Nostalgia hurts, so it came as a surprise that so many films this year were aimed at people opening old wounds and experiencing the joys of childhood again. Hugo mystified many this year and The Artist recreated a whimsical feeling in moviegoers that had gone unfelt since the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close made us wish for the innocence of a child before the fateful morning of September 11th. Midnight in Paris reminded us that nostalgia of an era we never lived in is just sentimentality.
But it wasn't just nostalgia for another time, it was for any semblance of normality. A return to a time when raising a family wasn't so damn hard. When your rivals couldn't simply outspend you. When your friend getting married didn't mean that she had to move away. When cinema could help audiences forget the troubles of the world. Few films have touched upon wish fulfillment in bulk the way that this year has. Even few have done so as well as Take Shelter, if there is a film that can better embody the feeling of the average family trying to pull through a recession, I never found it.
A lot has been said about 2011: that it doesn't compare with 2010's class of films; that is was weak; that it didn't have any heart. At the end of the day I would put this year up against any. It reminded us of a time we all longed for.
Colin's Top Ten
9. The Guard
7. The Descendants
3. Win Win
2. Jane Eyre
1. Take Shelter