The best of 2012: film

The Time Out film team reflect on the movies of the past 12 months

As 2012 draws to a close, Time Out’s film critics offer up their five favourite films of the year, plus their least favourite movie, a film hero, a favourite scene and a quick look ahead to 2013.

It’s been a very strong year for international cinema, and our critics’ lists reflect that, with the French-Austrian co-production ‘Amour’, Turkish cop drama ‘Once Upon a Time in Anatolia’, American indie ‘The Master’, Portuguese oddity ‘Tabu’ and homegrown Olympic tie-in documentary ‘London: The Modern Babylon’ proving the most popular overall.

Click on the thumbnails below to see each critic’s top five films – and one stinker.

Dave Calhoun,Time Out film editor Cath Clarke,Time Out deputy film editor Tom Huddleston,Time Out film writer Trevor Johnston,Time Out film critic Anna Smith,Time Out film critic Geoff Andrew,Time Out film critic Guy Lodge,Time Out film critic Anil Sinanan,Time Out film critic Ben Walters,Time Out film critic Nigel Floyd,Time Out film critic Time Out readers

Nigel Floyd's best films of 2012

  • 1


    Haneke's forensic portrait of an ageing, cultured couple (Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emanuelle Riva) is a devastating affirmation of love in the face of mortality.

  • 2


    Director-actor Ben Affleck proves that an entertaining mainstream political thriller need not insult the audience's intelligence.

  • 3

    Berberian Sound Studio

    In Peter Strickland's haunting puzzler, Toby Jones excels as a timid English sound engineer suffering psychological dissonance while working on a gruesome horror film in Rome.

  • 4

    Killing Them Softly

    Andrew Dominik's verbally brutal gangster movie has explicit political overtones and fine performances by Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins et al.

  • 5

    Silent Souls

    A poetic Russian (Merjan?) evocation of all that's important in life and death: love, food, drink, sex, cultural identity, social rituals and, above all, friendship.

Nigel Floyd's worst film of 2012

Nigel Floyd's film hero of 2012

  • Dave Norris, a projectionist who cares.

Nigel Floyd's favourite scene of 2012

  • Brad Pitt explains Scoot McNairy's options to him in the bar scene in ‘Killing Them Softly’.

Nigel Floyd's hope for 2013

  • That the Picturehouse cinema chain survives its take-over by Cineworld.

More highlights from the past 12 months in London

  • What a year that was! Brilliant festivals, amazing restaurants, sensational bars, unbelievable gigs, mind-altering exhibitions, gob-smacking shows… if it happened in London, Time Out was there. So who better than our unrivalled team of critics to come up with the definitive list of the best of 2012?