2019: What did it look like?

For all sorts of reasons, I’ve been slow to update what I think of as the “original blog”. It’s partly because of politics, a grey area that was once totally off limits, when I was a broadcaster for the BBC during what may come to be nostalgically looked back upon as its “state-funded heyday”, and still presents challenges at the advertiser-funded commercial broadcaster Global, home of the microphone with my name on it, Classic FM. I have the same political thoughts and opinions as I have always done, and as everyone does, but these are ill-suited to my current radio show, whose very name Saturday Night at the Movies genuflects towards a very clear brief. I continue to oversee the Film section of Radio Times, another job I love, and one that has expanded to include commissioning as well as writing. The fast flowering of streaming services and other digital outlets for movies brings even greater depth and availability, which means, for instance, the joy of playing film scores, themes and cues that are not necessarily from the biggest blockbusters, nor the most seasoned classics.

Five years into my time at Classic FM, and a staggering 20 at Radio Times, I am right to feel duty-bound to list my favourite films of 2019 and the music I have enjoyed from an even wider net. Here, then, belatedly, are those subjective favourites of 2019, before we get swept up into 2020’s haste and awards-season flurry.

Scroll down for My Favourite Films first released or streamed in the UK during 2019 [my Top 20, in no order, are in bold]

PS: It pleases me that so many films I rated this year are about families. That must say something? The families exist on the margins, in many cases, and that’s profound too.

  • Colette | Wash Westmoreland | US
  • Stan & Ollie | Jon S. Baird | UK
  • If Beale Street Could Talk | Barry Jenkins | US
  • Vice | Adam McKay | US
  • Ray & Liz | Richard Billingham | UK
  • Missing Link | Chris Butler | US
  • Rosie | Paddy Breathnach | Ireland
  • The White Crow | Ralph Fiennes | UK/France
  • Pick of the Litter | Dana Nachman, Don Hardy | US
  • Thunder Road | Jim Cummings | US
  • Minding the Gap | Bing Liu | US
  • Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes | Sophie Huber | Switzerland
  • Vox Lux | Brady Corbet | US
  • Girl | Lukas Dhont | Belgium/Netherlands
  • Tolkien | Dome Karukoski | US
  • At Eternity’s Gate | Julian Schnabel | France/UK/US
  • The Quake | John Andreas Andersen | Norway (2018)
  • Being Frank | Steve Sullivan | UK
  • The Current War | Alfonso Gomez-Rejon | US
  • Blinded by the Light | Gurinder Chadha | UK
  • Gloria Bell | Sebastian Lelio | US/Chile
  • Fyre | Chris Smith | US
  • Rolling Thunder Revue | Martin Scorsese | US
  • The Black Godfather | Reginal Hudlin | US
  • The Flood | Anthony Woodley | UK
  • She’s Missing | Alexandra McGuinness | Ireland
  • Inna de Yard | Simon Webber | France
  • American Woman | Jake Scott | US
  • The Report | Scott Z. Burns | US
  • Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk | Jason Baffa | US
  • Only You | Harry Wootliff | UK
  • Fighting with my Family | Stephen Merchant | UK/US
  • Ibiza: The Silent Movie | Julien Temple | UK
  • Support the Girls | Andrew Bujalski | US
  • Memory: the Origins of Alien | Alexandre O. Philippe | US
  • Long Shot | Jonathan Levine | US
  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon | Will Becher, Richard Phelan | UK
  • Hitsville: The Making of Motown | Benjamin Turner, Gabe Turner | US
  • The Front Runner | Jason Reitman | US
  • Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love | Nick Broomfield | UK
  • Making Waves: the Art of Cinematic Sound | Midge Costin | US
  • The Souvenir | Joanna Hogg | UK/US
  • Ordinary Love | Lisa Barros D’Sa, Glenn Leyburn | UK/Ireland
  • Toy Story 4 | Josh Cooley | US
  • El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie | Vince Gilligan | US
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World | Dean DeBlois | US
  • Diego Maradona | Asif Kapadia | UK
  • Pavarotti | Ron Howard | US
  • The Public | Emilio Estevez | US
  • Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans | Dominic Brigstocke | UK
  • The King | David Michôd | Australia/US
  • Non-Fiction | Olivier Assayas | France
  • By the Grace of God | Francois Ozon | France/Belgium
  • Boy Erased | Joel Edgerton | US
  • The Edge | Barney Douglas | UK
  • Little Monsters | Abe Forsythe | Australia/UK/US
  • Aquarela | Viktor Kossakovsky | UK/Germany/Denmark/US
  • The Nightingale | Jennifer Kent | Australia
  • Marriage Story | Noah Baumbach | US
  • So Long, My Son | Wang Xiaoshuai | People’s Republic of China
  • Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood | Quentin Tarantino | US
  • The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part | Mike Mitchell | US/Denmark/Australia
  • The Irishman | Martin Scorsese | US
  • Avengers: Endgame | Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | US

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