The 25 Best Films of the 21st Century

Only a few ground rules: like the NYT list that kicked this off, I'm limiting my selections to one per director (my apologies to the Coens, PTA, Malick, et. al). Also, pace almost everyone else who put together this list, 2000 is not a part of the 21st century and as such is not represented here. Below are the films that have left the greatest impression on me, unranked and grouped into five loosely thematic pentaptychs:

  • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik, 2007)
  • There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
  • No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
  • Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009)
  • Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)
     
  • Calvary (John Michael McDonagh, 2014)
  • Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong, 2007)
  • The Witch (Robert Eggers, 2016)
  • Ida (Paweł Pawlikowski, 2013)
  • In Bruges (Martin McDonagh, 2008)
     
  • In The Mood For Love (Wong Kar-Wai, 2001)
  • La Grande Bellezza (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013)
  • A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
  • Still Walking (Hirokazu Koreeda, 2008)
  • Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)
     
  • Paprika (Satoshi Kon, 2006)
  • The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006)
  • Zodiac (David Fincher, 2007)
  • Mother (Bong Joon-Ho, 2009)
  • Pride and Prejudice (Joe Wright, 2005)
     
  • The Fountain (Darren Aronofsky, 2006)
  • The New World (Terence Malick, 2005)
  • Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)
  • Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)
  • Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)