Fionnuala is Screen International‘s chief film critic and reviews editor. She has more than 20 years’ experience as a film writer and critic.

Finn Halligan

More Screen critics’ top films of 2015

Top Five

  1. 45 Years
    Andrew Haigh
    The performances, the story, the visualisation: they made it look easy, but 45 Years is a delicate chamber piece told with impressive skill. Haigh didn’t have to dig into the flashy cinematic toybox to tell us just how precarious — hollow, even — are the foundations on which we build our everyday lives. Charlotte Rampling delivers one of cinema’s great performances, ably supported by Tom Courtenay. In his own quiet, intimate way, Haigh has become one of the UK’s most exciting directorial prospects, transitioning easily from Weekend to a larger, yet still intimate canvas.

    CONTACT The Match Factory

  2. Son Of Saul
    Laszlo Nemes
    Films Distribution

  3. Taxi Tehran
    Jafar Panahi
    CONTACT Celluloid Dreams

  4. Tangerine
    Dir Sean Baker
    CONTACT Submarine

  5. The Big Short
    Dir Adam McKay

Best Documentary

A Nazi Legacy - What Our Fathers Did

My Nazi Legacy
David Evans

A fantastic year for documentaries. My Nazi Legacy is first among equals (Amy, Behemoth, Palio, Cartel Land) because the story itself is so exceptional. Visually, this is a no-frills affair but, as two sons of murdering Nazis tell their stories, we drill down into the core of what responsibility we should assume for the deeds of our parents and how blind we can be to our own past.

CONTACT The Film Sales Company

Best UK Film

Sunset Song
Terence Davies

An epic, big-screen seducer from Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s cherished novel. Davies paints a large but incredibly detailed canvas, andSunset Song is classic, romantic storytelling with the tell-tale signature of a master film-maker. Each scene is pure perfection; Agyness Deyn holds the screen.

CONTACT Fortissimo Films

Undiscovered Gem


Dir Tom Browne

This tiny, special UK drama — shot for $200,000 — about an elderly couple who live in a prison of their own clutter, and their relationship with their middle-aged son, was made in the director’s own home. Radiator bounces off the walls of guilt and duty, caught up in the mysteries of the past.

CONTACT Starline Entertainment