Although my Top-5 compilation is delayed, I don’t think I should break my own tradition that I started from 2013. So, here are my Top-5 movies for 2016. The year started well with me watching a succession of movies, but with work taking priority, it was only towards the end of the year that I saw a number of great movies again. Last year’s Alliance Française French Film Festival was a bit disappointing overall, and I only saw two films from the Lavazza Italian Film Festival. However, without further ado, here are my Top-5 movies for 2016. If you want to read the actual review, you are welcome to click on the movie title to bring you to the actual review page.
This movie affected me when I saw it – as it combines two areas that are of interest to me: science and faith. Srinivasa Ramanujan was a mathematician who went to Cambridge and had to work hard to be taken seriously by the crusty academics of the time. The movie has its flaws but it tells the story so beautifully, without casting any judgment towards one or the other.
Next on the list is a movie that presents what triggered the Global Financial Crisis with the big banks repackaging bad loans as high return investments to other banks. Scary stuff – and although some tighter controls are in place, this can happen again under different guises. If you want to know what happened, The Big Short will enlighten you on what can happen when we get greedy and sneaky. “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil …”
Room is #3 on the list. It is a seemingly dark and depressing story about a girl who was raped and kept captive for seven years. She managed to escape the confinement along with her son – and finding it hard to adjust to life outside. This movie hits hard – along with the philosophical question, if you can get the total freedom that you’re craving, can you really handle it?
I, Daniel Blake is a strong criticism on how we are increasingly penalising the weak and the downtrodden in the society, and making it difficult for them to turn their lives around. The movie presents relatively likeable characters who ask for some support from the government and have to fight crippling bureaucracy. It is a reminder that we should never tar each and every welfare recipient with the same brush.
You may be wondering why #1 on my list is not Hacksaw Ridge or any other serious movies that carry an important message. At #1 in 2016, Perfect Strangers (Perfetti sconosciuti) is a movie that still keeps me thinking, whether we can handle the entire truth from our loved ones – or whether we should keep some secrets to ourselves. The light, humorous and yet philosophical movie also highlights our over attachment to our phone, that has become our own personal black book. A personal highlight of the year for sure!