The year 2019 was one of the best cinema years of the last decade. We’ve seen a lot of masterpieces and marvelous films that will be remembered and become classics.
Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite” won the Palme d’Or at Cannes; Martin Scorsese’s three-and-a-half hour film “The Irishman” was screened on Netflix and won great acclaim; “The Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is considered by many to be a modern masterpiece; and “Joker” has been on top of the film agenda for a long time.
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10 Most Rewatchable Movies Of 2019:
South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho, who stands out with his original films that surpass the patterns of genre cinema such as “Memories of Murder” and “The Host,” tells a highly layered and incredibly enjoyable story through the class conflict that he always deals with.
The unemployed but resourceful members of the Kim family infiltrate into the wealthy Park family’s house, one by one, as an English teacher, painting teacher, and maid. But no matter how skillful they are in forgery, there is something they cannot hide.
“Parasite,” inspired by a rich house where Bong worked as a tutor to earn money in his youth, gathers people in two extreme social classes into a modern house and feeds on the tension of this gap.
Returning from Cannes with the Palme d’Or, “Parasite” offers a critical and original look at the relationship between South Korea and Western culture, while avoiding being didactic and turning into a fabulous drama without a “bad guy.”
It surprises the audience by removing the mainstream code cliches. It does not lose its rhythm for a moment thanks to its subtle editing. In the natural flow of its genius narrative, without the need for forced scenes, it becomes the most joyful ride of 2019.
2. Uncut Gems
In “Uncut Gems,” the Safdie brothers force the audience into a breathtaking and unstable bustle where the tension constantly escalates.
We follow New York’s charismatic jeweler Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), who is incessantly pursuing earnings. With a series of high-stakes bets that will bring him great money, Howard manages both his business, his family, and all of his rivals to secure the biggest win of his life.
The Safdie brothers create a quite uncanny atmosphere as they did in their previous films “Heaven Knows What” and “Good Time.” It leaves no choice to the audience but to watch this stunning roller-coaster in Howard’s deranged mood.
While the Safdie brothers draw a dark and brutal portrait of New York, they also follow their character who constantly struggles with addiction, anxiety, obsession, and ambition without judgment. And this cleverly serves the story to maintain its frankness.
“Joker” has been one of the most talked about films of the year since it was shown at the Venice Film Festival and won the Golden Lion. Todd Phillips, known for his “Hangover” trilogy, makes an unexpectedly dark, visually imposing film with art design that is nearly flawless.
Arthur Fleck, a failed comedian in Gotham City, is a grown-up clown without a father. Arthur, who has always been ostracized and bullied, inevitably begins to become his alter ego – the Joker, who is a frustrated killer.
“Joker” makes important references both in the visual world and in its narrative to films such as “Taxi Driver,” “The King of Comedy,” “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Network,” which are the building blocks of the American cinema of the 1970s.
Describing a dark Gotham atmosphere in which the public’s hope and trust to the system, justice, and the rich people are completely lost, “Joker” caused many debates with its structure and screenplay. And it will probably be a pioneering film to tell more brave and distinctive stories and change the superhero genre.
“Joker” is one of the best films of the year with its provocative aura, the impeccable performance from Joaquin Phoenix, and its visual codes that skillfully support the narrative.
“Us” has a fairly layered structure. Jordan Peele, who won great acclaim with “Get Out,” manages to create a unique atmosphere, although the film has difficulties in carrying its references and its message density from time to time.
The Wilson family takes a vacation to Santa Cruz, California, with a plan to spend time with their friends and escape their busy lives. After moving home from the beach, they see a family in the garden of the house. Once they realize that this family looks just like them, a life-and-death race begins.
Bringing criticism to the repressed dark side of the American people through concepts such as class conflict and self-problems, “Us” manages to maintain the tension and curiosity by slowly explaining the small surprises.
Thanks to its splendid finale, the flawless performance from Lupita Nyong’o, its uncanny aura and political depth, “Us” deserves to be rewatched.
5. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
In “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” which won the Queer Palm and Best Screenplay at Cannes, Celine Sciamma creates a gorgeous world where it’s hard to believe its perfection.
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” follows a passionate love affair between a painter and her model in the 18th century. The painter Marianne is commissioned to paint a portrait of the young Héloïse, who has just left the convent and is about to get married. But Marianne must draw this portrait unaware of Héloïse. To avoid this restriction, Marianne first observes the reluctant bride-to-be Héloïse, then gets close to her.
Its cinematic power is at the top of the last decade. Fire is an important character that increases the intensity in each scene. It also masterfully uses the elements of time and places. The meanings a cliff symbolize the waves, and the eternity of painting serves to reflect the inner world of characters. The pleasure of looking and the simple nuances, which seem insignificant, strengthen the story perfectly.
Sciamma creates very sensual, intimate, and passionate scenes through completely avoiding unnecessary dialogue and without the need to commodify the female body. Combining the power of her characters with the unique atmosphere that can only be revealed through elements of cinema, she creates a modern masterpiece.
6. Marriage Story
Noah Baumbach, one of the most important representatives of American independent cinema, fascinates with his best film since “Frances Ha.”
“Marriage Story” focuses on the destruction of the human psyche and the sadness of unresolved dilemmas caused by strange legal procedures, blurred areas, and psychological and social pressures that emerge during the divorce phase.
Baumbach follows the story of both characters with patience and faithfulness and this gives an intimate atmosphere to the story that travels between conflicts and compromises.
Framing choices that emphasize the close bond between the two characters, as well as contrasts, the film outlines its unpretentious yet powerful cinematic language.
Aside from its original script, one of the most important reasons why the narrative can remain strong without the need for big moves is the great performances from Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver.
Returning from the 72nd Cannes Film Festival with the Grand Prix, Senegal’s Oscar nominee “Atlantique” is in fact the hardest film on the list. And what makes this film rewatchable is its intriguing and hypnotic atmosphere.
It tells the story of 17-year-old Ada, who lives in the suburbs of Dakar. When the workers in a futuristic skyscraper leave the country in hopes of a better future because they have not been able to get their money for months, Ada is led into an unexpected situation. Because Souleiman, the lover of Ada, is among them.
Concerned for Souleiman, Ada confronts the possibility of marrying a man she doesn’t like. As the opening of the skyscraper approaches, an unexplained epidemic in the city begins.
Offering an original perspective on the social problems in Senegal, “Atlantique” stands out with its beautiful cinematography and subtle sound design.
Its absorbing atmosphere is one of the biggest pluses of the film. And considering the self-questioning, while it reminds Lucrecia Martel’s “La Cienaga,” it also salutes Luigi Pirandello’s great book “One, No One and One Hundred Thousand.”
8. The Souvenir
Joanna Hogg is absolutely one of the most underrated filmmakers today. And after “Unrelated” and “Archipelago,” in “The Souvenir,” Hogg manages to create an enormous impact once again.
“The Souvenir,” which won critical acclaim and Grand Prize of the Jury in the World Cinema section at the Sundance Film Festival, follows Julie’s relationship with the charismatic but unreliable Anthony, and her challenge against her protective mother to preserve her love.
This magnificent drama that tells its story from the first moment to the unforgettable finale in detail, breaking the clichés of love movies, is a shocking and emotionally intense experience.
It gives a subtle view into every aspect of life, but also becomes a powerful and unique narrative for those notebly interested in cinema as an art form.
The perfect final scene that focuses on the close relationship between cinema and reality, where the boundaries of the screen and life are intertwined, is a powerful enough factor to make it one of the most special films of the last year.
9. The Lighthouse
“The Lighthouse,” directed by Robert Eggers, who made one of the most exciting horror films of the 2010s with his first feature “The Witch,” is the most bizarre film on this list.
Thomas Wake, a former sailor, is a lighthouse guard on a mysterious island. Ephraim Winslow is sent to help this lonely guard on the island for years with his work. Thomas and Ephraim begin to work together, and a great and dark battle of power between these two men emerges.
Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, in a duo which reminds Prometheus and Proteus, amaze with perhaps the most impressive performances of their careers, and this makes a tremendous contribution to the film’s atmosphere.
In addition to the power struggle between the two men, “The Lighthouse” also uses numerous toxic elements of the masculinity of the characters to escalate tension and imprison the atmosphere.
Setting the cinematic language to create a sense of dream, Eggers lifts the line between hallucination and reality as the film progresses. With its uncomfortable sound design, visual choices that keep the audience on their toes, and references and layered structure, it becomes one of the best films of the year.
10. Pain and Glory
“Pain and Glory” is one of the most personal and special films of Pedro Almodovar, who has made fearless films about gender, nationality, sexuality, society’s view on women, and has also been harshly criticized.
Veteran director Salvador Mallo, who stopped making films, often returns to the past. He travels back to the years of his childhood, the village where he lived with his mother, the hardships he experienced, his young love in Madrid, and the time he began writing that was an escape for him. The story undoubtedly carries strong autobiographical traces of Almodovar’s life.
Although Almodovar has a career with ups and downs, he is one of the most special directors living today, with the innovations and perspectives he has brought to the cinema. With all of that, “Pain and Glory” is nothing but a great opportunity to take a closer look at the life, dreams, contradictions, and passions of this great auteur.
It uses the power of the vague field between reality and fiction through constantly emphasizing on the cinema screen and the audience.
Almodovar adds a piece to the numerous masterpieces of the directors who shot their films based on their personal stories.
Now that you have the list of the 10 most Rewatchable movies of 2019, let us know in the comment which you are definitely rewatching 😉