Film Scott Phillips' Film Reviews

My Favorite Films of 2018 (Part Two of Two)

If anyone tells you that 2018 was a bad year in movies, they clearly weren’t paying attention or failed to look beyond their local IMAX screen. It was a Herculean task for me to whittle my favorites down to a manageable list of twenty films. My first ten selections were posted just before the New Year. If you would like to read that post, click here. Here are the rest of my favorites for 2018:

If Beale Street Could Talk

This follow-up from Barry Jenkins, the director of the 2017 Best Picture winner Moonlight, is the product of two love affairs. The first is the romance between Tish and Fonny (KiKi Layne and Stephan James) chronicled in the James Baldwin novel of the same name. The second is Jenkins’ love affair with the films of Hong Kong Second Wave filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai. Beale Street is In the Mood for Love (2000) set in 1970’s Harlem. Like a successful head coach, Jenkins surrounds himself with talent. Beale Street boasts the best ensemble cast, the best cinematography and the best score of 2018. Beale Street has that special alchemy where visuals, narrative and performance combine to create something transcendent. (Currently playing in theaters)

Leave No Trace

From the love of a man for a woman to the love of a father for his child. Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter, Tom, live off the grid in a forest in Portland, Oregon. He sells his PTSD medication to make ends meet until the two cross paths with the authorities and are forced to rejoin society. Leave No Trace is a brilliant examination of family, sacrifice and the price a parent is willing to pay so his child can lead a better life. Writer/director Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone) should be raking in the awards that her male colleagues are collecting this time of year. (Currently available on digital platforms and physical media)

Private Life

Richard and Rachel (Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn) want nothing more than to have a baby. Their pursuit of fertility has taken over their lives. Their bank account and their marriage have suffered as a result. When the daughter of their close friends offers to act as a surrogate, Richard and Rachel seize their best opportunity yet to become parents, but the emotional cost may be too high. The screenplay co-written by director Tamara Jenkins (The Savages) is some of the best screenwriting of 2018. The film is filled with dark humor and rich emotion. When the credits roll, the audience knows these people. We’ve shared in their triumphs and heartbreaks. It’s an astonishing piece of film-making. (This Netflix Original is currently available only on that streaming platform.)

1 comment on “My Favorite Films of 2018 (Part Two of Two)

  1. Pingback: From Our Members’ Desks (Jan. 14, 2019) – Online Film Critics Society

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