About a month ago, The A.V. Club counted down its favorite movies of the 2010s. Even at 100 selections, the list couldn’t hope to capture the full scope of 10 years of cinema—as plenty were eager to inform us, we excluded tons of notable movies, dammit. Who knows how our decade rundown will age from here, but one thing does seem certain already: It will look woefully light on the great movies of 2019. Whether through a reluctance to call something a masterpiece too quickly or because they just hadn’t yet seen all the pertinent triumphs, our contributors went light on films from the past few months. (Call it the opposite of recency bias.) And those absences will stick out, because just one month later, it’s now fully clear what a powerhouse year it’s been for movies—for space odysseys and class-warfare thrillers, for romances fated and doomed, for the anxieties of aging directors becoming very aware of their age. So don’t just think of the list below, reflecting the individual tastes and consensus favorites of our 13 ballot-filing critics, as a salute to what 2019 had to offer theatergoers and streamers. Also think of it as an asterisk on that 2010s retrospective, celebrating the films we knew were great then and—in the case of our late-breaking #1 of the year—the ones we’ve rallied around since.
Update Mar. 24, 2020: We’ve added where you can stream the films that previously were not available to stream on Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vudu, and/or Apple TV.