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The 50 Best Films Of 2013
Have you seen the best movies released this year?

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30 FRANCES HA

Director: Noah Baumbach
Cast: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Michael Zegen
Best for... a winning helping of sheer, David Bowie-fuelled Greta Gerwiggery.

Somewhere in Movie Manhattan, probably a stone's throw from Lena Dunham's klutzy hipsterdom and the Woody Allen's therapist, we met Frances Ha, a gauche 20-something with the world at her two left feet. Presented in black and white as elegant as Greta Gerwig's sunny heroine was clumsy, Noah Baumbach's film was a kinda-comedy, kinda-tragedy: a Baby Blue Jasmine. We laughed as Frances blundered gamely through her life with all the sureness of a newborn foal, knowing that time was still on her side, but with more than a tinge of worry for her future as she finds optimism alone won't do the job. Baumbach's script gave her great dialogue to deliver ("Do not treat me like a three-hour-brunch friend!"), perfectly depicting the unique cadence of friendships and the painful changes life foists on you when you're busy organising drinks.

29 PHILOMENA

Director: Stephen Frears
Cast: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Sean Mahon
Best for... recapping romance novels, making you want to call your mum.

Turning what could have been a Hallmark movie into a riveting mystery, this story of a woman looking for her long-lost son is brought to glorious life by a script that avoids cliché and melodrama and a cast who make the best mismatched buddies since Riggs met Murtaugh. Judi Dench and Steve Coogan provide a study in contrasts on every level: her Philomena is basically hopeful, sometimes naive, often meek when faced with authority; he is cynical, worldly and brash. But even he is moved by her quiet quest, and the audience with him. One of the more moving films of the year, and it succeeds without feeling manipulative.

28 MAN OF STEEL

Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Antje Traue, Richard Schiff
Best for... making us believe that Superman can fly again.

Zack Snyder's reinvented Superman opens big – on Krypton, amid flying dragons and beneath an exploding moon – and then, impossibly, gets bigger even as it strives to keep the focus on the emotional, human conflicts that lie beneath Superman's impenetrable skin. There are moments of pure visual poetry as Clark Kent becomes Superman – his first flight arrowing straight up through the air is one of the shots of the year – but the film makes room for the humans around him to take a role too. Remember, this is the film where Toby Ziegler saves the world, and that is something to cherish.

27 TRANCE

Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel
Best for... the art of the long con.

Why have one twist when you can build an M. C. Escher-style puzzle of your movie? Danny Boyle's run of utterly unpredictable film choices continued with this sexy, suspicious thriller, set in a recognisable London but peopled with characters you'd do well to avoid. Given that, at times, the eternally sinister Vincent Cassel is the most trustworthy character onscreen, you know that this is a high-pressured bunch indeed. Meanwhile, McAvoy is as good as ever in a role that sees him change as his own memory comes and goes, and Dawson's never been better.

26 THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

Director: Francis Lawrence
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Sam Claflin, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Jeffrey Wright, Jena Malone
Best for... proving that the odds are very much in Katniss's favour.

The first film had to overcome all those ridiculous "next Twilight" tags – which it did with some style. Catching Fire, instead, had to face sky-high expectations and wrestle with the fact that a poor adaptation could have been more-or-less a retread of the first film. Happily, incoming director Francis Lawrence widened the focus and spent most of his running time outside the Games arena, uncovering the world of Panem and explaining just how pivotal a figure Jennifer Lawrence's unfortunate Katniss has become. The result was a film that felt, yes, darker, but also stronger and more powerful.

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Your Comments

1 what the tactical fuck
why the fuck would you put the top 50 movies of 2013 over 14 pages what a pain. Like fuck me you could have put ten a page and made it five pages of even better had it all on one page you guys make me sick. More

Posted by chachacha on Saturday November 29, 2014, 02:03

2 see
ies of 2013 More

Posted by mccdean on Sunday July 13, 2014, 00:52

3 oh dear
Some good films on that list but this is the main reason I don't buy the magazine. Hunger games is one of the worst abominations and should not be on any list but a"worst of all time" list More

Posted by Gram Woods on Sunday March 9, 2014, 19:37

4
Whoever did this has NO cinematographic knowledge. More

Posted by VVV on Monday February 3, 2014, 01:35

5
Whoever did this has NO cinematographic knowledge. More

Posted by VVV on Monday February 3, 2014, 00:58

6 RE: Some Missing Pictures
I know it's a UK magazine, I'm from the UK. However they placed films like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and The Hobbit before UK release, therefore I was just making some suggestions that could have equally have been 'Late Entries' More

Posted by CalRhys on Sunday January 5, 2014, 16:40

7 Gravity
Sorry, guys, Gravity is a good film in technical terms, otherwise nothing. Nothing new. Old wine in a “new” bottle. Old schemes are working here: alone in the wilderness ( the space ), nobody can help the man ( women), you have to get out by your own power and having a good luck. The maze is not a town, jungle or a remote part of the earth, but the frigid air(e). ( Sorry! ) The horses, the main „personae” of the western movies, which gave the model for this film, are exchanged for rockets, space stations. Coldblooded ones. Protagonists or enemies? No, there isn't one. In the new world order, no nation is treated this. In the good old days, the minorities, the aliens and, of course, preferably the Russians and Chinese were designated to this role. Not to forget the terrorists, but they do not have space weapons, do they? But now, now, the main enemies are not enemies to the lone (space ) cowboy anymore, but their technique complemented to the sMore

Posted by Mamakedvence on Wednesday January 1, 2014, 15:36

8
There's a lot of good films on the list but I feel there must be a way to include the early 2014 Oscar films even though they've not been released yet. More

Posted by billypunk on Tuesday December 31, 2013, 20:00

9 Catching Fire
Woah, 'Catching Fire' was WAY too low! That should have definitely been way above films like Les Mis! However, the top 5 is great. More

Posted by abirmohammad on Tuesday December 31, 2013, 19:05

10 Nebraska
Nebraska at number 40 and Iron Man 3 at 7? Is this a joke?! More

Posted by iamatractorboy on Friday December 27, 2013, 08:49

11 Re: No Pacific Rim?
I agree with Spirals. Empire can usually appreciate a well-made, hugely enjoyable blockbuster but seemed unable to look past the surface when it comes to this wonderful film, dismissing it as a big, brash explosion-fest a la Michael Bay when it's so much more. I also found it ridiculous that Iron Man 3 with all its plot holes and the joyless Man of Steel made it onto this list ahead of Pacific Rim. But kudos for at least adding the often overlooked Warm Bodies. More

Posted by Enzino on Tuesday December 24, 2013, 13:22

12 RE: Some Missing Pictures
Your timing is out for 2 - neither Fruitvale nor 12 Years a Slave have been out - this is a UK site/magazine was disappointed at the absence of Act of Killing in a list that can find room for the likes of Warm Bodies, and other entries in my personal bottom 50 of the year. More

Posted by elab49 on Monday December 23, 2013, 11:40

13 Some Missing Pictures
Great list, even if some of the selections are in a bit of an iffy order, however I do believe there are a few pictures missing that deserve to be placed on this list. Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale Station", Joshua Oppenheimer's "The Act of Killing" and of course Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave", great list though. More

Posted by CalRhys on Monday December 23, 2013, 01:35

14 wonderfully varied and all but...
did you not watch the act of killing? It's the only film I've seen that's made me feel physically unwell, I'm very surprised it's not here. More

Posted by sean mac on Monday December 23, 2013, 00:44

15 what a mess
This is a total mess of a list. Iron Man 3 at number 7 and Prisoners at 46? You put these in the wring places? More

Posted by markymark34 on Sunday December 22, 2013, 19:26

16 :+/
I understand you're a UK publication but ranking American movies of 2012 and American movies of 2013 on the same list does defeat the purpose of an annual list. I love Empire but this mismatching has always bothered me in the year-enders. Just my two cents.. More

Posted by soggy bottom sam on Saturday December 21, 2013, 20:44

17
PRISONERS WAS ONLY 46 ARE YOU SHITTING ME More

Posted by BabsyBuck on Monday December 16, 2013, 18:13

18 Hmmmmm
Ok, I enjoyed man of steel & iron man 3, but thy weren't up there in my list. Personally I loved the place beyond the pines and think it deserves to be a lot higher up, and that only god forgives shouldn't even be on the list, it sucked! Don't get me wrong i loved drive but only god forgives is on my worst 2013 list! Django unchained should also of definitely been higher up on there.. More

Posted by pagster93 on Monday December 16, 2013, 13:11

19
Rubbish list. Les Miserables should definitely be NO1. Greatest movie of all time. More

Posted by Dalekbuster523 on Saturday December 14, 2013, 20:26

20
Good list, but is Iron Man 3 the 7TH BEST FILM OF 2013???? I don't think so. More

Posted by Darren47 on Friday December 13, 2013, 22:26

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