Our favourite film of the decade took 12 years to shoot – by design. That kind of gamble doesn’t necessarily equal a masterstroke, but given the humane outlook of director Richard Linklater, America’s most relaxed player of the long game, it did. ‘Boyhood’ is about growing up and if you approach it on a granular level, scene by scene, the content is fairly conventional: school days, first love, bad decisions, families in flux. But something magical happens as we watch young Ellar Coltrane steadily become a Texas teen (not to mention Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke deepen into middle-aged resignation). It’s a shift away from melodrama and toward momentum, a remarkably subtle and life-affirming gesture. ‘Boyhood’ feels experimental but it’s as familiar as a home movie; Linklater did something similar with his ‘Before’ trilogy – a couple captured in a new film every nine years (each exquisite in its own way) – but ‘Boyhood’ is the one he’ll be remembered for. It represents the kind of long-term commitment to storytelling that we, as viewers, feel for cinema itself. –Joshua Rothkopf
The decade began with emotional farewells to ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Toy Story’, ‘Iron Man 2’ disappointing everyone who came into contact with it and Tim Burton’s trippy take on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ hinting that maybe, just maybe, 3D was here to stay. Fast forward ten years and Marvel has shrugged off that rare misfire to become an all-conquering, Martin-Scorsese-upsetting behemoth, 3D is all but mothballed again, ‘Star Wars’ is back and old franchises (hello ‘Toy Story’) proved to be not nearly as finished as we thought they were. And in among those headline stories, there have been some killer movies released. From films by brilliant new voices like Ari Aster, Greta Gerwig, and Jordan Peele to old masters like Hirokazu Kore-eda, Richard Linklater, George Miller and Kathryn Bigelow, here’s a half-century of greats from the 2010s.