The Best Movies Of 2024

the best movies of year

Lets find the best movies of 2024


1. The Zone of Interest

There is a risk associated with narratives derived from the Holocaust that familiarity may lead to complacency: we believe we understand what occurred and have a preconceived notion in our minds that is simply reinforced by easily digestible books, movies, and TV shows. British filmmaker Jonathan Glazer’s German-language adaptation of Martin Amis’s novel, “The Zone of Interest,” which depicts the family life of Auschwitz’s commandant Rudolf Höss (played by Christian Friedel) and his wife Hedwig (portrayed by Sandra Hüller), breaks away from this pattern. It presents a daring, experimental perspective on the atrocities that echoes the unsettling atmosphere found in Glazer’s previous films, “Under the Skin” and “Birth.” The film carefully chooses what to reveal and what to withhold, aiming to approach this narrative in a way that respects historical accuracy without retreading familiar ground stylistically or dramatically. Its thought-provoking nature is deeply rooted in intelligence.

Is a beautiful garden still considered beautiful when it is located just a short distance from Auschwitz? Can one appreciate a flower, a piece of furniture, or a well-maintained lawn while also being aware of the smoking chimney in the background, the distant sound of gunshots, and the unsettling industrial hum of Mica Levi’s distressing score? The Zone of Interest delves into the disturbing reality that for Rudolf, Auschwitz’s extermination program was seen as an excellent career opportunity, while for Hedwig it provided an opportunity to live like ‘the Queen of Auschwitz’, as her husband jokingly tells a colleague.

Our retrospective view allows us to comprehend the deep historical significance of a smoking chimney seen in the distance beyond Höss’s immaculate garden. However, the individuals in this scene do not share this understanding; for them, it represents the dawn of an optimistic new period, mirrored in their flawless domestic environment or Rudolf’s fresh assignment in Berlin. Glazer enhances their garden with such intense illumination that each grass blade appears noticeable. While we anticipate impending darkness, they welcome a perpetual sunrise. This disparity between viewpoints lends the movie its disconcerting power.

2. Poor Things

Alasdair Gray’s novel from 1992, which is unfortunately not widely read, has been transformed into a lively, playful, and sexually charged Victorian adventure by Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (known for “The Favourite”). It is undeniably the most humorous film of the year thus far, offering a sharp and entertaining story that conceals deeper themes beneath a layer of laughter and bold humor. Emma Stone delivers a standout performance, Mark Ruffalo channels full Terry-Thomas charm, and the extravagantly lavish sets provide a visual feast for viewers.

Like Gray’s book, Poor Things is a reinterpretation of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ – an unsettling and visceral exploration of science that gives rise to a unique parent-child dynamic. It then transforms into a journey reminiscent of ‘Candide’, focusing on female empowerment with elements of sexuality, profanity, and dominance by men against the backdrop of various European cities.

The initial scene, a burst of color preceding Robbie Ryan’s cinematography that portrays Victorian London in sharp black and white tones, showcases Stone as an affluent woman falling into the Thames to evade a mysterious torment. Willem Dafoe’s character, Dr. Godwin Baxter, then appears to retrieve the woman’s body and revive her by implanting a new brain into her skull. Unaware of her original identity, he dubs her Bella; she later refers to him as ‘God’.

Baxter’s visage, adorned with a intricate web of scars, and his unorthodox fascination with experimental surgery – the perimeter of his property is protected by hybrid beings called ‘chogs’ and other peculiar creations – mask a compassionate person with a paternal fondness for the inquisitive Bella. As time passes, it becomes clear that this fondness does not extend to letting her explore outside their realm. Poor Things delves into the idea that men often desire to dominate and restrict women; Dafoe’s character represents a gentler type of captor.

To achieve this goal, Baxter decides to arrange a marriage between Bella and the mild-mannered medical student, Max McCandless (played by Ramy Youssef), whom he has hired to document her developmental progress. This sensitive young man quickly becomes captivated by his rapidly maturing subject, educating her on geography and gently advising her that public masturbation is inappropriate. Meanwhile, Ruffalo’s womanizing lawyer, Duncan Wedderburn, who is tasked with drafting the prenuptial agreement, whisks Bella away to a whimsical, pastel-hued Lisbon for an escapade filled with adventure, oysters, and plenty of ‘furious jumping’ (as depicted in The Favourite co-writer Tony McNamara’s screenplay that cleverly uses playful language to offer a fresh perspective on the world).

Just like in The Favourite, Lanthimos utilizes fish-eye lenses extensively. In this case, the purpose is to invite you into a massive Victorian goldfish bowl that he populates with marvel and peculiarity. A horse-drawn carriage pivots on the street, revealing a faux horse’s head at the front and a rumbling engine at the back. Poor Things itself is an equally – and impressively – unexpected blend: a feminist tale of growing up, monster flick, and raunchy, vulgar sex comedy that the Greek filmmaker has skillfully crafted into a work of art.

3. Dune: Part Two

Does Denis Villeneuve ever miss? He has a remarkable track record, hitting close to .400 when it comes to blockbuster filmmaking. His first proper sequel continues this successful streak. After reimagining Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic in the initial Dune film, Part Two introduces moral complexity and massive desert battles to the intricate world-building and galactic scheming. Despite the star-studded cast, nothing can overshadow the awe-inspiring monstrous sandworms – colossal Tube trains racing through Arrakis’ sandy substrata, providing this movie with its most impressive motif.

4. All Of Us Strangers

A captivating piece of work – one that may evoke tears on the cinema floor – Andrew Haigh’s haunting love tale could potentially be considered the British filmmaker’s magnum opus. The narrative revolves around a screenwriter (portrayed wonderfully by Andrew Scott), whose solitary existence in a London apartment complex is disrupted by a mysterious neighbor (played with dangerous charm by Paul Mescal) and an enigmatic visit to his childhood home, where his parents (depicted by Claire Foy and Jamie Bell) await him. Partially autobiographical, as Haigh filmed it in his own childhood residence, this film delves into themes of connection, loneliness, and the longing for parental presence that resonate both personally and universally.

5. The Taste of Things

Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel, who share a real-life history, craft an enchanting romantic ambiance in Tran Anh Hung’s acclaimed period film. Drawing parallels to ‘The Scent of Green Papaya,’ the movie exalts in the sensory pleasures of food, with its opening scenes brimming with sizzling, chopping, roasting, and saucing that might evoke hunger pangs. Similar to other beloved food-focused films like Babette’s Feast and Big Night, this movie delves deeper into culinary artistry. Binoche excels as a skilled chef whose dynamic with her employer (Magimel) is shaped by her autonomy. Set in the rustic 19th century, it whisks audiences away to a bygone era of delight and love.

6. The Iron Claw

You do not need to be a fan of wrestling, Zac Efron, or have any knowledge about the true story of the Von Erich family to be deeply impacted by Sean Durkin’s intense drama set in the ’70s and ’80s. Efron undergoes a remarkable physical transformation to portray Kevin Von Erich, one of four siblings driven by their father who was a wrestler turned trainer (played by Holt McCallany). It is recommended to watch this film without prior information for a more immersive experience.

7. The Holdovers

The sound you hear – some gentle complaining, a bit of ‘no Merlot please’ – signals the gathering of the Giamatti fan base. Long considered one of cinema’s most undervalued talents (acknowledged, but not fully appreciated), he has now emerged from Alexander Payne’s poignant ’70s-style Christmas film as a beloved hero, a role that some of his own characters might find ironic. His dynamic rapport with newcomer Dominic Sessa, portraying a cynical history teacher and the troubled student he is reluctantly paired with during the holidays, along with the uplifting presence of Da’Vine Joy Randolph, elevate this film to be Payne’s most unexpectedly life-affirming work.

8. Monster

Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda’s compassionate perspective is applied to another story of changing lives, enriched with a delicate musical score by the late Ryuichi Sakamoto. In “Monster,” the narrative shifts akin to Rashomon, offering various viewpoints on a teacher, student Minato (Soya Kurokawa), and his worried mother. The film explores their relationships from different angles, remaining impartial yet increasingly complex. Recognized with the Queer Palm at Cannes, it sensitively portrays the evolving friendship between Minato and his classmate Eri (Hinata Hiiragi). In a different year at Cannes, it might have also claimed the prestigious Palme D’Or award.

9. Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World

The 1990s witnessed a surge of movies that derived humor from the ordinary and soul-crushing aspects of low-paying jobs, exemplified by films like Office Space and Clerks. Despite the challenges faced by many filmmakers in turning the harsh realities of late capitalism into comedy, this paved the way for social realists such as Ken Loach. Radu Jude, a Romanian filmmaker, defies this trend with his bold and darkly humorous portrayal of the gig economy. His film intertwines Andrew Tate TikTok parodies, references to film history, and a sharp critique of contemporary work life through Ilinca Manolache’s edgy production assistant character enduring a nightmarish shift. The outcome is a daring satire on corporate absurdity that would likely impress Peter Gibbons.

10. Origin

According to Roger Ebert’s belief that movies serve as vehicles for empathy, Ava DuVernay’s travelogue can be considered an excellent representation of this concept. This travelogue serves as a meta-narrative, delving into the creative process behind Isabel Wilkerson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book ‘Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents’ published in 2020. It offers significant intellectual depth and evokes deep emotions by highlighting oppressive systems and incorporating moments of subtle romanticism from the director of Selma. In ‘King Richard’, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor gives a noteworthy performance, portraying a character who is both affectionate and unsentimental, dealing with personal loss while gaining strength from addressing historical injustices.

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