The Top 20 Best Films Of 2019 – Forbes

With less than 48 hours left in the year, it’s time to count down the top 20 best films I’ve seen in 2019. And despite the usual chorus of voices proclaiming “the death of cinema” and similar “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” myths about the state of modern filmmaking, 2019 — like all previous years of this decade and the decade before — offered a large number of terrific films across a wide array of genres.
Official poster for Warner’s “Joker”
For example, the list of potential Oscar contenders for Best Picture contains several dozen movies, any five or ten of which would make for an excellent slate of nominees. The number of award-worthy performances this year is likewise impressive. In every category, you’ll have no trouble finding many more potential nominees than there are slots to fill for a given category.
Due to my increased screenwriting work on multiple TV and film projects this year, my film viewing has been — relative to past years — more limited, so there are lot of acclaimed movies I’ve simply not had an opportunity to watch yet. I’m sure at least a few of them would’ve made my list, had I seen them in time to consider them. Alas, I can only judge and list the movies I’ve actually seen, with a qualifier that there are more top contenders I’ve missed than watched this year. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do those films justice when I compile my “Best of the Decade” list after the New Year, so be sure to check back for that one.
Okay, a few notes on my process: This is my list, so it reflects my own subjective artistic judgement based on various factors, none of which are “do other people agree with my personal choices?” In other words, if you don’t agree with my selections (which, as already noted, are limited to films I’ve had a chance to see, in one of my busiest years as a screenwriter), that’s because they’re my selections rather than yours.
Regarding those “various factors” I use to select the films for this list, I consider the raw quality of different aspects of the film — writing, directing, acting, cinematography, film and sound editing, and so on — as well as the final product compared to the work that went into creating it, the social and intellectual impact, the historic importance within cinema history, my experience while watching it (including emotional resonance and intellectual stimulation), the film’s merits at face value and within the context of its genre, and a few others that depend on the particular film. How much or how little a factor weighs depends on the film and the other factors. and I tried to consider a variety of genres and types of filmmaking in my selection process.
Now, let’s get to the list — here they are, the 20 best films I saw in 2019!

There you have it, my list of the top 20 best films I’ve seen in 2019. Obviously, there are a lot of acclaimed films and awards contenders not mentioned on the list, because I’ve simply not seen many of them yet. But for now, these are the films are the movies that made the cut, and I am a big fan of every one of them. They all deserve attention and viewership, so if there are any you haven’t seen yet, then I highly recommend you make time and watch them soon.
Here is a list of movies I sadly have not seen yet, but which are high on my “watch soon” list, and I’m sure several of them would have wound up on my “Best of 2019” list if I’d seen them in time…

And that’s it for me, dear readers! I hope you all had wonderful holidays, and I hope the new year brings you much love, luck, joy, and lots of film viewing.


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