It's that time of the year: time for top 10 lists, time to start gearing up for awards season, and picking the contenders and ensuring we shout their names in all caps from behind our laptops, and a time for critics to champion our favorite movies and performances -- which is why I think it's time to take a look back at my favorite female-centric (and gender politic-centric) films and female performances of 2013.
Short Term 12
Every year there are dozens of other films that you haven't heard of that are just as great -- films that fly under the radar because they didn't have the kind of studio money for distribution that someone like Martin Scorsese has.
There's an old expression about how all great art comes from suffering. Writer/director Destin Cretton may not agree with that statement, but his new film 'Short Term 12' is a great testament to it. It is set in a group home for troubled teens, where kids who have been discarded by life are saved and cared for -- at least until they turn 18 and get discarded again. These kids know suffering, and they transform that anguish into fuel for their stunningly beautiful art -- a phrase that applies equally well to the film itself.
I caught 'Short Term 12' at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival almost accidentally. It just happened to be playing and I just happened to be available. And I just happened to see the best film at the festival and one of the best films of the year. As Matt Singer wrote in his review, it's a "brilliant and amazing movie" with a revelatory performance by actress Brie Larson.
The actress, who you probably know from her supporting roles in 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World' or '21 Jump Street,' is poised to take a major leap into stardom this year. Along with her star-making turn in 'Short Term 12,' Larson has equally impressive work in 'Don Jon' and 'The Spectacular Now' also in theaters this fall. It's hard to look at Larson at this point in her career and not draw comparisons to Jennifer Lawrence - another actress who received critical acclaim for an indie film ('Winter's Bone') and went on to super-stardom.
We spoke to the young actress about the depressing work on 'Short Term 12,' if she's prepared for the next level of fame and starring in 'X-Men' and 'Star Wars: Episode 7.'
Even if you can't attend a film festival, you should always pay attention to what wins the audience awards -- those films are bound to show up further down the road and become some of your new favorite movies. The 2013 SXSW audience awards have been announced and they include a few films we've already told you about here on Screencrush!