8 – Loveless
In Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Academy Award-nominated film we see that love – and the ensuing failed relationships – are complicated. Complicated enough for the adults at their centre. But in one short devastating shot, we see just how traumatic the breakup is for the couples’ son. Wrapped in some beautiful, glacial cinematography, Loveless is a personal story with a political undertone which haunts long after the final image.
7 – First Reformed
When I left the cinema I had no idea whether I even liked this. But it continues to be on my mind, particularly the final scene, and Ethan Hawke’s performance is something else.
Soaring camerawork, a luscious score – Barry Jenkins and James Baldwin are a match made in heaven. It’s a story of love, of family support, of getting by in trying circumstances. It’s also a commentary on race relations and the US legal system, with all the gentleness of a Wong Kar-Wai film.
5 – BlacKkKlansman
Films that make you laugh, then make you feel uncomfortable that you’re laughing, then stun you into silence all within a few minutes must surely be doing something right. The anger driving the narrative is couched in comedic touches, drawing the audience in, until just the moments when we need to be horrified to appreciate the fury. A reminder to us all that as we go about our privileged lives, someone, somewhere, is fighting against injustice. Perhaps we need to be with them instead of clapping along from the sidelines.