The “Best” Films of 2013 So Far: Name Your Favorite!

Yesterday, the Film Society of Lincoln Center published a list of  the best films of 2013 so far, determined by a group of 59 accomplished film critics.

The result? …

With half of 2013 already behind us, FilmLinc Daily surveyed critics, programmers and bloggers for a snap poll of the best movie to hit theaters so far this year. Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight was the clear winner.

Participants (listed in entirety below) were asked to simply name their top theatrical release of the year and the talky romantic drama starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy dominated the results. A few respondents opted to share some additional thoughts about their choice.

Elsewhere, at indieWire, an even larger group of critics were polled to produce another list of the Best Films of 2013. (I was one of those polled.) What did they vote as #1?  Before Midnight.

The runner-up: Upstream Color.

Meanwhile… over at Paste Magazine, they’ve published their half-time list as well. And, guess what. Before Midnight! (Runner-up: Upstream Color.)

What a pleasant surprise.

If you’ve been following me on Letterboxd, where I keep a detailed moviegoing diary, then you already know that Before Midnight is my favorite film of the year so far, and Upstream Color is in my Top 5. (Here’s my list-in-progress for 2013.) Normally, my favorites are very different than those in a critical consensus… but it’s exciting to see so many film enthusiasts agreeing this time around.

In case you missed it, I’ve written about Before Midnight twice. There’s a brief review in my Summer 2013 survey at Response, and then there’s a long “fictional review” … a short story in which characters discuss the movie, part of my experiment in film-review-storytelling called All Thumbs Video.

Does Before Midnight get your vote? If not, what does? And why? Post your choice below, and persuade us to go see it… or to see it a second time.

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  • Neil Pu

    I don’t really have a ranking so far for my favorite films this year. I loved Upstream Color and how it dared to ultimately be about people who are fighting for their souls. I have not seen Before Midnight, but hope to do so eventually. I must also implore you Jeffrey to catch Wong Kar-Wai’s “The Grandmaster” when it lands ashore. When a certain character in the film utters a line that somewhat translates as “Where there is light, people will gather”, it almost sounds accidentally Christian and reminiscent of Jesus Christ’s teaching of the light upon the hill; at least, until the movie keeps playing and one realizes it is not an accident. Ip Man’s (the main character played by Tony Leung) journey to survive and pass down his martial arts to the next generation like a torchbearer is quite simply an illustration of spirituality itself. Wong Kar-Wai said his film is trying to show the beauty of the Chinese people’s spirit. Not trying to take anything away from him, but perhaps his film, like all great art, is not exclusive to any ethnicity but is ultimately a reflection of a universal desire in all of us for faith, spiritual heritage, and ultimately God – the light that shines the brightest on the hill.

  • Dan Faultersack

    1. Upstream Color
    2. Place Beyond the Pines
    3. Oblivion
    4. 42
    5. World War Z

  • Sam

    Top three are
    1. Laurence Anyways
    2. Before Midnight
    3. Upstream Color

  • http://cinemasights.com/ James Blake Ewing

    LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE is my current favorite right now. Much like CERTIFIED COPY, I find the film provocative and about much more than just the core relationship of the film. UPSTREAM COLOR, MUD and BEFORE MIDNIGHT would be the next three films on my top of the year so far list.

  • Evan

    Currently, Frances Ha has my vote for #1, with Before Midnight as runner-up. I loved the black and white cinematography, the quirky characters, and the affection that the film has for all its characters even while good-naturedly laughing at the absurd situations they put themselves in.


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