An unusual number of complex, well-acted movies made 2013 a very strong year at the cinema...
10. Behind The Candelabra - Sadly consigned to TV in America, this Liberace biopic's lavish production design deserves to be projected on the biggest screen possible. As do great performances from Michael Douglas, Matt Damon and a hilarious Rob Lowe.
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9. Stories We Tell - Actress-turned-filmmaker Sarah Polley turns the cameras on her family to dig into a deep secret that has profound repercussions. And this is also a remarkably inventive, resonant exploration of the nature of storytelling.
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8. Blancanieves - Spanish filmmaker Pablo Berger creates the most original fairy tale movie we've ever seen in this fractured, non-magical variation on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. And it's gorgeously shot as a classic period movie.
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7. In A World... - Actress Lake Bell turned to writing/directing and made the funniest film of the year. And it's about movie-making too! An astute trip into the world of the voiceover artist, this fiendishly clever screenplay deserves all of its awards.
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6. Blue Is The Warmest Colour - Even with its three-hour running time, this French drama is a remarkably light-handed look at how first love can be life-changing. People may talk about the explicit lesbian sex, but what they remember is the film's emotional depth.
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5. Captain Phillips - Director Paul Greengrass continues to combine real life with documentary-style storytelling, creating the year's most unnervingly suspenseful thriller. It's also perhaps Tom Hanks' career-best performance, which is saying something.
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4. Fruitvale Station - Ryan Coogler's grippingly explores the real story behind a tragic event, combining earthy drama, unspeakable tension and ultimately wrenching emotion. Plus fine performances from Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer.
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3. Filth - After a strong year (see Trance and Welcome to the Punch), James McAvoy delivered the performance of his career in this inventive and outrageously profane Scottish black comedy about a dirty cop on the rampage.
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2. American Hustle - David O. Russell puts together the year's best ensemble for this deranged drama set around the Abscam sting in the late 1970s. Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence are all on fire. With terrible hair.
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1. 12 Years A Slave - Steve McQueen's bracingly honest approach to this relevant true story makes it difficult to watch. But it's also unforgettable, as we experience everything through remarkable British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor's expressive eyes.
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And here are five runners-up worth looking out for: The Wolf of Wall Street (hedonism with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill), I Wish (childish joy from Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda), Frances Ha (comedy with Greta Gerwig), The Great Beauty (Italian maestro Paolo Sorrentino's ode to art) and The Broken Circle Breakdown (gorgeously aching Belgian romance).
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