The best films of 2014

The movies most acclaimed by our staff and contributors so far this year: a roundup-in-progress…

See all our Film of the week reviews

Already released

  • Film of the week: 12 Years a Slave

    Film of the week: 12 Years a Slave

    Steve McQueen’s best film yet deploys his signature style of painterly compositions and dexterous long takes to impress unflinchingly painful truths, says Calum Marsh.
    Friday 10 January 2014

  • Film of the week: The Wolf of Wall Street

    Film of the week: The Wolf of Wall Street

    DiCaprio and Scorsese illustrate the lubricious art of blowing stock-market bubbles. This picaresque farce is a riot, says Nick Pinkerton.
    Friday 17 January 2014

  • Film of the week: Inside Llewyn Davis

    Film of the week: Inside Llewyn Davis

    The Coens’ latest takes a left turn from their usual fables of heedless ambition to essay a listless 1960s folk singer, “boomeranging between bad memories and botched opportunities”, write J.M. Tyree and Ben Walters.
    Friday 24 January 2014

  • Film of the week: Journal de France

    Film of the week: Journal de France

    Jonathan Romney visits an intimate, wistful portrait of France past and present through the eyes – and in the person – of its enigmatic documentary wayfarer Raymond Depardon.
    Friday 31 January 2014

  • Film of the week: An Oversimplification of Her Beauty

    Film of the week: An Oversimplification of Her Beauty

    Ashley Clark is bowled over by a dazzling, deliquescent, take-this-heart love movie.
    Friday 7 February 2014

  • Film of the week: Her

    Film of the week: Her

    Nick James considers technological creep and its creepy effects in Spike Jonze’s marvellously unsettling cybernautical romance.
    Friday 14 February 2014

  • Film of the week: Stranger by the Lake

    Film of the week: Stranger by the Lake

    Lakeside cruising and what lies beneath: Ben Walters on a spellbinding erotic mystery from French writer-director Alain Guiraudie.
    Friday 21 February 2014

  • Film of the week: The Grand Budapest Hotel

    Film of the week: The Grand Budapest Hotel

    Fanciful fabrication, fanatical detail and an undertone of rue combine in Wes Anderson’s most complete Sachertorte yet, says Philip Kemp.
    Friday 7 March 2014

  • Film of the week: Under the Skin

    Film of the week: Under the Skin

    Scarlett Johansson falls to Scotland – and Jonathan Glazer launches us into yonder void. Samuel Wigley probes a terrifically estranging movie.
    Thursday 13 March 2014

  • Film of the week: Starred Up

    Film of the week: Starred Up

    Michael Pattison on violence and vulnerability in a close-to-the-knuckle slice of prison life.
    Thursday 20 March 2014

  • Review: The Wind Rises

    Review: The Wind Rises

    Studio Ghibli’s Miyazaki Hayao signs off with a deeply personal paean to flight – and deeply ambiguous portrait of the artist as blinkered visionary. But what are his obligations to history, asks Andrew Osmond?
    Friday 9 May 2014

  • Film of the week: Frank

    Film of the week: Frank

    Lenny Abrahamson’s biopic manqué of Frank Sidebottom shows us the impenetrable layers of papier-mâché between us and our heroes, says Ryan Gilbey.
    Friday 9 May 2014

  • Film of the week: A Touch of Sin

    Film of the week: A Touch of Sin

    Up and down contemporary China, Jia Zhangke imagines the violent fantasies of the powerless – and documents the violent fantasies of the mighty, writes Andrew Tracy.
    Saturday 17 May 2014

  • Film of the week: Camille Claudel 1915

    Film of the week: Camille Claudel 1915

    Bruno Dumont and Juliette Binoche follow their subject into Montdevergues asylum – with typically astringent results, says Graham Fuller.
    Friday 20 June 2014

  • Film of the week: Boyhood

    Film of the week: Boyhood

    Twelve years go by in Richard Linklater’s ‘indie epic’, a simple, magical study of the subtle turns of life, says Ashley Clark.
    Friday 11 July 2014

  • Film of the week: Norte, the End of History

    Film of the week: Norte, the End of History

    Filipino arthouse hero Lav Diaz shoots for Balzacian social breadth and Dostoevskyian moral depth with this sprawling crime-and-punishment fable, his first to gain UK release. If only he would stretch himself, says Adrian Martin.
    Thursday 17 July 2014

  • Film of the week: Night Moves

    Film of the week: Night Moves

    Adam Nayman on Kelly Reichardt’s latest tale of alienation and rue, a paranoid tragedy of eco-terrorism.
    Thursday 28 August 2014

  • Film of the week: 20,000 Days on Earth

    Film of the week: 20,000 Days on Earth

    Nick Cave beckons you into the caverns of his mind, writes Trevor Johnston.
    Thursday 18 September 2014

  • Film of the week: Ida

    Film of the week: Ida

    Pawel Pawlikowski condenses European (and cinematic) history into a “sad, small”, ineffably potent road movie of the soul, writes Catherine Wheatley.
    Thursday 25 September 2014

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Forthcoming releases

  • Mr. Turner

    Mr. Turner

    Mike Leigh’s biopic of the great Romantic painter is a wickedly gruff late-life tragicomedy and class critique, reports Isabel Stevens from its Cannes premiere. (Release date: 31 October.)

  • The Stations of the Cross

    The Stations of the Cross

    AKA Kruezweg, Dietrich Brüggemann’s film portrays the life of Maria, a 14-year-old born into a fundamentalist Catholic family, “as if she were Christ in his last moments on earth,” Nick James reported from Berlin in February. It’s a film “perfectly poised between belief and scepticism.” (UK release date: 28 November.)

  • The Overnighters

    The Overnighters

    (UK release date: 31 October.)

  • Manakamana

    Manakamana

    The latest from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Laboratory is a marvel of both structuralist minimalism and chamber intimacy, making 11 ten-minute cable-car trips to and from Nepal’s Manakamana temple. “A movie for those that still see the theatre as a temple,” wrote Robert Greene in his roundup of the best nonfiction cinema of 2013. (UK release date: 12 December.)

No known release date

  • White God

    White God

    Kornel Mundruczó’s curveball account of the apocalyptic misadventures of a Jekyll-and-Hyde dog just premiered in the Un Certain Regard sidebar at this year’s Cannes. Nick Roddick was astonished.

  • Whiplash

    Whiplash

    Damien Chazelle’s jazz-drummer movie won both the jury and audience prizes for best drama at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Here’s Nick James from Cannes, hailing its ”chutzpah and stylistic élan”.

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