The best movies of 2019, ranked – CBS News

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By Lance Cartelli
/ CBS NEWS
It was another great year for movies. 
Cinephiles were treated to Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci teaming with veteran director Martin Scorsese for “The Irishman;” a new Quentin Tarantino film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie; the culmination of more than 20 Marvel Cinematic Universe films via “Avengers: Endgame;” and Adam Sandler receiving high praise in a movie that critics actually like. 
But which film is the best of 2019? We’ve got your answer. 
These movies are rated the highest among all of the films released this year, according to the movie review aggregator Metacritic. We narrowed the list to focus on films with at least 10 critic reviews.
Written and directed by series creator Vince Gilligan, “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” “makes for one hell of an entertaining gift,” according to Rolling Stone.
This comedy, which focuses on a slacker who decides to run the New York Marathon, is “funny, fresh and feel-good,” per Total Film.
Starring Shia LaBeouf — who also wrote the screenplay — “Honey Boy” is “captivating, haunting, and brutally honest,” according to the Austin Chronicle.
Director Ari Aster’s follow-up to 2018’s “Hereditary” is a “waking nightmare, and I mean that in the best possible way,” says the Associated Press. 
The third John Wick film is “giddy, exhausting, and breathtakingly violent,” says Indiewire.
Based on a 2016 New York Times article, this legal thriller is “riveting, responsible and deeply unsettling,” according to the Observer.
Molly Shannon plays Emily Dickinson in this biographical comedy that’s “a total delight, a surprise for both for literature geeks and those who didn’t do their required reading in school,” says the Playlist.
Starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, this romantic drama “feels like something new, and also as if it’s been around forever, waiting for its moment,” according to the New York Times.
This crime thriller, about two sisters who smuggle drugs across the border, is a “fiercely feminist and sensitive family portrait that fearlessly takes on the capitalist rot at the core of the American healthcare system,” says the Los Angeles Times.
A high-school student creates a time machine to save her brother from death. The Netflix sci-fi film “finds a striking-yet-natural balance between genre concept and a harsh reality that is achingly familiar to the people who have to navigate it every day,” per the A.V. Club.
Written and directed by Phillip Youmans when he was 17, “Burning Cane” “deserves every accolade and opportunity received due to its unrelenting authenticity and complex themes,” according to Film Stage.
This drama, which focuses on a teenage Pakistani American, is “a quietly radical take on the art of finding one’s voice, playing out both in front of and behind the lens,” says Rolling Stone.
Directed by Terrence Malick, “A Hidden Life” is “a lucid and profoundly defiant portrait of faith in crisis,” per Indiewire.
Starring Eddie Murphy as filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore, “Dolemite Is My Name” is “a classic Hollywood feel-good movie, a sentimental tale of an underdog overcoming obstacle after obstacle to follow his bliss,” per Movie Nation.
This drama, set in 1825, about a young convict (Clare Carroll) who seeks revenge, “isn’t an easy cinematic experience, but if you can handle it, it’s an unforgettable one,” says Entertainment Weekly.
Starring Robert Pattinson, “High Life” is a “mesmerizing, patience-testing, violent exploration in the darkest reaches of outer and inner space,” per Empire.
This drama, about a convict who participates in a rehabilitation program that trains wild horses, “becomes an emotional powerhouse in its final act,” says RogerEbert.com.
A teenager seeks independence in this drama that’s “to be relished for its performances and its gritty indie cinema sense of place,” according to Movie Nation.
Set on a remote mountain in Colombia, “Monos” is “ridiculously impressive filmmaking, savage and surreal, immediate but timeless,” per Empire.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, this sports drama is “a sleek, entertaining drama,” per Slate.
Based on Anthony McCarten’s 2017 play “The Pope,” this biographical drama is “an enjoyable portrait of a prickly friendship between two men of vastly different temperaments,” according to Time.
The “Avengers: Infinity War” follow-up “largely delivers, splashing its ambitious three-hour narrative across a sprawling canvas of characters, eras, and not-quite-insurmountable challenges,” according to Entertainment Weekly.
An English remake of the 2013 original, “Gloria Bell” is “a glorious celebration of Julianne Moore at her peak,” according to the New York Post.
Based on a 2015 New York Magazine article, this crime drama is “riotously told and enthusiastically performed,” according to Total Film.
This drama, starring Marin Ireland and Jim Gaffigan, is “a gem likely to stay with anyone smart enough to seek it out,” per the Wrap.
Brad Pitt stars as an astronaut seeking his father in space. The Wrap calls it a “remarkably stylish and fascinating space drama.” 
Tom Hanks stars in a drama that “would have made Mister Rogers proud,” per the Atlantic.
This family drama, starring Kelvin Harrison and Sterling K. Brown, is “a wonder to behold,” according to the Globe and Mail.
Jordan Peele’s follow-up to “Get Out” is a “brilliant home-invasion thriller laced with cultural reference points stretching back to the late ’80s, and a smorgasbord of first-rate, visceral cinematic scares,” per Indiewire.
Starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, this racing film “expertly captures the essence of mid-20th-century racing and the spirit of the men who went to battle in Le Mans,” says the Chicago Sun-times.
This British drama, about a boy’s troubled childhood, is a “sustained artistic achievement,” per Screendaily.
The Rian Johnson-helmed whodunnit is “exceptional escapist entertainment for those who don’t mind a little spice sprinkled into their cozy mystery,” according to Reelviews.
Quentin Tarantino’s tenth film is “a surprisingly funny and extremely melancholy hangout film, an elegy for a bygone era that reflects on how all art eventually loses its edge,” says The Atlantic.
This black-and-white psychological horror, about two lighthouse keepers who are going insane, is “one of the most visually striking films you’ll ever see, featuring magnificent performances from the two leads,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
This drama about a man who tries to reclaim his childhood home “glides from moment to meaningful moment with cumulative power and singular grace,” says the Wall Street Journal.
Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is “something just shy of a sensational masterpiece and miracle,” according to the Playlist.
The fourth film in the Toy Story saga is “somehow baked to perfection,” says the Film Stage.
This World War I epic is “an astonishing piece of filmmaking, portraying war with enormous panache,” according to Empire.
A recently divorced bank teller is haunted by a dress. This horror-comedy is “delirious, deeply delicious in sumptuous form and sly humor,” per the Playlist.
The recipient of Best Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography at the Tribeca Film Festival is “so precisely textured that it becomes fantastical,” according to Slant.
Starring Awkwafina, “The Farewell” is “so unexpectedly and deliciously funny that watching it feels like a tonic — an immersion in love and art,” per The Seattle Times.
The eighth film adaptation of the classic novel is “the best kind of Hollywood film: thoughtful yet escapist, sophisticated yet accessible, expertly crafted and deeply felt,” according to the A.V. Club.
Adam Sandler plays a compulsive gambler deeply in debt in this crime thriller. Playlist calls it an “insane ride with no respite.”
This drama, starring Honor Swinton Byrne as a film student who starts a secret relationship with an older man, “will certainly stand the test of time,” says Screendaily.
Noah Baumbach’s Netflix film about a couple going through a divorce “puts you through the wringer, but leaves you exhilarated at having witnessed a filmmaker and his actors surpass themselves,” says the Hollywood Reporter.
Starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, “The Irishman” is “one of the best films of the decade,” per the Chicago Sun-Times.
The highest-rated movie of 2019 is “Parasite,” “an unpredictable, thought-provoking masterpiece about inequality,” according to Vox.
First published on December 6, 2019 / 3:53 PM
Copyright ©2022 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved.

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