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100 best movies from the last decade, according to critics

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A24

100 best movies from the last decade, according to critics

The landscape of film has changed significantly during the 2010s, with streaming services and large, cinematic universe franchises taking hold of Hollywood. At the same time, the growing internet has allowed a larger number of people to make their film criticism heard, with some rising YouTube and Twitter critics gaining larger followings—while other cases have brought bad faith harassment campaigns against filmmakers and actors.

Even amongst the new media landscape of the past decade, filmmakers have still created films that cut through all the noise. There is still the traditional “Oscar movie,” prestige dramas that incite intrigue, perhaps providing a bold new creative vision or maybe throwing back to a cinematic era of yore. Some of the best films of the past decade are large-scale epic historical movies, while some are deeply intimate and personal.

The top films of the 2010s span different genres, from drama to comedy and musical; some are animated as opposed to live-action, some are documentaries rather than scripted, and many of these films are made outside of Hollywood and the United States as a whole. Even with Netflix and large franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and “Star Wars,” audiences and film buffs, in particular, are still drawn to prestige and independent fare.

In that spirit, Stacker has compiled data from Metacritic (recent as of November 2019) on the best-reviewed films by critics throughout the 2010s; Metacritic is the most popular review aggregator, other than Rotten Tomatoes, with the site averaging critic scores to come up with a Metascore.

To qualify, the film had to be released in the U.S. theatrically or on streaming services between Jan. 1, 2010, and today, and have at least four reviews from critics writing for significant publications. Films are ranked by their Metascores (out of 100), #1 being the best. Initial ties were broken by IMDb user rating (out of 10), and secondary ties were broken by the number IMDb user votes (data not presented).

Before the decade’s end, be sure to review the most highly regarded films of the 2010s—perfect for a binge-watch.

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Kino Lorber Films

#100. Manuscripts Don't Burn (2013)

- Director: Mohammad Rasoulof
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 125 min

Independent Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof wrote and directed “Manuscripts Don’t Burn,” a film based on a real-life bombing attempt on Iranian journalists. The film depicts the would-be perpetrators and the censorship from the oppressive regime. The film never received a wide international release, but Rasoulof received honors at the Cannes Film Festival.

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U.K. Film Council

#99. The Arbor (2010)

- Director: Clio Barnard
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 94 min

This experimental movie is part documentary and part narrative film, depicting the life of the late playwright Andrea Dunbar. Actors lip-sync over interviews and footage of real-life subjects, with the film depicting the relationship between Dunbar and her daughter. Director Clio Barnard won the BAFTA award for Outstanding Debut by a British Director for her work.

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Oscilloscope Pictures

#98. A Film Unfinished (2010)

- Director: Yael Hersonski
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 88 min

As the name may imply, Yael Hersonski’s documentary “A Film Unfinished” examines the historical context and background of an unfinished film. The film in question is a Nazi Germany propaganda film depicting the Warsaw Ghetto, with the documentary featuring interviews with several survivors. The film premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, winning an award for “World Cinema Documentary Editing.”

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Pathé

#97. Selma (2014)

- Director: Ava DuVernay
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 128 min

One of the most pivotal and iconic events of the American civil rights movement was revisited in Ava DuVernay’s “Selma.” David Oyelowo portrayed civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the many leaders of the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights. The film’s critical success raised the profile of DuVernay, who made the documentary “13th” for Netflix and “A Wrinkle in Time” for Disney.

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Quat'sous Films

#96. Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)

- Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 180 min

Based on a graphic novel, this three-hour-long epic French romance film depicts a love story between two teenage girls (Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos). “Blue is the Warmest Color” focuses on Exarchopoulos’ character as she grows up and matures, with a blue-haired painter (Seydoux) entering her life. The film was highly acclaimed and won the Palme d'Or, but some controversy was raised regarding the allegedly poor working conditions on set, particularly due to the behavior of director Abdellatif Kechiche.

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The Weinstein Company

#95. The King's Speech (2010)

- Director: Tom Hooper
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 118 min

Colin Firth won his first Academy Award for acting for portraying King George VI. After he is thrust into the throne in the midst of the Second World War, George VI, with the help of his wife Queen Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) seeks out speech therapy from a language therapist (Geoffrey Rush) to deal with his stuttering. Sentimental and inspirational, this light-hearted historical drama ended up taking the Academy Award for Best Picture, amongst other trophies at the Oscars.

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Sony Pictures Classics

#94. Inside Job (2010)

- Director: Charles Ferguson
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 109 min

This timely documentary from Charles Ferguson released at the beginning of the decade, explaining the financial crisis that had rattled the end of the previous decade. “Inside Job” is narrated by actor Matt Damon, and the film unloads details of what led to the recession in five different parts. The film was heavily praised for its pacing and research, winning an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

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Acquire Talent Agency

#93. Western (2015)

- Directors: Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 5.8
- Runtime: 92 min

While not exactly a prolific film, critics who saw the documentary “Western” were compelled. Directed by brothers Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross, this film depicts the many troubles that inhabitants in border towns undergo. Critics praised “Western” for its atmosphere and poignancy.

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Bananeria Films

#92. Zama (2017)

- Director: Lucrecia Martel
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Runtime: 115 min

Argentine period piece “Zama” takes place in 18th-century South America, with a Spanish corregidor named Zama growing impatient while waiting on a transfer out of his colony. Zama finds himself in an increasingly delicate situation, toeing the line with his superiors in Buenos Aires. Critics found the film to be both haunting and funny, while also delivering scathing critiques on colonialism.

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SBS Productions

#91. Elle (2016)

- Director: Paul Verhoeven
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 130 min

Director Paul Verhoeven, previously known for dark satirical sci-fi films like “Robocop,” “Total Recall,” and “Starship Troopers,” made one feature film in the 2010s in “Elle.” Isabelle Huppert portrays a woman who is raped in her own home but does not report it to the police because of her previous experiences with authorities. Huppert was nominated for an Academy Award for her acting in this thriller. Verhoeven was missed by critics.

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CG Cinéma

#90. Long Day's Journey Into Night (2018)

- Director: Gan Bi
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 138 min

The Chinese film “Long Day's Journey Into Night” is an unconventional film from both a technical and storytelling aspect. Unrelated to the play of the same name, this film depicts a man’s return to his hometown for his father’s funeral, and his search for a long-lost love. The final hour of the film is significant for being one long take filmed in 3D, with many critics praising the film for the risks it took.

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Depth of Field

#89. Columbus (2017)

- Director: Kogonada
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 100 min

Video essayist Kogonada made his film directorial debut with “Columbus,” a drama starring John Cho. Cho portrays the son of an architect who becomes stranded in the town of Columbus, Ind.; eventually, he befriends a young architecture enthusiast. The film garnered high praise at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, and Kogonada is now shooting his second film.

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Lucid

#88. Uncertain (2015)

- Directors: Ewan McNicol, Anna Sandilands
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 82 min

The documentary “Uncertain” focused on residents of the small town of Uncertain, Texas. The film centers on three different individuals, all from various generations: an elderly fisherman, a middle-aged ex-con, and a young diabetic. “Uncertain” was praised for being a visceral yet familiar portrait of an obscure town.

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Idéale Audience

#87. National Gallery (2014)

- Director: Frederick Wiseman
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 180 min

The premise of the film “National Gallery” is relatively simple, being a documentary that takes audiences behind the scenes in the National Gallery of London. Critics found director Frederick Wiseman’s storytelling in his three-hour documentary to be rich in detail and fascinating in its observations.

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Schramm Film Koerner & Weber

#86. Phoenix (2014)

- Director: Christian Petzold
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 98 min

German film director Christian Petzold made a loose adaptation of a novel titled “Le Retour des Cendres” with the film “Phoenix.” Taking place in Germany after World War II, “Phoenix” tells the story of a Jewish woman and survivor from the Auschwitz concentration camp who returns to her husband in Berlin, but appears different after getting facial reconstruction surgery due to a bullet wound. The film was later released in 2016 by The Criterion Collection.

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Les Films du Fleuve

#85. Two Days, One Night (2014)

- Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 95 min

Marion Cotillard starred in the Belgian French-language film “Two Days, One Night,” which has Cotillard portray a woman under threat of being laid off from work so her co-workers may receive a bonus. Critics praised the film for being honest and realistic, and Cotillard received several accolades and nominations for her performance, including a nomination for Best Actress at the Academy Awards.

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Mile End Films West

#84. The Overnighters (2014)

- Director: Jesse Moss
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 102 min

Upon an oil boom in North Dakota, several residents sought opportunities for higher salaries; Sundance documentary darling “The Overnighters” focuses on these individuals. As they would find, housing prices were at a high, making their lifestyles unsustainable. The film was highly regarded for depicting a real, raw, dire situation.

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A24

#83. Eighth Grade (2018)

- Director: Bo Burnham
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 93 min

Standup comedian Bo Burnham made his first feature film with “Eighth Grade,” a coming-of-age story that follows a young girl (Elsie Fisher) before graduating to high school. The film explored issues such as social media, Gen Z angst, and awakening sexuality at a young age. Burnham’s screenplay was praised, as was Fisher’s performance, with Fisher gaining a Golden Globe nomination.

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The Weinstein Company

#82. The Artist (2011)

- Director: Michel Hazanavicius
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 100 min

French film “The Artist” served as a love letter to silent movies, with the film itself being almost entirely silent and in black and white. Jean Dujardin portrays fictional silent Hollywood star George Valentin, who hits a wall in his career due to the rise of “talkies.” The film played with the medium of sound at key points in the film and charmed audiences worldwide; the Best Picture win and Best Actor win from Dujardin significantly raised the profiles of all creatives involved.

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Big Beach Films

#81. The Farewell (2019)

- Director: Lulu Wang
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 100 min

Actress and rapper Awkwafina made a dramatic turn in “The Farewell,” a film directed by Lulu Wang. The film was based on Wang’s life and familial experiences, with “The Farewell” focusing on a family spending time with their grandmother while not telling her she is due to pass in a short amount of time. The film was well regarded for its depiction of family dynamics and of Chinese American culture.

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Studio Ghibli

#80. The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013)

- Director: Isao Takahata
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 137 min

Studio Ghibli adapted the Japanese folk tale “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter” into the animated “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.” A young girl is discovered in a bamboo stalk and grows to be a princess, but she is due for a dark fate. The film received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and was the last film by director Isao Takahata before his passing in 2018.

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Jar Pictures

#79. Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)

- Director: Anurag Kashyap
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 321 min

Released in two parts, this Bollywood epic crime film centers on the power struggles between three different crime families. The film was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013. Even with its long runtime, critics found the violent yet funny movie to be gripping and compelling.

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Les Films d'Ici

#78. Dead Souls (2018)

- Director: Wang Bing
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 495 min

Chinese documentarian Wang Bing crafted the lengthy and provocative “Dead Souls,” a documentary about the survivors of a hard labor re-education camp from China’s communist regime in the 1950s. For the film, which was shot from 2005 to 2017, about a dozen survivors of these camps were interviewed to describe the brutal conditions they faced.

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Yes, Ma'am!

#77. The Fits (2015)

- Director: Anna Rose Holmer
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Runtime: 72 min

NYU film student Anna Rose Holmer was given grant money to make the microbudget “The Fits,” a drama film that made its way into the Sundance Film Festival. In “The Fits,” a young 11-year-old tomboy struggles to fit in with a dance troupe, all while experiencing several violent fits. Critics described the film as “gripping” and “kinetic.”

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Sever Studio

#76. Hard to Be a God (2013)

- Director: Aleksei German
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Runtime: 177 min

The 1964 Soviet sci-fi novel “Hard to Be a God” became a feature film in 2013, courtesy of Russian director and co-writer Aleksei German. In the film, a group of scientists travel from Earth to an alien planet where they find the established civilization amid an oppressive medieval-like phase. Critics considered the film to be bizarre and thought provoking.

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Boynton Films Production

#75. Big Men (2013)

- Director: Rachel Boynton
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 99 min

Audiences worldwide had much to learn from “Big Men,” a documentary that focused on the oil industry in Africa. Filmed between 2007 and 2011 in Nigeria and Ghana, the film honed in specifically on corruption in the industry. This depiction of greed and capitalism was universally acclaimed by critics.

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Red Square Productions

#74. My Perestroika (2010)

- Director: Robin Hessman
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 88 min

Russian American director Robin Hessman had lived in Russia during the 1990s, working on her film degree and several productions; she would later return to the country in 2005 to create a documentary about contemporary Russian history. This documentary does not have one single narrator, but rather five different subjects, all residents of Moscow. The film had a nostalgic and bittersweet tone, with critics appreciating the openness expressed by the documentary subjects.

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Anonymous Content

#73. Winter's Bone (2010)

- Director: Debra Granik
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 100 min

The indie film that put now-star Jennifer Lawrence in the public eye was “Winter’s Bone,” a mystery drama film that takes place in the Ozarks. Lawrence plays a teenage girl in a rural area seeking her missing father, who is played by John Hawkes. Both Hawkes and Lawrence received Academy Award nominations, with the film receiving a surprise Best Picture nomination; Lawrence would soon reach mainstream success after with “The Hunger Games” film series.

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Columbia Pictures

#72. American Hustle (2013)

- Director: David O. Russell
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 138 min

Writer-director David O. Russell reunited with his collaborators from “The Fighter” and “Silver Linings Playbook” for “American Hustle,” a fictional account of the real-life “Abscam” sting operation. Christian Bale and Amy Adams play two skilled con artists, while Bradley Cooper portrays an ambitious FBI agent and Jennifer Lawrence plays the unhinged wife of Bale’s character. Bolstered by an all-star cast, the film’s vibrant direction and natural dialogue won critics over.

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Kasper Collin Produktion

#71. I Called Him Morgan (2016)

- Director: Kasper Collin
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 92 min

Jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan was the focus of this documentary from Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin. The film also focuses in on Morgan and his wife, who was implicated in his murder. After making the rounds at several film festivals, critics gave the documentary high marks for its portrait of love and ambition.

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Gamechanger Films

#70. The Tale (2018)

- Director: Jennifer Fox
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 114 min

HBO produced and aired “The Tale,” a drama starring actress Laura Dern. This autobiographical film tells writer-director Jennifer Fox’s experience with childhood sexual abuse, and how it affected her relationships all the way to her adult life; Dern portrays Fox. “The Tale” originally premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2018 and was lauded for how it handled the difficult material with sensitivity.

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Window Frame Films

#69. Paterson (2016)

- Director: Jim Jarmusch
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 118 min

Auteur independent director Jim Jarmusch filmed “Paterson,” which stars Adam Driver as a bus driver and poet who aspires to be a successful country singer. Driver’s character is named Paterson, while the movie was shot and takes place in Paterson, N.J. Both the subtle and mild-mannered directing of Jarmusch and the overall performance of Driver was praised.

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He Li Chen Guang International Culture Media Co.

#68. Paths of the Soul (2015)

- Director: Yang Zhang
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 115 min

The docudrama “Paths of the Soul” tells the story of a treacherous journey to Lhasa by several Tibetans. The villagers traveled for 1,200 kilometers (745.6 miles) to the holy capital of Tibet, undergoing harrowing conditions. Despite the hardships depicted, the film was thought to be heartwarming and inspirational by those who saw it.

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Jafar Panahi Film Productions

#67. This Is Not a Film (2011)

- Directors: Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Jafar Panahi
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 75 min

“This Is Not a Film” is an unconventional documentary film, being partially shot from an iPhone. Iranian film director Jafar Panahi filmed the movie while on house arrest, recording interactions with his family and his lawyer; in the meantime, Panahi contemplates the nature of filmmaking.

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Focus Features

#66. Phantom Thread (2017)

- Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 130 min

Advertised as Daniel Day-Lewis’ final film before retirement, “Phantom Thread” reunited the Academy Award-winning actor with writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson. Moving away from Los Angeles as a setting for his films, Anderson created a 1950s period piece that depicted the high-end fashion world of London. Quiet and tense, the second collaboration between Anderson and Day-Lewis was well received, with both receiving Academy Award nominations for their work on the film.

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Pine House Film

#65. Burning (2018)

- Director: Chang-dong Lee
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 148 min

“The Walking Dead” star Steven Yeun was featured in “Burning,” a South Korean psychological drama film. Based on the short story “Barn Burning,” An aspiring young novelist reunites with a childhood friend, who introduces him to a mysterious man named Ben (Yeun); from there, Ben confesses his bizarre hobby of burning down greenhouses. The film was slow burning and uneasy, requiring patience from audiences.

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Opus Films

#64. Cold War (2018)

- Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 89 min

Taking place in Poland after World War II, “Cold War” depicts a love story between a music producer and a young singer. Co-writer and director Pawel Pawlikowski loosely based the film, shot in black and white, on the lives of his parents. Pawlikowski received an Oscar nomination for Best Director and the film itself was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.

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Fox Searchlight Pictures

#63. The Favourite (2018)

- Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 119 min

One of the most popular award darlings of 2018 was “The Favourite,” a period piece starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz. The film takes place in 18th-century England; Colman portrays Queen Anne, while cousins played by Stone and Weisz compete to be her favorite. “The Favourite” tied for the highest number of nominations for that Academy Awards ceremony, with Colman winning an Oscar for Best Actress.

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Arte France Cinéma

#62. Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (2014)

- Directors: Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 115 min

“Gett” was the third in a trilogy of Israeli films by Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz about the unhappy marriage of Viviane Amsalem, who is played by Ronit Elkabetz. This part of the saga depicts the divorce trial, where Viviane encounters several challenges in obtaining her ideal divorce document. While being a thrilling, nonstop drama at heart, critics also appreciated the moments of humor throughout the film.

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Why Not Productions

#61. A Prophet (2009)

- Director: Jacques Audiard
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 155 min

This 2009 French film (released in 2010 in the United States) follows an Arab petty criminal in captivity who rises up in the ranks in a French prison. The so-called “prophet” goes from an assassin to a drug lord, navigating through different social and cultural circles. The film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, and critics praised the lead performance of actor Tahar Rahim.

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Warner Bros.

#60. Her (2013)

- Director: Spike Jonze
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 126 min

Director Spike Jonze made his solo screenwriting debut with “Her,” a colorful and moody unconventional love story. In the future, Theo (Joaquin Phoenix) becomes romantically involved with an AI named Samantha (the voice of Scarlett Johansson), and the pair go through all the traditional trials and tribulations of any traditional couple. The gamble worked out for Jonze, who received critical praise for his work and won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

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ITVS

#59. Minding the Gap (2018)

- Director: Bing Liu
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 93 min

Chinese-American filmmaker Bing Liu brought the story of three young men to Sundance Film Festival in 2018 before Hulu distributed the film to the masses. “Minding the Gap” is a documentary set in the city of Rockford, Ill., following three men who bonded with their shared love at skateboarding. Reviews characterized the film as poignant and intimate.

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Warner Bros.

#58. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

- Director: George Miller
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 120 min

Three decades after “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” director George Miller returned to the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max to deliver what is considered to be one of the greatest action movies of all-time. Tom Hardy replaces Mel Gibson in the main role, with Max being captured by a cult who worships the tyrannical leader known as Immortan Joe; Joe’s lieutenant Furiosa (Charlize Theron) defects, and she and Max help each other every step of the way. The film received 10 Academy Award nominations, ultimately winning six; however, production on any potential sequels has been delayed due to legal disputes between Miller and studio Warner Bros.

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Final Cut For Real

#57. The Act of Killing (2012)

- Directors: Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, Christine Cynn
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 117 min

“The Act of Killing” tackled a serious and heinous act, telling the stories of individuals who were involved in mass killings that took place during 1965 and 1966 in Indonesia. Director Joshua Oppenheimer, along with co-director Christine Cynn and an anonymous Indonesian filmmaker, retold the history that led to these atrocities, with nearly 1 million people killed for belonging to a local communist community. The film was described as raw, powerful, and unsettling, and several critics listed the film as one of their top favorites in 2013.

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Bitter Films

#56. It's Such a Beautiful Day (2012)

- Director: Don Hertzfeldt
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 62 min

Surrealist animator Don Hertzfeldt made yet another experimental film with “It’s Such a Beautiful Day,” which focused on a forgetful man named Bill. This stick figure of a man goes through his daily routines, all while experiencing absurd visions and apparently suffering from a neurological illness. Like with Hertzfeldt’s other films, “It’s Such a Beautiful Day” captured the minds of critics who were affected by these characters, even with their relatively simple designs and style.

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Channel 4 News

#55. For Sama (2019)

- Directors: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- Runtime: 100 min

“For Sama” still remains a difficult film to watch, as it documents events still ongoing in Syria. This film sees the uprising in Aleppo, Syria, through the eyes of one woman, who amidst the conflict falls in love and gives birth to a child named Sama. The film is highly personal, with many calling it heartbreaking and powerful.

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Gestell Motion Picture Company

#54. Gavagai (2016)

- Director: Rob Tregenza
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 90 min

In “Gavagai,” a German businessman travels to Norway to finish the seemingly impossible translations of Norwegian poems into Chinese, a project started by his deceased wife. The businessman hires an assistant, and the film focuses on the two separate emotional journeys that they go through. The film is considered to be powerful and challenging in depicting these human hardships.

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Grasshopper Films

#53. A Bread Factory, Part One & Part Two (2018)

- Director: Patrick Wang
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 122 min

A community center in a small town must fight for its survival in this two-part comedy-drama. The abandoned bread factory turned arts center is challenged by the nearby “FEEL Institute,” which was brought on by two newcomers, a celebrity couple of Chinese performance artists. The film was a “minimalist epic” that brought humor and intrigue.

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Jafar Panahi Film Productions

#52. Taxi (2015)

- Director: Jafar Panahi
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 82 min

“Taxi” from Iranian director Jafar Panahi is an unusual film, combining elements of documentary and fiction. The film follows Panahi himself, as he acts as a rideshare taxi driver and drives them not for compensation but to hear the stories of passengers. It is hailed as a love letter to cinema, but as the Iranian government banned Panahi from leaving the country back in 2010—accusing him of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic”—the director was unable to attend screenings or festivals for the film outside of Iran.

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Music Box Films

#51. Ida (2013)

- Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 82 min

Oscar-winning Polish film “Ida” is the story of a young woman on her way to becoming a Catholic nun, but learns more about her family history beforehand. The protagonist learns that her parents were Jewish, both killed during the German occupation of Poland. The relatively short black-and-white film received several honors after its release.

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Frederick Wiseman

#50. Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (2017)

- Director: Frederick Wiseman
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 197 min

“Ex Libris” is a documentary about the importance and role of the New York Public Library, with figures such as Richard Dawkins appearing as speakers at the library. The film doesn’t have a particular focus on any subjects and instead presents the subject manner in a series of vignettes.

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Roadside Attractions

#49. Stories We Tell (2012)

- Director: Sarah Polley
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 108 min

Canadian actress Sarah Polley explored her own family history in “Stories We Tell,” her first full-length documentary feature. In telling her family’s stories, some anecdotes were recreated with Super-8 film with actors taking the role of her family members. Critics noticed that the film, which was shot on and off by Polley, was very much an evolving product as it was being created.

54/
Laokoon Filmgroup

#48. Son of Saul (2015)

- Director: László Nemes
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 107 min

“Son of Saul” was the first film from Hungarian filmmaker László Nemes, with the movie being set in the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Second World War. The film takes place over the course of a day-and-a-half, with the character of Saul attempting to procure a proper burial for a boy he took on as his son. The film was highly acclaimed and won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

55/
Atacama Productions

#47. Nostalgia for the Light (2010)

- Director: Patricio Guzmán
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 90 min

The dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet left a lasting impact on the people of Chile, and “Nostalgia for the Light” captured some of this as it followed many Chileans picking up the pieces afterwards. Director Patricio Guzmán makes an interesting analogy, comparing the struggles of Chileans to astronomers researching humanity’s past. The film was praised for being poetic and provocative.

56/
Mac Guff Ligne

#46. The Gatekeepers (2012)

- Director: Dror Moreh
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 101 min

“The Gatekeepers” uses a couple of different techniques to tell the story of the members of Shin Bet, the internal security service in Israel, including traditional interviews, archival footage, and computer animation. The striking documentary tackles a lot of the moral dilemmas that these members face daily under the order of the Israeli government. The film was generally praised but caused a stir in Israel.

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57/
Elara Pictures

#45. Uncut Gems (2019)

- Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 135 min

Adam Sandler once again turns to drama in “Uncut Gems,” the newest film from the Safdie Brothers. With the same off-kilter and gritty feeling as “Good Time,” this film has Sandler as a jewelry store owner and gambler who is increasingly getting cornered because of debt. Both Sandler’s dramatic performance and the direction from the rising Safdies were highly praised at the film festivals the film screened at.

58/
Warner Bros. Pictures

#44. They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)

- Director: Peter Jackson
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 99 min

Famed director and producer Peter Jackson spent years leading a project to restore and colorize hours of video of British soldiers serving in World War I. Not only was the footage colorized, but a large amount of voice acting and sound effects were also added to make the footage even more lifelike. The documentary was praised for its immersive quality and for its efforts in preservation.

59/
BBC Films

#43. The Souvenir (2019)

- Director: Joanna Hogg
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Runtime: 120 min

Honor Swinton Byrne, daughter of actress Tilda Swinton, plays a semi-fictional version of director Joanna Hogg in a film that depicts her experience in film school. The main character, named Julie in the film, becomes involved with an older man, with the relationship growing increasingly destructive. The film, with featured Tilda Swinton as Julie’s mother, was praised as an impactful coming-of-age drama and won Hogg the World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

60/
Les Films du Worso

#42. Timbuktu (2014)

- Director: Abderrahmane Sissako
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 97 min

One of the most well-regarded films of 2014 was “Timbuktu,” a French-Mauritanian drama film that focused on the occupation of the ancient city of Timbuktu in Mali by a militant group called Ansar Dine. Subjects include a cattle herder and his family who were residing in the dunes of Timbuktu, as their everyday lives are disrupted by the presence of the group. The disquieting film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

61/
Caviar

#41. The Rider (2017)

- Director: Chloé Zhao
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 104 min

The contemporary Western film “The Rider” follows a young cowboy who after suffering a head injury explores the badlands of South Dakota in search of a purpose in life. Most of the actors in the film were not professional actors, leading to a gritty and grounded tone. And director Chloé Zhao was certainly noticed, as she is currently filming the upcoming superhero blockbuster “Eternals” for Marvel Studios.

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62/
Sony Pictures Classics

#40. Leviathan (2014)

- Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 140 min

Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev was inspired by the unusual story of an American named Marvin Heemeyer in creating “Leviathan,” an Oscar-nominated drama film. The protagonist finds his home and his shop threatened by a corrupt mayor, so he and his friends fight back violently. This film with social satire elements was thought to be intimidating yet fascinating.

63/
Cre Film

#39. The Florida Project (2017)

- Director: Sean Baker
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 111 min

One of studio A24’s more prolific releases in the decade was “The Florida Project,” a film that garnered supporting star Willem Dafoe an Oscar nomination for acting. The film focuses on the hardships of a 6-year-old girl living with a single mother in a motel which is managed by Dafoe’s character. The film was praised for focusing on generally under-represented people in modern-day America.

64/
Go-Valley

#38. Tower (2016)

- Director: Keith Maitland
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 82 min

An underutilized subgenre is that of the animated documentary, and critics were taken by how “Tower” approached this subgenre. The film depicts the 1966 shooting at the University of Texas in Austin, an event that left 16 people dead—an additional two deaths occurred off of the campus. The critics appreciated the new perspective this film, which used rotoscoping animation, provided.

65/
Iconoclast

#37. One More Time with Feeling (2016)

- Director: Andrew Dominik
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 113 min

“The Assassination of Jesse James” and “Killing Them Softly” director Andrew Dominik made his first documentary with “One More Time with Feeling,” with his subject being the recording of Nick Cave’s album “Skeleton Tree.” The documentary depicts the recording, which was in the aftermath of the death of Cave’s 15-year-old son, leading to some highly personal and emotional scenes.

66/
Anonymous

#36. The Look of Silence (2014)

- Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 103 min

Joshua Oppenheimer made another film regarding the 1965–66 mass killings in Indonesia following “The Act of Killing,” with “The Look of Silence” focusing on one anonymous victim’s journey after the event. The man confronts the perpetrators responsible for his brother’s death, finding that many of them have little-to-no remorse. The film was considered less shocking, but just as compelling as “The Act of Silence.”

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67/
Disney/Pixar

#35. Toy Story 3 (2010)

- Director: Lee Unkrich
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 103 min

Coming 11 years after the previous “Toy Story,” “Toy Story 3” finds the toy-playing child Andy now grown up and preparing for college. The sentient toys, led by cowboy Woody (Tom Hanks) and space ranger Buzz (Tim Allen), contemplate their fate, eventually accidentally being donated to a daycare, leading to a journey back home. The ending particularly struck a chord with audiences, many who admit to crying.

68/
Komplizen Film

#34. Toni Erdmann (2016)

- Director: Maren Ade
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 162 min

“Toni Erdmann” is the pseudonym for the protagonist in Maren Ade’s comedy-drama film, which follows a practical joker of a father who poses as a life coach for her daughter’s CEO to reconnect with his daughter. The film was praised for being tender and funny.

69/
CBS Films

#33. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

- Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 104 min

Among the vast filmography of Joel and Ethan Coen is “Inside Llewyn Davis,” a contemplative comedy-drama that follows the eponymous Llewyn Davis, a struggling folk singer played by Oscar Isaac. The film contains several original songs, moody cinematography from Bruno Delbonnel, and a supporting cast filled by Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, and Justin Timberlake. While not a giant hit, the film was widely acclaimed by viewers and critics alike.

70/
Arrow Media

#32. Sherpa (2015)

- Director: Jennifer Peedom
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 96 min

Australian filmmaker Jennifer Peedom filmed the documentary “Sherpa” during the 2014 ice avalanche on Mount Everest. The film is about a Sherpa named Phurba Tashi and focuses on Sherpa culture at large, including their spiritual relationship to the mountain and the work they do to guide foreign climbers. Through this documentary, audiences were exposed to a darker and concerning side in observing a well-known tourist attraction from this angle.

71/
Synecdoche

#31. Shoah: Four Sisters (2018)

- Stars: Claude Lanzmann, Paula Biren, Ruth Elias, Ada Lichtman
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 273 min

French documentary “Shoah: Four Sisters” premiered at the New York Film Festival and aired in France as a four-part miniseries. It is a documentary that follows up the 1985 film “Shoah,” a highly regarded documentary about the Holocaust and its survivors; “Four Sisters” follow four women who escaped concentration camps and looked to build new lives afterward. This was director Claude Lanzmann’s final film before he passed in 2018.

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72/
Frenesy Film Company

#30. Call Me By Your Name (2017)

- Director: Luca Guadagnino
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 132 min

Timothée Chalamet portrays a 17-year-old who becomes romantically involved with a 24-year-old graduate student (Armie Hammer) who serves as his father’s (Michael Stuhlbarg) academic assistant. It is a coming-of-age film based on a 2007 novel and was characterized as melancholic and emotional. Chalamet would receive his first Oscar nomination for the film, becoming the third-youngest nominee in the category for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

73/
AOI Promotion

#29. Shoplifters (2018)

- Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 121 min

In a Japanese drama called “Shoplifters,” a group of people living in poverty has formed a sort of family unit. They depend on shoplifting to make ends meet, with the movie’s inciting incident being their encounter with a young homeless girl; the informal family takes her in, and begin questioning their own way of life. The film was praised as “understated” yet highly emotional.

74/
Summit Entertainment

#28. La La Land (2016)

- Director: Damien Chazelle
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 128 min

“Whiplash” writer-director Damien Chazelle followed up his indie hit with “La La Land,” a musical made in the mold of classic Hollywood musical films. Academy Award-winner Emma Stone stars as Mia Doran, a struggling actress trying to break into Hollywood and becomes romantically intertwined with Sebastian Wilder, a jazz musician with similar ambitions. With colorful cinematography and memorable original songs, this film stuck in the hearts of many viewers while also being a successful throwback to a previous era of Hollywood.

75/
Participant

#27. Spotlight (2015)

- Director: Tom McCarthy
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 129 min

Depicting the disturbingly real Boston Globe exposé of sexual abuse from Catholic priests is Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight,” which features an ensemble cast of prestigious actors. Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci play some core members of the Globe’s “Spotlight” team, as they take months to uncover a local scandal. As it reflects on a larger systemic issue, this Academy Award Best Picture-winning film calls attention to a problem still rampant in the past decade.

76/
Lilies Films

#26. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

- Director: Céline Sciamma
- Metascore: 93
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 119 min

Taking place in 18th-century France, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” has a young painter commissioned to paint a portrait of a soon-to-be-wedded bride, but without her knowing. As the painter commences with her work covertly, she grows closer to the eponymous “lady on fire” as the wedding approaches. The film was praised as stirring and won the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival.

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77/
Amusement Park Films

#25. Mr. Turner (2014)

- Director: Mike Leigh
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Runtime: 150 min

Actor Timothy Spall made an Oscar-nominated turn in “Mr. Turner,” a biopic that told the life story of English Romantic painter J. M. W. Turner. The film attempted to depict Turner’s reputation as an unconventional and controversial figure, and Spall’s performance led critics to say that this film rose above the conventions of standard biographical films.

78/
BFI Film Fund

#24. 45 Years (2015)

- Director: Andrew Haigh
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 91 min

Based on a short story called “In Another Country,” this British romantic movie focuses on an old married couple about to celebrate their anniversary; unexpectedly, they receive a piece of information that threatens to shake up their relationship. The film was praised as thought-provoking and actress Charlotte Rampling was nominated for an Oscar for her leading role.

79/
IAC Films

#23. Lady Bird (2017)

- Director: Greta Gerwig
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 94 min

Greta Gerwig made her directorial debut with “Lady Bird,” a film that stars Saoirse Ronan as a high schooler who goes by the name Lady Bird and Laurie Metcalf as her mother, with whom she has a contemptuous relationship. Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, and Beanie Feldstein also appear in this Oscar-nominated film, contributing to the still-growing prominence in their respective careers. Gerwig was the only woman nominated for Best Director at the Oscars ceremony and is following up “Lady Bird” with an adaptation of “Little Women,” starring Ronan and Chalamet.

80/
40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks

#22. Amazing Grace (2018)

- Directors: Alan Elliott, Sydney Pollack
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 89 min

The concert film “Amazing Grace” for Aretha Franklin was scheduled for release in 1972, having been directed by Sydney Pollack; for a myriad of technical and logistical reasons, the film would not be released until 2018. With Pollack having passed away in 2008, producer Alan Elliott stepped up to complete the project. The film was seen as a loving tribute to Franklin, who passed away the same year as the film’s premiere.

81/
Films en Stock

#21. Carlos (2010)

- Stars: Édgar Ramírez, Alexander Scheer, Fadi Abi Samra, Lamia Ahmed
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 334 min

Classified as both a feature film and a three-part television miniseries, “Carlos” depicted the life of “Carlos the Jackal,” a 1970s Venezuelan terrorist portrayed by Édgar Ramírez. Ramírez received special attention for his performance, and the miniseries/film was compared to several other highly regarded thriller films. Even with its lengthy running time, critics found “Carlos” to be fast-paced and compelling.

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82/
Weissman Projects

#20. We Were Here (2011)

- Directors: David Weissman, Bill Weber
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 90 min

The AIDS crisis in San Francisco was the main subject of “We Were Here,” a product of filmmaker David Weissman and his co-director Bill Weber. While the epidemic brought pain among the local gay circle, the documentary told of a number of individuals who stepped up for the community. This deep and reflective film won accolades at several local film festivals.

83/
Ciné Tamaris

#19. Faces Places (2017)

- Directors: JR, Agnès Varda
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 94 min

French director Agnès Varda and photographer JR teamed up to appear and create the documentary “Faces Places,” which captured the lifestyles of people living in rural France. The duo traveled around several small villages and towns for the documentary, and critics enjoyed the film for its messages of community and class solidarity.

84/
Les Films du Losange

#18. Amour (2012)

- Director: Michael Haneke
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 127 min

Visceral and deliberately slow-moving, “Amour” is director Michael Haneke’s film that depicts elderly couple Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) after the latter suffers a severe stroke. With Anne now paralyzed and bedridden, the film depicts the hardships that the couple faces. At age 85, Riva became the oldest nominee for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

85/
Faliro House Productions

#17. Before Midnight (2013)

- Director: Richard Linklater
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 109 min

The third film of the “Before” trilogy by Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy is “Before Midnight,” which was released and takes place nine years after “Before Sunset.” Hawke and Delpy reprise their roles as Jesse and Celine, who at this point in their lives are now an official couple with twin daughters; the two are on vacation in Greece, and the film continues the philosophical musings from the first two films, but the couple doubts aspects of their relationship. Like the previous two films, “Before Sunset” was highly acclaimed, with the screenplay from Linklater, Hawke, and Delpy getting an Oscar nomination.

86/
Syncopy

#16. Dunkirk (2017)

- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 106 min

Writer-director Christopher Nolan made his shortest film yet with “Dunkirk,” a World War II drama that depicts the evacuation of British soldiers off the beaches of Dunkirk. The film, unusually with Nolan, has little dialogue and depicts the evacuation from three perspectives in three different spans of time: land, sea, and air. The film starred Nolan regulars like Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy while gaining Nolan his first Oscar nomination for Best Director.

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87/
Heydey Films

#15. Marriage Story (2019)

- Director: Noah Baumbach
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 136 min

Filmmaker Noah Baumbach teamed with Netflix to bring the family-drama “Marriage Story” to audiences. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson portray a divorcing couple, with their divorce spanning from coast-to-coast, all while trying to keep their family cohesive. The film was compared favorably to other films like “Kramer vs. Kramer,” and is thought to be one of Baumbach’s best pieces.

88/
Disney/Pixar

#14. Inside Out (2015)

- Directors: Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 95 min

Director Pete Docter of “Up” and “Monsters Inc.” fame was inspired by observing the emotions of his daughter in creating “Inside Out,” a computer-animated film that personifies human core emotions. Amy Poehler plays emotion Joy, who is stranded with Sadness, voiced by Phyllis Smith, causing distress with the young girl Riley on her first day in a new school. The film won another Oscar for Best Animated Film for Docter and strengthened Pixar’s streak of beloved emotional films.

89/
StudioCanal

#13. Carol (2015)

- Director: Todd Haynes
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 118 min

One of the more significant LGBTQ+ films of the decade was the romantic drama “Carol,” which stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. The film depicts an affair between the characters from the two actresses, with Mara portraying a photographer and Blanchett playing an older woman going through a divorce. Both lead actresses were nominated for Academy Awards, but the film was controversially snubbed for other major categories in the same ceremony.

90/
Columbia Pictures

#12. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

- Director: Kathryn Bigelow
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 157 min

Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal followed up their Best Picture-winning Iraq War drama “The Hurt Locker” with “Zero Dark Thirty,” an espionage thriller that depicts the lead-up and events during the killing of terrorist Osama bin Laden by the U.S. military. Jessica Chastain portrays Maya, a composite character based on several CIA analysts who were instrumental in finding intelligence leading to the bin Laden raid. While the film received several Academy Award nominations, it was not as successful as Bigelow’s previous film.

91/
Columbia Pictures

#11. The Social Network (2010)

- Director: David Fincher
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 120 min

Depicting the real and quite recent founding of Facebook is “The Social Network,” a collaboration between director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. Jesse Eisenberg earned his first Academy Award nomination for portraying Mark Zuckerberg, who is depicted as socially awkward yet subtly cutthroat and sinister, with his performance complimented by Andrew Garfield as Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. With tight editing and a memorable Oscar-winning score by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “The Social Network” helped to define the social media-dominated decade to follow.

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92/
Arte France

#10. I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

- Director: Raoul Peck
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 93 min

Novelist James Baldwin never finished his manuscript “Remember This House,” but the 2016 documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” still found inspiration from the material. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the film looks at history through the eyes of the late Baldwin, recollecting his experiences with racism and with figures such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

93/
Asghar Farhadi Productions

#9. A Separation (2011)

- Director: Asghar Farhadi
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 123 min

The Iranian film “A Separation” centered around the dynamic between middle-class family members as the parents underwent through a legal separation. At the same time, the daughter experienced stress and sadness as a result of the dispute, and the parents are faced with the decision to move to another country or to stay with their ailing grandfather. “A Separation” became the first Iranian film to win an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

94/
Barunson E&A

#8. Parasite (2019)

- Director: Joon-ho Bong
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 132 min

“Snowpiercer” director Joon-ho Bong delivered yet another shocking film later in the decade, with “Parasite” depicting the struggles of a lower-class family. After forging his way into a tutoring gig for an upper-class schoolgirl, Kim Ki-woo can get similar jobs for his family working for this significantly richer family. Both dark comedy and thriller, the film was praised almost unanimously by critics.

95/
Fábrica de Cine

#7. The Irishman (2019)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 209 min

Legendary director Martin Scorsese reunites with his former longtime muse Robert De Niro, who plays the titular Irishman, Frank Sheeran. De Niro is joined by Al Pacino in his first Scorsese film, playing Frank Hoffa, a Teamster who infamously disappeared in 1975, and Joe Pesci, another frequent collaborator of Scorsese and De Niro who came out of retirement for this project. After being in development for about a decade, the film finally came together as a Netflix original, with the over three-hour film using de-aging CGI technology to depict the three main characters at different points in time.

96/
Warner Bros.

#6. Gravity (2013)

- Director: Alfonso Cuarón
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 91 min

After directing blockbuster “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and the well-regarded sci-fi drama “Children of Men,” Alfonso Cuarón made a highly technical and CGI-heavy movie with “Gravity.” The film stars Sandra Bullock as astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone and George Clooney as her commander, both stranded in space after a storm of space debris damages their shuttle. Stone goes through a difficult journey to survive in space, with her mostly solo performance earning her an Academy Award nomination and the film receiving several technical Oscars.

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97/
Esperanto Filmoj

#5. Roma (2018)

- Director: Alfonso Cuarón
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 135 min

Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón won his second Oscar for Best Director with “Roma,” a black-and-white drama film set in Mexico City. Actress Yalitza Aparicio made her film debut as Cleo, the maid of a well-off family who undergoes through life-changing events among discord within the family and political unrest in the country. Cuarón also won an Oscar for Best Cinematography, while Aparicio was nominated for Best Actress, a massive accomplishment for a new performer.

98/
Amazon Studios

#4. Manchester by the Sea (2016)

- Director: Kenneth Lonergan
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 137 min

Named after the town in Massachusetts, “Manchester by the Sea” is a drama starring Casey Affleck as a troubled man estranged from his family. Affleck’s character Lee is given the responsibility to take care of his nephew (Lucas Hedges) after his brother (Kyle Chandler) passes away; the film also relays that Lee is responsible for his children’s deaths due to his negligence leading to a house fire. The film received widespread acclaim for Affleck’s performance and Kenneth Lonergan’s screenplay, with both winning Oscars for the film.

99/
Regency Enterprises

#3. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

- Director: Steve McQueen
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 134 min

British film director Steve McQueen adapted the memoir of Solomon Northup into “12 Years a Slave,” a highly acclaimed historical drama film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northup. Free African-American man Northup is kidnapped by two conmen and forced into slavery, undergoing a harrowing 12 years of abuse under several violent owners, the most significant portrayed by Academy Award-nominated actor Michael Fassbender. The film was a mainstream breakout for Lupita Nyong’o, who received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and starred in hits such as “Black Panther” and “Us.”

100/
A24

#2. Moonlight (2016)

- Director: Barry Jenkins
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 111 min

Personal and provocative, “Moonlight” is a highly acclaimed drama with LGBTQ+ elements centered on one main character during his upbringing. Chiron is portrayed by three different actors at different points of time in his life (Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes), with Mahershala Ali portraying a drug dealer who acts as a father figure to him. For that role, Ali won his first Academy Award, with the movie winning Best Picture in an upset against “La La Land.”

101/
IFC Productions

#1. Boyhood (2014)

- Director: Richard Linklater
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 165 min

In an unprecedented project, writer-director Richard Linklater shot the film “Boyhood” over 12 years. An epic drama, this 2014 film depicts the coming of age of Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, with the movie following his life from age six to 18. With his parents (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, the latter winning an Oscar for her role) divorced, Mason undergoes the standard rituals and hardships that come with puberty and maturation, with the film’s real-time nature taking advantage of the evolving real-life popular culture landscape.

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