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Chris Pandolfi Picks The Best Films of 2012
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Chris Pandolfi Picks The Best Films of 2012

Resident film critic Chris Pandolfi makes his picks for The Best Films of 2012. See his full list of favorite films right here!

In general, 2012 was another stellar year for movies. Many of my selections for the year’s best were released during the jam-packed awards season, but a select few were released in the months prior. This only goes to show that good movies happen all year long – you just have to know where to find them. As such, here are my picks for The Best Films of 2012, listed in descending order to heighten the suspense.

Speaking of suspense, you can also check out my picks for the “Worst Films of 2012” right HERE. You’ve been warned…


10. Les Misérables

(Read Full Review HERE)

Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of the smash-hit musical follows in the healthiest traditions of most big-budget movie musicals, in which the best and brightest talents are gathered to ensure the best possible viewing experience.

9. Zero Dark Thirty

(Read Full Review HERE)

In spite of the controversy surrounding it, the newest masterpiece from director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal isn’t really about the hunt for Osama bin Laden; it’s actually about obsession and the emotional toll it can take.

8. The Impossible

(Read Full Review HERE)

In an age of cynicism, broken dreams, and disillusionment, here is a powerful, touching, and life-affirming film that thoroughly restores one’s faith in all that’s good and decent in the world. Although it depicts a disaster, this is not a summer popcorn flick. It’s a heartfelt drama in which the filmmakers bother to humanize the characters.

7. Flight

(Read Full Review HERE)

Robert Zemeckis’ latest, a return to live action filmmaking, isn’t a breathtaking special effects extravaganza but a thoughtful, sincere, and highly engrossing character study – and, to a lesser but still noticeable extent, a morality play.

6. Life of Pi

(Read Full Review HERE)

A powerful, life-affirming, and breathtaking visual experience from director Ang Lee. It achieves greatness because it doesn’t presume to ask us to believe as the title character does. It merely shows us that he believes, and that he does so for very personal reasons.

5. Amour

(Read Full Review HERE)

Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or winner is one of the year’s most powerful and challenging films. When it comes to the way illness and caregiving are depicted, there’s no sensationalism, no heightened drama, no unnecessary sermons about the quality of life and the rights of the individual; there’s only unflinching honesty.

4. Beasts of the Southern Wild

(Read Full Review HERE)

Loosely adapted from Lucy Alibar’s stage play Juicy and Delicious, Beasts of the Southern Wild is an amazing experience, a testament not only to the craft of filmmaking but also to the indomitable spirit of life. It’s helped in large part by the casting of child actor Quvenzhané Wallis, who’s so perfectly cast that one wonders if the role possessed her as opposed to the other way around.

3. Oslo, August 31st

(Read Full Review HERE)

Loosely adapted from the novel Le Feu Follet by Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, the film does not make any grand gestures in depicting the aftereffects of drug addiction. Director/co-writer Joachim Trier simply observes. He never aims to make the main character a tragic victim of circumstance; he’s a young man who knowingly chose to walk a self-destructive path.

2. Argo

(Read Full Review HERE)

Ben Affleck’s third directorial effort, adapted from a true story kept secret for nearly twenty years, is not an action film in the traditional sense, and yet it has such a superb sense of pacing that it will effectively keeps audiences on the edge of their seats in suspense. It is, at the same time, both a satire and a celebration of Hollywood.

1. Lincoln

(Read Full Review HERE)

A new masterpiece from director Steven Spielberg, one that could and should be considered one of the great American films. Daniel Day-Lewis gives arguably the year’s best performance as the title character, and Tony Kushner’s screenplay is a perfect balancing act between cold historical facts and the fire of the human soul.