The Best Films of 2018
It was a year bursting with discovery, confrontation, tension and growth, and these 365 days saw their fair share of complex films to match. From "Suspiria" to “Roma” to "If Beale Street Could Talk," here are Passerbuys' top films released in 2018.
1. Suspiria (2018) Dir. by Luca Guadagnino
recommended by Lyndsey Butler, Natalie Falt and Natalie O'Moore
A modern remake of the classic Dario Argento 1977 horror film of the same name, this film follows American dancer Suzy Bannion (Dakota Johnson) as she arrives in 1970s Berlin to audition for the famous Helena Markos Dance Company. As Suzy rises through the ranks, she begins to learn that things at the dance company are not what they appear, and that something sinister is building with every step.
2. The Favourite (2018) Dir. by Yorgos Lanthimos
Recommended by Nicole Najafi, Natalie Falt and Fariha Roisin
A tale of luxurious debauchery, competition, the fickle hand of favoritism and the lives of women in the early 18th century, this equally fierce and playful dramatic comedy stars Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone as they seduce, strategize and sabotage their way to becoming the Queen (Olivia Colman)’s Favourite.
Watch The Favourite
3. Sorry to Bother You (2018) Dir. by Boots Riley
recommended by Mimi Packer, Georgia Greville and Folasade Adeoso
Set in an alternate-reality of Oakland, California, telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) falls victim to the seductive power of money and success as this comedy taps on some of our society’s most relevant issues, from institutional racism to the pitfalls of capitalism.
Watch Sorry to Bother You
4. Roma (2018) Dir. by Alfonso Cuarón
recommended by Mina Alyeshmerni, Mimi Packer, Natalie Falt and Fariha Roisin
A semi-autobiographical film based on Cuarón’s own upbringing, this artful, meditative drama follows the life of live-in nanny Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio Martínez) as she lives her multi-faceted life in the Mexico City neighborhood of Colonia Roma (and is yet another movie on our list set in the 1970s). To the joy of homebodies everywhere, this film was released on Netflix at the same time as it debuted in theaters, meaning you don’t have to leave home to watch one of this year’s most acclaimed films.
Find Roma on Netflix
5. A Star is Born (2018) Dir. by Bradley Cooper
recommended by Sara Haile, Amy Quichiz and Angie Venezia
The story of A Star is Born has been told on film several times since 1937, and each retelling brings a slightly different flavor to the overall narrative of a couple dealing with love and struggle as the female lead shoots to stardom. This newest rendition, directed by Bradley Cooper and starring both Cooper and Lady Gaga, brings its own unique nuance to the dramatic tale.
6. Mandy (2018) Dir. by Panos Cosmatos
recommended by Natalie Falt and heba kadry
Set in the Pacific Northwest in 1983, Mandy centers on Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) and Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough), a couple living a life of peace and solitude together in a woodland cabin. When a violent cult destroys the world they’ve created together, an epic quest for revenge ensues. This movie is a true maverick, complete with a demonic biker gang, LSD and a stunning visual presentation (think Enter the Void meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with an added boost of fantasy).
7. Crazy Rich Asians (2018) Dir. by Jon M. Chu
recommended by angie venezia and naiylah warren
Based on the novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians is the first film made by a major Hollywood studio that features a majority Asian American cast in a modern setting since 1993’s The Joy Luck Club. Like the book, the movie follows Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) as she discovers that her longtime boyfriend Nick (Henry Golding) is a member of one of the richest families in Singapore, and that being with him means acclimating to Singaporean high society as well as Nick’s hyper-critical mother (Michelle Yeoh).
Watch Crazy Rich Asians
8. Border (2018) Dir. by Ali Abbasi
Recommended by Crystal Moselle, Georgia Greville
This Swedish fantasy film follows Tina (Eva Melander), an unusual looking customs officer with a talented sense of smell that can literally pick up the scent of guilt or secrecy. When she meets Vore (Eero Milonoff), a man of similar appearance to herself, Tina is intrigued and astounded to find that she cannot interpret his scent. This launches Tina into a journey of both self discovery and dark, disturbing revelations.
9. The Rider (2018) Dir. by Chloé Zhao
Recommended by Lyndsey Butler, natalie falt and Mariana Orkenyi
This contemporary western follows cowboy Brady Jandreau (whose character takes the same name) as he navigates his life after a riding accident leaves him unable to compete on the rodeo circuit. The movie’s plot is loosely based on Jandreau’s real life experience of being severely injured in a rodeo accident and remapping his life in the aftermath.
Watch The Rider
10. If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) Dir. by Barry Jenkins
recommended by Fatima Jones, fariha roisin, AND Angie Venezia
Based on the James Baldwin novel of the same name, this film takes place in 1970s Harlem, where the story of Tish (KiKi Layne) and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, or Fonny (Stephan James) is told. When Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit, the two must lean on their love to build their future.
Other film recommendations include Isle of Dogs Dir. Wes Anderson (as recommended by Suzanne Middlemass), Beast Dir. Michael Pearce (as recommended by Dasha Faires), We the Animals Dir. Jeremiah Zagar (as recommended by Crystal Moselle), Whitney Dir. Kevin Macdonald (as recommended by Noemie Le Coz), Searching Dir. Aneesh Chaganty (as recommended by Nicole Najafi), Shoplifters Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda (as recommended by Mimi Packer), and In the Aisles Dir. Thomas Stuber (as recommended by Nadia Bedzhanova).
Words by Gabriella Lacombe