2018 has yielded a lot of interesting films, and it’s been hard to choose which most deserve Bouquets. Still, we’ve managed it, and here – in order of viewing – are those that made the cut.
Alexander Payne’s brilliant satire had its detractors, mostly people who had expected a knockabout comedy – but we thought it was perfectly judged and beautifully played by Matt Damon and Hong Chau.
A dazzling, inventive and sometimes surreal love letter to Mexico, this Pixar animation got everything absolutely right, from the stunning artwork to the vibrant musical score. In a word, ravishing.
The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro’s spellbinding fantasy chronicled the most unlikely love affair possible with great aplomb. Endlessly stylish, bursting with creativity, it also featured a wonderful performance from Sally Hawkins.
This semi-autobiographical story featured Saoirse Ronan as a self-centred teenager, endlessly at war with her harassed mother (Laurie Metcalfe). Scathingly funny but at times heart-rending, this was an assured directorial debut from Greta Gerwig.
Imagine Good Fellas on ice skates and you’ll just about have the measure of this stunning biopic of ice skater Tonya Harding, built around an incandescent performance from Margot Robbie, and featuring a soundtrack to die for.
A Quiet Place
This film had audiences around the world too self-conscious to unwrap a sweet or slurp their cola. Written and directed by John Kransinski and starring Emily Blunt, it was one of the most original horror films in a very long time – and we loved it.
Set in Kabul, this stunning film offered a totally different approach to animation, and a heart-wrenching tale of a young woman’s fight for survival in a war-torn society. To say that it was gripping would be something of an understatement.
Based on a true story and skilfully intercutting actors with real life protagonists, Bart Layton’s film was a little masterpiece that gleefully played with the audience’s point of view to create something rather unique.
Bad Times at the El Royale
Drew Goddard’s noir tale brought together a brilliant cast in a unique location, and promptly set about pulling the rug from under our feet, again and again. There was a superb Motown soundtrack and a career making performance from Cynthia Erivo.
Based on a Richard Ford novel, this subtle but powerful slow-burner was the directorial debut of Paul Dano and featured superb performances from Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal and newcomer, Ed Oxenbould.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
The Coen brothers were in exquisite form with this beautifully styled Western, which featured six separate tales of doom and despair, enlivened by a shot of dark humour. But, not for the first (or the last) time, we heard those dreaded words ‘straight to Netflix.’
Another Netflix Original (and one that’s hotly tipped for the Oscars), this was Alfonso Cuaron’s lovingly crafted semi-autobiographical tale off his childhood in Mexico, and of the nanny who looked after him and his siblings. It was absolutely extraordinary.
Philip Caveney & Susan Singfield