The 2009 TFO Awards: The 20 Best Movies of 2009

Here is the most important category! I cannot compress it to 5, nor 10, not even 15, so I have no other choice but to pick 20 richly deserving films in this list of the best movies of 2009.

This list is ranked, and here it is!




20. The Messenger

It’s too painful to watch, but its simple but intense brutality comes from its honest attack to the subject.


19. Cheri

It was a delightful two hour ride. It’s sweet, sometimes too sweet, but it’s fun. Add Michelle Pfieffer’s radiant performance and it’s bliss.


18. The Man Who Stare at Goats

It could have been a Coen Bros film. But it isn’t. Still, its dark humor works so well and so reminiscent of the Coens. It means a lot.


17. Hunger

In its whole length, I was closing my eyes for almost 30 minutes. It’s gross at times, but with Fassbender’s shocking performance, it’s so real. Truth hurts.


16. The Road

Creeps into your soul with its piercing quietness. You never know why, but you don’t care anymore. The apocalyptic view is a cinematic nightmare.


15. Julia

It’s a tiring, but definitely rewarding movie experience. Tilda Swinton is devastatingly fierce, bringing a totally unlikable creature into humanity.


14. Broken Embraces

Its artistic achievement could be merited more, but the whole film is a big aesthetic mystery itself. The story bleeds as the beauty unfolds. Beautiful.


13. In the Loop

Rapid fire dialogue is the foundation of this solid film.  It’s breathtaking to see the fabulous ensemble say those killer lines!


12. Where the Wild Things Are

Childhood is here with proper maturity and sufficient intelligence fit for all. It’s a dreamy but realistic look at a child’s mind.


11. A Serious Man

I despised it at first, thinking it was self-absorbed, but I now see it as a Coen masterpiece. It brings Jewish culture and their humor in a great mix.


10. District 9

As inventive as it is an innovative sci-fi film, it is remarkable for its humane representation of aliens. Perfect integration technically and emotionally.


9. An Education

The change Jenny undergoes is well-covered by the tender direction, sharp screenplay, and the fascinating Carey Mulligan in the lead.


8. Fantastic Mr. Fox

ANIMATION ARE NOT JUST FOR KIDS # 1! Dysfunctional family had never been this fun and at the same time, real. Okay, great animation too!


7. Nine

Okay, it’s flawed. But it just gets better every time I watch it. Let’s put it in this way. Flaws to greatness – 1 : 25. You get what I mean?


6. Up

ANIMATION ARE NOT JUST FOR KIDS # 2! Most people may remember this as an exciting adventure. It is, but I see it as an insightful look at grief.


5. (500) Days of Summer

The dynamic journey of Tom Hansen to this whole 1 1/2 year with this dream girl is an astounding achievement, showcasing big laughs and dark sorrows.


4. Up in the Air

Bleak drama and subtle humor click together in this modern parable about finding yourself amidst all losses. Talk about painful and quiet drama.


3. A Single Man

In 90 minutes, we see such an enormous amount of brilliance. The overflowing sensation of isolation is very well-handled by Firth.

2. The Hurt Locker

The whole movie is filled with an atmosphere of unbearable tension. From the first moment, it never lets go. It keeps you in the desert with the characters. Its realism is brutal, but great.


1. Inglourious Basterds

By an inch, this movie wins. It sucks you into a life only Tarantino could create. When you watch this, you may think it is madness or it is artistry. I would say both. Never have I seen such madness in an epic film. This is epic Tarantino!


There were some good films that didn’t make it. But just for a rundown, I would list here the other films that I liked:

  • Adam
  • Adventureland
  • Amelia
  • Angels and Demons
  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side (I already liked it a bit, but definitely not as a BP nominee)
  • Bright Star
  • Brothers
  • Coraline
  • Crazy Heart
  • Drag Me to Hell
  • Duplicity
  • The Hangover
  • The Informant!
  • It’s Complicated
  • Julie and Julia
  • The Last Station
  • Orphan
  • Paranormal Activity
  • Precious
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • The Proposal (gulity pleasure!)
  • Public Enemies
  • The Secret of Kells
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Star Trek
  • State of Play
  • Two Lovers
  • The Ugly Truth (though bad ending, still laugh-out-loud!)
  • The Young Victoria
  • Zombieland

So, I should say that 2009 was a good year for films. But in comparison with this year, though I have only seen 32 films more or less, 2010 was better.

So, thank you for staying with me for the TFO Awards.

Next post: Films to Watch Out This 2011!


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