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

Tom Huddleston's best films of 2012

  • 1

    The Master

    It may have lacked the force and focus of ‘There Will Be Blood’ but ‘The Master’ was still this year’s most intoxicating film experience: intense, befuddling and completely immersive. Hail Xenu!

  • 2

    The Cabin in the Woods

    From the sublime to the ridiculous(ly sublime). Joss Whedon’s ‘other’ movie in 2012 (‘The Avengers’ was pretty great, too) was a joyous, smartly satirical horror-comedy fit to stand alongside ‘Evil Dead 2’ and ‘An American Werewolf in London’.

  • 3


    The sweetest sorrow, a masterpiece which walked the borderline between humanist and realist, somehow managing to be deeply emotional and heartbreakingly distant at the same time.

  • 4


    Oren Moverman hacked apart the LA noir police procedural then stuck it back together with half its bits missing and the rest mangled into gorgeous, unpredictable, thrilling, semi-experimental shapes.

  • 5

    Moonrise Kingdom

    Wes Anderson went back to basics with a tale of precocious kids, hapless (but largely well-meaning) adults and the general sense of an unusually detailed school play gone slightly haywire.

Tom Huddleston's worst film of 2012

  • Killer Joe

    A vile, corrupting little tapeworm of a film, seething with exploitative pubescent sexuality, violent misogyny and repellent snobbery about America’s poor. Everyone involved should be very, very ashamed.

Tom Huddleston's film heroes of 2012

  • The good people at both Eureka/Masters of Cinema and Arrow Film & Video, who continue to unearth and reissue the most remarkable, unexpected films from across the globe, be they the highest art or the trashiest exploitation.

Tom Huddleston's favourite scenes of 2012

Tom Huddleston's hope for 2013

  • That Bobcat Goldthwait finally gets to make his Kinks movie. ‘God Bless America’ was an imperfect but compelling rant against societal cynicism, and he richly deserves to finally get his dream project with Ray Davies off the ground.

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?