It’s hard to imagine what cinephiles will say about 2013 when they look upon it from the safety of the future. Was it a good year for filmmaking? Was it special? As we expected? Right now, it’s impossible to get a grip on just how “important” 2013 will prove in the grand scheme of things. There have been disappointments, surprises box office hits, flops - just like every other year, you say. Quite. But did 2013 feel innovative or revelatory or landmark in any way? Was there a sense that cinema was pushing boundaries, or changing face? As always: only time will tell.
To say there have been worse years is to basically say that 2013 was just another year for moviemaking, no different from any other. Without the ability to look back with the benefit of hindsight (we’re still in 2013, after all), though, there were still clear technical achievements (Gravity), movies destined for Oscar glory (12 Years A Slave), unbridled financial disasters (The Lone Ranger), and some of the best indie fare in recent memory (Before Midnight, Blue Is The Warmest Color). And yet: does it make sense to judge cinema by the year, anyway?
Perhaps not, but that doesn’t stop those of us who see movie-going as more than just “something to pass the time” from trying to collate our experiences with every passing year in list format. You might claim that such lists serve no real purpose, but it’s also true that – if said lists might help guide the uninitiated towards a film they might otherwise have failed to discover – they’re valuable. For that reason alone, this kind of list-making seems to pass the test of requirement. So without further ado, may we present to you WhatCulture’s picks for the 20 Best Movies of 2013…
Please Note: This list has been written with original release dates in mind. If a movie was released in the US in 2012 but 2013 in the UK, it will be regarded as a 2012 movie. Django Unchained, for example, was released in the US in 2012, and in the UK in 2013: as a result, it doesn’t qualify for inclusion. Also: please don’t be discouraged if your own personal favourite didn’t make the cut. 20 isn’t all that large a number when you consider the amount of movies that were released in 2013: if it doesn’t appear, it doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t good, of course.
This article was first posted on December 17, 2013