The Best Movies of 2015—in Montage Form

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

For a certain group of film fans, no year-end list is more anticipated than David Ehrlich’s. Every December, the film writer (now at Rolling Stone) releases a montage celebrating the year in cinema before counting down his 25 personal favorites, and it’s always a unique and invigorating experience. By December, the film world is dominated by Oscar talk, and awards are largely being handed to a small pool of consensus favorites, so it’s always nice to see some less-noted works get attention. Ehrlich’s picks this year include little-seen festival favorites, big-budget genre hits, animated shorts, and Magic Mike XXL—presented as beautifully as ever:

On a personal note, I’m particularly fond of Ehrlich’s annual montage because it helped draw me back into cinema fandom. After a few years when I was going to the theater less and not as engaged with indie and foreign cinema, I watched his 2012 list and realized I barely recognized any of the highlights. So I went to go check them out and, just like that, I had returned to the wider world of film.

You might not love every entry on Ehrlich’s lists, but they’re all worth checking out for a fun, engaging, or perhaps passionately infuriating time at the movies. His 2013 list can be found here and his 2014 list here.