|Good (Metascore ≥ 61)||208 films|
|Mixed (40-60)||161 films|
|Bad (≤ 39)||52 films|
The list of the year's best-reviewed limited release films (i.e., movies screening at fewer than 600 theaters in the U.S.) was once again dominated by imports and documentaries (or, in several cases, imported documentaries). The only American-made dramatic film to crack the top 10 was the Southern fable Beasts of the Southern Wild 86, which features a remarkable performance from six-year-old star Quvenzhané Wallis.
At the top of the chart—with the second-highest Metascore among all films released in 2012—is Amour 92, a French-language drama from Austrian director Michael Haneke, who has a history of either wowing (The White Ribbon 82) or confounding (Funny Games 41) critics. Here, he's firmly in the former category, and his drama about an elderly married couple dealing with an illness is expected to earn an Oscar nomination or two, including a potential one for star Emmanuelle Riva. Also of note on the list below is This Is Not a Film 90, one of only three 2012 releases to score 90 or higher. This Iranian documentary was shot surreptitiously by directors Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb while Panahi was under house arrest (and banned from making films), and then smuggled out of the country on a flash drive hidden inside a cake.
Not every smaller film in 2012 managed to impress critics, however. In fact, the percentage of limited releases receiving positive reviews dropped to 49% last year, the third straight year that percentage has declined (it had been 52% in 2011, 54% in 2010, and 58% in 2009).
|1||Amour||Foreign, Drama||+ Queue||92||8.0|
|2||This Is Not a Film||Foreign, Documentary||+ Queue||90||5.6|
|3||The Gatekeepers||Foreign, Documentary||+ Queue||87||n/a|
|4||How to Survive a Plague||Documentary||+ Queue||87||8.6|
|5||Barbara||Foreign, Drama||+ Queue||87||8.0|
|6||Elena||Foreign, Drama||+ Queue||87||7.0|
|7||The Kid with a Bike||Foreign, Drama||+ Queue||87||7.6|
|8||Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters||Documentary||+ Queue||86||n/a|
|9||Beasts of the Southern Wild||Drama, Fantasy||+ Queue||86||7.4|
|10||The Waiting Room||Documentary||+ Queue||84||n/a|
|11||Holy Motors||Foreign, Drama||+ Queue||84||7.8|
|12||Oslo, August 31st||Foreign, Drama||+ Queue||84||7.6|
|13||Monsieur Lazhar||Foreign, Drama||+ Queue||83||7.3|
|14||The Day He Arrives||Foreign, Drama||+ Queue||83||n/a|
|15||The Flat||Foreign, Documentary||+ Queue||83||n/a|
|16||Side by Side||Documentary||+ Queue||83||8.6|
|17||The Deep Blue Sea||Drama||+ Queue||82||6.2|
|18||In the Family||Drama||+ Queue||82||6.4|
|19||Tabu||Foreign, Drama||+ Queue||82||n/a|
|20||Footnote||Foreign, Drama||+ Queue||82||5.6|
|21||Marley||Music, Documentary||+ Queue||82||9.0|
|22||Under African Skies||Music, Documentary||+ Queue||82||n/a|
|23||Once Upon a Time in Anatolia||Foreign, Drama||+ Queue||82||7.4|
|24||Sister||Foreign, Drama||+ Queue||81||n/a|
The year's worst-reviewed film had a tortuous path to the big screen. The Tortured, an Erika Christensen-starring thriller about a couple who captures and tortures the serial killer who captured and tortured their son, was filmed in 2009 and debuted at FrightFest in 2010 before finally securing a general theatrical release this year in a handful of theaters. It's so bad that Rex Reed's review is actually the best one it received. The Kate Hudson-Gael García Bernal rom-com A Little Bit of Heaven also finished with a lower Metascore than any wide release film this year.
|1||The Tortured||Horror, Thriller||9||5.4|
|2||A Little Bit of Heaven||Rom-com||14||2.0|
|3||Excuse Me for Living||Comedy||17||n/a|
|4||After Fall, Winter||Drama||19||n/a|
|5||Assassin's Bullet||Action, Thriller||20||n/a|
|9||That's What She Said||Comedy||22||n/a|
|10||Beneath the Darkness||Horror, Thriller||22||4.5|
What are your favorites?
What are your picks for the best or worst movies of 2012? Let us know in the comments section below.