The best movies of 2012

Team Film chooses its best movies of 2012, as well as the next ten that would have made their personal lists—plus, the worst films of the year.



Add +


Joshua Rothkopf's ten best movies of 2012



Slathered in small-town criminality and barbecue sauce, the year’s most perfectly judged comedy speaks to the slippery nature of community via a magnetic performance from killer mortician Jack Black.

 Watch now on iTunes    Watch now at Amazon Instant Video

Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty

Amping up her ambition after The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow turns the decadelong hunt for Osama bin Laden into a nightmarish misadventure, with several stops in the vicinity of personal ruination and torture.

A protester fights the power in How to Survive a Plague

How to Survive a Plague

Many of the activists who fought the war for affordable, effective HIV treatment didn’t live to see their victory, but their testimony remains, shaped by documentarian David France into an essential record.

Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln


Everyone suspected Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance would burn with righteous fire. Still, who guessed Steven Spielberg would deliver a dialogue-heavy master class on the subject of congressional vote-wrangling?

Thure Lindhardt, left, and Zachary Booth in Keep the Lights On

Keep the Lights On

Filmmaker Ira Sachs fulfills his long-simmering promise with this NYC gay romance, nuanced with the pain of alienation, drug addiction and the friction of a recognizably unbalanced couple.

Nadezhda Markina in Elena


Russia’s Andrei Zvyagintsev, whose powerhouse debut, 2003’s The Return, proved hard to live up to, finally emerges with a worthy successor: a moral tale within shouting distance of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s The Decalogue.

 Watch now on iTunes    Buy on Amazon

Marina Abramovic in Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

The Serbian provocatrix sits motionless in a MoMA gallery while viewers line up around the block, waiting to lunge at something mysterious and transcendent.

 Buy on Amazon

Adam O'Brian in The Imposter

The Imposter

Mustering guile and desperation, a French identity thief weasels his way into a family’s embrace as their long-lost son—and this sly doc boasts yet another shocking revelation.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook

Backlash to the backlash: Even with its cheesy dance-contest finale, don’t ignore 2012’s finest ensemble acting, a cauldron of comic neuroses peppered with revelatory turns by Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

Jamie Foxx, left, and Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained

Django Unchained

Anyone steeped in the blood-red luridness of Italy’s spaghetti Westerns will have their thirst properly slaked; more quietly, Quentin Tarantino grows in stature as an artist of psychological payback.

See ten more of Joshua Rothkopf's best movies of 2012

Joshua Rothkopf's worst movie of 2012

The Comedy

Few were fooled by this hipstercentric drama’s have your-cake-and-mock-it-too critique of irony. Its bearded Brooklynites care for little except their own cleverness—why, again, should we?

 Watch now on iTunes    Watch now at Amazon Instant Video

Users say


Time Out Los Angeles on Spotify