Last year, my favorite film of the year was “Her,” the Spike Jonze movie about a guy falling in love with the operating system of his computer. My pick for number two was “Before Midnight,” about a couple reaching a stress point in their marriage and trying to figure out if it makes sense to stay together or if it would be better if they let each other go.
There was no conscious decision on my part to pick those two films to satisfy an agenda or make some point about my life. Far from it. It's only now, looking back on 2014, that I realize how clearly issues of love and commitment and human connection were on my mind in a big way. I may not have known for sure that I was about to have my marriage collapse, but I was definitely already grappling with some big feelings, and those two films managed to hit me sledgehammers because that's where my head was.
Divorce is life-changing, and I do mean that literally. When I moved out of my house this past August, it was a near-total re-invention of how I live. It has been enormously difficult, but I have been lucky enough to have good friends who have helped me through, and while I started this year saying that I was perfectly happy going without that close human intimacy as long as that meant I'd never have to go through anything like this divorce again. I was convinced I would just throw myself into my work and keep my head down.
That's not what occurred, of course, Instead, at the least convenient moment possible, I was reminded just how much I crave that tangible affection, and it forced me to open myself up to the possibility that someone special might share some part of this new life with me. No matter what the future holds in store for me, I can say that my heart is intact and still capable of great things.
Part of that comes from the relationship I have with my children. There is nothing that scares me more than the thought of hurting my kids through either action or inaction. I am deeply frustrated by how much time I do not get to spend with them these days, but it has made it so that when we do get to be together, we are all singularly focused on having fun and being good to one another. My kids regularly teach me what unconditional love is, and it's because of them that I do believe will heal and that I will come out the other side of this just fine.
I'm proud of this year's Top Ten list. I think it's been a really good year for movies, and as always, it was tough to dig in and narrow it down to ten films. In the end, though, these are the ones that are still bouncing around inside of me, tearing fresh holes in old scar tissue. These are the films I will watch and re-watch after this year is done. These are the films that will summon up not just thoughts of the movies, but thoughts of the year as a whole. These films are part of me now, and that's just the way I like it.
On Monday, I'll have Ten Worst Films list up, so come back for that, and in the meantime, tell me what films meant the most to you this year, because I'm always excited to see what other people took away from the year.