Top 10 Movies

1 The Theory of Everything

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones

In a star-making turn, Redmayne brought complexity and humor to his portrayal of physicist and bestselling author Stephen Hawking. Diagnosed with ALS in 1963, Hawking transcended disability with irrepressible genius—and the strength of his first wife, Jane (the luminous Jones). A tender story of a difficult marriage, Everything was a brainy movie with real heart.

Powerhouse Performance Jennifer Aniston in Cake

It felt like a friend (or a Friend) revealing new depths: As a bitter, painkiller-popping accident survivor, Aniston brought sympathy and dark humor to a complex character.

2 Wild

Starring: Reese Witherspoon

The story of a lost woman who finds herself on an epic hike hit the heights of emotional power and visual poetry.

3 Gone Girl

Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike

The movie of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller was a riveting and clever popcorn thriller, driven by Pike’s delicious wickedness.

4 Birdman

Starring: Michael Keaton

Part crackling backstage black comedy, part soulful rumination on acting, family and fame, Birdman let Keaton soar again.

5 Guardians of the Galaxy

Starring: Chris Pratt

As big, broad and open-hearted as its lovable star, this good-natured matinee movie’s best special effect was its charm.

6 Into the Woods

Starring: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt

With a tuneful cast of A-listers having the time of their lives, this witty rendering of Sondheim’s musical was pitch-perfect.

7 Selma

Starring: David Oyelowo

This biopic made the great Martin Luther King Jr. human—showing the poignant self-doubts of a man changing history.

8 Boyhood

Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette

It started with a simple but brilliantly ambitious plan by director Richard Linklater: Film a coming-of-age story in real time, as its lead actor aged from 7 to 18. The resulting story about an ordinary boy’s journey was sensitively, engrossingly told. But Boyhood’s real achievement is the way it made you think about your own life, and maybe your children’s—how keenly kids feel everything; how fast they grow up; how joyful, painful and, especially, how fleeting life can be.

9 The Imitation Game

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch

Cumberbatch triumphed as WWII code breaker Alan Turing, who helped defeat Nazism and bring on the computer age but was persecuted for being gay.

10 American Sniper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller

To pull the trigger or not? Cooper’s transformative performance and the tension-ratcheting battle scenes pulled you into the mind-set of the deadliest sniper in American history, Chris Kyle—and what happened to him after Iraq will keep haunting you.

Most Moving Duo

Still Alice

Thanks to Julianne Moore, doing her best work as a brilliant woman battling Alzheimer’s disease, and Kristen Stewart, as the lost daughter who cares for her, sadness becomes sublime.

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