Cinema Fanatic’s Favorite Fifteen Films of 2016

After last year’s A Year With Women I was apprehensive dipping my toes back into to the world of cinema directed by men. Luckily, one thing 2015 taught me was that I could skip movies that I knew I wouldn’t enjoy instead of seeing everything just to be part of the conversation (although I did see a few things this year that I thought I would hate for that very reason and then I hated them anyways; not happening in 2017, I swear!). Overall, there were lots of films released in 2016 that I truly loved. There are a few late released 2016 films that haven’t come to Atlanta yet that probably would have made this list, but I doubt any of them would dethrone my #1 favorite of the year. For the first time since 2012, my favorite film of the year was actually directed by a man. I am as shocked as you are! As always, you’ll find my favorite films of the year after the cut, as well as some brief thoughts.


I wrote about most of these films already, so these blurbs will be brief.

1. Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins)


Such a beautiful film and the only 2016 film I saw in theaters more than once. It hit me hard for many reasons. We need more cinema filled with this much empathy and love.

2. American Honey (dir. Andrea Arnold)


I just wanted to live in this movie. It’s so alive and so warm.

3. Bridget Jones’s Baby (dir. Sharon Maguire)


I love Bridget. I love Renée Zellweger as Bridget. This felt like spending time with an old friend after being apart for years.

4. The Lobster (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)


My love for Colin Farrell knows no bounds. My dislike of our culture that continues to dictate how you should feel about your romantic life also knows no bounds. Everyone has different needs. This movie understands that.

5. Lemonade (dir. Jonas Åkerlund, Beyoncé Knowles Carter, Kahlil Joseph, Melina Matsoukas, Dikayl Rimmasch, Mark Romanek, Todd Tourso)


I’ve rewatched this film half a dozen times already this year. It’s brilliant.

6. Christine (dir. Antonio Campos)


I related to this film and Christine for many reasons. Rebecca Hall is phenomenal.

7. Jackie (dir. Pablo Larraín)


A tone poem that dismantles Camelot and tears our cultural obsession with the Kennedys to shreds.

8. Hunt For The Wilderpeople (dir. Taika Waititi)


My biggest surprise of the year. This was made by people who love what they do and had a blast making it.

9. 13TH (dir. Ava DuVernay)


Of all the documentaries I saw on race relations in America this year (I Am Not Your Negro has not opened in Atlanta yet), it had the sharpest point of view and the most concise narrative.

10. Hidden Figures (dir. Theodore Melfi)


A great snapshot of America in the early 1960s. We need more biopics about history’s hidden women.

11. The Invitation (dir. Karyn Kusama)


It works as a thriller, maybe as a horror film, but mostly as a blistering satire on LA’s hippy dippy elite.

12. Certain Women (dir. Kelly Reichardt)


Women trying to get by as best they can. A simple telling of life’s little complexities.

13. The Edge of Seventeen (dir. Kelly Fremon Craig)


Probably the best teen film of the last decade. Definitely one of the best teen films about teenage girls.

14. Born To Be Blue (dir. Robert Budreau)


Ethan Hawke is wonderful as Chet Baker. He and Carmen Ejogo have some of the best chemistry of the year.

15. Maggie’s Plan (dir. Rebecca Miller)


Long live the Hawkesance! Also the closest thing to a modern day Preston Sturges film I’ve ever seen.

Here’s to a happy 2017 in films to us all! Look for my December and year-end wraps up posts tomorrow!


About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on December 31, 2016, in Top List and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. With full respect .. just look ahead of hollywood movies can see some classic films released in 2016 in other film industries …

  2. Great to see Bridget Jones’s Baby included on your list!

  1. Pingback: December 2016 in Films | the diary of a film history fanatic

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