The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

The Velvet Café’s top list of 2011

with 81 comments

So I made a list after all. I’ve talked about my frustrations regarding list making, but watching everyone else’s top 10 lists, I was caught by the bug too.

After some more pondering I came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t take the process of list making so serious. It’s just a piece of fun that gives me a reason to mention my favorite movies from the past year yet another time. And it also tells something about me. It’s as if I’m letting you into myliving room, checking out my bookshelves.

About the list
This list is made from a Swedish perspective, following the Swedish release schedule. It consists of movies that I’ve seen in a theatre or watched on a DVD, which all were released during 2011.

This means that there are quite a few movies on the list that others will consider 2010 movies. And I haven’t yet had the opportunity to watch movies that other consider essentials of 2011, such as The Artist, Hugo, 50/50, Take Shelter or We Need to Talk about Kevin.

As I made this list I was baffled at the amount of wonderful movies I’ve seen this year. It was ridiculously hard to decide which ones to put in the top 10. Eventually  I cheated and made them eleven, excusing myself with that my Idol Mark Kermode did the very same thing.

But I didn’t settle for just those eleven. I’ve also listed about fifty other movies from this year, and I’d dare say every single one of those are well worth watching. The movies that didn’t make it into the top eleven have been sorted into three groups, but not ranked within the groups. And mind you, even if they’re further down, they’re really good. I could easily have made another couple of top 10s.

I would lie if I said that it was easy to rank the movies. I’ve kept switching them around, over and and over again, and I’m even switching it as I’m finalizing this post, to the very end. But at some point you need to say stop and just go for it. Even I probably will have changed my mind once again tomorrow.

But we’ve talked enough. Let’s go and have a look at The Velvet Café’s top list of movies from 2011!

1. Never Let Me Go

This dystopian science fiction drama, bittersweet with the emphasis on bitter, put up some good questions about what it means to be a human being. I watched it in the beginning of the year, but the final image – an empty field, a piece of plastic stuck at a barbed wire blowing in the wind – has stayed in my memory over the year and will stay with me forever. It was a perfect ending of a thoroughly saddening movie that reminded us of how fragile and volatile a life is.

2. The Skin I Live In
A quote from my review:

“The last few days I’ve been walking around with an inward, content smile, the kind of smile you will see from someone who just has finished a gourmet dinner or had an amazing sexual experience. It’s not that the film is uplifting, because frankly, it isn’t. But it has everything I possible could want. It’s pretty, elegant, intriguing, gripping, challenging and entertaining at the same time.”

3. Incendies
“As I made my way home in the dark night, I urged for company, laughter, light and a single malt whisky – anything to reset my faith in humanity before I would even consider trying to go to sleep.

And yet, while it made me feel awful, this was one of the best movies I’ve seen this year.

It sounds weird when I think of it. Why does misery attract me? Why don’t I just stick to the fun ones? And I can’t tell for sure. Maybe it’s got to do with the fact that the shadows and the darkness in life won’t disappear just because you pretend it’s not there. You need to throw a glance at them once in a while, give them some attention, or they’ll just keep growing until they’re out of control. Like raging fires.”

4. Beginners
Based on a true story it’s a movie about a son whose father comes out as gay at the age of 75 after the death of his mother. I will remember it as the movie of 2011 that made me cry most, but thanks to its humor I also find myself smiling through my veil of tears.

5. Melancholia
I can’t remember last time I was so taken by an ending as after watching Melancholia. This was a bit remarkable considering that we got spoilers in the very introduction and knew perfectly well exactly how it would end. And yet there was something in those images that captured me on an emotional level. For being a movie about depression it was strangely upliftning. And Kirsten Dunst did a remarkable performance in the leading role.

6. Animal Kingdom
This Australian crime drama had some amazing acting performances. Strangely enough it never made it into a theatre in Sweden outside of the festival scene.

7. Winter’s Bone
There were a lot of superlatives on the cover. But it wasn’t a hype. This movie deserved every piece of praise that it got.

8. Black Swan
Dark, powerful and very, very visual. It’s almost a year since I watched it but it stays strong in my memory. One of my daughters watched it four times and then she asked me to bring her to see The Swan Lake live. I can’t blame her for being fascinated.

9. Drive
It was so violent that I wanted to hide behind my seat, but at the same time it was so well crafted and stylish that I can’t but admire it.

10. Dogtooth
Creepy and fascinating about a family living in complete isolation from the world, resembling to nothing I’ve seen before.

10. The King’s Speech
OK, I admit it, I’m an anglophile at heart and Colin Firth is one of my favourite actors. I’ve heard very little love for this one in the blogosphere. I attribute this to that people were sulking over that The Social Network didn’t get the Oscar for best movie. Regardless of this, I’m a fan.

12-21 in alphabetical order

127 hours
Can you really make a movie about someone who is stuck under a rock and make it work? Yep you totally can.

Another Year
As always there’s an almost documentary feeling in this Mike Leigh movie, which must be one of his more optimistic. It felt oddly refreshing to for once see an older couple in a relationship that actually worked fine after many years of marriage.

Hanna – with a fast and furious pace, a wonderful heroine and one of the best soundtracks of the year.

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows (1+) 2
I was fortunate enough to watch the final HP movie one after each other the same evening, which is how I think they should be watched. I can imagine the frustration of someone watching just part 1 the previous year, ending up seeing nothing but a long build-up. In any case, while the HP movies haven’t always been brilliant, I think they made a worthy ending to the series. Even though they could have cut out the final scene and spare us some giggles.

Of Gods and Men – based on true events, about a group of French monks who died in Algeria in 1996 when they refused to evacuate their monastery when their life was put at danger. Very moving with great acting performances.

Oslo, August 31st – A Norwegian blues. Louis Malle has made this before but sometimes remakes can be justified.

Shame – Michael Fassbender makes an unforgettable portray of a sex addict.

This is Not a Film
I watched this as a political act but was happily surprised at how good it actually was.

The Tree of Life – More of poetry than a movie, but some of the poems were fantastic. I might make more of it if I watch it a second time.

True Grit – I’m usually not a western fan, but I enjoyed this one.

22-40, alphabetical order

3 – Tom Tykwer’s unconventional love story about a ménage a trois

A Separation – has made it into many top 10 lists of this year. For me it was an eye-opener about the situation in Iran and the difficulties that secularized intellectual face, giving them no option but to leave, separating from their country.

Blue Valentine – about two people falling out of love. A little slow but with a very good acting performance by Ryan Gosling, who has had an amazing year by the way, appearing in many of the movies on my top list.

Contagion – perhaps more scientifically correct than a cinematically perfect

Headhunters – a well crafted thriller from Norway

The Ides of March – while it probably doesn’t beat West Wing, it had an ambiguous ending that I liked.

The Illusionist – my favorite animated movie of this year.

Le Havre – Kaurismäki brought us a sweet fairytale.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Midnight in Paris – sweet and lightweight. Not one of Allen’s best movies, but still enjoyable if you’re a fan like me.

Moneyball – I watched this only recently and haven’t written a review yet. But baseball noob as I am, I enjoyed it a lot.

Rabbit Hole – John Cameron Mitchell’s portray of a couple mourning their child was very gripping.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes – gave us my favorite line of the year: “NO”. And yet another impressive motion capture act by Andy Serkis.

Source Code – because I love this type of science fiction stories. Not as good as Duncan Jones previous film Moon, but still a good effort.

Submarine – too much indie quirk, according to some. But not according to me. I thought it was funny and charming. One of the very few movies this year that made me laugh.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – like a puzzle with half of the pieces missing. But very stylish and well made.

Trollhunter – a found footage film from Norway that totally won me over

Turn Me On, Dammit – A Sweet and joyful Norwegian take on young sexuality

Honourable mentions

At Night I Fly – a Swedish documentary about an art program in an American prison that noone else has seen. I hope it gets more attention.

Attenberg – An odd little movie from Greece. My strongest impression was the weird dances made by two girls who imitated what they’d seen on Sir David Attenborough programs.

Bridesmaids – contained a spectacular poo scene. But I don’t think it brought anything new to the view on women, despite the marketing. Funny at times though and gave me some laughs.

Certified Copy – a darling among the critics that didn’t quite convince me when I watched it. I find it hard to digest all the lecturing about art philosophy and the values of copies and originals. However after having it explained to me, I could very well appreciate it better at a second viewing.

Crazy Stupid Love – the movie that made us realize that Gosling looks photoshopped.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – well crafted, but I hope Fincher will move over to make something else now

The Hedgehog – a French, quite sweet little story about a suicidal 11 year old and a grumpy janitor of her house.

Jane Eyre – Wonderful costumes, wonderful setting and cinematography, although this novel might not be ideal to make movies on. A lot needed to be sacrificed.

Limitless – as entertaining as it was forgettable. I think it got more crap than it deserved.

Norwegian Wood– while feeling a little empty, there were some beautiful shots from the Japanese countryside

Super 8 The kids were wonderful, but we had to take the monster as well with the bargain, which pulled it down. Very entertaining as long as it lasted though.

Written by Jessica

January 6, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

81 Responses

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  1. Flabbergasted.

    I read that people have obviously been sulking over the fact that a rubbish formula film such as The Social Network – which would not have attracted any attention at all had it not had Facebook written all over it; if it had been the exact same film but about an unknown company, or whatever, no one would have even bothered to see it – did not get the Academy Award for best picture, and have thus not liked the performances extraordinaire presented in The Kings’s Speech by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush.

    The people liking The Social Network and disliking The King’s Speech in the blogosphere are not cineasts, so they must be something else entirely. Computer nerds, maybe.

    The Social Network is a rubbish formula film, The King’s Speech is an actor’s tour de force of a kind *very* rarely seen.

    Now I *do* regret that I don’t review films in English, so that I could have linked to the reviews of these films on my blog!

    All the best,


    January 6, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    • Well to be fair it’s not as if they hate The King’s Speech. But on the other hand I haven’t heard that much love either. “Oscar bait” is a word that is popular to toss around. I don’t think Social Network was rubbish though. But having read the book before I watched the film it didn’t add all that much to it. Between the two of them I’d rank The King’s speech higher.

      Regarding your blog: well, there’s always Google Translate. But a better solution might be to start blogging in English. It depends on where in the blogosphere you want to dwell. I’m happy to be a part of the international film fan community. It’s interesting to get the perspectives from people from all over the world with different film viewing backgrounds to my own.


      January 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      • Hm. The film The Social Network did not add much to the book, you say. You surprise me. So the actors in the book were as good/bad (pick your choice) as those in the film? The film was stylistically as good/bad (pick your choice) as the book?

        Seriously, Jessica, during this day I have gotten the impression – see that remark of yours I have already forgotten, earlier today 🙂 – that you place an inordinate emphasis on plot in films. But that’s not the only thing in a film; a film is also acting, it is cinematography, it is the creation of moods and atmosphere and feelings and thoughts, it is any number of things – some of them vastly more important than – plot.

        Two films with exactly the same plot can be a good film and a bad film. A case in point: the original version of The Thomas Crown Affair and the refake of the same film. The first is a brilliant masterpiece; the second is a disaster. They feature the same plot. But what makes them differ is what is important in a *film*, namely the qualities that films have that no other kinds of arts of work do.

        As for books being better than films based on them, or vice versa… you who read Swedish, here is a very short guide to that conundrum:

        All the best,


        January 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm

        • Aw, shucks. My fingers write to fast. Not “arts of work”, but “works of art”, of course! 🙂

          All the best,


          January 6, 2012 at 10:05 pm

          • And, yes, there should have been an “apart from” in there. Sound effect: punishing my unruly fingers!

            All the best,


            January 6, 2012 at 10:10 pm

            • It dawns on me that the film under discussion here, The King’s Speech, is a good example. The plot is bascially rubbish. The film is a cinematic masterpiece. It becomes a cinematic masterpiece in spite of, not because of, the plot.

              All the best,


              January 6, 2012 at 10:16 pm

              • differ*ent*

                As for typos, that must have been the worst comment I ever wrote.

                Jessica, can’t you get rid of the function forcing me to sign in to my WordPress-account? When I begin typing, I am immediately transferred there, and on top of that it only works occasionally. Totally unnecessary function if you ask me, making it harder to comment.

                All the best,


                January 6, 2012 at 10:56 pm

                • Hm… weird. I’ve checked my settings and I can’t see that I force anyone to be logged in. I’m afraid I don’t know if I can do anything to help you. Perhaps it’s your own settings that are screwing you up? Sorry. I’m clueless.


                  January 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm

                  • Ok, but you know what? Can’t you simply get rid of the log in-function altogheter, making it *impossible* for people to log in before commenting? Because why should they?

                    On my blog, also a WordPress, all and sundry, whomever, can comment. Doesn’t matter if they have a blog or not, there is no log in-function at all. They just comment. Should they write an improper comment of some kind, I can just erase it. And improper comments they can write whether they’re logged in or not, so there.

                    Anyway, you do as you want, of course, but it would simplify matters to get rid of the log in-function altogether. If possible.

                    All the best,


                    January 7, 2012 at 1:39 am

                    • There is a point in allowing people to be logged in if they want to. It’s like leaving a visit card. If someone gets interested in who you are after reading your comment they can follow the link to your blog. So I definitely wouldn’t disallow people to be logged in. I think the issue here is on your side, not mine. I get a lot of comments from people who don’t have blogs. They post under their name and there is no link and it works perfectly fine. But if you have any idea of what in the settings that I should check/uncheck, please e-mail me and we’ll continue the discussion there.


                      January 7, 2012 at 9:53 am

            • I feel your pain about typos. I’m the same. I’m afraid the comment system of WordPress hasn’t got any way you can go in and change your comments after you’ve written tham. That’s annoying. I know there are advanced comment systems that support that thing.

              I’ve tried to learn to live with all the typos I make. I think they’re more frequent when I comment in English than in Swedish. The muscle memory isn’t as well funcitoning. But I try to ignore it and move on, hopeful that people will realize it was just a slip of the finger.


              January 7, 2012 at 12:21 am

              • For me this might be a more serious issue, since I am a professional translator, Swedish to British English. I do not like making mistakes. If I can edit what I have written in great haste, there will be no mistakes whatsoever. At all. I do not make mistakes in English, my fingers do. And that irks me.

                All the best,


                January 7, 2012 at 1:15 am

        • Eh… I don’t know what to say. Either you’re getting me wrong or I’m not making myself clear enough or perhaps I don’t know myself well enough. But I don’t think I overemphazise the importance of plots. A film is always a mix of things, where the plot is just one thing.

          However the film was based on a book that I had read shortly before and I think it either followed it very closely or perhaps I imagined things in my head about the same way as Fincher. I just felt when I saw the movie that I had had the same experience before. This said: I’m quite fascinated by that story and I really liked the movie a lot. It’s just that it didn’t beat The King’s speech for me.

          I’ve already read your post about books vs movies and I agree completely with it. Books and movies should be judged independently. At least in theory. Sometimes it’s easier said than done to disregard completely of what you already know.


          January 7, 2012 at 12:16 am

          • What I mean about putting too much emphasis on plot is that you mentioned in another review that with some films one can doze off a bit and catch up later. Now, if you doze off a bit during The Third Man, you might miss Orson Welles’ very short monologue about cuckoo clocks, a monologue not in itself relevant to the plot and actually a scene that was not in the original script by Graham Greene but added by Orson Welles on location. This monologue is, for very good reasons, the silver screen’s equivalent of Hamlet’s soliloquy in the world of theatre. But doze off a bit, miss it, and you can still follow the plot just fine, by “catching up later”. Do you see my point? Do you see why you can actually never regard it as neither here nor there if you doze off while watching a film? Because you might be able to follow the component called *plot* just fine, but you might actually miss the *film*.

            In The Third Man, you will, with the above example, have missed one of the defining turning points in the art of cinema. One of the most spell-binding scenes ever shot. Nothing to do with the *plot*, everything to do with the *film*.

            Also, comparing a book to a film, as you did here, is just that – comparing the plot. And the film didn’t add much, you say. No, it didn’t add to the plot. But that, I would say, is hugely irrelevant. Because it added *people moving about* – that is, it added acting – and it added music and it added cinematography and it added… well, you get my point. I hope.

            So no matter what, the film added a vast amount of things.

            The important things. The things making it a *film* instead of a book.

            Forget the bleedin’ plot. That’s not what makes a film, not in itself.

            All the best,


            January 7, 2012 at 1:05 am

            • Of course I don’t endorse sleeping during movies. And I’ve never ever walked out from an ongoing show for a bio-break. I try to plan my drinking far ahead so that won’t happen. If I would have such problems that I needed to do that often, I would rather watch the movies at home.

              I think you’re making my silly little comments a bit bigger and more important thean they are. It’s just some relaxed banter. I’m not in some kind of opposition to you, at least not as far as I’m aware of.


              January 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

              • Good. Glad to hear it! But you know what? I will then add the following, as regards your review of Tailor, Tinker, Soldier, Spy. Your main gripe with that films seems to be that you couldn’t follow the plot. But:

                What if that is one of the points with the film? What if you are *meant* not to be able to follow the plot? What if that is actually a *quality*, not a flaw?

                Think, for example, of the classic Bogart/Bacall-thriller The Big Sleep, featuring a plot that is not only incomprehensible, but nearly self-contradictory. A plot that you can understand is not necessarily and in itself a good thing. The reverse might also be true.

                All the best,


                January 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm

                • Well I do think that Alfredson didn’t want to make it too easy for the viewers. He wanted us to stay active and alert. And mind you, as I wrote in my review I actually enjoyed the movie quite a bit even while not understanding what was going on. I liked to spend time in that world and with those characters. I enjoyed the cinematography and the excellent acting. It was good enough for me.


                  January 7, 2012 at 11:40 pm

        • The remade Thomas Crown Affair is one of my favourite films. I haven’t seen the original but I have heard that it isn’t as good. Crazy world, people having different taste…


          January 7, 2012 at 12:52 am

          • If you haven’t seen the original, maybe you should before dismissing it?

            And of course we have different tastes, all of us, and it might very well be that you will like the refake better. But that would still prove the point I made, that two films with the same plot can be one good and one bad film.

            It is irrelevant which one is the better, the point being that it is not the *plot* that all in itself defines quality, but something else entirely. Or many something elses, rather.

            And that was the subject under discussion, not The Thomas Crown Affair as such. That was just an example. You can pick any two films with the same plot and make the same kind of comparison.

            Casablanca and Gilda, for example.

            All the best,


            January 7, 2012 at 1:10 am

            • Well, I didn’t dismissed it you know. I just stated that the REFAKE was one of my favourite films.



              January 7, 2012 at 1:22 am

              • Ok, fair deal.

                But anyway, that is not what we are discussing. We are discussing that the plot of a film does not in itself make a film good or bad. Other components also play a part, some of them a *vastly* larger part.

                That is why there are people who like Thomas Crown 1 better than Thomas Crown 2 and other people who prefer Thomas Crown 2 to Thomas Crown 1. (Or any other two films with the same plot you’d care to mention – as I said, this was but an example to illustrate a point.)

                The plot they see is the same in both Thomas Crowns, but the *other components* make for a good or a bad film.

                All the best,


                January 7, 2012 at 1:30 am

                • Although I might add, to be fair about the example I picked, that the endings in the two Thomas Crowns are different. The tagged on, happy ending of Thomas Crown 2 feels artificial, I think, since it doesn’t gel with the main characters’ personalities. The much more cynical and grim ending of Thomas Crown 1 is, however, very believable. This just as an aside.

                  All the best,


                  January 7, 2012 at 2:04 am

                • “We are discussing that the plot of a film does not in itself make a film good or bad. Other components also play a part, some of them a *vastly* larger part.”

                  I disagree with you completely, plot always comes first. If you don’t have a story that works the film is not very good even though it has amazing cinematography or set design. I haven’t not seen either of the Thomas Crown Affair films so I don’t know how my argument holds up in regard to them.

                  Joel Burman

                  January 17, 2012 at 12:47 am

                  • Story or not story… Hm… I wouldn’t rule out all non-story movies. I think Corey at Just Atad stirred up quite a debate a while ago writing about that very topic. I’m not sure I want to go down that alley though so I’ll remain cowardly Swedish neutral.


                    January 17, 2012 at 7:58 am

    • The Kings Speech was very good, The Social Network brilliant. It’s a movie that grabbed my attention from start to end.

      As for the why? Maybe he’s living my dream. He’s a programmer who’s made it at my age.


      January 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm

  2. The King’s Speech was a strong film, tail end of my 2010 top-10, but it was below Inception, The Social Network and Winter’s Bone in that top-10 among films also nominated for Best Picture.

    Anyway, I think of your top 41, the only two that I’ve seen that I outright dislike are Blue Valentine and Submarine. I think that’s allowable levels of disagreement :-). Reminds me that I’ve got some things left to catch up on.


    January 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    • That’s pretty amazing Bondo. I honestly thought we would disagree a LOT more.


      January 6, 2012 at 9:36 pm

  3. Agreeable list! Some personal faves among your Top 1[1]: ANIMAL KINGDOM, BEGINNERS, DRIVE, MELANCHOLIA, and NEVER LET ME GO at #1! You and Adam Kempenaar need to sit down for a cup of coffee, or something…


    January 6, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    • I find myself disagreeing with Adam pretty often actually, but that movie we definitely had in common. I’m glad that you too loved Beginners. For some reason I imagined you wouldn’t. Sometimes I’m very wrong in my judgement of people.


      January 6, 2012 at 11:54 pm

      • It’s probably because of this weird rep I have for being “edgy.” I honestly don’t know where that comes from. *sharpens knife*


        January 7, 2012 at 5:45 am

  4. Wow great list Jessica! I had Never Let Me Go as my fav of last year. I ❤ this list for sure!


    January 6, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    • Yay! I wasn’t around in the blogosphere for the lists of 2010 but my impression is that it didn’t get all that much of love. But I’m glad there’s a bunch of fans there.


      January 6, 2012 at 11:50 pm

  5. Apparently, Adam Kuhn would also make for a worthy coffee-and-Romanek companion.


    January 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    • Oh I wish I could meet up with all of you wonderful people in the FS community. I’m afraid it’s not very likely to happen. But if you ever happen to pass Sweden…


      January 6, 2012 at 11:55 pm

  6. Never Let Me Go is a film I’ve been revisiting lately on TV and I’m falling in love with that film more than ever. I thought it was really good when I first saw it but there’s so much more to it after seeing it over and over again. It’s now becoming one of my favorite films of the past few years.

    Steven Flores

    January 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    • It definitely is for me too. I read the novel after seeing the movie and the story still fascinated me. I’d definitely be up for watching it again.


      January 7, 2012 at 12:05 am

  7. This is a cool list, and a rare one where I’ve seen all of the top 10, I suppose because many of them were released last year in North America. I also see that you are drawn to the twisted and disturbing in cinema, just like me 🙂

    I still haven’t seen Oslo, August 31st, that’s the one I really want to see from the rest of your list.

    Bonjour Tristesse

    January 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    • I definitely think you’re going to like it. It hasn’t got that much attention yet, but I figure it’s still doing the festival circuit. And yes, now that you say it I figure I like movies that are a bit twisted. But you also find a lot of mainstream movies way up on my list such as Harry Potter. I think my taste is pretty diverse in the end. I want variety. Too many sublte indie dramas and I get bored. Too many Hollywood standard formula big productions and I get equally bored but for other reasons.


      January 7, 2012 at 12:34 am

  8. Never let me go was my number one film of 2010! Winter’s bone was number two.

    But Jessica, please put your list in reverse order! Have you ever heard Adam, or anyone else, have a top list in ascending order?? Just kidding…


    January 7, 2012 at 12:28 am

    • I considered doing it that way but I decided against it, mostly because I wanted to have the list for myself to have as a reference material in the future. I imagined it would be tiresome for me to go back to it. That’s why.


      January 7, 2012 at 12:30 am

  9. Beginners :no:

    I love you, Jess. This list was wonderful to read!

    Corey Atad

    January 7, 2012 at 2:45 am

    • Thanks! We do disagree from time to time thankfully enough, otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a discussion. So let’s hope I’ll hate Warhorse 😉
      No, not really. I have the feeling I might like it. I’m pretty sentimental deep down.


      January 7, 2012 at 10:00 am

  10. TTSS was probably the best film I’ve seen this year. But I’m not too proud to say I loved Thor — how often do you EVER see a blockbuster made for the female gaze? Also Brannagh got some great performances out of his actors, probably better than the material deserved.


    January 7, 2012 at 7:52 am

    • You loved Thor? Awww… Good for you! I must admit it’s one of the very few movies I’ve seen this year that got a low rating. It was better than X-men though. I liked the thing between Loke and the father. What bugged me was that it felt so small. This was supposed to be a blockbuster with an inflated budget and you expect to get a bit more of that than just a small piece of a road in the desert where almost all battle scenes took place. I was underwhelmed by the special effect side of it.

      I admire Brannagh though for having the guts to do something that was completely out of his character, trying something on the other side of the fence.


      January 7, 2012 at 10:03 am

      • Well, I really liked the new X-Men movie, it was very good.

        As for Thor, damn that movie wasn’t good but still decent entertainment 🙂


        January 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm

  11. Yeah, our lists would look very different but only due to release dates, so many of these were released last year for me 😀 (liked all of which that I have seen.)

    Matt Stewart

    January 7, 2012 at 8:59 am

    • I know it looks odd, but eventually this is the way I decided to make it. The alternative would be to wait to make a list until April at the earliest and I thought that it wouldn’t feel as fun or inspiring to do it at that point as it is now in the middle of the season for list making.


      January 7, 2012 at 10:04 am

  12. Great list, Jessica! And a lot more films than I would have expected. You are making me reconsider my decision not to do a “best of 2011” myself. Given your strong objections, and yet your wonderful list, maybe my list wouldn’t be too bad. Not as good as yours, of course, but still.

    Steve Kimes

    January 7, 2012 at 9:07 am

    • Thank you! I hope you’ll do it! Once I had come over my resistance I had a lot of fun putting it together. While agonizing a bit (I wanted to have 40 films in my top 10), I also got reminded of all the wonderful movies I’ve seen over the year. I would really like to see your take on this.


      January 7, 2012 at 10:11 am

  13. Very nice list, Jessica! The only film on here that I’ve seen and very much disagree with is Dogtooth, but we’ve talked about that one recently. Apart from that one, there are lots of good or great films here (Black Swan! Blue Valentine! Drive! Winter’s Bone!), as well as plenty that I’m really looking forward to catching up on. Always too many movies to see. There are worse problems one could have.

    Again, lovely list. Keep up the good work. 🙂


    January 7, 2012 at 9:14 am

    • Thank you so much Emil! Yes, I think I’m one of the very few in the Swedish film blogosphere who likes Dogtooth… I was happy to see it nominated for Guldbaggen though 🙂

      I agree that there are too many good movies to see! I regret that I didn’t get to see Play when it was in the cinemas or Poetry. And I’ve yet to see Uncle Boonmee. Just to mention a few of those that have been released in Sweden which I yet haven’t seen. But if I’d wait for me to catch up on everything before making a list, I don’t think I’d ever be ready to make one. So I thought I could as well go for it now.


      January 7, 2012 at 10:15 am

  14. Great list! I think misery also attracts me so I’m glad to see so many depress-fests on here. Still a great deal I need to catch up on though! So glad to see 127 Hours in there. Definitely one of my very favourites of the year. I expect my own list to be ready around next December so congratulations on taking the plunge!


    January 7, 2012 at 10:46 am

    • Hehe I didn’t think of it that way but now that you’re pointing it out I admit it’s a bit of a dpress-fest going on here….
      I haven’t seen The Muppets though, since it won’t come up yet for a few months. I reckon that could have lit up this place a little. Le Havre is also sweet and joyful. And there’s nothing depressing about Trollhunter. But yeah, basically I like the dark and bittersweet more than I like the fluffy and funny.

      Glad to hear some more love for 127 hours! It was definitely one of my favorites last year and it could as well had made it into my top 10. It’s very very close up in the top.


      January 7, 2012 at 10:51 am

  15. Great list! I’ve only seen ten of all these movies, so I guess I have a lot of great ones left.


    January 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    • I’ve certainly watched a lot of movies this year. Mind you these are only the best ones. I’ve seen some movies in theatres that I didn’t enjoy very much, such as Thor, Tintin and A Dangerous Method.

      But most of the films I watched in 2011 are ones that I really recommend.


      January 7, 2012 at 11:42 pm

  16. Love the list! I’m especially happy about your top 2 – both brilliant films that couldn’t be more different in style and tone; film offers us a wonderful and varied world, doesn’t it?

    Also, wonderful seeing Melancholia in your top 5 – that film just keeps growing on my mind. I’ve seen it twice now, and I think I need to see it again.

    • Thanks! Indeed it’s a world of wonder and I tried to have some sort of variation in my top list, hence the love for movies such as HP and Hanna. Without movies like that I’d get an overdose of indie darkness.

      I would definitely like to see Melancholia again, even though it’s one of the movies from this year that I remember clearest. It stuck in my mind.


      January 7, 2012 at 11:44 pm

  17. I can’t help but think that the amount of slightly depressive movies you enjoy points to your life otherwise being balanced and happy. Logically I know that one should be careful with making assumptions like that, it’s about as silly as stating that violent movies make people violent. Still, I can’t quite shake the feeling that being taken to that slightly dark place works best when you know it exists, but it’s not where you’re at at the moment. On the other hand, a movie that’s in tune with your mood can be wonderful sometimes.

    (My incredibly provincial inner voice is a little proud of the fact that several Norwegian movies are list-worthy for last year. Especially Oslo, August 31st – I realise the story might not be that original, but there is something about seing your city, your places, in a movie).


    January 7, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    • You should be proud! Norway is the movie country of the year if you ask me. You’re really on a roll. I’ve seen four Norwegian movies this year and all for of them are mentioned on this list and are movies I thoroughly can recommend.

      Oslo 31st August was fantastic, though depressing. I can’t recommend it enough.


      January 7, 2012 at 11:48 pm

  18. Always nice to see Dogtooth and Winter’s Bone get some love. Neither are easy films to watch, especially Dogtooth, but both are very rewarding films. Great list overall, many of these titles made my 2010 and 2011 lists respectively.


    January 7, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    • Cheers! Yes, Dogtooth had some very unplesant scenes. One scene that stuck particularly to me was obviously the one in the bathroom. I think you know which one I’m talking about. It was worse to watch than Drive I think. I shiver even thinking about it.


      January 7, 2012 at 11:53 pm

  19. […] börjar dyka upp på bloggarna och jag drar nu mitt strå till stacken. Adde, Movies – noir, The Velvet cafe och RWC är de jag hitintills har upptäckt. Har jag missat någon hör av er så länkar […]

  20. I’ve seen a lot of good and very good movies last year but very few that deserve my perfect rating, only Black Swan had one and that’s a 2010 movie. But a lot of very good movies: Never let me go, Melancholia, Winter’s bone, Drive, Animal Kingdom, Hanna, Source Code, Blue Valentine. I reallly enjoyed them all. Plus, still have to see a lot of movies of your list.

    I didn’t realise Kaurismaki made a new movie this year. Seen his “The Match Factory Girl” this year and that’s truly a great movie.


    January 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    • Oh, just let me add a few movies I’m missing 🙂 Teri, Hobo with a Shotgun, Another Earth, Rare Exports and I saw the devil.

      Disappointment of the year: Warrior.


      January 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      • I’d really like to see Another Earth. It’s a small movie though so I’m not too hopeful it will open at a cinema. Perhaps my film club will show it at some point.


        January 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm

        • It’s well worth seeing. Not the kill all space aliens kind of SF but one where they use SF to see how people react to strange events.

          It reminded me of Wilsons excellent book Spin.


          January 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    • Re: Kaurismäki I wrote a review about it the other day. Just follow the link. It was very sweet. I can recommend it.


      January 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm

  21. The fact that your list has surpassed 40 films proves how great 2011 was. So many great choices here Jessica – and plenty of them made my Best of 2010 and 2011 lists.

    Andrew Buckle

    January 9, 2012 at 9:54 am

    • It was a great year indeed! Now admittedly I’m not the best person to compare it to other years. I didn’t watch this many movies in 2010 or 2009, so what do I know? Perhaps every year is a good movie year if you just look close enough and make an effort to look up good movies?


      January 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm

  22. Great list, nice to see you decided to make one. Seen most of them (except Dogtooth and have no intention of checking it out).


    January 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    • Thanks! Well I guess Dogtooth isn’t for everyone. If you’ve decided that it’s not for you from what you’ve read about it, chances are that you’re right.


      January 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm

  23. You have the best list ever. I’m currently reading the novel Never Let Me Go, by the way. It was one of my favorites from last year.


    January 22, 2012 at 3:56 am

  24. […] to the Void * Kirkham A Movie A Day * Row Three * The Matinee * Can’t Stop the Movies * The Velvet Cafe * Public Transportation Snob * Grind My Reels * The Gold Knight * French Toast Sunday * Wide Screen […]

  25. […] Surrender to the Void* Kirkham A Movie A Day* Row Three* The Matinee* Can’t Stop the Movies* The Velvet Cafe* Public Transportation Snob* Grind My Reels* The Gold Knight* French Toast Sunday* Wide Screen […]

  26. […] filmbloggare som summerat 2011 är The Velvet Café, Royale with cheese, Addepladde,  Fripps filmrevyer , ExceptFear och Plox. […]

    Filmåret 2011

    March 17, 2012 at 8:04 am

  27. […] Surrender to the Void* Kirkham A Movie A Day* Row Three* The Matinee* Can’t Stop the Movies* The Velvet Cafe* Public Transportation Snob* Grind My Reels* The Gold Knight* French Toast Sunday* Wide Screen […]

  28. […] att få deras syn på filmåret 2011: Fripps filmrevyer, Fiffis filmtajm, Filmitch, Except Fear, The Velvet Café och Movies – Noir. Har jag glömt någon? Upplys […]

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