THE FIVE BEST FILMS

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The Independent Culture
La Nina Santa (15, Lucrecia Martel, 103mins)

An erotically charged, controlled study of sudden sexual self-awareness, starring Mara Alche as a religiously inclined 16-year-old. Limited release

Vera Drake (12A, Mike Leigh, 125mins)

A film of remarkable quality, with Imelda Staunton as the 1950s Londoner who helps out women with their unwanted pregnancies. Nationwide

Million Dollar Baby

(12A, Clint Eastwood, 137mins)

Hilary Swank gives a Golden Globe-winning performance as a white- trash contender in the ruthless world of women's boxing. Nationwide

Z2046 (12A, Wong Kar-Wai, 129mins)

The director delivers a fantastically seductive sequel to his swooning 2000 psychodrama, In the Mood for Love. Nationwide

Sideways (15, Alexander Payne, 123mins)

Two men go on a wine-tasting trip in California before one of them gets married in this beautifully toned, midlife-crisis movie. Nationwide

AND ONE TO AVOID...

Meet the Fockers (12A, Jay Roach, 115mins)

You'll wish you hadn't. This sequel to Meet the Parents sees Robert De Niro further drifting into inconsequentiality.

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