Best Of 2019 So Far – Emily Maskell

Narrowing films down to lists such as this is an almost impossible task for me. Yet, I have somehow managed to brutally condense my viewings of 2019 so far to a select five. Now I present to you: my personal favourite films as of halfway through twenty-nineteen.

5. Under The Silver Lake. (dir. David Robert Mitchell)

two characters from Under The Silver Lake walking down the streets

Although I was lucky enough to see David Robert Mitchell’s film at Cannes in 2018, Under The Silver Lake was finally made available for UK viewing this year. It is a puzzling, muddled narrative that buries itself in layers of confusion and disillusionment. Yet, from start to finish, Under The Silver Lake is a thrilling journey that embraces the chaos of Los Angeles. A winding tale of nonsense meeting nonsense, reference after reference, I still don’t really know what I took from the film and yet it is one of my favourites to watch.

4. Knock Down The House. (dir. Rachel Lears)

a shot of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wearing her 'I Voted' badge

More than anything, I’ll point to Knock Down The House as a film that provides a glimmer of hope in 2019. Capturing the highs and lows of being involved in politics, this documentary shows the struggle of being in the race for Congress. Presenting numerous inspiring women who are at the heart of change in their respective communities, this documentary highlights hopefulness and positivity where often you can only see horror. Knock Down The House is a wonderfully personal insight that captures true determination and persistence. 

3. Booksmart. (dir. Olivia Wilde)

Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein in Booksmart

Booksmart will make a lot of ‘top films’ lists for 2019 and it is completely deserved. A wonderful film that portrays a reality of two womens’ friendship. A memoir for so many, Booksmart is packed full of so many grounded moments of comedy, genuine heartfelt connections and a love for this period of youth. The dynamic between Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein is brilliant and constantly engaging, and the film just wants you to have a great time!

2. And Then We Danced. (dir. Levan Akin)

the character Merab in And Then We Danced

Will anything win over my heart like this film? I saw And Then We Danced at Cannes and it has occupied my mind and heart ever since. Levan Akin has created such a visceral demonstration of love in the face of tradition. Redefining masculinity in the world of Georgian dance, And Then We Danced moves with a soft sense of awakening. Bodies of the dancers are instruments of expression, spectacularly framed, growing as bold as their blossoming romance.

1. Eighth Grade. (dir. Bo Burnham)

Elsie Fisher as Kayla in Eighth Grade, walking into high school on her first day

After watching Bo Burnham’s debut feature film in 2018 as it did the UK festival rounds, I couldn’t wait for a cinematic release. Eighth Grade is almost a documentary of this young woman trying to cope with the unexplainable pressures constantly pushing her from decision to decision. An immersive experience, this film submerges audiences into a personal coming-of-age story using the context of the digital era, in which vlogs are both a time-capsule and diary entry. Also, Elsie Fisher’s talent is extraordinary, and she was robbed of an Oscar!