Now that another cinematic decade has begun, it is time to look back on the great films of the previous decade. It is always difficult to foretell which movies will stand the test of time and become bona fide classics, but I would say that these ten are definitely in the running.
1. Amélie, 2001. Audrey Tatou turns in an impressive performance as a young and naïve French waitress who endeavors to do good to her fellow human beings. An unconventional and unforgettable, not to mention beautiful, film.
2. Chicago, 2002. The Broadway musical is masterfully adapted to the screen in this Oscar-winning jewel of a film. Combining star turns, a deft combination of cinematography, music, and design, and sobering themes, Chicago could very well become a movie musical for the ages.
3. Hero, 2002. A sweeping martial arts epic that weaves its colorful and electrifying battles and duels within a compelling narrative, complete with a surprising twist at its conclusion.
4. The Lord of the Rings, 2001-2003. Not only a satisfying adaptation of one of the most difficult stories ever to translate to the screen, but a sprawling, deeply human epic that has already indelibly marked our cultural consciousness.
5. O Brother, Where Art Thou?, 2000. A quirky retelling of Homer's Odyssey whose narrative is woven with the varieties of early American folk music? Whodathunk.
6. Pan’s Labyrinth, 2006. This film is so powerfully inventive, so stunning and thought-provoking in its juxtaposition of two worlds, and yet so universal, that it is bound to be initiated into the hall of the timeless motion pictures.
7. Spirited Away, 2001. The magic of Hayao Miyazaki seems nearly ineffable. Spirited Away is a masterpiece that includes the thematic threads of childhood and first love.
8. The Incredibles, 2004. Smart, entertaining, family-friendly, and possessed of just enough profundity – you can’t get much better.
9. The Queen, 2006. An intelligent, thoughtful film that develops universal themes from a particular crisis in British history as well as features a breathtaking performance by Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II.
10. Wall-E, 2008. I never thought my heart would be captured by a robot – or that that same robot would have so much to teach us about what it means to be human.
BONUS FILM: The New World, 2005. Pulsating with natural beauty and threaded with themes of love and loss. A film that demands to be rewatched, to be truly and fully experienced.