Best Films of 2016: Critics Top 10 Lists Include 'Moonlight', 'Jackie', 'La La Land' & More

It's award season, which means it's time to watch some of the best movies of 2016, including big-budget productions and tiny indies.

Various movies have been picking up major award attention this month, with only a few weeks left until the highly anticipated Oscar nominations. It's also "Best of 2016" season, where movie critics rank the best movies of the year. As such, let's take a look at the 10 best movies of the year, according to critics, as aggregated by Metacritic:

10. Jackie

Natalie Portman's powerful portrayal of First Lady Jackie Kennedy has been receiving rave reviews since it was first released, and it's no wonder. The actress dominates the movie with her incredible, lived-in performance, and helps create a haunting portrait of a woman everyone admired but few people truly knew.

9. Elle

Like Portman in
Jackie, Elle really belongs to Isabelle Huppert, who has been picking up critic awards left and right. The French actress stars as Michèle Leblanc, a video game company boss who gets assaulted in her home and proceeds to seek revenge. As Rolling Stone raves, Huppert "gives a performance that's a riveting mix of carnal and chilly - you can't take your eyes off her."

8. The Handmaiden

South Korean import
The Handmaiden centers on a handmaiden (Kim Tae-ri) hired to a Japanese heiress (Kim Min-hee), while secretly in on a plot to rob her. But some "unexpected emotions" begin to creep in, and, "a rich and satisfying narrative is enlivened by some piquant erotica and the sharp tang of politics," says The Globe and Mail.

7. O.J.: Made in America

It may be curious to see
O.J.: Made in America, a five-part documentary that aired on ESPN, on a movie list, but its run in theaters technically qualifies it for consideration. The film continues America's fascination with O.J. Simpson, centering on his rise to fame and fall from grace, and has been described as essential and powerful.

6. Arrival

One of the most bold, original films of the year,
Arrival sacrifices the usual violent blockbuster approach to alien invasion and instead offers a diplomatic method, as led by Amy Adams' linguistics professor. The film has been lauded for its thoughtful storytelling and powerful twist.

5. Hell or High Water

Chris Pine and Ben Foster star as brothers who rob various branches of a bank that is foreclosing on their property in
Hell or High Water. The film, described by Variety as a "thrillingly good movie - a crackerjack drama of crime, fear, and brotherly love" also stars Jeff Bridges as a bold Texas Ranger hunting them down.

4. Toni Erdmann

The highest ranking foreign-language film of the year, Germany's
Toni Erdmann is a wholly original film about a father who doesn't see much of her daughter and thus, invents an alter ego named Toni Erdmann and poses as her CEO's life coach. The film's heartfelt humor has been praised heavily by critics.

3. Manchester by the Sea

Kenneth Lonergan's latest film, set in the heart of New England, is one of the most celebrated films of the year.
Manchester by the Sea, about an uncle (Casey Affleck) who has to take after his dead brother's son (Lucas Hedges), is receiving rave reviews for its natural performances (particularly Affleck) and its realistic approach to its weighty subject matter.

2. La La Land

La La Land
is one of few original musicals that truly stands on its own as a remarkable piece of art, providing a love letter to Los Angeles, show business and the joy and grief of following your passion. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are magnificent in their respective roles, with We Got This Covered saying it "feels like a throwback and also like something we've never seen before, resulting in a dreamy musical that hits just about every note."

1. Moonlight

By far the most critically acclaimed movie of 2016 is
Moonlight, a deeply personal story about a young black kid named Chiron grappling with his sexuality in a hyper-masculine environment. The film's poetry and expert cinematography have impressed critics of all kinds, with The Guardian raving, "It's a thrilling, deeply necessary work that opens up a much-needed and rarely approached on-screen conversation about the nature of gay masculinity."

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