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The Year in Movies


Debut
Sarah Polley, Away From Her
As an actress, Sarah Polley can be dreamy yet grounded, and she brings that same blend of soft and hard to her first feature as a writer and director, Away From Her. It’s a twilight-of-love story that harshly demolishes our romantic notions, then replaces them with something deeper and, finally, more consoling. It’s the most loving and least sentimental film imaginable. As the woman who stares longingly out windows over icy lakes in search of lost memories, Julie Christie is transcendent, and Gordon Pinsent mixes yearning and resignation in perfect proportions. I only hope Polley doesn’t throw in the towel as an actress.

Stinker
Hannibal Rising
It seems too easy a choice, right? But this “prequel” wasn’t just awful in itself: It retroactively flattened one of the cinema’s great monsters. Hannibal Lecter has gone from being an inconceivably savage serial murderer who attracted and terrified us at the same time to just another boring vigilante. He even has a sort of eco-decency: He eats what he kills.


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