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10 Best Movies of 2015

From simmering same-sex romances to ‘Star Wars’, Peter Travers’ top 10 films of the year

10 Best Movies of 2015

Apologies for the late appearance of my list of the 10 Best Movies of 2015. I had to wait for the last-minute screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens — and I'm glad I did. Apologies to another golden dozen films that I couldn't squeeze in but couldn't admire more: Son of Saul, The Revenant, Room, The Big Short, Mississippi Grind, Ex Machina, Sicario, Love & Mercy, The End of the Tour, Clouds of Sils Maria, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, and Amy, a documentary about Amy Winehouse that breaks new ground while passionately breaking your heart.

So here goes 2015's best of the best:

Inside Out; Anomalisa; Peter Travers 2015

2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved., Paramount Pictures


‘Inside Out’/’Anomalisa’ (Tie)

If you still don't think animation is an art form, try Pete Docter's Pixar masterpiece about the emotions that rule us. Or get lost in the radiant sadness of Anomalisa, a stop-motion game-changer from co-directors Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson about a one-night stand between a weary married self-help guru (David Thewlis) and a buoyant woman (Jennifer Jason Leigh). What Leigh does with her voice to create character is some kind of miracle. So's the movie.

Star Wars; Daisy Ridley; Travers List 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..L to R: BB-8 and Rey (Daisy Ridley)..Ph: Film Frame..? 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved


‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Here's the last movie I saw in 2015. J.J. Abrams' continuation of the Star Wars saga is popcorn-movie nirvana buttered with style and soul. Watching two generations of jedis blend brings an audience close to euphoria.

Tangerine; Peter Travers; Best 2015


Yeah, Sean Baker's indie sensation is the movie shot on tricked-up iPhones. But the tech stuff is only part of what amazes. Academy prudes might not respond to live-wire performances from transgender actresses Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, as two L.A. hookers working on Christmas Eve. But what's your excuse?

Straight Outta Compton; Peter Travers Best 2015

(L to R) MC Ren (ALDIS HODGE), DJ Yella (NEIL BROWN, JR.), Eazy-E (JASON MITCHELL), Ice Cube (O?SHEA JACKSON, JR.) and Dr. Dre (COREY HAWKINS) in ?Straight Outta Compton?. Taking us back to where it all began, the film tells the true story of how these cultural rebels?armed only with their lyrics, swagger, bravado and raw talent?stood up to the authorities that meant to keep them down and formed the world?s most dangerous group, N.W.A.

Jaimie Trueblood


‘Straight Outta Compton’

Meet N.W.A, the five gangsta rappers who blew out of Compton in the 1980s. O'Shea Jackson Jr. plays his dad, Ice Cube, and Jason Mitchell nails the torment in Eazy-E. And when N.W.A rage in "Fuck Tha Police," director F. Gary Gray hits a nerve for right now.

Brooklyn; Peter Travers; Best List 2015

Emory Cohen as "Tony" and Saoirse Ronan as "Eilis" in BROOKLYN. Photo by Kerry Brown. © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Kerry Hayes



Can a movie romance charm its way to greatness? This one can. Much credit to director John Crowley and screenwriter Nick Hornby for keeping sappy out of this tale of an Irish girl coming to America in 1951. Saoirse Ronan, 21, illuminates every frame. She's an enchantress.

Mad Max; Fury Road; Peter travers; 2015 list

Jasin Boland


‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

A hallucinatory milestone from director George Miller, who, at 70, proves himself the most vital action director in movies today. Tom Hardy excels as the futuristic road warrior, but Charlize Theron steals the show as a force of feminist nature. That's Miller for you, making a woman the redeemer in his world of fire and blood.

Carol; Peter Travers; Best of 2015


Wilson Webb



In 1950s Manhattan, glam Cate Blanchett fixes her gaze on naive shopgirl Rooney Mara, and both turn a period piece into a timeless cry from two defiant hearts. Todd Haynes' film is perfect in every way, especially Blanchett, who just may be the best actress on the planet.

Steve Jobs; peter travers; Best of 2015

MICHAEL FASSBENDER portrays the pioneering founder of Apple in ?Steve Jobs?, directed by Academy Award? winner Danny Boyle and written by Academy Award? winner Aaron Sorkin. Set backstage in the minutes before three iconic product launches spanning Jobs? career?beginning with the Macintosh in 1984, and ending with the unveiling of the iMac in 1998?the film takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to paint an intimate portrait of the brilliant man at its epicenter.


‘Steve Jobs’

This galvanizing take on Apple's contentious genius debuted to raves. Then the tide turned when the film failed to attract crowds. Screw Aaron Sorkin's volcanic script, Danny Boyle's audacious direction and Michael Fassbender's career-best acting in the title role. In an alarming trend, commercial failure again taints artistic success. But it's amazing.

Peter Travers; Best of 2015


Kerry Hayes



No 2015 movie left me more choked up or rapt with admiration than Tom McCarthy's ode to old-school investigative reporting. Kudos to the year's best acting ensemble: Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery and Brian d'Arcy James. At The Boston Globe in 2002, the Spotlight team nailed the Catholic Church for its legacy of child abuse and cover-ups. And the movie sets a new gold standard for 21st-century cinema about journalism.

In This Article: Star Wars The Force Awakens

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