As the year draws to a close, and we begin to evaluate the best films of the year at award ceremonies like the SAGs and Golden Globes, we have decided to publish our own list celebrating the ten best films of 2015. It has been an eclectic year for great cinema - everything from action packed blockbusters to obscure foreign films have made it onto our final list. But what is our top 10? Find out below:
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Marieme is an underprivileged girl from the poor, predominantly black suburbs of Paris. She is introduced to a girl gang who survive on their tough Parisian streets by fighting, thieving and drinking. However, Girlhood isn't a wrist-slapping movie that moralises about the pitfalls of getting in with the wrong friends. Instead it's an honest, touching film about the kinship between these girls born out of the inner-city squalor around them. It is full of charming moments every girl should be able to relate to - especially a scene in which they dance and lip-sync to a full rendition of Diamonds by Rihanna in a hotel room they have rented for the night.
9. Magic Mike XXL
The "male gaze" - a term used to describe when films are shot from a male perspective, particularly relating to things like sex and nudity - is something that is often criticised in movies. Who would have thought that one of the first major Hollywood movies to rebel against this would be Magic Mike XXL? As the remaining Kings Of Tampa embark on a journey to the Myrtle Beach stripping convention they perform their routine for women who are depressed by everyday life, have broken up from partners and whose needs aren't being fulfilled by their spouses. It is a light, funny and playful film that aims to celebrate female sexual pleasure instead of repressing it or treating it as taboo. It portrays pleasure from their perspective - the female gaze.
8. Inside Out
Pixar's high-concept animation is set inside the mind of adolescent Riley as she moves home with her parents and begins studying at a new school. It makes characters out of her emotions - Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust - who are voiced by an all-star comedic cast including Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith and Bill Hader. The creative idea is executed with Pixar's trademark wit, humour and heartbreak as the equilibrium inside Riley's mind is disturbed under the pressures of growing up and the emotions must fight to stabilise her. For a kids movie it's remarkably perceptive about the emotional changes someone goes through as they transition between childhood and adulthood.
7. Force Majeure
In Hollywood movies we often see the patriarch who, in times of peril, stands up to be the protector of his family. However, in the darkly comic Swedish film Force Majeure we see a father and husband who, when an avalanche occurs on their skiing trip, flees his responsibilities when survival instinct kicks in. It is left to his wife to save their children instead. Thankfully, they all make it out safe. But as the father's male pride is bruised, and his wife's faith in her husband's role as the patriarch is destroyed, can the family ever recover? Furthermore, what would you or your partner do in that situation - and how can you ever know? It's a probing, insightful movie that asks difficult questions about perceived gender roles.
6. The Lobster
In a dystopian future, adults who are single are forced to enter The Hotel where they must find a suitable mating partner. If they fail to do so after the allotted time, they are turned into an animal. The English language debut from the warped, twisted mind of Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos is a biting satire about the pressures placed on people over a certain age who are still single. The movie has a quirky, deadpan sense of humour that many will hate but others, like us, adored. It stars Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman and Ben Whishaw.