Top 10 Movies of 2015

The year 2015 came and went with plenty of fun, exciting and moving pictures along the way. It was such a good year for movies that narrowing down a top 10 list was actually pretty difficult.

So before I dive into the top 10, here are some honorable mentions:

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Night Before
  • Black Mass
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
  • Southpaw
  • Jurassic World
  • Spy
  • Mad Max Fury Road
  • It Follows
  • Straight Outta Compton

Now, let’s get into the best of the best.

10. The Revenant
“The Revenant” was an amazing visual experience, with much of the film being shot on location. Director Alejandro Inarritu brought the 1820s fully to life, for example, when Leonardo DiCaprio was crawling through the snow you could almost feel the cold. The movie also featured solid performances from DiCaprio and Gleeson and perfect work from Tom Hardy.

9. The Martian
“The Martian” was a visually stunning picture that brought audiences to the surface to Mars in a believable way. What pushed it beyond just being a science-based flick, though, was the smart and at times very funny script as well as the great acting, mainly from Matt Damon who really displays his charm. Jeff Daniels, Jessica Chastain and Sean Bean rounded out the talented cast.

8. Bridge of Spies
It’s hard to go wrong with Steven Spielberg behind the camera and Tom Hanks in front of it here. On top of already having that talent, the movie also featured an award caliber performance from Mark Rylance as a Russian spy, fantastic cinematography and an important overarching message about maintaining the country’s rights even in the face of opposition.

7. Steve Jobs
The story of the Apple mogul is told rather uniquely in “Steve Jobs,” taking place over three major launches in his career. While this style did make all three acts a bit similar and just a tad repetitive, the film was still very well made and offered a lot of insight into who Jobs was, how he interacted with people and what drove him. Michael Fassbender who played Jobs was fantastic, allowing the audience to see that Jobs was a person who wanted to connect with other people, but always found it difficult to do so. Credit also has to be given by the superb supporting cast of Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels and Kate Winslet.

6. Ex Machina
“Ex Machina” is not just one of my favorite movies of the year, it’s one of my favorite sci-fi films that has been made. On top of being a true sci-fi by asking important questions about artificial intelligence, it’s also a fantastic mind-bending thriller where one really doesn’t know who to trust or what will happen next. The film also had excellent performances by Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and especially Alicia Vikander.

5. Brooklyn
Without a doubt the most charming film on this whole list. “Brooklyn” was an absolute joy to sit through, thanks to its strong and memorable characters, great cast and lovely setting of New York City in the 1950s. My favorite part was of this piece was the romance between the characters played by Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen.

4. Carol
“Carol” was a truly elegant film experience and as I said in my review, it works on multiple levels. It’s a gorgeous period piece, a truthful social commentary and a heartfelt love story. The movie’s slow pace allows for all the emotions displayed on screen to be well developed and make the impact that much greater on the audience. The movie is also backed up by great performances from Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Sarah Paulson.

3. Room
“Room” was a film of two different halves. The first was a story of survival and the second was a tale of recovery, and both complement each other very well. The movie has incredible emotional weight and it honestly displays that ‘getting better’ can be a challenge in itself. Additionally, the film featured an award-worthy performance from Brie Larson and surprisingly good work from the young actor Jacob Tremblay.

2. The Big Short
“The Big Short” might be the most infuriating movie of the year, mainly because of how effectively it shows the fraud and disaster of the subprime mortgage crisis. The way the film pulled this off was by using a lot of humor and unconventional storytelling methods to make the financial aspect, filled with numbers, exciting and engaging. Plus, the movie featured awesome performances, especially from Steve Carell.

1. Spotlight
“Spotlight” was a complete opposite from “The Big Short,” in that it also featured a very serious subject matter. However, “Spotlight” took an incredibly straightforward and focused approach, and it worked to perfection.

As I said in my review, the movie avoids melodrama, unnecessary subplots and doesn’t try to create extra theatrics. It centers on a story with amazing precision and delivers the story with perfect pacing. The film is also one of the best ensemble pieces of the whole year, with award-caliber performance across the board from its talented cast. This is one of the best journalism movies ever made and my favorite film of 2015.

So what are some of your favorite films of 2015? Leave a comment down below and let me know.


Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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