THE FIVE BEST FILMS

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The Independent Culture
Sideways (15)

Two men go on a trip to sample the Californian vineyards before one of them gets married - with unexpected consequences. A satirical movie of unusual sweetness, this has swept up major awards in the US.

Vera Drake (12A)

Imelda Staunton stars as the north Londoner in the 1950s who helps out working-class women with their unwanted pregnancies. Staunton's characterisation is brilliant, in Mike Leigh's subtly ministered, unmissable film.

2046 (12A)

Wong Kar-Wai's belated sequel to his swooning In the Mood for Love (2000). Tony Leung plays the dashing 1960s Hong Kong writer with an eye for the ladies. Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi help make the whole thing look ravishing.

Ray (15)

Jamie Foxx provides a barnstorming impersonation of blind soul singer Ray Charles. The narrative begins in 1948 North Florida, and doesn't shy from depicting the dark side of the man in his rise to fame.

La Nina Santa (Holy Girl) (15)

A religiously inclined 16-year-old Argentinean girl becomes obsessed with the middle-aged doctor who rubs himself against her in the street. An erotically charged, controlled study of sudden sexual self-awareness.

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