Year in Review 2019

Letterboxd 2019 Year in Review

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Welcome

Letterboxd celebrates the art of storytelling on film, and encourages conversation around those stories, across oceans, borders and tastes. Amidst the climate and humanitarian crises of our age, we believe deeply in the power of human connection, and the magic of movies in sparking those connections.

The best films of 2019—as chosen by our community of over 1.5 million film lovers—reflect a world that’s complex and uneven, devastating and hopeful, tethered and adrift, romantic and lonely, weird and wonderful. These films reflect Letterboxd, and Letterboxd is you.

Title illustration by Joseph Qiu.

Categories

To be included, films must be: narrative (except in the documentary category); feature-length (plus ‘La Flor’ because it screened theatrically); watched by at least 1,000 members; and with a theatrical or streaming release in the US during 2019.

Highest Rated

The highest rated films overall, and by genre, based on almost 70 million ratings cast by Letterboxd members in 2019. These are the films you ranked the best of the best.

And our highest rated film is… 🥁

All results are as at 1 January 2020.

Parasite

1. Parasite

“2019 is over and Parasite has freakin’ ended it all. You know that feeling when the movie is so good that when it ends, you feel as though a large part of your self has also departed from your body and eventually [left] behind a void inside you? That’s exactly how I felt after watching Parasite. I will be picking this out of my teeth for weeks, maybe months, or even years to come. If you think you know what’s coming or what Bong Joon-ho has in store for you? Maybe think again.” Hungkat Hungkat

Average weighted rating: 4.6

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

2. Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire feels too real to be heard. It is loudest in its silence, as it flutters through the lens of a look, or a touch, or less. It seems wrong to unwrap it bare as if it were a film, because it feels like something different. I think that maybe it exists above me, floating the foam at the tip of the sky… It is at the very worst a wonderful piece of art, and at very best the spirit funnelled through my veins.” aliyah aliyah

Average weighted rating: 4.4

Little Women

3. Little Women

“It is, at once, a perfectly crafted time machine back to 19th-century Massachusetts and a dazzlingly fresh presentation of a story that’s been told countless times. It feels both classic and modern, without ever expressly trying to be either; it just is… I find that there’s nothing quite as wonderful, as a moviegoer, than slowly realizing how much a film will mean to you for the rest of your life while you watch it. This is unquestionably one of those magical pictures, for me.” Kelley Rand Kelley Rand

Average weighted rating: 4.4

Highest Rated Overall — Next Ten

  1. Uncut Gems
  2. Marriage Story
  3. The Lighthouse
  4. La flor
  5. The Irishman
  6. An Elephant Sitting Still
  7. The Farewell
  8. Knives Out
  9. 1917
  10. Invisible Life
  1. For Sama
  2. Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé
  3. Bring the Soul: The Movie
  4. Love, Antosha
  5. Apollo 11
  6. They Shall Not Grow Old
  7. The Silence of Others
  8. Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror
  9. At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal
  10. Honeyland

For Sama

For Sama is an act of witness, a document of events that cannot be dramatised. It is the most personal form of history. It turns film itself into memory. It is a letter to a child born in war. For Sama takes us right to the heart of the conflict in Syria. It is about a filmmaker by circumstance, which is perhaps the most necessary voice of all.” Darren Carver-Balsiger Darren Carver-Balsiger

Average weighted rating: 4.3

  1. Parasite
  2. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  3. La flor
  4. An Elephant Sitting Still
  5. The Farewell
  6. Invisible Life
  7. Kumbalangi Nights
  8. Pain and Glory
  9. One Cut of the Dead
  10. Super Deluxe

Parasite

“Bong aims for many thematic and aesthetic targets over the course of the film, and he hits virtually every one with stunning precision… Handling so many different tones is an immensely difficult balancing act, yet Bong handles all of it so skillfully that he makes it feel effortless.” C_Roll C_Roll

Average weighted rating: 4.6

  1. Avengers: Endgame
  2. Ford v Ferrari
  3. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
  4. Dragged Across Concrete
  5. Spider-Man: Far from Home
  6. Hotel Mumbai
  7. First Love
  8. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
  9. Jallikattu
  10. Shadow

Avengers: Endgame

“Think of the best movie you’ve ever seen, then double it. Then triple that, multiply it by three thousand and then double it again. And then, still, you wouldn’t even be in the same stratosphere as this film. This transcends time and space and power and mind and soul and reality. You. Are. Not. Ready.” lauren lauren

Average weighted rating: 4.0

  1. Klaus
  2. Promare
  3. Steven Universe: The Movie
  4. Toy Story 4
  5. I Lost My Body
  6. Invader ZIM: Enter the Florpus
  7. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
  8. Ruben Brandt, Collector
  9. Dragon Ball Super: Broly
  10. Penguin Highway

Klaus

“This is truly some of the most beautiful traditional animation in decades, revisiting the classical Disney style but enthused with a modernity that never feels insulting or forced. It’s simply delightful to look at, and with the voice actors melting into their roles and the story being a bundle of charms, it’s a film that feels like the biggest Christmas miracle of them all.” Blankments Blankments

Average weighted rating: 4.0

  1. Parasite
  2. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  3. Little Women
  4. Marriage Story
  5. The Lighthouse
  6. La flor
  7. The Irishman
  8. 1917
  9. An Elephant Sitting Still
  10. The Farewell

Parasite

“There is a clear and forceful guiding purpose behind the camera, and it shows. The dialogue is incredibly smart and the entire ensemble is brilliant, but the most beautiful work is perhaps done through visual language. Every single frame tells you exactly what you need to know while pulling you in to look for more.” kevinyang kevinyang

Average weighted rating: 4.6

  1. The Lighthouse
  2. One Cut of the Dead
  3. Midsommar
  4. Us
  5. Tigers Are Not Afraid
  6. Climax
  7. Doctor Sleep
  8. Ready or Not
  9. Knife+Heart
  10. In Fabric

The Lighthouse

“Filthy and delicious. A swirling maelstrom of horrific rage and loneliness and repression and repulsion and secrets and piss and phalluses and greek tragedy and unrelenting, all-consuming, inescapable horniness.” brat pitt brat pitt

Average weighted rating: 4.2

  1. Avengers: Endgame
  2. Spider-Man: Far from Home
  3. Ad Astra
  4. Light of My Life
  5. Aniara
  6. High Life
  7. Fast Color
  8. Diamantino
  9. Freaks
  10. Captain Marvel

Avengers: Endgame

“It is hugely satisfying to see the Russo brothers interweave moments of other films into this overstuffed epic. And yet even then, this film manages to find breathing space, it allows individual characters moments of quiet to explore what it means to do your duty, to love and to fail the people you love.” anna_rosemary anna_rosemary

Average weighted rating: 4.0

The Year in Numbers

116,758,014

Films Marked Watched

69,707,297

Ratings

23,442,557

Diary Entries

7,541,737

Reviews

2,075,301

Lists

1,408,583

Comments

More Numbers

During 2019 we logged 47,385,268 hours watching films

And we wrote 476,856,099 words about them

Of all films watched, 23.4% were 2019 releases

On average, we’re 69.57% up on last year!

Crew Favorites

Trends

Hollywood backs Filmmaker Mode

Several big-name Hollywood directors (including Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan and Ava DuVernay) have put their weight behind a new TV picture mode designed to minimize post-processing (including motion smoothing).

Trends

House party

2019 was the year of the memorable house. When can we shift in?

  1. Parasite
  2. The Last Black Man in San Francisco
  3. Knives Out
  4. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  5. The Lighthouse

Intermission

Part of the journey is the end. And part of the journey is the middle! Congrats, you made it to the halfway point. If you’re enjoying what you’re reading, please share with your fellow film lovers. Thanks, we love you 3000! 😍

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Women Directors

Ten women directors feature in our 50 highest-rated films overall (down one from last year): Céline Sciamma, Greta Gerwig, Lulu Wang, Olivia Wilde, Alma Har’el, Rebecca Sugar, Cristina Gallego, Marielle Heller, Zoya Akhtar and Issa López.

In highest-rated docs, the ratio is stronger: ten women across 20 films, including the late, great Agnès Varda.

  1. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  2. Little Women
  3. For Sama
  4. Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé
  5. The Farewell
  6. The Silence of Others
  7. Booksmart
  8. At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal
  9. Honeyland
  10. Varda by Agnès

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

This story may be fiction, but there’s no denying the truths spoken through each frame. It’s a tribute to the real-life Mariannes and Héloïses throughout history—women in love with art, collaboration and each other—whose stories have been erased again and again. But we will remember them.” hasna hasna

Average weighted rating: 4.4

In Memoriam

Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com

In Memoriam

Agnès Varda

1928 — 2019

Varda by Agnès was a confirmation of what I’ve known deep down all along: the key to being a great artist is to first and foremost be a good person. Everything, from Agnès Varda’s relationships with her documentary subjects to her recounting her inspirations reeked of warmth and compassion. She saw the beauty in the most mundane of objects, was a rebel who has “got her transmission and [her] live wire” (to quote the David Bowie song), and embraced the passage of time rather than fearing death looming over her shoulder, like the tarot card in Cléo from 5 to 7. RIP Agnès. —Darcy

Matt Sayles / AP Photo

In Memoriam

John Singleton

1968 — 2019

What is there to say? Director, screenwriter and South Los Angeles native John Singleton died way too young. Youth—particularly the pleasures and joys of being a young black man, its dangers and burdens—was among Singleton’s signal creative concerns in life and it now dominates his memorials. These remembrances rightfully open with his industry-altering debut in 1991, Boyz N the Hood, and we are duly shocked by the visceral reminder of how young he was at the time—just a USC senior when he wrote Boyz’ script, 22 when he began shooting it. In production stills we see a trim, focused, young man, barely grown into his artistic legs yet daring to test them in the most public way imaginable. Singleton reportedly turned down $100,000 not to direct the film he had written, this despite never having directed a picture before. His assuredness in those stills belies that they record a tightrope walk, Singleton making his way over any number of pitfalls. —Gary Dauphin

DFree / Shutterstock.com

In Memoriam

Peter Mayhew

1944 — 2019

Filmmaking is a collaborative effort, and many deserve credit for Chewbacca. George Lucas, of course, for conceiving and writing the character. Ben Burtt for that distinctive and emotive voice. ILM costume designers. But Mayhew was the actor. And goddamn if Chewbacca doesn’t feel real. You know he’s a man in a suit but he feels like a real Wookiee. There were aliens in movies before Star Wars, but Chewbacca was the first I can think of who didn’t just look and feel like a real alien but who also felt like a full-fledged character—a character with an interesting personality and real relationships with the humans around him. More than anything else, it was Chewbacca’s realness as a character—along with C-3PO and R2-D2—that made Star Wars so immersive. He wasn’t a gimmick or a prop. He was Chewie. And he should have gotten a goddamn medal. —John Gruber

S Bukley / Shutterstock.com

In Memoriam

Robert Forster

1941 — 2019

Today the world is left with one less gentleman. One less square shooter. One less good man. One less wonderful father. One less marvelous actor. I remember all the breakfasts we had at Silver Spoon. All the stories. All the kind words. All the support. Casting Robert Forster in Jackie Brown was one of the best choices I’ve ever made in my life. I will miss you dearly my old friend. Bye bye Max. Bye bye Miles. Bye bye Bob. —Quentin Tarantino

Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com

In Memoriam

Rutger Hauer

1944 — 2019

Hauer brought that apparent heft, literal and metaphoric, to every movie he made. When they were silly, he’d deliver lines with a twinkling eye. When he was supposed to be serious, you could tell he knew why he was there—to make his boat payments, sure, but also to calm the faithful. Hey, we’d say, if Hauer’s up there, maybe someone’s gonna remember Tannhauser Gates later. And you could tell he knew we thought so. He always seemed like he understood the joke. If anyone could appreciate the irony of a journeyman actor’s off-the-cuff monologue about fleeting memory making a larger-than-life character unforgettable, it was Rutger Hauer. —Adam Rogers

Our Annual Winners

The highest-rated film from each year, since we began our year-end summaries in 2012.

  1. The Intouchables
  2. 12 Years a Slave
  3. Boyhood
  4. Mad Max: Fury Road
  5. Moonlight
  6. Call Me by Your Name
  7. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  8. Parasite
  1. Parasite
  2. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  3. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  4. Little Women
  5. Whiplash
  6. The Handmaiden
  7. It's Such a Beautiful Day
  8. A Separation
  9. Uncut Gems
  10. Love Exposure

Parasite

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.6

  1. O.J. Made in America
  2. For Sama
  3. Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé
  4. Bring the Soul: The Movie
  5. Minding the Gap
  6. Won't You Be My Neighbor?
  7. The Look of Silence
  8. The Act of Killing
  9. Human
  10. One More Time with Feeling

O.J. Made in America

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.4

  1. Parasite
  2. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  3. The Handmaiden
  4. A Separation
  5. Love Exposure
  6. Mommy
  7. Shoplifters
  8. Incendies
  9. The Second Mother
  10. La flor

Parasite

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.6

  1. Incendies
  2. What We Do in the Shadows
  3. Poetry
  4. Inception
  5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  6. The Irishman
  7. Shoplifters
  8. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
  9. Django Unchained
  10. La flor

Denis Villeneuve

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.2

Associated Press

  1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  2. It's Such a Beautiful Day
  3. Get Out
  4. An Elephant Sitting Still
  5. Extraordinary Stories
  6. Who Killed Captain Alex?
  7. Blindspotting
  8. What We Do in the Shadows
  9. Kumbalangi Nights
  10. The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.4

  1. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  2. Little Women
  3. The Second Mother
  4. The Farewell
  5. The Turin Horse
  6. Lady Bird
  7. Capernaum
  8. Mustang
  9. Booksmart
  10. Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.4

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  2. Avengers: Infinity War
  3. La La Land
  4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  5. Call Me by Your Name
  6. Avengers: Endgame
  7. Mad Max: Fury Road
  8. Lady Bird
  9. Guardians of the Galaxy
  10. Star Wars

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 3.7

  1. Life Itself
  2. The Book of Henry
  3. Collateral Beauty
  4. A Serbian Film
  5. Midnight Sun
  6. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
  7. Teen Beach Movie
  8. Sucker Punch
  9. Starstruck
  10. Spring Breakers

Life Itself

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 2.5

  1. Love Exposure
  2. Paddington 2
  3. Mad Max: Fury Road
  4. Inception
  5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  6. Who Killed Captain Alex?
  7. Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 2
  8. Interstellar
  9. Embrace of the Serpent
  10. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Love Exposure

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.2

  1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  2. It's Such a Beautiful Day
  3. Coco
  4. Your Name.
  5. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
  6. Toy Story 3
  7. Song of the Sea
  8. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
  9. A Silent Voice
  10. Night Is Short, Walk on Girl

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.4

  1. Parasite
  2. Love Exposure
  3. Paddington 2
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. Get Out
  6. The Farewell
  7. Knives Out
  8. Who Killed Captain Alex?
  9. The Favourite
  10. Blindspotting

Parasite

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.6

  1. The Lighthouse
  2. Get Out
  3. What We Do in the Shadows
  4. Black Swan
  5. One Cut of the Dead
  6. Hereditary
  7. I Saw the Devil
  8. The Wailing
  9. Take Shelter
  10. The Skin I Live In

The Lighthouse

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.2

  1. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  2. Little Women
  3. The Handmaiden
  4. Love Exposure
  5. Call Me by Your Name
  6. Before Midnight
  7. Her
  8. Amour
  9. Phantom Thread
  10. The Secret in Their Eyes

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.4

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road
  2. Inception
  3. Blade Runner 2049
  4. Arrival
  5. Her
  6. Interstellar
  7. Ex Machina
  8. The Lobster
  9. Hard to Be a God
  10. A Quiet Place

Mad Max: Fury Road

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.2

  1. Incendies
  2. 1917
  3. Jojo Rabbit
  4. Son of Saul
  5. Heneral Luna
  6. Dunkirk
  7. Tangerines
  8. A Hidden Life
  9. Swing Kids
  10. Land of Mine

Incendies

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.2

  1. Logan
  2. Avengers: Endgame
  3. Avengers: Infinity War
  4. Joker
  5. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  6. Our Little Sister
  7. Guardians of the Galaxy
  8. Thor: Ragnarok
  9. Little Forest: Winter/Spring
  10. Little Forest: Summer/Autumn

Logan

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.1

  1. Twin Peaks: The Return
  2. Chernobyl
  3. Over the Garden Wall
  4. When They See Us
  5. Watchmen
  6. Big Little Lies
  7. Gentleman Jack
  8. Sharp Objects
  9. Unbelievable
  10. The Haunting

Twin Peaks: The Return

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.6

  1. John Mulaney: New in Town
  2. James Acaster: Repertoire
  3. Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
  4. Bo Burnham: Make Happy
  5. John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City
  6. John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid
  7. Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King
  8. Bo Burnham: What.
  9. Chris Gethard: Career Suicide
  10. My Favorite Shapes by Julio Torres

John Mulaney: New in Town

Compiled for our Best of the Decade series. See the full list.

Average weighted rating: 4.3

  1. Her Smell
  2. Madeline's Madeline
  3. Embrace of the Serpent
  4. The Lure
  5. Margaret
  6. Tower
  7. Meek's Cutoff
  8. Night Is Short, Walk on Girl
  9. An Elephant Sitting Still
  10. Heaven Knows What

Her Smell

Average weighted rating: 3.6

The Mosts

And finally, the actors, directors and films that took your fancy the most in 2019, and some that might in 2020.

All results are as at 1 January 2020.

  1. Avengers: Endgame
  2. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
  3. Booksmart
  4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  5. Rocketman

Avengers: Endgame

I keep trying to watch something different, but then I keep getting upset that I’m not watching Avengers: Endgame… so here we are.” Max Joseph Max Joseph

Average weighted rating: 4.0

  1. Cats
  2. Serenity
  3. The Fanatic
  4. After
  5. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Cats

“It’s a deranged nightmarish vision committed to 100% by everyone involved. It should never have been made, but I’m so glad it was. One of the best times I had in a movie theater in 2019. I’ll probably never watch it again.” Patrick Willems Patrick Willems

Average weighted rating: 1.6

  1. Cats
  2. After
  3. The Goldfinch
  4. The Lion King
  5. 6 Underground
  6. Serenity
  7. Five Feet Apart
  8. The Hustle
  9. Replicas
  10. Aladdin

Cats

“If a bat-shit bonkers musical about cats with human faces can unite a cinema full of strangers in a few short hours, then maybe there is a way to beat the algorithm that divides us so acutely when it comes to collective action on real crises. Cats for President!” Gemma G Gemma G

Average weighted rating: 1.6

  1. Dune
  2. Wonder Woman 1984
  3. Tenet
  4. The New Mutants
  5. Black Widow
  6. Mulan
  7. No Time to Die
  8. Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
  9. The French Dispatch
  10. I'm Thinking of Ending Things

Most Anticipated in 2020

Dune

See the full list for 2020 and beyond…

  1. Underwater
  2. Last Night in Soho
  3. Saint Maud
  4. Antlers
  5. Top Gun: Maverick
  6. Bill & Ted Face the Music
  7. Promising Young Woman
  8. Sound of Metal
  9. Wendy
  10. After Yang

Crew Picks for 2020

Underwater

And and and so many more…

  1. 27 Steps of May
  2. Cemara's Family
  3. Corpus Christi
  4. The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open
  5. Memories of My Body
  6. The Specials
  7. House of Hummingbird
  8. I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians
  9. Papicha
  10. Bad Education

Ones to Watch

27 Steps of May

The highest-rated films below our minimum view count.

“All the cinephiles, the film geeks!”

That’s Bong Joon-ho after we told him Parasite was our highest-rated film of the decade. And that’s it for 2019. Thanks to everyone who contributed—we couldn’t do any of this without you. 🍑

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See the full lists, read the news post and please share this page to TwitterFacebook, infinity and beyond!

Our thanks to NEON for supporting this retrospective.

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