Ruth’s film awards for 2012

I haven’t blogged in an age, and in a departure from my usual, more political, topics I’ve decided to do a summary of my favourite films from 2012.

Summary (and gender audit)
I saw 28 films in 2012. Only three were directed by women: Sally Potter, Ginger and Rosa; Sarah Polley, Take This Waltz; Julie Delphy, 2 Days in New York.

Just over a handful of films passed the Bechdel test. For those not in the know, for a film to pass the Bechdel Test, it has to have:

At least two [named] women in it,
who talk to each other,
About something besides a man.

Passing the Bechdel Test is not an indicator of quality – just because it passes, doesn’t mean it’s a good film, and just because it fails, doesn’t mean it is a bad film. However, it is a good indicator of gender representation in film and I think it’s pretty sad that only a few of the films that I saw definitely passed the test. They were:

  • Marthy Macy May Marlene
  • The Hunger Games
  • The Source
  • Fast Girls
  • Ginger and Rosa
  • The Sapphires
  • Pitch Perfect

As I didn’t run every film past the test as I saw them, it’s possible that two or three others might also have passed, but definitely no more than that.

Unlike my friend Gill, I don’t rate the films I see out of ten, so I can’t really place them in any particular order, but here are my own personal favourites of the year.

  • Best film adaptation of a book
    Hunger Games. Having devoured the whole triology of books in the space of five days, the film version of the first book had a lot to live up to. Jennifer Lawrence was brilliant and I loved the film’s style and characterisations. It had me tense and absorbed, despite knowing the book. Interestingly, Jennifer also starred in my second favourite film adaptation – Silver Linings Playbook. This was a good film, which I enjoyed a lot, but deviated quite a lot from the book by deciding that the leading female character should not be older than the main male protagonist and instead played by a woman ten years younger than him. Hollywood, pah.
  • Best sequel
    2 days in New York was a glorious, laugh-out-loud sequel to Julie Delphy’s 2 days in Paris.
  • Best non-English film
    Le Havre. This beautiful shot film had sensitively-drawn characters, comedy and pathos. The Kid with a Bike came second.
  • Best film that not only passes the Bechtel test, but does so with flying colours
    Fast girls. Funny, feel-good sporty film with a good (and ethnically diverse) British female cast. How many times can you say that about a film?
    Runner up in this category was The Sapphires, which was a loosely-based-on-fact film about a girl group of Aboriginal woman who go to Vietnam to entertain the troops. Advertised as a comedy, it was much more than that.
  • Weirdest film
    Holy Motors. I have no idea what this film was about. I sort of enjoyed it. At least I think I did. Visually sumptuous, even though it really made no sense at all. There was nothing else like it. 
  • Most beautiful film featuring a very young child
    Beasts of the Southern Wild. Beautifully shot and acted, this film really drew me in and made me think (and jot down some quotes in my notebook).
  • Best fact-based drama directed by former co-star of Julie Delphy
    Argo. Fact-based drama about the escape of Americans from Iran, I was totally gripped.
  • Best British film (featuring caravans and serial killing)
    Sightseers. I was quoting some of the lines within minutes of leaving the cinema. Not sure when that’s ever happened before. Also wins an award for the best use of typically English weather in a film (horizontal sheet rain).
  • Best film with a long tongue twister of a title
    Martha Macy May Marlene. Another film which combined good direction with a convincing cast. Not sure about the ending though. The film stayed with me for quite a while after watching, which means it must have made an impact.
  • Best documentary
    The Imposter. Dramatic reconstructions are paired with real-life interviews, this was a gripping story which would be totally unbelievable if it wasn’t true.
  • Best musical
    Pitch Perfect. Passes the Bechdel test, has some cheesy musical numbers, and some of the best comedic lines of the year delivered Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins, playing it very straight as two commentators at the singing competition.
  • Most overblown film of the year
    Batman. Sorry, but I hated it. I was bored rigid.  

As I got a special Moleskin film diary for Christmas, I will be able to keep a more detailed log of my films in 2013. Looking forward to seeing what cinematic delights the year has in store.

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About Ruth Rosselson

I am a writer, researcher and consultant with over 14 years experience of writing about ethical and environmental issues. I specialise in writing copy for NGOs, charities, social enterprises and the co-operative movement.
This entry was posted in Culture, Film and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Ruth’s film awards for 2012

  1. Billie says:

    New to tweeting but I think we might have similar criteria for film acceptability.

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