Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Directed by Benh Zeitlin
Typical emotionally-exploitative Oscar bait in the vein of 'Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close' and 'Precious'. The only difference is that this movie is actually really good. This is largely due to Quvenzhane Wallis, whose performance easily stands as one of the best of the year. Dwight Henry, who plays her father, is also quite good, though he does tend to go a little over-the-top at moments. Fueled by emotion, this movie somehow transcends simple tearjerker status and becomes something far more resonant. Its fantastic cinematography and musical score only add to the overall effect, making this one of the most well-rounded and powerful movies of the year.
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
Directed by Stephen Chbosky
I went into this movie with fairly low expectations. Even as a fan of Emma Watson, and curious of what Ezra Miller would make of the role after his dark performance in 'We Need To Talk About Kevin', this movie just didn't look like something I would care much for. Oh, how wrong I was. Written and directed by the author of the novel it was based on, this is obviously an important project for the man, and it shows through his admiration and passion for these characters and their stories. The story progresses so well that by the end of the movie, these people will seem like old friends, not just with each other, but with you as well. Not many movies are able to make me care this much for its characters. Easily one of the most well-written movies of 2012, and one of my personal favorites.
Silver Linings Playbook
Directed by David O. Russell
I guess I didn't realize David O. Russell was one of the greatest working directors, but after this movie, I can hardly deny it. With one of the best screenplays and casts of any movie all year (quite possibly the very best of both), this is the kind of movie that is not only easy to admire, but impossible not to love. Simple in many respects, but executed so well, any generic plot points are instantly forgiven. This is one of the funniest, most well-acted, well-written movies I've seen in some time. Cooper, Lawrence, De Niro, and Weaver all deserve nominations for their performances, and even Chris Tucker has a surprisingly effective appearance. Everyone involved was at the top of their game, and the result is, quite possibly, the best movie of the year. I loved this movie. Every minute of it.