Dune (2021)

The Messiah narrative thread with Paul and the Fremen is a bit white-saviour-y, but will hopefully be nipped in the bud in the sequel, and the plot is otherwise excellent: a twisting tapestry of planet-hopping politics, breathtaking sci-fi/action, moody mysticism, and compelling coming-of-age/family drama fare. Strongly acted (Paul and parents in particular), with incredible sound and visuals (lots of big, immersive movie moments–the nighttime assault on Arrakeen being one highlight).
8

Interstellar (2014)

The years-long save-the-world plot, poignant near-future setting, and infinite themes both heady and heartfelt are all undeniably epic and compelling, and while the exposition weighs quite heavy at times (see the repeat of the ghost revelation), it doesn’t stop the film from reaching many incredible cinematic heights both emotional (see the devastating return from Miller’s planet) and action-oriented (see the spinning dock sequence), helped as it is by stunning visuals, music, and performances.
8

Little Women (2019)

The timeline hopping is cleverly and masterfully executed (see the warm vs. cold tones, mirrored shots) and adds remarkable emotional depth (see Jo walking down the stairs x2) to what is an already extremely well-written (and acted) web of characters (to the big emotional moments are added many brilliant little overlapping quips and quibbles). Often hilarious (“I’m making a mould of my foot for Laurie to remind him I have nice feet!”) and always heartfelt, with a delightfully cheeky ending.
10

Lady Bird (2017)

By and large just a marvelously shot, scored, written, and acted roller-coaster ride of short snippets of authentic and angsty teen life with as much laugh-out-loud humour (too-cool Kyle is a one-liner gold mine: “I’m trying to live by bartering alone”) as feisty drama (mother and daughter are the highlight here; see their opening exchange in the car) and feel-good moments (see the girls at prom). The slower scenes (see post-sex) feel a little awkward in comparison, but maybe that’s the¬†point.
8