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Lifestyle The 50 best movies of the year, according to critics

Although there have been tons of great movies out this year, these are some of the most beloved films of 2018, according to critics.

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Critics talk about the best movies of the year. Pictured: "Three Identical Strangers." play

Critics talk about the best movies of the year. Pictured: "Three Identical Strangers."

(CNN Films)

  • 2018 was a great year for cinema. Releases like "Black Panther" and "Crazy Rich Asians" proved the importance of diversity on the big screen.
  • Audiences turned out for films like "Avengers: Infinity War" and "A Star Is Born," shattering box office records.
  • Critics have weighed in on the top films released this year, and there are a few surprises at the top.

The year 2018 saw some of the most honest, diverse, and groundbreaking stories played out on the big screen. At the box office, "Black Panther," "Avengers: Infinity War," and "Incredibles 2" lead the pack – along with movies like "Crazy Rich Asians" and "A Star Is Born" following close behind.

We used Rotten Tomatoes data to find the most-loved movies of the year, according to critics. Although these big-budget movies were popular with audiences, there are also so many movies that have been singled out by critics as the year’s diamonds in the rough.

These are the top 50 movies of 2018, according to critics.

50. "Blindspotting": 93%

50. "Blindspotting": 93% play

50. "Blindspotting": 93%

(Lionsgate)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%.

8/10

"Gripping, authentic, tense, uproarious and strong, 'Blindspotting' is a superb achievement." -Matt Hudson, What I Watched Tonight



49. "Wildlife": 93%

49. "Wildlife": 93% play

49. "Wildlife": 93%

(IFC Films)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

7.7/10

"An excellent directing debut by Paul Dano. A subtle, yet powerful family drama, that includes a career-best performance by Carey Mulligan." -Fico Cangiano, CineXpress



48. "First Reformed": 93%

Ethan Hawke will probably get nominated for best actor at the Oscars for his role. play

Ethan Hawke will probably get nominated for best actor at the Oscars for his role.

(A24)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

8.3/10

"This is a movie about faith tested, and people trying to reconcile hope with a world that can feel hopeless. It's a film to be seen in a dark theater with an audience hushed in reverence of the power of cinema." -Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News



47. "Searching": 93%

47. "Searching": 93% play

47. "Searching": 93%

(IMDB)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

7.4/10

"The suspense is satisfactory; the pace is well-sustained. What really clicks, though, is the message: We leave digital bread crumbs everywhere we go, and if our secrets are not safe, neither are we." -Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail



46. "Sorry To Bother You": 93%

Lakeith Stanfield in "Sorry to Bother You." play

Lakeith Stanfield in "Sorry to Bother You."

(Annapurna Pictures)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

7.8/10

"Riley's trippy, frequently hilarious and extremely original Oakland-set fantasia is an urgent, cohesive and accessible statement on race in America masquerading as the best episode of 'The Twilight Zone' you've never seen." -CJ Johnson, ABC Radio



45. "The Guardians (Les Gardiennes)": 94%

45. "The Guardians (Les Gardiennes)": 94% play

45. "The Guardians (Les Gardiennes)": 94%

(Pathé)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

7.6/10

"The Guardians is an icy tale of injustice, war, love, despair, and adaptability, which unfolds serenely yet assuredly with attentive period detail." -Filipe Freitas, Film Threat



44. "Custody": 94%

44. "Custody": 94% play

44. "Custody": 94%

(Lucky Monkey Pictures)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

7.9/10

"'Custody' can be difficult, even wrenching to watch, but it always plays fair with the audience, and the experience, worth every minute expended, is impossible to forget." -Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times



43. "Burning": 94%

43. "Burning": 94% play

43. "Burning": 94%

(CGV Arthouse)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

8.7/10

"The film paints vivid portraits of three distinct characters and inspires sympathy with a bewildered protagonist; moreover, it depicts a particular social milieu in such a way that one comes to see it as existing beyond the subjects' control." -Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader



42. "Beast": 94%

42. "Beast": 94% play

42. "Beast": 94%

(30 West)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

7.3/10

"There is nothing more enjoyable than a film that shatters your expectations, turning a confident hunch about what's coming next into smithereens of doubt. The British thriller 'Beast' does it strikingly well." -Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune



41. "RBG": 94%

41. "RBG": 94% play

41. "RBG": 94%

(Magnolia Pictures)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

7.4/10

"Her tireless work advocating women's rights and gender equality may have put her on the map, but there is much more to 85 year-old US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg - as this fascinating and inspiring documentary reveals." -Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile



40. "The Favourite": 94%

40. "The Favourite": 94% play

40. "The Favourite": 94%

(Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

8.5/10

"Contains a trio of performances that are so commanding, perfectly calibrated with the right amount of showiness and underlying character depth, and overflowing with jealousy, they deserve every ensemble award that exists" -Robert Kojder, Flickering Myth



39. "Loveless": 94%

39. "Loveless": 94% play

39. "Loveless": 94%

(Sony Picture Releasing)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

8.2/10

"It's a haunting experience that will linger with the audience long after the closing credits." -Micheal Compton, Bowling Green Daily News



38. "A Fantastic Woman": 94%

38. "A Fantastic Woman": 94% play

38. "A Fantastic Woman": 94%

(Sony Picture Releasing)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

8.1/10

"In our increasingly polarized time, 'A Fantastic Woman' bridges the gap between ignorance and understanding through the transcendent power of art." -Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch



37. "Call Me By Your Name": 94%

37. "Call Me By Your Name": 94% play

37. "Call Me By Your Name": 94%

(Sony Pictures Classics)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

8.7/10

"An observational character piece that's meant to be experienced in terms of visual beauty, erotic charge and thoughtful contemplation on the intensity and brevity of youth and love." -Bob Chipman, Geek



36. "Incredibles 2": 94%

36. "Incredibles 2": 94% play

36. "Incredibles 2": 94%

(Disney/Pixar)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

7.9/10

"As a sequel, 'Incredibles 2' is by far and away Pixar's best, it wraps together an intricate story with gorgeous artwork and fantastic acting to create something that manages to inspire the same magic as the first film." -Kt Schaefer, Substream Magazine



35. "Western": 95%

35. "Western": 95% play

35. "Western": 95%

(Komplizen Film)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%

8/10

"Valeska Grisebach explores male group dynamics, aggression, class resentments and xenophobia in modern day Eastern Europe utilizing oater genre tropes and a non-professional cast." -Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews



34. "Private Life": 95%

34. "Private Life": 95% play

34. "Private Life": 95%

(Netflix)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%

7.7/10

"Jenkins has produced a small gem — an unassuming and surprisingly profound motion picture that touches on primal motivations and instincts." -James Berardinelli, ReelViews



33. "Sweet Country": 95%

33. "Sweet Country": 95% play

33. "Sweet Country": 95%

(Bunya Production)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%

8.2/10

"Though it's set in frontier days in the 1920s, hate-filled cruelty and racism persist still and Sweet Country is a powerful indictment of them. It's searing, sensational cinema." -Alexa Dalby, Dog and Wolf



32. "The Endless": 95%

32. "The Endless": 95% play

32. "The Endless": 95%

(Well Go USA Entertainment)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%

7.6/10

"The Endless is a masterfully crafted genre hybrid that solidifies Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead as two of the most interesting and uniquely voiced directors working today." -Adam Patterson, Film Pulse



31. "Foxtrot": 95%

31. "Foxtrot": 95% play

31. "Foxtrot": 95%

(Bord Cadre Films)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%

8.2/10

"Few films go to the places that 'Foxtrot' goes. It's a wholly unique experience that excels on multiple dramatic and filmmaking levels." -Christopher James, AwardsCircuit.com



30. "A Quiet Place": 95%

30. "A Quiet Place": 95% play

30. "A Quiet Place": 95%

(Paramount Pictures)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%

8.2/10

"Krasinski blends genres seamlessly and to great effect. It is one of the most intense theater experiences I can remember and yet the familial aspects are just as grounded and touching as the monster moments are terrifying." -Brian Gill, Mad About Movies Podcast



29. "BlacKkKlansman": 95%

29. "BlacKkKlansman": 95% play

29. "BlacKkKlansman": 95%

(Focus Feature)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%

8.3/10

"Lee knows that there is a need to place history on the table again and starts the conversation and then leaves us the transformed heritage, the war cry turned into an invitation to change: all power to all people." -Erick Estrada, Cinegarage



28. "To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before": 96%

28. "To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before": 96% play

28. "To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before": 96%

(Masha Weisberg/Awesomeness Films/Netflix)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%

7.4/10

"Takes everything audiences love about the genre and wraps it in a Hughes-esque bow to offer viewers a carefree, easily rewatchable film sure to entertain movie lovers of all ages." -Matt Ward, Cinematic Considerations



27. "Filmworker": 96%

27. "Filmworker": 96% play

27. "Filmworker": 96%

(True Studio Media)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%

7.7/10

"'Filmworker' is a first-rate account of the ongoing creative process some call dysfunctional. Well, anyone would call it that, actually. But some would also call it worth it." -Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune



26. "Zama": 96%

"Zama." play

"Zama."

(Strand Releasing)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%

8.2/10

"An elaborate piece of cinema suffused with so many details, both visual and audible, that it's impossible to absorb everything happening behind-the-scenes. The vivid portrait of colonialism marks a magnificent return for Martel after a nine-year absence." -Joe Friar, The Victoria Advocate



25. "Three Identical Strangers": 95%

25. "Three Identical Strangers": 95% play

25. "Three Identical Strangers": 95%

(CNN Films)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%

8.2/10

"A story that effortlessly segues from feel-good to tragedy to full-blown conspiracy. Even the reenactments ... are carefully and economically used." -Tara Brady, Irish Times



24. "The Hate U Give": 96%

24. "The Hate U Give": 96% play

24. "The Hate U Give": 96%

(20th Century Fox)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%

8.2/10

"I was boo-hoo-ing from beginning to end ... I feel like this movie clearly explains what it is to be Black in America today. It's a movie that everybody needs to see." -Sharronda Williams, Pay Or Wait



23. "The Death Of Stalin": 96%

23. "The Death Of Stalin": 96% play

23. "The Death Of Stalin": 96%

(eOne Film)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 96%

8.2/10

"'The Death of Stalin' is a deep farce, but it is rooted in enough political reality that it hardly feels sensationalized. And given the current state of politics, it's as on-point as a breaking news alert." -Adam Graham, Detroit News



22. "Border": 97%

22. "Border": 97% play

22. "Border": 97%

(TriArt Film)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

7.7/10

"It ... gnaws at the brain for its subliminal messages about how we treat the people in our midst who don't fit whatever definition of 'normal' we're carrying around with us." -Peter Howell, Toronto Star



21. "I Am Not A Witch": 97%

21. "I Am Not A Witch": 97% play

21. "I Am Not A Witch": 97%

(Artificial Eye)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

7.4/10

"An impressive debut from Zambian filmmaker Rungano Nyoni who manages to keep the film balanced and entertaining with a heavy dose of satire." -Joe Friar, The Victoria Advocate



20. "Blaze": 97%

20. "Blaze": 97% play

20. "Blaze": 97%

(IFC Films)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

8/10

"Hawke's fascinated by the tug of war between artistic freedom and domestic responsibility, and he's found clever ways to deal with that theme while zigzagging through Foley's life of music, alcohol, cocaine and women." -Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune



19. "Free Solo": 97%

19. "Free Solo": 97% play

19. "Free Solo": 97%

(National Geography Documentary Films)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

8.3/10

"Despite the gravity-defying cinematography and alpine setting, "Free Solo" transcends the climbing world and intimately examines something universal." -Evan Bush, Seattle Times



18. "The Rider": 97%

18. "The Rider": 97% play

18. "The Rider": 97%

(Sony Picture Classics)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

8.2/10

"What rests beneath this authenticity of modern America is a tender tale of striving for one's dreams, even amongst the harshest conditions imaginable." -Alasdair Bayman, CineVue



17. "Mission Impossible: Fallout": 97%

17. "Mission Impossible: Fallout": 97% play

17. "Mission Impossible: Fallout": 97%

(Paramount Pictures)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

8.4/10

"The most thrilling, entertaining, stand-on-your-feet-this-is-bananas blockbuster in recent memory." -Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail



16. "Black Panther": 97%

16. "Black Panther": 97% play

16. "Black Panther": 97%

(Marvel)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

8.2/10

"When it comes to creative visuals, engaging action and likable characters, 'Black Panther' stands confidently next to the best fare offered up by the Marvel Cinematic Universe." -Matthew Rozsa, Salon.com



15. "In Between": 98%

15. "In Between": 98% play

15. "In Between": 98%

(Alma Cinema)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%

7.6/10

"In Between (Bar Bahar) will confuse you, entertain you, shock you with its honesty and put you face to face with your own subtle prejudice or misconceptions about life for the women of Israel." -Alexander Ryll, Gay Essential



14. "Science Fair": 98%

14. "Science Fair": 98% play

14. "Science Fair": 98%

(Munk Media)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%

7.6/10

"'Science Fair' is a celebration of intellect and kids who want to improve the world. Turns out science is pretty cool, after all." -Adam Graham, Detroit News



13. "Can You Ever Forgive Me?": 98%

Melissa McCarthy over Toni Collette? Disappointing pick for the HFPA. play

Melissa McCarthy over Toni Collette? Disappointing pick for the HFPA.

(Fox Searchlight Picture)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%

8.2/10

"'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' combines elements of a caper thriller, smart New York comedy and sobering drama, with a revelatory performance by McCarthy as the delightfully dyspeptic Israel." -Rob Thomas, Capital Times



12. "The Tale": 99%

12. "The Tale": 99% play

12. "The Tale": 99%

(HBO Films)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%

9/10

"Dern has never been better than she is here in this film. It's a stunning achievement, made all the more powerful by the fact that she's interpreting the filmmaker's worst moments in life." -Joey Magidson, Hollywood News



11. "Tea With The Dames": 99%

11. "Tea With The Dames": 99% play

11. "Tea With The Dames": 99%

(IFC Films)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%

7.8/10

"A conversational feast with four acting Dames-Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, and Joan Plowright-who are not above profane fun and confessions that make them human. Don't miss the chance to bask in the pleasure of their company." -Peter Travers, Rolling Stone



10. "The Guilty": 99%

10. "The Guilty": 99% play

10. "The Guilty": 99%

(Nordisk Film)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%

7.9/10

"One of the merits of Gustav Möller's debut feature is it happens entirely between four walls and, despite this, it manages to be a fast-paced action thriller." -Andrea G. Bermejo, Cinemanía (Spain)



9. "McQueen": 99%

9. "McQueen": 99% play

9. "McQueen": 99%

(Bleeker Street)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%

7.8/10

"McQueen is a haunting biography that goes beyond even that live runway experience to conjure the visionary himself, in as much as he may ever be known - and in a way even his savagely beautiful clothes themselves cannot." -Nathalie Atkinson, Globe and Mail



8. "Shoplifters": 99%

8. "Shoplifters": 99% play

8. "Shoplifters": 99%

(GAGA Pictures)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%

8.9/10

"This soft-spoken, cinematic treasure about a family of thieves highlights the quietly devastating artistry of Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda. It's impossible to experience the deep-seated compassion of this film and not be moved to tears." -Peter Travers, Rolling Stone



7. "Roma": 99%

Best motion picture — foreign language play

Best motion picture — foreign language

(Netflix)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%

9.2/10

"It's clear how much Cuarón, who also wrote the script, cares for these people, and his passion and empathy immediately become infectious." -Brandon Katz, Observer



6. "Won’t You Be My Neighbor": 99%

6. "Won’t You Be My Neighbor": 99% play

6. "Won’t You Be My Neighbor": 99%

(Focus Feature)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%

8.8/10

"After 90 minutes following Mr. Rogers' trajectory, I realized I wanted to be part of that sweet and generous man's neighborhood. Or, at least, not to see it shrinking so much in our sad society." -Pablo Villaça, Cinema em Cena



5. "Eighth Grade": 99%

5. "Eighth Grade": 99% play

5. "Eighth Grade": 99%

(A24)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%

8.9/10

"Beautiful, terrifyingly real, and packed with more tension than most thrillers. I just wanted Kayla Day, and every teenage girl she represents, to be okay." -Brian Gill, Mad About Movies Podcast



4. "Minding The Gap": 100%

4. "Minding The Gap": 100% play

4. "Minding The Gap": 100%

(ITVS)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%

8.7/10

"Lui's work is extraordinary, as you really get to know the film's subjects and understand their pains in ways that will stay with you long after you leave the theater." -Micheal Compton, Bowling Green Daily News



3. "Summer 1993": 100%

3. "Summer 1993": 100% play

3. "Summer 1993": 100%

(Avalon)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%

8.1/10

"Refreshingly, Simón's take on the 'summer that changed everything' movie is delicate and unsentimental, earning an emotional response simply by exploring how a child interprets loss from the child's perspective and at the child's pace." -Leah Pickett, Chicago Reader



2. "Leave No Trace": 100%

2. "Leave No Trace": 100% play

2. "Leave No Trace": 100%

(IMDB)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%

8.5/10

"Leave No Trace might be described in social terms as a film about homelessness, but it never loses sight of the fact that what makes a home is the privacy people need to connect with each other." -J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader



1. "Paddington 2": 100%

1. "Paddington 2": 100% play

1. "Paddington 2": 100%

(StudioCanal)

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%

8.7/10

"Paddington 2 is a family film for the ages. A charming, superior sequel brimming with stunning visual designs, hilarious characters and overall, a gentle rush of emotions that warm the heart." -Alistair Ryder, Cinemole

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