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Ten movies that really got to us this year

  • 14 December 2016


Amid the noise of Batman battling Superman, the Avengers turning against each other, and middle aged fanboys whingeing about the Ghostbusters franchise being revitalised with an all-female lead cast, 2016 has actually been a pretty solid year for movies, both in and outside of Hollywood. We haven't had time to see them all (we have a magazine to publish, after all) but nonetheless here is a list of our ten favourite films reviewed in Eureka Street this year.



As screenwriter for Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, Charlie Kaufman delineated a particular type of over-educated, middle-class, white male character; artists whose alienation and self-loathing is at odds with their social privilege, and whose creative drive entails a winnowing for authenticity or immortality that leads them inexorably down the rabbit hole of their own navels: the search for meaning as the ultimate act of self-absorption. This archetype was fully actualised in the character of Caden Cotard, the egomaniacal theatremaker played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2008's Synecdoche, New York — and emerges again in the form of Michael Stone, the celebrity self-help author adrift in a sea of menacing existential fog in Kaufman's surreal, disturbing and deeply humane stop-motion animation Anomalisa.

Full review



The story centres on the experiences of Joy (Brie Larson), who for seven years has been held prisoner in the souped-up garden shed of a suburban maniac; and her five-year-old son, Jack. It explores the elaborate and imaginative methods Joy has employed to nurture and educate her son, while at the same time protecting him from the dark reality of their existence. The novel was remarkable in its use of language to create the inner voice of Jack, who narrates it. This often involves charming deconstructions of idiomatic English. Jack is awed by Joy's description of their physical resemblance: 'You are the dead spit of me.' 'Why I'm your dead spit?' Later he observes a gob of her toothpaste and saliva in the basin; it doesn't look anything like him. As director, Lenny Abrahamson brings a stylised realism to the film that mimics the novel's capacity to transmit the bleakness of Joy's situation via the wonder-full gaze of Jack.

Full review



If at first glance Mustang seems familiar, cast your mind back to 1999, and Sofia Coppola's adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides' 1993 novel The Virgin Suicides. The resonance between the films, each of which is about five adolescent sisters who are literally held captive by conservative