2013 - the year in review: The best films of the year


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The Independent Culture

Blue Jasmine

This late masterpiece from Woody Allen boasted an extraordinary performance from Cate Blanchett as a delusional, Scarlett O’Hara-like heroine, clinging desperately to symbols of wealth and status even as her life unravels around her. After the relative feebleness of some recent Allen fare (Match Point, Cassandra’s Dream), it was heartening to see the director back at his very best.

All Is Lost

J C Chandor’s epic, existential survival story is likely to suffer by comparison with Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity but is a brilliant piece of work in its own right. Robert Redford excels as the rugged, solo sailor whose yacht is slowly sinking.

The Selfish Giant

Clio Barnard’s reworking of Oscar Wilde’s fairy story as a gritty realist drama is bound to be seen in future years as a classic to sit alongside Ken Loach’s Kes. It, too, shows the defiance, humour and dignity of young characters completely marginalised by mainstream society.


Gravity is a big-budget Warner Bros movie that feels as personal as the most idiosyncratic art house film. The technical wizardry and astonishing cinematography blinded some to what a bold and stark piece of storytelling it really was.

Blue Is The Warmest Colour

The subject matter – a lesbian affair between two very young women – predictably caused controversy but what made Abdellatif Kechiche’s drama so striking was its extraordinary technique. This is drama but Kechiche comes far closer to his characters than even the most probing and prying fly-on-the-wall-documentary director.

Discovery Of The Year

BFI Player Vod Service

The delight of the new BFI Player is the sheer variety and eccentricity of the fare on offer, everything from ancient Mitchell and Kenyon footage of obscure cricket matches – “Arthur Mold Bowling to A.N. Hornby” (1901) – to interviews from the archives, documentaries and new films. It helps that most of the material is free.

Turkey Of The Year

Bula Quo

This engaging awful comedy adventure/murder mystery featured Status Quo’s venerable front men Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi roaming haplessly around a tropical island, bursting into song now and again and getting embroiled in games of Russian roulette. Ineptly made, atrociously acted, it nonetheless had a bovine cheeriness about it that made it very hard to dislike.