Your favourite films of 2019

Marriage Story

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This will undoubtedly be another strong year for Netflix as it storms into awards season. Marriage Story features two actors at the top of their game; Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. After a brief introduction, we are thrust into their divorce. Refreshingly, the film never picks a side – the ball is batted into either court throughout the runtime. This film could easily be placed amongst the great dramas of the past fifty years with exquisiteness found in every corner. Marriage Story proves the artistic freedom and resources supplied by Netflix will ultimately attract Hollywood’s most talented.

Booksmart

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’s debut film is a celebration not just of adolescence, friendship, and everything nerdy, but of a woman’s place in the film industry; presenting stunning examples of female direction, writing, and performance. On top of this, Booksmart deserves recognition for its shattering of stereotypes and its subsequent update of the teen comedy genre. Booksmart made me reflect on my first year in Durham, and notice how university inspires self-development, shifting us from teenagers into adults. The film’s hilariously honest take on the emotional strains of finishing school invites nostalgia as well as laughter from its audiences, whatever their place in the high-school hierarchy.

Little Women

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Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women was arguably one of the most anticipated films of 2019, released in the last few days of the year. Gerwig’s interpretation boasts an impressive cast that includes Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Meryl Streep, and follows the much-loved March sisters as they navigate their teenage years. The film tackles themes that range from female independence to wealth to the importance of family. Even though Alcott was writing in the nineteenth century, Gerwig’s refashioning of the story conveys how and why it remains relevant today.

1917

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The premise of 1917 is a simple one. Two British soldiers, Lance-Corporals Schofield and Blake, must deliver a message. If they fail, 1,600 men will advance into a trap and be slaughtered. The tension comes courtesy of superb cinematography and editing which make the film appear as though it is shot in one single, continuous take. Thanks to this, our view becomes limited to just that of our protagonists. The film is lent a sense of claustrophobia and immediacy which locks you in its grip and does not let you go. It is a must-see story of the horror of war and the bravery of those caught up in it.

Toy Story 4

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You would be forgiven for thinking the saga of Andy’s beloved toys ended after the third instalment in the Toy Story universe, but they came for another adventure last summer. This beautiful story of the cowboy and the spork is a rollercoaster of emotions which will have you on the edge of your seat smiling for a good hour and a half. The comedic duo of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as new toys ensure that the laughs don’t stop either. The film’s brilliance however, is found in its message; when you’re struggling for meaning in your life, just listen to the voice inside your head and follow your heart.

Image: Myke Simon via Unsplash

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