2013 has been a great year for film. Edgar Wright closed out his Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy with The World’s End, a hilarious piece of science fiction horror built on some well-thought-through social commentary and Wright and co-writer/star Simon Pegg’s rich character work. Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling followed up the successful Drive with Only God Forgives, a divisive, brutal, brilliant look at the costs of vengeance and bad parenting. Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck’s Frozen pushed Disney’s storytelling further with a beautifully animated fable about self-worth and familial love.
Meanwhile, Michael Bay, Sofia Coppola, Harmony Korine, Martin Scorsese and Ridley Scott tore the twisted side of the American Dream apart in Pain & Gain, The Bling Ring, Spring Breakers, The Wolf of Wall Street and The Counselor, all of which are worthy films in their own ways. The great Shane Carruth returned to filmmaking after a nine year absence with Upstream Color, a beautifully told science fiction story about rebuilding ruined lives, the necessity of connecting with other people and the power that comes with having control over others’ lives. Finally, Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig made my personal favorite film of the year with Frances Ha, a fantastic slice-of-life story about a young woman’s somewhat-delayed coming of age and the transformation of her relationship with her best friend.
These are all great films, each in their own way. They won’t all appeal to everyone, and watching them in a marathon wouldn’t be the most coherent experience, but they’re all worth writing about. What follows is a look at scenes from each of those movies that provoke a response, both on their own and in the context of the film they come from. There’s a little of everything here – a musical number about a lonely, repressed young woman embracing a major part of her identity; an almost dialogue-free sequence where a man fantasizes about the person he wishes he could be before committing an act of violence out of frustration; a conversation between two best friends that heals some wounds and acknowledges the transience of the moment and more. 2013 was a fantastic year and these are some of the best moments from some of its best films.
Please note: While I’ve heard very, very good things about 12 Years a Slave, Blue is the Warmest Color, Inside Llewyn Davis and Her, I haven’t yet had a chance to see them. This article is based on the films that I’ve had a chance to see, and I’d love to hear about some of the moments that moved you, the reader, in the comments. Also, this list is not ranked. These are all great films, and all great moments. The only real “rank” here is that I talk about my favorite film of the year last.
So, without further ado, let’s begin.