As the year comes to a close, there’s no shortage of regional and national film critics’ societies vying to name the best film of 2011. The New York Film Critics Circle chose The Artist (which premiered locally at the New Orleans Film Festival, and will enjoy a return engagement in 2012), the Los Angeles scribes chose The Descendants, and Austin gave the nod to Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. But insiders say that the critics’ societies are rife with political infighting, and their selections often reflect compromises with which few participants actually agree.
So how do we know what the critics really think overall? Metacritic has an idea: a simple points-based scoring system that combines individual top-ten lists from critics across the country. This year’s winner, by a substantial margin: The Tree of Life, reclusive director Terrence Malick’s brooding and beautiful meditation on life, nature, family, and the origin of the cosmos.
The Tree of Life had a brief run at Canal Place last summer, but it’s now out on DVD and Blu-ray. Here’s the trailer: