Inspired by the now defunct Film Comment "Moments Out of Time" series and the great Roger Ebert's year end recap, this Moments of the Year list (now in its 23rd edition) represents indelible moments of my film-going year. It can be a line of dialogue, a glance, a camera movement or a mood, but they're all wondrous examples of a filmmaker and audience connecting emotionally.
After efficiently taking down a guard, the way Elena (Florence Pugh) struggles and grunts to move the body. Superhuman ability juxtaposed with real humanity. “Black Widow”
The way a woman (Marion Cotillard) gently buries her face in the shoulder of her lover (Adam Driver) as he sings to her. One of the few emotionally resonant moment between a hurried romance in Leos Carax’s bonkers “Annette”
“Shiva Baby” and the sly little smile given as two women hold hands in the backseat of a mini van
Lady Di (Kristen Stewart) playing a game with her children by candlelight in “Spencer”. One of the few times she’s not vibrating with angst in Pablo Larrain’s masterful film
The subtle (but seismic) shift as Vicky Kreps wakes up and says “oh hi Anders” in “Bergman Island”. In a year of prism box films about filmmaking and finding oneself within the camera’s images, Mia Hanson-Love’s effort is startling and beautiful.
In “The Lost Daughter”, the thrust of a hat pin, almost imperceptible, and the way it jars Olivia Colman back into her reality of broken motherhood.
“Oh cool, ma, a hamburger!” “The Many Saints of Newark
The running joke of why a three star general would charge everyone for White House snacks. The world may be ending but it reeeaaally bothers Jennifer Lawrence. “Don’t Look Up”
Harriet Sansom Harris and the way “Licorize Pizza” holds on her face in a jazzy, scene stealing performance as a talent scout who seems to control the world at her desk
The way Bob Well’s voice cracks as he talks about his son’s suicide. The weaving of fact and fiction become something cathartic in Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland”
Wesley Snipes and his walk. “Coming 2 America”
Sly and the Family Stone taking the stage in “Summer of Soul”
An editor’s burial. “The French Dispatch”
In the middle of a shouting rant on live television, a scientist (Leonardo DiCaprio) momentarily knocks his glasses askew…. And then keeps on going. Whether it was a gaffe or scripted, it lends a moment of unhinged passion to things. “Don’t Look Up”
With a dissonant Jonny Greenwood score, the long shot as it follows Gary (Cooper Hoffman) inside and around a promotional event, eventually ending up with him being tackled and hauled away by the police for murder. “Licorice Pizza”