It's hard to qualify the best indications of what makes something truly great. Objectivity is inevitably impossible, and opinions can vary as wildly as eye colour, not to mention that mood impacts film viewing like nothing else. So it comes down to hive mentality: true greatness only means something when a lot of people agree.
It isn't enough to be highly rated: as Kirk Cameron found to his dismay, the Rotten Tomato rating can be manipulated either way as long as the review numbers stay low. So for this ranking to really reflect the most critically beloved films of the year other issues have to be considered.
For one, the films have to have gained at least 40 reviews, and of course the more reviews the higher the value of each incremental point on the scale. Naturally a film that gains 5 stars from 200 people is more of a reflection of quality than one that gains the same from just 50.
So with that in mind, it's time to look back over the landscape of 2014 films and rank the top 20 based on cumulative Rotten Tomatoes ratings. This is the freshest of the fresh.
Rating: 99% - 213 Reviews
Lucky for Richard Linklater that his brilliantly vast epic didn't end up just being a bloated experiment: its intimacy defied its massive scope, even if it will be a more important film than an entertaining one for some because of its process.