of-year awards rush) and some of the best genre entries in years (Hereditary for horror and Mission: Impossible Fallout for action), but the best pastiche of all of these tones and genres, and my favourite film of the year, is Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. Lee’s best work in years, he lends his signature style and comedy to an incredible true story for a film that’s at once outlandishly funny and surprisingly chilling, if a little on the nose with its present-day parallels. John David Washington gives a star-making performance as the titular undercover cop infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan, and Adam Driver continues his hot streak of working with just about every iconic director in the industry. The film is artfully-crafted, thoughtful and hauntingly relevant, but most of all, it’s a really enjoyable piece of entertainment

Eoin’s Top 10:

  1. BlacKkKlansman
  2. First Man
  3. Wildlife
  4. Hereditary
  5. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  6. Annihilation
  7. A Star Is Born
  8. Mission Impossible: Fallout
  9. American Animals
  10. Black Panther

James Hanton: 

If we can ever depend on anyone to deliver intelligent and bizarre movies again and again, it would be the Coens. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is the latest evidence of the brothers’ immense creative flair and ingenuity. Telling a series of short stories in an anthology format, their love of the Western becomes clear as each tale takes shape, fuelled by great performances from the likes of Liam Neeson and Chelcie Ross.

It is sombre and political sometimes, existential in others and occasionally downright strange. Yet somehow despite the chronic lack of action in some of the stories, you are constantly reeled in by the wonder of it all. Everything from grand and beautiful vistas to claustrophobic dark carriages leave you reeling in another example of the Coens’ accomplished world building. Exceptional and unique, catch this film before the dust settles.

James’s Top 10:

  1. The Shape of Water
  2. Avengers: Infinity War
  3. Lady Bird
  4. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  5. First Man
  6. Black Panther
  7. BlacKkKlansman
  8. Hotel Artemis
  9. Hereditary
  10. Solo: A Star Wars Story

Theo Rollason: 

This year I swooned with adoration for Phantom Thread, froze with anxiety in A Quiet Place, shook with dread at Hereditary, cried with laughter at Sorry to Bother You and straight-up cried at The Shape of Water. And Lady Bird. And Cold War. And Roma. I did an embarrassing amount of cinema crying this year. My best moviegoing experience of 2018 however was hearing the Edinburgh audience of a packed midnight screening of Avengers: Infinity War whoop in delight at a sign reading WE WILL DEEP FRY YOUR KEBAB, shortly before our heroes proceed to smash up Waverley. Pure cinema.

Theo’s Top 10:

  1. Roma
  2. Phantom Thread
  3. Lady Bird
  4. Hereditary
  5. Sorry To Bother You
  6. Cold War
  7. The Shape of Water
  8. Faces Places
  9. A Quiet Place
  10. Columbus

Film Section Top 10:

1. Lady Bird

Universal Pictures International


2. Phantom Thread

Universal Pictures International


3. Hereditary

Eva Rinaldi via Flickr


4. First Man

Universal Pictures International


5. The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs



6. BlacKkKlansman

Universal Pictures International


7. The Shape of Water

Twentieth Century Fox


8. A Star Is Born

Neal Preston


9. Avengers: Infinity War

Marvel Studios 2018 via image.net


10. Black Panther

Marvel Studios 2018 via image.net


Image: Universal Pictures International.

By Marc Nelson

Film Editor

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