THIS PAST MOVIE year I’ve been delighted by, among other things, nonviolent resolutions, a guy talking in a car, an Irish priest trying to do the right thing, and a five-dimensional bookcase. Here’s my list of the 10 best films of 2014 (many more are worthy, but 10 are all that will fit).
10. Pride. A delightful and stirring celebration of marginalized people turning their woundedness into helping others, as LGBTQ activists support the Thatcher-era British coal miners’ strike.
9. The Lego Movie. This turned out to be both the most unpredictably fun and one of the wisest films of the year. A brilliant critique of consumerism and political tyranny, with an ending that inverts the myth of redemptive violence.
8. Love Is Strange. A lovely, mournful romance, as a couple forced apart by prejudice teaches us the meaning of commitment. John Lithgow soars.
7. Interstellar. Extravagant adventure cinema, misunderstood as sentimental. Looked at more closely, the exploration of time is an intelligent grappling with not just how things work, but what God might be—a transcendently loving consciousness wooing us into a rescued future.
6. Ida. A beautiful, aching film about the post-Holocaust transitional generation and the meaning of religion.
5. Birdman. Crazy and deep, Michael Keaton’s finest hour, and a wild ride into the soul of an artist: The vocation that causes its stewards to fly, or crash, or fly while crashing.