Film Society of Lincoln Center

Film Comment’s End of Year Critics’ Poll 2009

By Film Comment

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The 10th edition of our annual critics’ poll suggests that Film Comment’s editorial sensibilities are in sync with those of the nation’s critical community: of the top 20 films from 2009, four graced our cover, and all but three received our enthusiastic support either this year or last. A note on how the poll works: just shy of 100 North American colleagues ranked their favorites in two categories: 1) those released theatrically, and 2) those viewed this year but not receiving commercial theatrical distribution until 2010—if at all. For each ballot, a first-place choice was allotted 20 points, 19 for second, and so on. For each ballot, a first-place choice was allotted 20 points, 19 for second, and so on. We published the results for the Top 20 in the current issue and on the filmlinc blog in late-December. Below are the Top 50.


1. The Hurt Locker
Kathryn Bigelow, U.S.

2. The Headless Woman
Lucrecia Martel, Argentina/Spain/France/Italy

3. Summer Hours
Olivier Assayas, France

4. 35 Shots of Rum
Claire Denis, France/Germany

5. Fantastic Mr. Fox
Wes Anderson, U.S.

6. Police, Adjective
Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania

7. Inglourious Basterds
Quentin Tarantino, U.S./Germany

8. A Serious Man
Joel & Ethan Coen, U.S./U.K./France

9. The Beaches of Agnès
Agnès Varda, France

10. Lorna’s Silence
Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France/Italy/Germany

11. 24 City
Jia Zhangke, China/Hong Kong/Japan

12. The White Ribbon
Michael Haneke, Austria/Germany/France/Italy

13. The Limits of Control
Jim Jarmusch, U.S./Japan

14. The Sun
Aleksandr Sokurov, Russia/Italy/Switzerland/France

15. Bright Star
Jane Campion, U.K./Australia/France

16. Two Lovers
James Gray, U.S.

17. In the Loop
Armando Iannucci, U.K.

18. Tulpan
Sergey Dvortsevoy, Germany/Switzerland/Kazakhstan/Russia/Poland

19. Coraline
Henry Selick, U.S.

20. Antichrist
Lars von Trier, Denmark/Germany/France/Sweden/Italy/Poland

21. Public Enemies
Michael Mann, U.S.

22. Where the Wild Things Are
Spike Jonze, U.S.

23. Up
Peter Docter & Bob Peterson, U.S.

24. An Education
Lone Scherfig, U.K.

25. Night and Day
Hong Sang-soo, South Korea

26. Still Walking
Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan

27. Liverpool
Lisandro Alonso, Argentina/France/Netherlands/Germany/Spain

28. Up in the Air
Jason Reitman, U.S.

29. Of Time and the City
Terence Davies, U.K.

30. Broken Embraces
Pedro Almodóvar, Spain

31. Me and Orson Welles
Richard Linklater, U.K./U.S.

32. Adventureland
Greg Mottola, U.S.

33. The Maid
Sebastián Silva, Chile/Mexico

34. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Werner Herzog, U.S.

35. The Informant!
Steven Soderbergh, U.S.

36. Duplicity
Tony Gilroy, U.S./Germany

37. La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet
Frederick Wiseman, France/U.S.

38. Beeswax
Andrew Bujalski, U.S.

39. The Messenger
Oren Moverman, U.S.

40. You, the Living
Roy Andersson, Sweden/Germany/France/Denmark/Norway/Japan

41. District 9
Neill Blomkamp, U.S./New Zealand

42. Hunger
Steve McQueen, U.K.

43. Frontier of Dawn
Philippe Garrel, France

44. Tokyo Sonata
Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan/Netherlands/Hong Kong

45. Drag Me to Hell
Sam Raimi, U.S.

46. Treeless Mountain
So Yong Kim, U.S./South Korea

47. A Single Man
Tom Ford, U.S.

48. Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Lee Daniels, U.S.

49. Ponyo
Hayao Miyazaki, Japan

50. Goodbye Solo
Ramin Bahrani, U.S.


1. Wild Grass
Alain Resnais, France/Italy

2. A Prophet
Jacques Audiard, France/Italy

3. Everyone Else
Maren Ade, Germany

4. White Material*
Claire Denis, France

5. Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl*
Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal/Spain/France

6. Around a Small Mountain
Jacques Rivette, France/Italy

7. To Die Like a Man*
João Pedro Rodrigues, France/Portugal

8. Vincere
Marco Bellocchio, Italy/France

9. Ne Change Rien*
Pedro Costa, Portugal

10. Trash Humpers*
Harmony Korine, U.S./U.K.

11. Bluebeard
Catherine Breillat, France

12. Mother
Bong Joon-ho, South Korea

13. Like You Know It All*
Hong Sang-soo, South Korea

14. City of Life and Death
Lu Chuan, China/Hong Kong

15. Ghost Town*
Zhao Dayong, China

16. Life During Wartime*
Todd Solondz, U.S.

17. Sweetgrass
Ilisa Barbash & Lucien Castaing-Taylor, France/U.K./U.S.

18. In Comparison*
Harun Farocki, Austria/Germany

19. Min Ye*
Souleymane Cissé, Mali/France

20. Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench*
Damien Chazelle, U.S.

21. Hadewijch
Bruno Dumont, France

22. Lebanon
Samuel Maoz, Israel/France/Germany

23. Le streghe, femmes entre elles*
Jean-Marie Straub, France/Italy

24. Father of My Children
Mia Hansen-Løve, France/Germany

25. Fish Tank
Andrea Arnold, U.K. 

26. Helsinki, Forever*
Peter von Bagh, Finland

27. Tales from the Golden Age
Hanno Höfer, Razvan Marculescu, Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Popescu & Ioana Uricaru, Romania/France

28. Let Each One Go Where He May*
Ben Russell, U.S.

29. Prodigal Sons
Kimberly Reed, U.S.

30. Soul Kitchen*
Fatih Akin, Germany

Participants: Sam Adams, Thom Andersen, John Anderson, Melissa Anderson, David Ansen, Mark Asch, Michael Atkinson, Miriam Bale, Margaret Barton-Fumo, Marjorie Baumgarten, Livia Bloom, Nick Bradshaw, Richard Brody, John Caps, Michael Chaiken, Andrew Chan, Chris Chang, Tom Charity, Godfrey Cheshire, Matthew Connolly, Travis Crawford, Gary Crowdus, Doug Cummings, Mike D’Angelo, Evan Davis, Nick Davis, Sam Di Iorio, Lisa Dombrowski, Bilge Ebiri, Cheryl Eddy, David Edelstein, David Ehrenstein, David Fear, Paul Fileri, Scott Foundas, Graham Fuller, Roger Garcia, Susan Gerhardt, Gary Giddins, Larry Gross, Haden Guest, Howard Hampton, Molly Haskell, Logan Hill, J. Hoberman, Robert Horton, Matthew Hubbell, Eric Hynes, Harlan Jacobson, J.R. Jones, Kent Jones, Kristin M. Jones, Danny Kasman, Glenn Kenny, Laura Kern, Robert Koehler, Michael Koresky, Nathan Lee, Dennis Lim, Phillip Lopate, Todd McCarthy, Don McMahon, Joe Milutis, Wesley Morris, Rob Nelson, Geoffrey O’Brien, Mark Olsen, Mark Peranson, Andrea Picard, Tony Pipolo, Richard Porton, John Powers, James Quandt, Jed Rapfogel, Nicolas Rapold, Megan Ratner, Bérénice Reynaud, Jim Ridley, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Joshua Rothkopf, Michael Rowin, Andrew Sarris, Richard Schickel, Lisa Schwarzbaum, Gene Seymour, Gavin Smith, Chuck Stephens, Bob Strauss, Chris Stults, Daniel Stuyck, Jim Supanick, Amy Taubin, Jose Teodoro, Kenneth Turan, Keith Uhlich, Brynn White, Genevieve Yue, David Zuckerman