The Best Movies of 2014

grand budapest hotel

Halfway through 2014, our top three critics found themselves in a rare moment of agreement: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was one of the year’s best films so far. Several months later, Wes Anderson’s delightful comic caper still ranks high on two lists, while rating an honorable mention on a third — a sign, perhaps, of the impossibility of total unanimity in a year of such rich and diverse cinematic pleasures. (Other movies that scored top-10 mentions from at least two of our critics: “Foxcatcher,” “Winter Sleep,” “Gone Girl,” “Interstellar” and “Selma.”)

Here are our critics’ choices for the year’s finest achievements in film:

Justin Chang’s top 10 films of 2014 | Read more
1. Boyhood
2. Under the Skin
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
4. Winter Sleep
5. Foxcatcher
6. Bird People
7. Gone Girl
8. Selma
9. Mr. Turner
10. Interstellar

Peter Debruge’s top 10 films of 2014 | Read more
1. Calvary
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
3. Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
4. Love Is Strange
5. Le Week-end
6. While We’re Young
7. Li’l Quinquin
8. Force majeure
9. War of Lies
10. Class Enemy

Scott Foundas’ top 10 films of 2014 | Read more
1. Goodbye to Language
2. Citizenfour
3. Winter Sleep
4. Inherent Vice
5. Foxcatcher
6. The Immigrant
7. Gone Girl
8. Interstellar
9. Selma
10. American Sniper

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  1. sue m says:

    Unforgiving was the best by far

  2. No LEGO Movie love? Seriously Variety?

  3. amazing to me all your critics are men! WTF Variety

  4. The amazing thing to me is that I’ve only seen two of the movies on the three top ten lists (‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Interstellar’) and didn’t like either one very much. Put another way, I really actively hated ‘Gone Girl’ and would have walked out on it if it hadn’t been pouring rain outside the theater. This was because the mix of sex and violence was frankly disgusting to watch, and the normal sex scenes were handled in such a crude way that they were very offensive also. Added to that, the main character was thoroughly repulsive because of her evil, with none of the redeeming qualities of great villains, like Nicole Kidman’s character in ‘To Die For’. What was going on with Neil Patrick Harris? He was totally wasted (and abused) in this movie. Ben Affleck was about as likable as curdled yogurt. I know this was so the audience wouldn’t be sure if we should root for him or against him, but it still made him irritating to watch. The only character I actually liked in the movie was Affleck’s lawyer.

    ‘Interstellar’ was acceptable but really boring after my suspension of disbelief was shattered by Michael Caine’s dying words. ‘Gravity’ was much stronger and more profound as well. Of the other movies on the list, I am interested in seeing only two of them, ‘Foxcatcher’ and ‘American Sniper’, but neither have been released in the Netherlands yet. These lists just indicate to me how out of touch reviewers are with movie-goer’s tastes. It also reminds me of ‘Forrest Gump’ getting extremely low ratings from reviewers over the first few months of its release (an average score of 55/100 on the movie rating site of the time), then the rankings and reviews getting retroactive modifications after it swept the Academy Awards (up to about a 96/100).

    For what it’s worth, my ‘average movie goer list’ would look something like this:

    1) Guardians of the Galaxy
    2) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    3) Captain America: Winter Soldier
    4) The LEGO Movie
    5) Chef
    6) [space reserved for ‘The Good Lie’ when it is released in NL]
    7) [space reserved for ‘American Sniper’]
    8) [space reserved for ‘Wild’]

    Nothing else strong enough to consider putting on the list.


  5. Pierre Edelman says:

    From Pierre Edelman: Peter Debruge is SO lucky to have been “exiled” to France which allowed him to see the ultimate cinematic Masterpiece “Lill Quinquin” (Dir. Bruno Dumont) : An outstanding achievement much above and beyond ANYTHING produced in English language in 2014.

  6. rash says:

    WTF !!!!! where is Nightcrawler ?????

  7. alansafe says:

    No mention of WHIPLASH? Are you kidding? You think INTERSTELLAR was better???

  8. Sal U. Lloyd says:

    How about the DCP reissue of Friedkin’s SORCERER and to hell with everything else in 2014!!! That’s MY pick.

  9. Definitely a favorite. I have watched it twice now and I am sure I will be watching it again and again….It will be a classic for sure!

  10. PETER JAY says:

    Taylor, exactly correct about MR. TURNER. A friend and I, both oil painters, saw MR. TURNER and were bored to hell, my friend fell asleep! GONE GIRL, AMERICAN SNIPER, THEORY OF EVERYTHING are my favorites of the year.

  11. Taylor says:

    Scott’s list is the most realistic, the others read like pretentious drivel aimed at other critics. Mr Turner? Grunt, grunt, nothing happens for 20 minutes, grunt grunt, another 20 minutes. Beautiful but so boring, not deserving of any Best of list.

    And where is Nightcrawler? Should be on every top 10 list. Incendiary script, phenomenal acting, brave directing. I can sleep my way through Winter’s Sleep, and does War of Lies even have a release date?

  12. I think gone girl represents all that’s different between europe and U.S.: in U.S. that girl was a good wife who just wanted something back, in Europe a psychiatric case.

  13. PETER JAY says:

    Sandra, you are correct; THE BUDAPEST HOTEL sucked big time. Boring, stupid, silly, ridiculous misconceived film. A waste of time. Happy that I didn’t waste the time seeing it in a theater. I have it on the Internet and turned it off half way through and called and told a friend how bad BUDAPEST is.

  14. Sandra says:

    The biggest load of rubbish I have ever paid money to watch. I was so grateful when the film finished and I could escape the cinema. I kept watching thinking it was going to get better but unfortunately it never did.

  15. sidney orr says:

    Not bad, the “lists”. All flawed in the inconsistent aesthetics and other perspectives of the too-young reviewers. (Where have the days of Siskel and Ebert gone…?) These variety reviewers have all seen so many movies that I attribute to them some sort of near-sightedness. History has shown though, that the “Golden Globes” awards often pick the movies that LAST…and….BIRDMAN and INTERSTELLAR and NIGHTCRAWLER will slug it out for various academy awards, flawed as that audience is…

  16. bc says:

    As much as people like to say it’s overrated, you can’t not include boyhood in your top 10 of the year. You’re truly just trying to be a film snob not a film critic.

  17. chops says:

    the theory of everything? havent seen it but i am because eddie redmayne

  18. kaci says:

    Best movie The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch. I never trust critics. Go see the movie, make your own decision.

  19. Robert Peavey says:

    We, the public, listen and read these “experts” to make “intelligent” decisions about what movies we are going to see. When you find 3 “experts” who can’t even agree, given 10 choices each, on any single movie appearing in 3 lists, shows just how ridiculous it is to listen to them.

    • Dex says:

      @Robert Peavey
      That’s why it’s best that you make your own film decisions instead of relying on critics. An “intelligent” person already knows to do this.

      • Tim says:

        I couldn’t agree more. I’m baffled that people get paid to share their opinions, when not one person’s opinion has any more weight than that of another.

        Screw what anyone thinks. If a movie appeals to you, watch it. Like it or don’t like it based on its merits, not on what some other person thought about it before you.

  20. J.E. Vizzusi says:

    How in the living hell can you miss IDA! Its unbelievable that probably the most dramatic, sensitive and best shot drama will most likely get burried and snubbed. Please order your screeners today. The movie is called IDA from Poland.

  21. taran says:

    boyhood is overrated

  22. PETER says:

    What’s your problem, Nick, and what’s your gripe? Can you be specific? And if you are a legal U.S. citizen, you should thank God everyday that you have our U.S. military protecting you and your right to act like an idiot!

  23. Whiplash isn’t included on a single one of these lists!!!

  24. Marie says:

    All I can think of is The Grand Budapest Hotel

  25. crookedmindframe says:

    Great lists guys, my personal list is tonally different but still much appreciated.

  26. JD says:

    Peter Debruge’s top movie of 2014 is Calvary. Seriously. As an Irish person living in ireland, I thought the movie would have worked better as a play rather than a film. To me every scene in a film should flow smoothly into one another. For a play that does not need to happen. Calvary was like this. Bar Brendan Gleeson who was very good, the rest of the actors were poor especially Aidan Gillen. Also an awful lot of the dialogue between the characters would not be said by people in real life. The film gave the impression that every person in a small town in ireland is miserable. that is not the case. There were much better movies out there this year.

  27. PETER says:

    Best movie of the year-AMERICAN SNIPER. Should get Oscar nominations all around, but how will the liberal, entertainment industry deal with it? We need more realistic, patriotic, pro our United States military movies. Thank you Brad Cooper and Clint Eastwood for the powerful AMERICAN SNIPER. Also thank you, Angelina, for UNBROKEN. And Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg for last year’s outstanding LONE SURVIVOR.

    • Dex says:

      Obviously you haven’t been keeping up. Based on all the recent controversies, it’s clear the entertainment industry is anything but “liberal.” Stop parroting right-wing talking points and learn to think for yourself.

    • Nick says:

      Even if the movies are shameless and inaccurate propaganda movies, like Zero Dark Thirty?

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