Lists · Movies

The Best Movies You Missed In 2019

These underseen gems are some of the best films of the year and we recommend you catch up on them before 2019 ends. Start watching now.
Rewind Best Movies You Missed
By  · Published on December 9th, 2019

5. The Souvenir

The Souvenir

Joanna Hogg‘s masterful and deeply personal film is inspired by her own experiences as a young filmmaker in the 1980s. In her first starring role, Honor Swinton Byrne delivers a deftly introspective performance as Julie, a director caught up in a dangerously dependent relationship with Anthony (Tom Burke). The film interrogates the artistic avenues afforded by privilege and the ways in which toxicity in one area seeps into all of Julie’s experiences, informing her work and her sense of self in ways that eclipse even her own understanding. This is a beautiful meditation on a unique and individual experience that also speaks to many by articulating the experiences of a woman so intent to give herself to something that she’ll give herself to anything. Hogg is set to release a sequel next year, which means there’s no time like the present to catch this gorgeous and tender gem. (Anna Swanson)

4. Woman at War

Screenshot At Pm

One woman’s fight for a better, cleaner, and safer world seems an unlikely focus for a film delivering drama, suspense, humor, and an abundance of life, but this Icelandic feature manages just that. It follows a 50-year-old woman living a normal life who happens to be a secret eco-terrorist waging a war against corporate entities near her small community. The film explores the bravery, foolishness, and embrace of risk that she endures and then complicates things by throwing a curveball into her area of concern. How do you weigh life on a grand scale when you’re caring for a single infant right in front of you? The question is asked and answered with such warmth, craftsmanship, and humanity as to make this one of the year’s best films. (Rob Hunter)

3. Atlantics


Mati Diop‘s feature debut is a stunning and singular accomplishment that, although now streaming on Netflix, deserves to be seen on the biggest screen available in order to take in all of its breathtaking qualities. A hybrid of genres and themes that is at once informed by a rich understanding of history and a unique, urgent voice, Atlantics follows a young Senegalese woman, Ada (Mame Bineta Sane), who is in love with one man but betrothed to another. When the man she loves is lost at sea during an attempted migration, Ada finds herself entwined with the lingering spirits of so many men who met an early death while striving for a better life. This is a film deeply informed by the present refugee crisis that borrows from longstanding Romantic aesthetics to create one of the most remarkable and visionary debuts in years. (Anna Swanson)

2. Aniara

Screenshot At Pm

It’s not often a poem gets a feature film adaptation, but this Swedish masterpiece makes a compelling case for seeing it happen more often. The film posits a near future with space travel as mundane as a Sunday drive, but when a passenger ship bringing thousands of visitors to Mars is knocked off course the journey goes from days to years in duration. It serves as a microcosm of humanity with factions developing, feelings of despair and hopelessness cycling throughout the ship, and the species crumbling beneath the weight of this new reality. The result is a harrowing and thought-provoking ride through the darkness of space and the human soul. If that sounds bleak, well, it is at times, but it’s also an unflinching and creative reflection of humanity itself. (Rob Hunter)

1. Transit

Screenshot At Pm

In recent years I’ve found myself increasingly annoyed by films with a cloying and overbearing desire to be relevant. These films go beyond insightful, timely commentary and turn into ostentatious competitions of how many words can be taken from Twitter trending topics and thrown onto the screen. This is why Christian Petzold‘s urgent refugee drama toeing the line between having its finger on the pulse and being a timeless and ruminative heartbreaker is so impressive and so welcome. Transit pulls its source material — Anna Seghers’s astonishing WWII novel — out of time and transports its characters to present-day Marseilles as the film follows several German refugees hoping to secure exit visas before the German army advances into the French port city. This conceit is initially confusing, but once you adapt to the film’s rhythms it becomes all too clear that the best way this story could have been adapted is to acknowledge the relationship between the then and the now; the ways in which experiences of living under fascism, of being displaced, of having nowhere to flee to and no home to return to speak to our world and our history. Transit is a rare example of a film that has actually earned its praise as being necessary, it’s one of the best films made during and about the last decade, and without a doubt, it belongs at the top of a 2019 year-end list. Transit displays a delicate balancing act, one that only the most skilled of filmmakers could pull off without being heavy-handed. Good thing Petzold has skills to spare. (Anna Swanson)

Read more from the 2019 Rewind here.

Pages: 1 2 3 4

Related Topics:

Anna Swanson is a Senior Contributor who hails from Toronto. She can usually be found at the nearest rep screening of a Brian De Palma film.