10 Best Movies of 2014 – Rolling Stone
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10 Best Movies of 2014

From a growing boy to a gone girl, the top films of the year hit hardest by going rogue


Ellar Coltrane, left, and Ethan Hawke from 'Boyhood.'

Various images provided by Courtesy Everett Collection, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures

It was a year when even a few of the movies that made shameless profits (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, The Lego Movie) weren’t anything to be ashamed about. But the lion’s share of 2014’s best movies came in small, intimate packages, beholden to no one except the sensibilities of their creators. Screw Hollywood. From a boy to a birdman, from a gone girl to the potently present talents of two women directors, the best movies of 2014 hit hardest by going rogue.



In only his second film as a director, Damien Chazelle scores a breakout by dipping into his own musical education to show us a young jazz drummer (Miles Teller) damn near destroyed by an instructor (an Oscar-bound J.K. Simmons) who's never happy unless there's blood on the sticks.

Gone Girl

‘Gone Girl’

Gillian Flynn's bestseller about a marriage gone lethally wrong becomes, in the hands of director David Fincher and Flynn's incisive script, a searing social satire about the lost art of making a relationship work. Rosamund Pike, in a fireball turn as Ben Affleck's cheated-on wife, takes us to hell and back.



Kudos to director Ava DuVernay, who blows the dust off history in Selma and cuts straight to its beating heart. It's a big subject: Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his famed 1965 voting-rights march from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery. Oyelowo is magnificent, and DuVernay makes every moment intimate and electric.



This true story of wrestling, wealth, insanity and murder becomes a chilling work of art in the hands of filmmaker Bennett Miller, and performances from Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo that mark high points in their careers.



Nothing this year had the power to make us drunk on movies again like Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu's cinematic roller coaster about a Hollywood superhero (Michael Keaton) trying to get respect on Broadway. Keaton gives the performance of the year in this whirling comic assault in which the laughs leave bruises.



The smallest, quietest, least pushy film of 2014 is also the year's best and biggest emotional powerhouse. For Boyhood, writer-director Richard Linklater carved out shooting time over 12 years to tell the story of a then-six-year-old Texas boy (stellar newcomer Ellar Coltrane) growing up as the child of divorced parents, indelibly played by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette. But what about the risk if the actors got sick or worse? Who does that? Linklater does that. Boyhood, sculpted from the highs and lows of his own life, is his landmark, his purest personal expression.

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