A magical movie built on the sturdy shoulders of a younger generation’s most naturally gifted actor—the achingly expressive Saoirse Ronan—director John Crowley’s 1950s immigrant drama swoons with untrammeled feeling. It’s a hopeful story, one that still might bring you to tears several times (they’ll be tears of recognition). Home is a place that fades, until a new one approaches on the horizon. No movie marked me as deeply as this one.
Already, the whispers are swirling: Did we just have the the strongest year for cinema in more than a decade? Looking over the best movies of 2015, it sure feels like it. Members of the old guard rebounded with a fierceness—most notably Australia’s George Miller, whose vigorous, inspired Mad Max: Fury Road upended the action-movie table just like his The Road Warrior did 34 years ago. Hollywood upped its ambition with Pixar’s heartbreaking Inside Out and a new Rocky movie with old-school poetry, Creed. Respected independent voices like Todd Haynes, Noah Baumbach and the Safdie Brothers extended their exquisite careers. And a first-time feature maker from Hungary, László Nemes, made an essential Holocaust drama, Son of Saul, just when that subject seemed played out. It’s enough to make you yearn for the best movies of 2016—if this is indeed a golden age, those films can’t come soon enough.
RECOMMENDED: See the best of 2015