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Email Update: Great Films from 2012

by Randy Heffner

This Pierced to the Heart update was originally delivered to our email update list. To receive periodic emails like this, sign up for our email updates.

May your 2013 be truly blessed!

Through the bulk of this year, I’ve sent no "on film" updates from http://piercedtotheheart.org, so this time I’ll look back over the year and highlight some of the best films that I saw in 2012 (some were released in prior years). Of course, for Pierced to the Heart, "best" has more to do with how well a film does at exploring important questions concerning how our lives can be better, and excellence in filmcraft usually helps with such exploration.

Some of the very best: (I included some I’ve not written up, so links are to PttH or IMDb, accordingly)

  • Moonrise Kingdom: Quirky like Wes Anderson’s films always are, with a wonderful look at how we "adults" often behave. Look for it to be at the Oscars, though it may be too quirky for the Academy.
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild: An incredible and sometimes ethereal journey to a world that most of us live very far from. Look for it to be at the Oscars.
  • The Master: PT Anderson examines our relationships with our belief systems and our belief do or don’t help us get better. Look for it to be at the Oscars.
  • Things We Lost in the Fire: A frequently misunderstood film about a woman facing issues after her husband’s death. She hurts, of course, but more than that, she must learn how to love.
  • Dad’s in Heaven with Nixon: An intimate family story about love and disability.
  • Monsieur Lazhar: A man offers wonderful love for school kids who suffered loss, mixed with a perspective on the rules of society.
  • Silent Light (Stella Licht): Perhaps the best film on marital fidelity that I’ve ever seen. Some will think it slow-paced, but I love the long lingering on moments of hidden and great significance. The film is in German, set in Mexico, and by a Mexican director (Carlos Reygadas).
  • Another Earth: A wonderful embodiment of a thought experiment many of us have had: What if there were another world where we didn’t make the mistakes we made here?

And here are a few others of note:

  • The Loneliest Planet: A rich journey a couple takes through the Caucasus Mountains and also through the aftermath of something that happens. This is another that some will think slow-paced, but I think works very well if you settle into the beauty of it.
  • Anna Karenina (2012): A wonderful and unique staging that helps to compress Tolstoy’s novel into a focused exploration of relationships.
  • Bernie: Based on a true story, the film explores how even the best and purest love can be pushed too far.
  • My Afternoons with Margueritte: A charming look at relationships across generations and learning to love and find the best in yourself and others.
  • The Odd Life of Timothy Green: A great family film about parenting and hope. Watch especially for "the list" that they make.
  • Seeking a Friend for the End of the World: A well done relationship story. Lincoln said you can learn a person’s character by giving them power. I’ll add: or by giving them surely numbered days until the end.
  • Won’t Back Down: Whatever you think about school choice, this is a strong exploration of education issues. I love the last three seconds before the credits.

And finally, here are three more that I’ve not yet seen that look promising:

Enjoy! Besides the films above, I’ve written up several others that are being talked about as Oscar contenders including Lincoln, Cloud Atlas, Argo, Life of Pi, and Silver Linings Playbook. Other good links at Pierced to the Heart:

Happy filmgoing to you. . .the next update will be after the best picture nominations come out for 2013.

Randy Heffner

Pierced to the Heart



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