The year of 2012 brought us many great movies including several cool blockbusters and a few true cinematic masterpieces. To compile this list, I have watched more than 120 titles from the USA, Europe, and the world.
If you are looking for quality cinema, in my opinion these are the best movies of 2012 you should watch:
As the title suggests, this is a biopic about the artist Marina Abramovic. If you are a fan, you should definitely want to watch this movie. And if you are not, now is the perfect moment to get familiar with her life and art.
The movie talks about Marina’s life, her performances, her relationship with Ulay. It is simple, but it doesn’t in any way tries to simplify and undermine her art and influence in the art world.
This is the story of the maybe-not-so-famous rock musician Sixto Rodrigyes. Somehow while remaining quite unpopular in the United States, he became a super star in South Africa and is believed to have sold more records than Elvis Presley. He was a god without knowing it.
The movie is intriguing, suspenseful, and most of all emotional. I discovered Rodrigues’ music through it, and since then has become one of my favorite musicians.
It is a beautiful musical tribute that won an Oscar and BAFTA for best documentary film.
The Hunt, by Thomas Vinterberg, is a simple every-day story about a middle aged-teacher struggling with life.
I have many times spoken with disregard about Vinterberg, blaming him for intentionally depriving his movies of emotions. The truth is that he doesn’t need unnecessary drama to tell an impactful story. His movies are deep, complex and human enough to connect with the audience on multiple levels. This one is no exception.
Each Wes Anderson’s movie is a true cinematic experience. Moonrise Kingdom has it all – colorful characters, adventure plots, originality, humor, emotions, and wisdom.
Backed up with the solid performances of giants like Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murry, Tilda Swinton and Frances Mc Dormand, this movie is a must see.
Cloud Atlas, based on the David Mitchell book, has multiple plots occurring in the past, present and future involving various characters of different age and race. Directed by Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, the movie is an ambitious project with beautiful cinematography, visual effects and score.
I may be heavily biased, but for me everything Lana and Lilly Wachowski do is worth watching. They both are not only artistically very talented people, but two of the most intelligent directors in Hollywood. Cloud Atlas is a beautiful, emotional, philosophical experience.
Rust and Bone is a moving story of human pain and strength.
The movie is another strong production by the director Jacque Audiard who continues carving his name in the history of French cinema. His main characters are common people, misfortunate ones, outsiders, who struggle, fight and sometimes succeed in life.
The story in the movie is raw, devastating, and somehow a very authentic tale of the human experience. It is not way entertaining or positive but it is inspiring in its own way. The movie became even more emotional thanks to Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts’s masterful acting.
Life of Pi, based on Yann Martel’s book, is about a boy telling his adventure stories and how he sailed across the Pacific Ocean in a boat with a Bengal tiger.
Contrary to what you would expect from the plot, there is not that much action in the movie. At the same time, however, each scene is full of meaning and emotion. This is a movie about faith, perseverance, acceptance, spirituality. The visually stunning and yet so realistic scenes are delightful cinematic experience.
Call him Quentin Tarantino and say no more. Django Unchained, like its director, is original, bold, and unapologetic. The movie is smart, and fun, and somehow much more profound than it looks. But that is not the best part here.
What I have always loved about Tarantino is that through his movies, you can feel his love for cinema. He is having fun, he is enjoying himself, and his passion is contagious. And it is strange to talk about fun, when his movies are full of violence, pain and death, but they are also full of optimism to their very core. In real life you cannot change the past, you may not find justice, and not everything is fair, but in Tarantino’s movies all is just alright.
Kim Ki-duk’s films are harsh, disruptive, disturbing, too disturbing, and simply brilliant. And Pieta is just one fine example of his cinematic genius.
Uncompromising scenes, marginalized characters, tormented thoughts, utterly deep emotions, philosophical depths, grotesque images, drama and melodrama. This is not a film that is beautiful, and it is certainly not a film that’s enjoyable. But it is a film that is worth discussing, and admiring, and hating, and feeling, and just experiencing.
I often wonder what art is all about? Is it about meaning? Emotion? Message? Impact? Is it about the artist, the audience, the world?
Whatever art is all about, Holy Motors have it. It has it all – the sense and the nonsense, the ideas, and the feelings, the story, the lack of it. The meaning and the absurd. It is modern, and timeless at the same time.
On rare occasions, when you stumble upon such a piece of art, words are never enough to describe the experience. But they are also unnecessary, because the art that touched you, has now become part of you.
No title in the list grabs your attention? You can also check out my list of the best movies of 2011 that you should watch.