I’ve found that in most great movies, even the greatest masterpieces, it’s not the film in its entirety that makes it great as much as a handful (or even just one or two) of brilliant moments. These are what we remember: sequences, shots, “holy moments” when a film manages to express the inexpressible. They are the moments where we feel lost in the film, contemplative, arrested. They are cathartic glimpses of transcendence.
Yesterday I posted my list of the best overall films of 2013; today I’m focusing on my picks for the best moments. The following are 15 of the most memorable and compelling moments from the year in cinema, in no particular order:
- Before Midnight: “Still there, still there, still there … gone.” (watch here)
- The Spectacular Now: Sutter and Aimee walk in the woods, share their first kiss (watch part of the scene here)
- Short Term 12: Marcus shares the cathartic rap he’s been working on (Watch bits and pieces of it in this teaser for the film. Warning: graphic language.)
- Captain Phillips: Tom Hanks gets evaluated by a nurse after the harrowing climax
- 12 Years a Slave: Singing the spiritual, “Roll, Jordan, Roll”
- Gravity: The opening (17 minutes long) uninterrupted shot
- Post Tenebras Lux: Opening scene (watch here)
- Hannah Arendt: Barbara Sukowa’s final speech in the lecture hall
- To the Wonder: From Paris to the plains (watch here)
- Her: The final scene on the roof with Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams
- Inside Llewyn Davis: Llewyn plays “Shoals of Herring” for his estranged, dementia-plagued father (listen to the song here).
- To the Wonder: Javier Bardem recites St. Patrick’s Lorica (watch here)
- Museum Hours: Mary Margaret O’Hara sings “Dear, Dark Heart” to her cousin who is in a coma
- The Bling Ring: Long take of Audrina Partridge’s house being robbed (watch here)
- Frances Ha: “What I want out of a relationship” monologue (watch here)
What moments from 2013 films have been your favorite?