The ICS chooses the best films of the decade

Margaret Chosen as ICS Film of the Decade, Closely Followed by The Tree of Life

Of all the masterful films in the ICS Best of Decade list, two 2011 releases stood head and shoulders above the rest in the voters’ current mindset: Kenneth Lonergan’s uniquely structured Margaret and Terrence Malick’s metaphysical family drama The Tree of Life. Margaret tells the story of an awkward, passionate teenager whose feelings of guilt over a tragic bus accident propel her into moral dilemmas and a quest for justice, against the backdrop of post-9/11 New York as a metaphor for coming of age and the loss of childhood naivety. Upon its release Margaret was considered messy, sometimes brilliant, and controversial – and it has remained so, yet has only grown in stature. Conversely, Malick’s whispered evocation of nature vs. grace, The Tree of Life, was celebrated from the outset and has held up magnificently over time, the dynamics of a Texas family flowing into the natural world like a flight of birds.

While American filmmakers claimed the top two spots, the rest of our top 10 was dominated by international auteurs. Coming in third was French director Leos Carax’s surreal exploration of identity Holy Motors (ICS Best Picture for 2012), followed by Asghar Farhadi’s Iranian divorce drama A Separation (which had won ICS Best Picture for 2011 over both Malick and Lonergan). Todd Haynes’ period love story Carol, our 2015 Best Picture, ended up in 5th place for the decade, followed by Xavier Dolan’s deeply felt transgender romance Laurence Anyways, Lucrecia Martel’s colonialist satire Zama, Martin Scorsese’s haunting missionary saga Silence, the always-controversial Abdellatif Kechiche’s Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno, and Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s five-hour Sirkian melodrama Happy Hour.

The full ICS Best of the Decade list can be found below.

01. Margaret
02. The Tree of Life
03. Holy Motors
04. A Separation
05. Carol
06. Laurence Anyways
07. Zama
08. Silence
09. Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno
10. Happy Hour
11. Mad Max: Fury Road
12. Phantom Thread
13. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
14. Under the Skin
15. Twin Peaks: The Return
16. Toni Erdmann
17. Moonlight
18. Roma
19. Tabu
20. Call Me By Your Name
21. Pain and Glory
22. Cemetery of Splendour
23. The Master
24. Certified Copy
25. Parasite
26. Melancholia
27. Burning
28. Blue is the Warmest Colour
29. Mysteries of Lisbon
30. Gravity
31. Inside Llewyn Davis
32. Boyhood
33. Long Day’s Journey Into Night
34. Winter Sleep
35. Embrace of the Serpent
36. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
37. The Social Network
38. No Home Movie
39. Mommy
40. Cloud Atlas
41. Hard to Be a God
42. La bocca del lupo
43. The Assassin
44. The Turin Horse
45. Faces Places
46. The Great Beauty
47. A Touch of Sin
48. The Rider
49. American Honey
50. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
51. Pariah
52. Goodbye to Language
53. The Image Book
54. House of Tolerance
55. Spring Breakers
56. Meek’s Cutoff
57. Nocturama
58. Gangs of Wasseypur
59. Arabian Nights
60. Of Gods and Men
61. Almayer’s Folly
62. Timbuktu
63. Frances Ha
64. Her
65. An Elephant Sitting Still
66. Weekend
67. Certain Women
68. The Wild Boys
69. Synonyms
70. Arabia
71. A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery
72. Les mains libres
73. Stranger by the Lake
74. If Beale Street Could Talk
75. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
76. Amour Fou
77. The Missing Picture
78. In the Family
79. The Handmaiden
80. Happy as Lazzaro
81. The Grand Budapest Hotel
82. Blood of My Blood
83. A Paris Education
84. The Act of Killing
85. Eden
86. Bangkok Nites
87. Vitalina Varela
88. The Strange Case of Angelica
89. Norte, the End of History
90. How Do You Know
91. Leviathan (Castaing-Taylor & Paravel)
92. Aquarius
93. Archipelago
94. Le Quattro Volte
95. Malgré la nuit
96. Stray Dogs
97. Faust
98. Elle
99. Cosmos
100. La Flor