Ten best films of 2015

David Gritten / 31 December 2015

Saga’s film critic selects his top10 favourite films of 2015.



Here are my 10 favourite films released in the UK in 2015, in no particular order. All of them are either available on DVD or still playing in cinemas.

Bridge of Spies

Steven Spielberg’s supremely assured Cold War thriller, with Tom Hanks starring as an American lawyer negotiating a complex spy-swap with the Soviets. As the enigmatic Russian spy Rudolf Abel, Mark Rylance deserves Oscar recognition. It’s vastly entertaining.

Read David Gritten's longer review and watch the trailer

Brooklyn

A gorgeous-looking 1950s' period piece, with Saiorse Ronan outstanding as a young Irishwoman who emigrates to America, then finds herself torn between New York’s romance and excitement, and the emotional pull of the old country.

Read David Gritten's longer review and watch the trailer

Love and Mercy

Vastly superior to most musical biographies on film, this reworking of Beach Boys genius Brian Wilson’s troubled life is fraught and compelling. Paul Dano plays Wilson as a young adult, John Cusack as the older man – and both acquit themselves splendidly.

Read David Gritten's longer review and watch the trailer

45 Years

This low-budget British drama featured two stellar performances from Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as a long-married childless couple living in Norfolk. On the eve of a major anniversary, disturbing secrets in their relationship are gradually revealed. It’s subtly gripping.

Read David Gritten's longer review and watch the trailer

Steve Jobs

An imaginative account of the Apple co-founder’s stormy life, played out in three acts, each before a crucial new product launch. Aaron Sorkin’s heightened dialogue was the best of the entire year; the acting, notably Michael Fassbender as Jobs, is outstanding. Danny Boyle directs, with panache.

Read David Gritten's longer review and watch the trailer

Suffragette

A thoughtful, overdue film about a crucial moment in British history, when women marched and protested for voting rights. It’s told from the viewpoint of working-class women rather than the patrician Pankhursts; Carey Mulligan is quietly convincing in the lead. Sarah Gavron directs; Abi Morgan wrote the script.

Read David Gritten's longer review and watch the trailer

Inside Out

A ground-breaking animated film from Pixar, which deals with the growing emotional awareness of Riley, an 11-year-old girl. Her emotions – anger, joy, sadness, fear and disgust - all take animated form and are often at odds with each other. It’s deeply clever, hugely sophisticated, yet suitable for children.

Read David Gritten's longer review and watch the trailer

Slow West

Thank goodness, westerns are still being made (just about) and this one is a fine example of the genre, if unorthodox. Michael Fassbender (again) is a former bounty hunter escorting the young son of a Scottish nobleman through the badlands of Colorado to reunite with his sweetheart. It’s fair to say almost nothing goes according to plan, but it’s intriguing viewing.

Read David Gritten's longer review and watch the trailer

Spectre

If this is Daniel Craig’s swan song as 007, he’s going out on a relative high. If not quite in the Skyfall league, it’s a superior Bond film, beautifully shot and mostly engaging. The story hops continents, as usual, but the real high point arrives at the outset, with a breathtaking continuous sequence in Mexico City. 

Read David Gritten's longer review and watch the trailer

The Theory of Everything

It opened on New Year’s Day and set a standard for 2015. Eddie Redmayne was in Oscar-winning form for his astonishing portrayal of Stephen Hawking, whose brilliant mind soared even as his body deteriorated. An inspiring, moving piece of film-making.

Read David Gritten's longer review and watch the trailer

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