The best films of 2016

Don't know what to watch this Christmas? Our film critic rounds up his picks of the year.

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Further Beyond (15)

dir: Joe Lawlor, Christine Molloy

Playful semi-documentary in which film-makers planning historical biopic confront immigration and mortality.

 

Little Men (PG)

dir: Ira Sachs

Two Brooklyn teenagers find their friendship jeopardised by a property dispute between their families.

 

Ghostbusters (12A)

dir: Paul Feig

Colour, generosity and sparkling comic detail fill the screen in this joyful revamp of the 1984 comedy.

 

Love & Friendship (U)

dir: Whit Stillman

This delightful director and his Last Days of Disco star Kate Beckinsale put a very funny spin on Jane Austen.

 

Things to Come (12A)

dir: Mia Hansen-Løve

“Isabelle Huppert gives great performance” is no shock headline. The nuanced story of a teacher in midlife free fall.

 

I, Daniel Blake (15)

dir: Ken Loach

Loach’s strongest film in years – an indignant attack on the savagery of the British benefits system.​

 

Son of Saul (15)

dir: László Nemes

Géza Röhrig is outstanding as a concentration camp prisoner clinging to his humanity.

 

 Victoria (15)

dir: Sebastian Schipper

A Berlin clubber falls in with a gang of crooks in this daredevil thriller shot in a single, unbroken, 138-minute take.

 

Embrace of the Serpent (12)

dir: Ciro Guerra

Two real-life Amazon expeditions form the basis of a mischievous and visually ravishing adventure.

 

Florence Foster Jenkins (PG)

dir: Stephen Frears

A film about the world’s worst singer (played by Meryl Streep) could have been a joke. Tenderness abounds.

Ryan Gilbey is the New Statesman's film critic. He is also the author of It Don't Worry Me (Faber), about 1970s US cinema, and a study of Groundhog Day in the "Modern Classics" series (BFI Publishing). He was named reviewer of the year in the 2007 Press Gazette awards and is Film Critic in Residence at Falmouth University.

This article appears in the 15 December 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Christmas and New Year special 2016