Small Movie Theatre

‘Once Upon a Time,’ ‘Portrait’ Top AP’s 2019 Best Films List

Associated Press Film Writers Lindsey Bahr and Jake Coyle name their choices for the best films of 2019.

1. “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”: Quentin Tarantino’s movie business fairy tale, featuring all-time performances from two of our great living movie stars, and the shadow of one’s spirit, is his most warm-hearted and tender and a complete joy to watch and watch again. It’s hard to glean whether a film will stand the test of time, but “Once Upon a Time…” has the makings of a modern classic.

2. “Little Women”: For a story so rooted in its post-Civil War time, it’s an astonishing feat that Greta Gerwig was able to make “Little Women,” a book with no shortage of adaptations, into something that’s downright modern. With an eye toward warm details and sharp dialogue, Gerwig, along with a terrific cast, makes the maturation of the March sisters more than just wistful nostalgia, but an urgent piece about the economics of being a woman and the worthiness of their stories.

3. “The Farewell”: In an industry that favors safe bets (and fewer and fewer of them at that), it’s no wonder that a batch of smaller, intensely personal films stood out in 2019. But Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell,” a sensitive and wry account of the time her family decided to not tell her grandmother that she was dying of cancer, is at the top of the pack. Not only did we get to see Awkwafina in a different light and meet the phenomenal Chinese actress Zhao Shuzhen, but see ourselves and our own relationship with death and grief in the specificity of a different culture.

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