best film:   The Favourite from Yorgos Lanthimos takes the top slot here for Rachel Weisz.  No cinephile should be surprised to read afterwards that Cries and Whispers (a visually bold, vicious tale involving three women from Ingmar Bergman) and The Draughtsman’s Contract (Peter Greenaway- acidic, absurdist, black comedy) were important texts to Lanthimos. The Favourite is masterpiece of auteur driven formal and aesthetic choices (wide angle lens, natural lighting, slow motion photography, tracking shots down the corridor) featuring 2018’s best acting (Weisz part of the three-headed monster in the lead with Emma Stone and Olivia Colman) and equally remarkable writing. Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain and Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea both deserve some consideration here in this category as well before ultimately going with Lanthimos’ film.



from The Favourite- almost impossibly, Lanthimos is able to give all three lead actors room enough to impress



best performance:  The Deep Blue Sea is Davies’ film set in London around the middle of the 20th century. Davies’ slow crane shot opens as it scales up the house to the window. The very next shot is from behind Weisz’s head (playing Hester Collyer) looking out the window. Like most of Davies’ best work, it features some stunning, lyrical dissolve editing and even a scene of acapella singing in a pub (like Davies’ strongest film- Distant Voices, Still Lives). Davies’ film is a character study with Weisz front and center. The Deep Blue Sea is the devastating tale of Hester’s pursuit for love.



The Deep Blue Sea- a colossal downer of a film?- yes. But it is impeccably curated by Davies and his crew- and Weisz is a match for that superior craftsmanship with her performance.



stylistic innovations/traits:  The depth of filmography is not there for Rachel Weisz, but sometimes it is quality over quantity and those five films at the top include four films of stellar work in auteur cinema and a superb Oscar-winning turn in The Constant Gardener as the cherry on top. Very few of Weisz’s peers could match her top five film for film and/or performance for performance. There is also some range to praise here. Weisz has two comedy collaborations with Lanthimos of course, but then The Deep Blue Sea is about as serious and somber as it gets.



Aronofsky’s closeup of Weisz- who plays the dual role of Isabel / Izzi Creo. The Fountain repeats the line “death is the road to awe” and awe is the best way to describe this film. It’s luminous beauty is unmatched by 99.9% of cinema ever made.



directors worked with:   Yorgos Lanthimos (2) and then Fernando Meirelles (1), Darren Aronofsky (1), Terence Davies (1), Paolo Sorrentino (1), Derek Cianfrance (1)



top five performances:

  1. The Deep Blue Sea
  2. The Favourite
  3. The Fountain
  4. The Lobster
  5. The Constant Gardener



archiveable films

2005- The Constant Gardener
2006- The Fountain
2011- The Deep Blue Sea
2015- The Lobster
2015- Youth
2016- The Light Between Oceans
2018- The Favourite