The 2007 Critics’ Choice List from Christianity Today’s Film Critics

You saw the first list, the Most Redeeming Films of 2007. Now, here’s the Critics’ Choice list. I just can’t wait to read the mail this week!

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  • aslanfrodo

    Thanks for the clarification. I now see where you’re coming from. To my shame, I haven’t seen IGS yet. I hope to, though.

  • http://moviegoings.wordpress.com Jared

    I really liked the list, personally, and felt that every movie on it at least arguably deserved a spot (although I would have swapped a few of them out for the Ones That Got Away, just as the critics themselves would have). I didn’t realize, though, that the films were actually ranked . . . for some reason, I thought the list was in “no particular order.” If it’s not, I think it should be. For one thing, I don’t know how the list is selected, but presumably the final ranking would not look exactly like any one critic’s preference, so what would be the point? Enough to say that these are the 10 films they chose as the best. For another, hard enough (especially in a year like this) to narrow the greatest films of the year down to a list of ten, how much more so to decide which of these excellent choices is better than which?

  • simpleasfire

    I see your question Aslanfrodo. I enjoyed Into Great Silence as more than a spiritual exercise but think it also has value as great art.

    It does what substantial cinema ought in that that it unfolds a new experience; a rare perspective largely unseen by the viewer. IGS presents the otherwise undemonstrative discipline of silence and prayer in a way that is both immediate and profound.

    The film manages to balance a very fine line in its aesthetic perspective. It shouldn’t work, but somehow it does. And the result is as captivating as it is artistically significant.

    It is a little disappointing to me then to see the film lauded as being of ‘spiritual significance’ but neglected as a piece of excellent film making.

    Putting it at the tail end of the list suggests the CT’s Critic’s Choice voters recognize the film is not without its relative merit, it just ain’t quite to the caliber of John Travolta in a fat suit.

    Distressing stuff.

    Could it be that ranking IGS below both Atonement and Hairspray offers a critique of the Critics criteria?

  • aslanfrodo

    And then, of course, the question is, did your comment about Into Great Silence mean that you were upset that it cracked the top ten at all, or were you frustrated that it didn’t rank #1 or #2? (See my point, simpleasfire? Just wondering if you thought that Into Great Silence was simply amazing and the CT list rated it too low, or that it was ranked too high.) Just wondering which way to read that comment. Thanks.

  • http://www.expanded-universe.com expandeduniverse

    Glad to see Zodiac getting some love.

  • simpleasfire

    Well said, Jeffery.
    My virtual knee-jerk reaction was a touch extreme.
    Apologies for painting with such a broad (and histrionic!) brush.

    In part my frustration with his film comes from feeling so betrayed by it. I, too, loved the first part of this movie; the younger Briony, Saoirse Ronan, was particularly brilliant!

    But when the story flashed forward it became a mess of
    hobbled character development and muddled sentimentality stumbling into a profoundly unsatisfying ad hoc conclusion.

    I’ve spoken with friends who loved the movie and invariably they credit the film’s heart-breaking romance and tragic cinematic beauty.

    But the real heart-break here is that otherwise clear-eyed film-goers are calling beautiful what is a tragedy of cinematic storytelling.

    For the record, I much preferred your 2007 list.
    You remain my ‘go-to’ reviewer.
    Keep up the great work.

  • http://lookingcloser.org Jeffrey Overstreet

    Well, if it’s any comfort to you, I didn’t vote for Hairspray OR Atonement.

    I didn’t see the first one.

    And I don’t care for the second at all. I agree… more style than substance, and what substance there was felt about as empty and despairing as I can imagine. I enjoyed the first 30 minutes for its efficient editing and the excellent performance by the young girl, who’s a real find. But the rest of it… bleccch.

    But the majority of the critics I’ve read praise Atonement up and down for all kinds of reasons, so you and I are in the minority on that one.

    And please don’t ever just the “relative worth” of a critic on the basis of one film. We all respond differently to art, and we bring different experiences and capacities for appreciation to it. I may not like Atonement, but I don’t hold a grudge against my colleagues

  • simpleasfire

    umm.. can I be the first to offer up a confused “what the…?!”
    Atonement at number 3??!

    No other film this year ‘reads’ the film reviewer quite the way Atonement does. It is the triumph of style over substance and manipulation over meaning.

    I’d be skeptical of the relative worth of any reviewer who would place this movie in the year’s top 25 (let alone the top 3!)

    Atonement? Hairspray? Into Great Silence at number 10?

    Yikes.
    I think I’ll pass on this list.


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