The top five. Somewhat easier to choose, but equally difficult to put in order. Except for the number one.
So far, we have:
10. Intermission (2003)
9. Children of Men (2006)
8. Atonement (2007)
7. 28 Days Later (2002)
6. The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
5. Gosford Park (2001)
It is, arguably, one of the best Altman films, and certainly my favourite. To say I liked the directing, the ensemble cast, the camera work, would be a waste of time, because these things go without saying. But there’s more to Gosford Park than the technical perfection, and those are the characters: every single one of them. And the story; it really makes you think about the fall of the high class back in those days.
Personal story: There isn’t a particularly personal story about this, except the fact I loved the way story unfolded. What secured this film in the top 5 was Helen Mirren in one of her last scenes (“my boy, my boy”). I remember watching the movie at night, and I had to jump and sit on my bed while watching it. One of those perfect, unique movie moments.
4. Breakfast on Pluto (2005)
This film is horribly underrated, and it’s a crime. I really don’t understand why: it’s simply amazing. I guess some people thought the world didn’t need another Neil Jordan’s story about IRA and transvestites. What a shame; Breakfast on Pluto is a gem. And the true heart of the movie is Kitten. She is such a lovable, amazing, complex character. Her world is unique, and so is her story. She’s one of those characters who simply make a story interesting, and also make you want to hug her and protect her.
Personal story: I got really attached to Kitten, and not just because I think she was an interesting character. To me, she was real. She reminds me a lot on my grandmother (not the part about transvestites, but the way a person deals with the problems). She had the same obsessively optimistic view of the world, as a way of surviving the reality. She was sometimes over the top, and it was often both tiring and annoying, but it’s not like I don’t understand how it happened. So it’s easy for me to understand Kitten.
3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
This movie is haunting and wonderful on so many levels. Too bad it suffers from some hype backlash. Ok, maybe it wasn’t the best film in cinematic history as some people claimed, but hey, I do find it to be excellent. It was sure a great cinematic experience for me. And I’m one of those people who dislike films dealing with male/female relationships. But this one took an unique approach to it, or managed to film it an an intriguing way. This film just takes you, and once you realize what’s going on, you are fascinated. Definitely one of the best movies of the decade.
Personal story: I remember watching this movie with my husband in 2005. It was winter and I felt really strange, everything around (the streets, the buildings) seemed so strange when we walked out. I like when a movie makes me think about it long after the credits.
2. All or Nothing (2002)
Mike Leigh is probably my favourite director. I like everything this man ever filmed. His movies are like no other. And while he had some strong movies this decade (Vera Drake, for example), All or Nothing is the one that had the most profound effect on me. Arguably, it’s not one of his best works, and in a way, it offers nothing new; and still, it’s perfect, perfect.
The story is simple (yet full of complexities), and the acting is superb. There’s no such thing as bad acting in any Mike Leigh’s films, but I really loved performances in this one. This especially goes for Timothy Spall and Lesley Manville. I think I’d say Lesley’s performance was one of the best female performances of the decade. The woman is such an amazing actress, one of the best I’ve seen, and she was so good in this. Such an underrated movie and an underrated performance. It’s a shame. The film is not an easy watch (it’s Mike Leigh after all), but it’s so good.
Personal story: Like I said, Mike Leigh. I love this man’s work. I love the way he deals with serious, difficult subjects, and still finds hope. Almost all of his films have this note at the end, something that gives you hope. All or Nothing is not an exception. It made me feel good, and I am still not sure how, given the serious nature of the film. That’s filmmaking.
1. Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001)
Where do I start? How do I start? My love for this film is profound, and I don’t care about the hype, or the hype backlash. It’s one of my favourite movies, and the fact it’s a really good film is just one of the reasons. I like everything about it, its tone, its quirkiness, its characters, its atmosphere, its story. Everything.
Personal story: Like I said, I love everything about this film. But it’s my favourite movie of the decade because it gave me hope when I was so lonely, and it was something I really needed at the time.