10. Beach Rats
A quietly devastating portrait of repressed sexuality, Beach Rats is still alluring to watch thanks to the lyrical cinematography by Helene Louvart and lead actor Harris Dickinson. With Dickinson, we’re watching a star being born as he carries the picture on his shoulders and lets his expressive face demonstrate the spectrum of emotions his character goes through. You want his Frankie to find his happy ending even if he might not since the people in his life, like his friends and mother, don’t make his journey of finding himself any easier. Will Frankie ever find love? Will there ever be a sparkle in his life like the fireworks that go off in the film’s opening and closing? Frankie may be a fictional character but this film makes us hope that those who are as scared and confused as he is become at peace with themselves.
9. Ingrid Goes West
Ingrid Goes West is like Young Adult meets “Nosedive” from Black Mirror. It’s a humanistic portrait of mental illness that demonstrates the perils of being obsessed with social media in a frenetic and offbeat manner. But the one actress that handles the film’s tragicomic tone with ease is Aubrey Plaza who gives the year’s most overlooked performance as Ingrid Thorburn. As somebody who has been a fan of Aubrey Plaza, even I didn’t know she had this kind of performance in her. Even in the opening scene where she tearfully goes through a series of happy Instagram photos before angrily spraying a bride with mace, it’s become clear that April Ludgate from Parks And Recreation is nowhere to be found in her performance. Matching Plaza tit for tat is Elizabeth Olsen as Taylor, Ingrid’s latest obsession who appears to be everybody’s best friend yet isn’t as wholesome as she lets on.
Going into Columbus, I didn’t know much about it other than the fact that it stars the highly underrated John Cho and Parker Posey. But ever since I saw it back in September, I couldn’t get it out of my head. What makes this film so memorable is the cinematography by Elisha Christian which is breathtaking and of course, the spectacular performances. But while Cho amazing as well as Posey in her smaller role, the film belongs to breakout star Haley Lu Richardson as Casey, a girl who’s comfortable with her small town bubble yet yearns for something more. Her final scene is easily one of the best scenes of the year.