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10 Best Movies of 2015

The Revenant (2015): A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.

2015 was undeniably a great year for cinema, with dozens of wonderful films being released. From high-concept blockbusters to intimate indies, there was something for everyone, making it difficult to narrow the list of the best movies in 2015 down to just 10. Although no list is definitive, the following films all received critical acclaim and resonated deeply with audiences.

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Mad Max: Fury Road

(starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, and Rosie Huntington) George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road was a tremendous success in 2015 as a visceral showcase of the best in cinematic art in addition to being an action-packed sci-fi blockbuster. Tom Hardy stars as a rogue soldier in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, where he teams up with Charlize Theron’s grizzled survivor and makes a desperate journey to freedom. Nicholas Hoult and Rosie Huntington rounded out the cast in key roles.

The Revenant

(starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, and Domhnall Gleeson) Leonardo DiCaprio’s committed performance in director Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s majestic endurance story was perhaps the defining moment of his career. DiCaprio stars as Hugh Glass, an Irish fur trapper in early 1800s Montana who embarks on a harrowing journey of vengeance across the tundra after being attacked by a bear and betrayed by his guide. Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, and Domhnall Gleeson also star.

Inside Out

(starring Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, and Lewis Black) Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out was a near-universal smash in 2015, delighting adolescent children and adult cinephiles with its inventive, emotionally honest look at life inside a young girl’s mind. Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, and Lewis Black star as the voices of five emotions that strive to keep a middle-school girl’s life in balance.

The Martian

(starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, and Chiwetel Ejiofor) Ridley Scott’s The Martian was a huge hit with fans of the Andy Weir novel and those entirely unfamiliar with the source material. Matt Damon takes center stage as an intrepid astronaut marooned on the Crimson Sphere, confronted with the formidable task of employing his acumen and scientific prowess to endure and thrive. Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, and Chiwetel Ejiofor fill out the cast.

Ex Machina

(starring Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Sonoya Mizuno)Ex Machina was one of the most suspenseful and provocative sci-fi movies to come out of 2015. Alicia Vikander stars as an artificially intelligent robot being tested to see if she is truly conscious. Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Sonoya Mizuno co-star in this daring look at what it means to be alive.

Sicario

(starring Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, and Jon Bernthal)Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario explored the murky world of the drug war and quickly became one of the most critically acclaimed films in 2015. Emily Blunt stars as an FBI agent drawn into a politically charged mission on the U.S.-Mexico border. Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, and Jon Bernthal star in this thrilling, heart-stopping film.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

(starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and Harrison Ford) The biggest film release of the year, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has to be on any list of the top films of 2015. J.J. A happy return to the cherished galaxy far, far away was made in J.J. Abrams’ eagerly anticipated Star Wars sequel. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and Harrison Ford starred in this thrilling and highly anticipated installment.

Spotlight

(starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Liev Schreiber)The spotlight was the rarest of films, an awards season feature that was compelling and important. Michael Keaton stars as a veteran reporter who teams up with the investigative team at The Boston Globe to uncover an explosive story of child abuse in the Catholic church. Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Liev Schreiber also star.

Carol

(starring Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, and Kyle Chandler) Carol was an emotionally powerful drama that featured two stunning performances from its leads. Cate Blanchett stars as an unhappily married 1950s housewife who embarks on a forbidden affair with a younger shopgirl (Rooney Mara). Sarah Paulson and Kyle Chandler co-stars.

Brooklyn

(starring Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, and Julie Walters) Saoirse Ronan anchored Brooklyn, an uplifting semi-autobiographical drama from filmmaker John Crowley. Ronan stars as an Irish immigrant adjusting to life in 1950s Brooklyn, where she must decide between two different potential futures. Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, and Julie Walters also star.

Ultimately, what ties all these films together is that they offer something special and unique. All of these movies, whether blockbusters or independents, stood out in some manner and are destined to be remembered by audiences for a very long time.

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