Best of the Decade: 2010–2019

The more things change... well, you know. In December 2009, in the introduction to our symposium of the best films of that decade, we referenced three of the major themes of the previous ten years as "the transition to video, the rapid changing of viewing methods, and the alterations in distribution." Ten years later, the first of these seems to have been fully achieved, with shot-on-film films not quite extinct but increasingly a novelty. The other two points, however, remained critical to our discussions of film between 2010 and 2019 and have, in fact, essentially collapsed into one: the way we watch is increasingly inextricable from how films are distributed. While the move away from the theatrical experience that has been augured for most of the decade has not yet fully come to pass—people still go to the movies—the kinds of films being made for the large screen and those being made for the small increasingly seem miles apart.

That said, there's a little received wisdom to this. One Irishman does not an entire story tell, and one need only look at the astonishing variety of thrilling made-for-theatrical-venue cinematic experiences that came out just in the past year, let alone the entire decade. In our last go-round, we also wrote that "Many seem to think the aughts were a subpar decade for filmmaking, but that doesn’t alter the fact that, for most of Reverse Shot’s writers, it was arguably the most important in our development as thinkers and watchers." As we consider this thought again, we can't help but realize this could easily be said once again for these last ten years, and that for many of our younger, newer RS contributors this past decade was just as formative. For those of us who just turned or are hovering around age 40, films like Mulholland Drive, In the Mood for Love, The New World, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, L'Intrus, The Son, Syndromes and a Century, Yi YI, Before Sunset, and The Royal Tenenbaums weren't just movies; they helped define our cinephilia as we entered into adulthood.

We have no doubt the same must be true for many of the films you will see on this new list, which was created by polling our major contributors from the past decade. That gets to the heart of what we do at Reverse Shot, and why we keep doing it: no matter how much things change, movie love remains; it is always regenerating, refreshing, being passed down to new lovers. We're excited to see it, and we hope to continue being a part of that conversation.

Go to the films.