There were so many movies to get excited about this year. Here's our countdown of the best.
By
SBS Movies

23 Dec 2016 - 11:17 AM  UPDATED 23 Dec 2016 - 11:31 AM

We took a vote and what follows is a countdown of the films we loved this year.  
How'd we do? Consult our list of the year's releases and tell us your own favourites in the comments below. 

 

10. Love & Friendship

Whit Stilman’s first period film (an adaptation of a Jane Austin novel no less) had all the snappy dialogue and insight into relationships of his previous films. Somehow the Regency setting managed to make it all even funnier – was there a more hilarious character on film this year than Sir James Martin, a man so dim he was excited by the existence of peas? (Anthony Morris)

RELATED
Love & Friendship: An interview with Whit Stillman
The director of 'Love & Friendship' on adapting Jane Austen, classic Hollywood comedies and "doing justice" to much loved classics.
Love & Friendship: Xavier Samuel on going places by staying put
'There are so many amazing filmmakers working in Australia.'

 


9. Midnight Special

Jeff Nichols sci-fi action movie is splendidly atmospheric and engrossingly mysterious. While delivering genre thrills he sticks doggedly to his interest in exploring the complex nature of family and the terrors of obligation and duty. (Peter Galvin)

RELATED
Joel Edgerton on 'Midnight Special', 'Loving' and working with great directors (Interview)
Midnight Special review: A moody homage to '80s sci-fi classics
Jeff Nichols digs down past genre thrills to unearth their buried humanity.


8. The Red Turtle

Stunning and almost wordless storytelling and gloriously colourful animation. Studio Ghibli continues to evolve after the retirement of founder Hayao Miyazaki, with this profound and poetic desert island fable about family, loneliness and the rhythms of nature. (Rochelle Siemienowicz

RELATED
The Red Turtle review: Studio Ghibli's new animation a gorgeous island myth
Studio Ghibli's first outsider co-production - from Dutch director Michael Dudok de Wit - is a gorgeously animated island adventure that takes a turn for the mythical.
Michael Dudok de Wit talks 'Red Turtle', and being backed by Studio Ghibli
'The Red Turtle' director talks to SBS Movies about his beautiful animated feature, which won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard earlier this year.


7. Hell or High Water

 A western in all but time-frame, this tale of two Texas brothers robbing banks to pay off the mortgage on the family home (a mortgage owed to the bank whose branches they were robbing) is the kind of lean, dusty film-making that’s always a delight (AM

RELATED
Hell or High Water review: A haunting, humanist western
A rare, humanist Western, where finality is the true villain.


6. American Honey 

An almost three-hour look at a group of aimless teens selling dubious magazine subscriptions out of a van could have been one long exercise in poverty porn. But director Andrea Arnold finds the joy behind the grind in this often improvised film, capturing the youthful thrill of no ties but friendship and having the world stretch out before you. (AM)

RELATED
American Honey review: Arnold's film captivates with its amateur actors (and a remarkable Shia LaBeouf)
Actors and non-actors alike give magnetic performances in Andrea Arnold's first US film.
What 'American Honey' catches (beautifully) about the kids: they're not all right
Andrea Arnold's 'American Honey' gives an insight into a generation that has forgotten how to dream.


5. Mustang

An unforgettable glimpse inside the private universe of five sisters whose brief flirtation with, well, flirtation, sets tongues wagging in their small Anatolian village. Conservative relatives shut them off from the world and set to work marrying them off as quickly as they can find each of them a fella, but the girls' bond holds fast against the dark tide. With a magical soundtrack by Warren Ellis, Mustang was pipped for best foreign language film Oscar by the astounding Son of Saul but in another year, it would have gone all the way. (Fiona Williams)

RELATED
'Mustang' director talks empathy, freedom, and powerful female characters (Interview)
The director of 'Mustang' talks about the power of empathy, and her need to inject humour into a story of forced marriage.


4. I, Daniel Blake

Ken Loach came back with a mighty vengeance this year, with the deceptively simple story of a carpenter with a dicky ticker, and his battle to get sickness benefits. The empathy we felt for Daniel Blake's casually shattering realisation that the public safety net is actually a trap, was the work of a director at the top of his game, deeply connected to his subject matter. A worthy winner of the Palme d'or in Cannes.  (FW)

RELATED
I, Daniel Blake review: Ken Loach in top form with story of state-sanctioned cruelty
Provocative drama exposes dangerous flaws within public service


3. The Handmaiden

A thrilling and transporting story of lust, lies and revenge, told with breathtaking style. A gorgeous masterpiece spiked with perversity, every single shot is ravishing, and the layered multi-protagonist narrative bears repeated viewings. (RS

RELATED
The Handmaiden review: An irresistible romance by the Korean gore-meister
The surface is classical, but the perversity bubbles up from beneath.


2. Carol

Director Todd Haynes’s sensitive adaptation of one of crime writer Patricia Highsmith’s earliest novels was a spot-on showcase for heart-breaking performances from Cate Blanchett and Mara Rooney as lovers in a world ('50s America) that dismissed their feelings without a backwards glance. (AM)

RELATED
Carol review: A magnificent, mesmerising account of mid-century desire
Exquisite depiction of a time when it was a love that dare not speak its name


1. Elle

Isabelle Huppert is in her element in Paul Verhoeven's wicked, winking drama Elle, a story of kinks, Christianity, residual trauma, power games - and rape. She plays a woman who encountered shame and guilt at an early age, and whose entire life has been shaped by one form of aftermath or another. After 40 years of carrying the burden of the sins of her father, she's developed a sharp wit, a thick skin and now gives precisely zero f*cks. Love her, love this, love her in this, the best film of the year. (FW)

 

RELATED
What should we make of 'Elle'’s out-there sexual politics?
Paul Verhoeven, the Dutch filmmaker behind 'Basic Instinct' and 'Showgirls', takes on sexual violence in his new movie 'Elle'.
This startling clip from 'Elle' proves why Isabelle Huppert is an Oscar contender
Isabelle Huppert is astonishing in Paul Verhoeven's 'Elle'.

 

Honourable mentions:

Paterson

Your Name

Son of Saul

Weiner

Arrival

 

The worst movies of 2016
Dodgy comedies and a whole lot of bad sequels nobody asked for, much less enjoyed. That's 2016 in a nutshell.
 

 

How we voted

Our team of critics each voted for their favourite films of the year, from the list of movies released into Australian cinemas in 2016. The votes were tallied into the top ten. Simple. Participants were: Rochelle Siemienowicz, Fiona Williams, Peter Galvin and Anthony Morris. 

LET'S DISCUSS THE BEST AND WORST MOVIES OF THE YEAR
Here's the list of movies released into Australian cinemas in 2016
Build your own best of / worst of lists!
Listen to Ep.5 of The Playlist
Nick and Fiona take us through their best and worst lists lists of TV and Movies in 2016 and celebrity chef Adam Liaw joins the team to discuss holiday feasts and his new series of Destination Flavour.

 

Read more of the latest SBS Movies news and reviews 

Follow us on Facebook 

Watch great movies anytime at SBS On Demand