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

Geoff Andrew's best films of 2012

  • 1


    Michael Haneke, again leading the pack, creates that extremely rare thing: a film not just relevant to all of us but close to formal perfection. Heart-rendingly fine performances.

  • 2

    Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

    Nuri Bilge Ceylan once more reveals a mix of audacity, wisdom and dramaturgical expertise that places him in the vanguard of international cinema.

  • 3

    Nostalgia for the Light

    Science, history, politics, personal passion and philosophy are illuminatingly brought together in Patricio Guzman’s extraordinary documentary-cum-essay.

  • 4


    Romanian cinema’s renaissance at its most exhilaratingly rigorous: Cristi Puiu creates a challengingly tough yet tender existentialist study of dark human obsession.

  • 5

    The Kid With a Bike

    The Dardennes’s sunniest, warmest film yet, but with no hint of compromise. Realism mixed with a faith in humanity makes for exquisite, genuinely affecting drama.

Geoff Andrew's worst film of 2012

  • Holy Motors

    There were, clearly, many worse films this year, but few as pretentious, self-indulgent and misguided as Leos Carax’s folly. That said, Denis Lavant was wonderfully game.

Geoff Andrew's film heroes of 2012

  • Veterans Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, returning with a vengeance after (some said) years in the wilderness with the terrific Berlin Golden Bear-winner ‘Caesar Must Die’.

Geoff Andrew's favourite scene of 2012

  • This Is Not a Film’ - The director plus rampant iguana in Jafar Panahi’s brave, fascinating variation on the home-movie genre.

Geoff Andrew's hope for 2013

  • That Terence Davies will complete another movie this coming year.

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?