Film & TV

The Ten Best Films of 2014

"If everything were great, nothing would be great."

That line, from Scott Coffey's smart and sweetly entertaining Adult World, is one of my favorite bits of movie dialogue this year, not least because it's applicable to every movie genre -- actually, every genre of everything. But in the movie world especially, this is the time of year when those of us who care about this thriving, ever-changing art form need to take stock, make ruthless choices, and come up with some sort of a ranking that reflects the greatest movies of the year. Now: How to define "greatest"? Personally, I prefer a freewheeling and joyous approach. What movies haunted me for days, weeks, or longer? Which ones brought me that ever-elusive figurative cask of jewels known as delight? Which movies made me laugh, even on the grimmest of days? If everything were great, nothing would be great. But however I define "greatness," in 2014, these movies came up at the top of the heap.

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Stephanie Zacharek was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism in 2015. Her work appears in other Voice Media Group publications.,