*Irish release dates only. That excludes No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Sweeney Todd and other critical darlings.
This list was not hard to compile at first, but then I took a second look at it and began switching titles, taking off names completely and scratching my head with puzzlement. Funnily enough, the top five are the locks; I was blown away by each of those films and the top place has been firmly there ever since I first saw it back in the summer. These films aren't necessarily the best of the year; to qualify, I had to be engaged both emotionally and intellectually, and also be able to appreciate the craft of the film. What follows is a mixed bag; political thrillers, children's films, adult dramas and a musical. Not all will appeal to everyone, but I can assure that each will provoke discussion, thoughts and opinions.
Each of these films shocked me, thrilled me, made me laugh or left me with tears in my eyes. Not all accomplished all four criteria, but some definitely did. Glancing over my list, I cried at six of the titles, squirmed in fear at four and in every case left the cinema (or living room, in the case of the two I watched on dvd) feeling like I was walking on air.