My criteria for the year's best films? These are the films that moved me the most, in one way or another, during the year: they made me think the most, laugh the loudest, sob the hardest -- they entertained me and surprised me in ways the year's also-rans couldn't manage.
10. Another Year: A lovely film about making the best out of whatever life deals us ... and what happens when we don't take responsibility for ourselves and our own happiness.
9. Four Lions: A comedy about terrorism? Yup. Wickedly funny and sharply pointed, it highlights how idiotic tribalism blinds us to what unites us.
8. Catfish: Part love story, part fantasy about how we fall in love, and part wake-up call to how our lives are changing in the Internet age, this is a deeply emotional film about connecting with another person via a medium that is supposed to only separate us.
7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Man som hatar kvinnor): Rarely have we seen a film so bluntly feminist about, as the Swedish title calls them, the men who hate women.
6. Inception: It's not just a grand adventure, it's also a sneaky commentary on how we make and watch movies.
5. Agora: A fantastic untold story about one of the greatest scientists of the ancient world (who just happened to be a woman), as well as a cautionary tale for today, as our culture lets reason be overwhelmed by irrationality.
4. Despicable Me: The superhero action movie gets turned upside down when the villain takes center stage ... and retains his villainy even in the face of ultimate cuteness.
3. The King's Speech: An unexpected and totally enthralling story about friendship, honor, hardship, duty, and the power of swear words.
2. Black Swan: This portrait of obsession and subsequent descent into madness is made even more extraordinary by the fact that it's about a woman, and so offers an examination of the female psyche in a way that few films before have done.
1. Never Let Me Go: The chilling drama set in an all-too-plausible dystopia is even more quietly horrifying because no one realizes their world is so brutal.