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

Trevor Johnston's best films of 2012

  • 1


    A true original from Portugal's Miguel Gomes, endlessly inventive, full of yearning, and utterly beautiful.

  • 2

    Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

    A haunting, ruminative, exquisitely visualised masterwork from Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

  • 3


    Greek maverick Giorgos Lanthimos continues to find new ways of storytelling with this eccentric, yet insightful and humane portrait of deconstructed relationships.

  • 4

    The Turin Horse

    If it is indeed Bela Tarr's farewell, the great Hungarian went out with a film encapsulating his uniquely expressive celluloid pessimism.

  • 5

    Killing Them Softly

    Aussie Andrew Dominik's thriller proved hectoring at times, yet the writing and performances captured crime writer George V Higgins's piercing individual language with rare sympathy and aplomb.

Trevor Johnston's worst film of 2012

  • Beasts of the Southern Wild

    OK, so it wasn't the year's worst, but amid all the acclaim did no-one notice there was absolutely no substance behind the cute little girl, eyecatching fireworks and right-on pretensions?

Trevor Johnston's film hero of 2012

Trevor Johnston's favourite scenes of 2012

  • The startling time-lapse images of melting glaciers in the doc ‘Chasing Ice’ are surely among 2012's most memorable and significant moments.

Trevor Johnston's hope for 2013

  • That we all stop obsessing over lists and ranking and take a more open-minded, exploratory attitude to our movie viewing, whether it's current discoveries or past rediscoveries.

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?