My final semester of seminary has been one of the toughest of the last four years, so I’ve been neglecting whatever I could neglect…but now, with the Oscars hard on us, the deadline is here for my annual round-up of the year-end best films of some of my friends and peers (see previous years).
Annual disclaimer: As always, the lists below are all from film writers who are Christians, and whose film writing is informed by their faith. This doesn’t mean that I agree with or endorse all the films listed below, nor is it any slight to the work of many of my friends and peers who are not Christians. It’s simply meant to offer a cross-section of thoughtful Christian film writing.
This year, like last year, I have nine lists so far — but the makeup has changed a bit. A couple of my friends didn’t do lists this year, and I’ve added a couple new ones. One happy outcome is that I no longer have an all-male lineup; I’ve added two women this year. Two’s not enough, but there’s a big difference between two and none.
Why does this matter? Because men and women experience life differently, are treated differently, think differently, notice differently and write about film differently. What’s more, men think and talk and write differently when women are involved in the conversation than when they aren’t. I want to read film criticism by women in part because it makes me a better critic. Certainly I know I benefit from my lady Suz’s perspective on films, when I’m lucky enough to have it (which isn’t often enough).
This year’s roundup begins with Alissa Wilkinson of Christianity Today, who took a unique tack to the year-end list project with a list of 20 films, all unranked, in various categories. Usually I only post the top 10 films no matter how long the list is, but since it would be arbitrary to pick half of Alissa’s films, here they all are. (Most of the links below offer thoughtful comments on each film; I recommend visiting them all.)
Alissa Wilkinson (Christianity Today)
Jeffrey Overstreet (Looking Closer) has a top 25 with runners-up:
Kenneth R. Morefield (1More Film Blog) has a top 10:
Victor Morton (Rightwing Film Geek) has a top 10 with honorable mentions in various categories:
Joel Mayward (Cinemayward.com) has a top 10 (though one of them, no. 3, is a 16-minute short):
M. Leary (formerly of Filmwell) has a top 10 with addenda:
Christian Hamaker (Schaeffer’s Ghost) has a top 20 with various addenda:
Rebecca Cusey (The Federalist) has a top 10:
Evan Cogswell (Catholic Cinephile) has a top 10 with honorable mentions and more:
The most celebrated films in any given year are often laced with dark or harrowing themes, and 2015 was no exception… There were also films with uplifting themes, though it’s possible they were harder to find than in past years. In part for that very reason, I treasured them more.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.