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

Cath Clarke's best films of 2012

  • 1

    Moonrise Kingdom

    Just when you it thought it was time to give up on Wes Anderson, along he comes with a near-perfect film. I’ve listened to one song off the soundtrack – ‘Cuckoo!’ by Benjamin Britten – at least once a week since.

  • 2

    Young Adult

    Diablo Cody is one very funny lady. She wrote ‘Juno’. This is darker and a bit brutal. I like its take home message: basically, none of us ever really get over our 17-year-old selves.

  • 3

    Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

    Combines two of my favourite things: detective stories and long, silent-ish, beautiful arthouse movies.

  • 4

    The Master

    Everybody’s gotta serve somebody – so Bob Dylan sang. What does Lancaster Dodd get out of his alcoholic fuck-up sidekick Freddie Quell? Is Freddy really such a fuck up? I’ve had more engrossing chats about ‘The Master’ than any other film this year.

  • 5


    A moving, powerful film that reminds us to hold dear ones dear. Bravo to Michael Haneke too, for having the best (sadly spoof) Twitter account in film. LOL!

Cath Clarke's worst film of 2012

  • Keith Lemon: The Film

    Low point professionally and personally. Low professionally because this was the film so bad journalists were not allowed to watch it before release. So I went to see it in Leicester Square to write Time Out’s review. Low point personally (and to be fair, I was running late from a meeting) I got busted sneaking a McDonald’s into the film. Shame.

Cath Clarke's film hero of 2012

  • Jafar Panahi. He’s the Iranian director who was sent to prison for his solidarity with the green revolution. He’s now banned from directing films but went ahead anyway and made the brilliant ‘This Is Not a Film’.

Cath Clarke's favourite scenes of 2012

  • Bill Murray in ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ wearing crazy-banana golf trousers and naked from the waist up. He’s got an axe in one hand, a bottle of whiskey in the other – ‘I’m gonna find a tree to chop down.’ Or Freddie at the end of ‘The Master’ in bed with the girl he’s picked up in a London pub. Just lovely.

Cath Clarke's hope for 2013

  • With his opening ceremony Danny Boyle showed Britain what we’re like (not bad at all, it turns out). More films like that would be nice. Ones that say something about how we live now.

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?