Nesselson is an in-house film critic for the TV news network France24’s English-language channel. After 17 years writing for Variety, the Paris-based critic began reviewing for Screen in 2008.

paddington 2 c studiocanal

Source: Studiocanal

‘Paddington 2’

Read more: Screen’s critics pick best films of 2018

Top five:

1. Paddington 2

Dir. Paul King
When the mere title of a film is enough to release endorphins, all concerned must be doing something right. Paddington is sent to jail for a crime he did not commit, making the ‘wronged bear’ and ‘bear in prison’ genres entirely his own. His innate moral code is exemplary. In these increasingly intolerant times, it’s worth remembering that Paddington is an immigrant. One who makes his surroundings considerably better. There are worse philosophies than, “Please look after this bear.” And Hugh Grant is irreplaceable.
Contact: StudioCanal
Read Screen’s review here.

2. Woman At War

Dir. Benedikt Erlingsson
An ode to landscape, folk songs, the beauty and stamina of middle-aged women and how big ideas can emanate from a small island, miraculously told without succumbing to a single tired cliché.
Contact: Beta Cinema
Read Screen’s review here.

3. Cold War

Dir. Pawel Pawlikowski
This exquisitely haunting personal panorama of unhappily-ever-after depicts the intersection of history and romance with lacerating layers of melancholy, devotion and deception.
Contact: Protagonist Pictures, mk2 Films
Read Screen’s review here.

4. The Favourite

Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos
Hot lesbian intrigue at court in the 18th century boasts some of the nastiest repartee and self-serving manoeuvres since The Death Of Stalin. Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman, ahem, rule.
Contact: Fox Searchlight
Read Screen’s review here.

5. First Man

Dir. Damien Chazelle
This elliptical tone poem honours mathematics, science, stoic bravery and national unity. Ryan Gosling portrays astronaut Neil Armstrong as a grieving father, and we can practically feel the weight of the moonsuit.
Contact: Universal Pictures
Read Screen’s review here.

Best documentary

Fahrenheit 11/9

Dir. Michael Moore
Michael Moore entertains and educates on the most important topic around, besides the imminent death of ecosystems friendly to human survival: the fate of participatory democracy. What Moore presents cannot be dismissed as predictable lefty blather — he’s too good a journalist for that. His belief in the power of cinema and of ordinary citizens “armed” with common sense is contagious.
Contact: AGC International
Read Screen’s review here.

Overlooked gem

To The Ends Of The World

Dir. Guillaume Nicloux
Having survived a massacre in Indochina in 1945, Gaspard Ulliel’s gaunt French soldier hunts his nemesis who works with Ho Chi Minh. The concrete and existential dilemmas of war drip from every gorgeous, anxiety-infused frame.
Contact: Orange Studio
Read Screen’s review here.