The Best Movies Of 2011
Most 2011 films went from meh to worse, but 10 stand out as the best by keeping their heads above formula
Peter Travers chooses his top 10 movies of the year. Drive is bloody, polarizing, pure cinema; The Artist has unexpected soul; Hugo is a bedtime story for movie lovers; and more.
10. War Horse, The Help, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
The pop shot: not a title, but a place to reward superior crowd-pleasers. For me, it’s a three-way tie: Steven Spielberg’s War Horse is an emotional ride – full gallop. Tate Taylor’s The Help celebrates the female bond (a 2011 rarity). And David Yates’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ends a franchise on a high note that Oscar should heed. Disagree? Let’s hear it.
9. The Tree of Life
How dare Terrence Malick put the lives of a 1950s Texas family, led by Brad Pitt, on par with the creation of the universe? Because his one-of-a-kind film strives even when it falls short.
8. Margin Call
Here’s the year’s best film from a first-timer. J.C. Chandor tackles the bankers who precipitated the 2008 financial crisis. Blue-chip acting from Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons, as Wall Street gets it in the teeth.
7. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
A Cold War spy film, directed by Tomas Alfredson from John le Carré’s 1974 bestseller, brings out the acting artistry of Gary Oldman as a spymaster in search of a mole in the British Secret Intelligence Service.
Woody Allen’s love letter to the City of Light is his best and most beguiling film in years, with Owen Wilson learning the hard way that the past isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.