Top 10 Movies That Marked the 2010s

At the end of 2020, there is no better way to round up the decade than to look back at the film industry and single out top 10 movies of the 2010s. The reason why these movies made such an impact is the emotional effect they had on the audience. Actors’ performances combined with appropriate background music and cinematography have definitely made us feel many emotions. They made us connect to the complex characters and follow the intriguing storylines. These movies also deal with important social issues that resonate at several levels.

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Movies such as Moonlight and 12 Years a Slave show the harsh reality of discrimination against black people, especially non-stereotypical ones. The Social Network follows the development of one of the greatest social media that will encourage further development of technology, such as the complex one used in Inception. Boyhood stands out with its technique of using same actors throughout 12 years of filming. Mad Max: Fury Road is also praised for its small usage of CGI, especially for action scenes. During certain scenes in Whiplash and Interstellar you will find yourself sitting at the edge of your seat. Wolf of Wall Street and Parasite will make you both laugh and shudder. So, let’s take a closer look at those 10 movies that marked the 2010s.

The Social Network (2010)

The Social Network, directed by David Fincher, is easily one of the best movies of the year 2010. People are still talking about it even 10 years after its release. It feels very recent and is still relevant.

The movie follows the growth of an online social media platform, Facebook, created by Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg). Facebook as a social media has left a big impact on society and modern life. It became the blueprint for other popular social media sites. The Social Network shows the sacrifices Mark had to make, the relationships he created and broke, the enemies he gained and the risks that he had to take.

“People want to go on the Internet and check out their friends, so why not build a website that offers that? Friends, pictures, profiles, whatever you can visit, browse around, maybe it’s someone you just met at a party. I’m not talking about a dating site. I’m talking about taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online.”

Despite being about origins and the making of Facebook, according to David Kirkpatrick, the author of the book The Facebook Effect, The Social Network is only 40% accurate. Zuckerberg’s character is portrayed differently and some characters aren’t even based on real people. Nevertheless, the opening scene is written perfectly and the acting, as well as the cast, is amazing. Not only does it show the development of Facebook, but it also shows how fast and in what ways relationships between people can change.  

Inception (2010)

How do you even explain the plot of Inception? From the tangled dream sequence happening at the beginning, to an unanswered ending, Inception is still one of the best sci-fi action movies of the 21st century. The concept of an information heist and idea plantation happening in a person’s dream is what made this movie a story difficult to comprehend after watching it for the first time.

The movie begins with a dream within a dream scene which briefly shows the viewer how the tecgnology in it works. The story follows two associates, Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), whose job is to extract ideas and information from men’s minds. Their latest target, a rich man named Saito (Ken Watanabe), gave them a mission for which they will require a larger group of skilled people. Cobb and Arthur team up with Eames (Tom Hardy), Ariadne (Elliot Page) and Yusuf (Dileep Rao) in order to implant an idea into the mind of a young billionaire, Robert Fischer Jr. (Cillian Murphy).

“Building a dream from your memory is the easiest way of losing your grasp on what’s real and what is a dream.”

Inception is another Christopher Nolan movie where you have to really focus on the plot because of its fast action you might miss something. It messes with our perception of reality and makes us questions what is real and what is only a dream. The important symbolism is clearly displayed throughout the movie and small twists which often occur will play with your emotions and really connect you to the characters.

Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar is one of those movies you can’t fully comprehend after watching it once and it will trouble you long after you watched it. It is a complex movie and it covers many topics. It affects you emotionally and makes you focus on the almost incomprehensible story.

The movie is set in a dystopian future where Earth has been so polluted that in the near future it’ll become uninhabitable for humans. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his daughter Murph (Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy), who is named after the Murphy’s Law, find a secret NASA base where a group of astronauts, including Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway), plan to travel to another dimension through a black hole with the goal of finding planets suitable for humans.

“Murphy’s Law doesn’t meant that something bad will happen. It means that whatever can happen, will happen.”

The powerful and brilliantly composed music, alongside with fantastic cinematography and heartbreaking performances, brings so many emotions that will stay with you after watching it even once. In less than three hours Interstellar manages to cover the topic of other dimensions, black holes and the power of time and love. It took many scientists to create it and, with great directing by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar has arguably become one of the best space movies of this century.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

The newest one in the Mad Max franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road stands out for its brilliant performances, impressive cinematography, visual appeal and scenes that are a perfect combination of action and sci-fi.

The story is set in a deserted, post-apocalyptic world, in a place called Citadel ruled by Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). Furiosa (Charlize Theron), in the company of Joe’s five wives, disobeys Immortan Joe and tries to reach a place known as the “Green Place”. Eventually they unite with Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) and try to reach their goal as they are chased by Joe’s army, the War Boys.

“My world is reduced to a single instinct: Survive. As the world fell it was hard to know who was more crazy. Me… Or everyone else.”

The most admirable thing about this movie is the characters’ costume designs and makeup. The director, George Miller, can proudly say the majority of action scenes and car chases weren’t created by CGI. Everything is perfectly set in the atmosphere of the post-apocalyptic world with a touch of fiction. Every scene is rich with color and is followed by background music that adds to the gripping action happening on the screen. Charlize Theron gave an outstanding performance and created one of the most beautiful scenes in the modern film industry.

Boyhood (2014)

Boyhood, directed by Richard Linklater, decided to discard CGI and recasting and instead used the same actors for 12 years, the time it took to film it. The filming process began in 2001. While watching this movie, the audience is also observing the growth of young actors and following the development of modern culture.

The movie follows the lives of Mason (Ellar Coltrane), his older sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) and their divorced mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette). Their father (Ethan Hawke) visits them often, takes them on trips and teaches them lessons their mother hasn’t taught them. She goes through tough relationships and financial struggles to maintain the family. The movie shows the kids’ growth from kindergarten to their college years, people they met on their journey and the situations they had to go through.

“You know how everyone’s always saying seize the moment? I don’t know, I’m kinda thinking it’s the other way around. You know, like the moment seizes us.”

Boyhood takes us through a story that has been going on for years, even in real life. It’s filled with various pop culture references, funny lighthearted moments in the family, but also difficult scenes that give a touch of harsh reality to this movie.

Moonlight (2016)

Being called one of the best movies of the 21st century multiple times, Moonlight, in the direction of Barry Jenkins, as an LGBT movie has done something other movies of the same genre haven’t. It shows the realest and rawest struggle that some young people go through, especially when they’re raised in a certain society. It covers the struggle of a black boy who lives in a society where he knows he will not be accepted and has no one that would support him.

The movie follows a boy named Chiron through three stages of his life: his childhood, teenage years and adulthood. Throughout his school years, Chiron (Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes) struggles with bullying and his mother’s abuse at home. As a black boy who starts to questions his sexuality, Chiron has no one to rely on. He soon meets a drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali) who, alongside his girlfriend Teresa (Janelle Monáe), comforts him and teaches him that he has to decide who he wants to be for himself. As years pass by, Chiron has to go through difficult situations that will affect him and later shape him as a person.

“At some point, you gotta decide for yourself who you gonna be. Can’t let nobody make that decision for you.”

Moonlight deals with an everyday struggle everyone experiences: finding your own identity, especially in societies with strict social norms. Chiron is different from his peers, which is the reason he is excluded, bullied and not accepted for who he is. The message and actors’ emotions are beautifully portrayed and there is a clear representation of importance of color in the film.

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen, among many movies about slavery, talks about the cruel history of people and usage of privilege white people had to harm black people. It did nothing to minimize the bad treatment and violence they experienced. They were taken away from their families, given different names and were forced to work for other people and got whipped if they did something even slightly wrong. This movie covers all of that.  

The movie follows Solomon (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a violinist living with his family as a free man. He’s sold into slavery, in which he has spent 12 years, and, under a given name, he worked on the plantation owned by ruthless and sadistic Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender).

“What difference is there in the color of the soul?”

This movie has an amazing cast and every role was performed perfectly. Actors in the roles of slaves made the audience empathize with them and actors in the roles of racist and violent people made us hate them. The performance that stood out the most was given by Lupita Nyong’o’ with her role Patsey. Lupita performed a very gut-wrenching scene, despite this being her first movie.

Whiplash (2014)

As important as talent is, what really makes some of the big artists great is hard work and support given by other people, especially teachers and tutors. However, some teachers might go as far as mentally abusing their students until they reach perfection or, as shown in Whiplash, until they become a perfect drummer.  

The movie follows Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller), a first-year student at Shaffer Conservatory with a dream of becoming a famous drummer, such as Charlie Parker. He’s accepted into Shaffer Conservatory’s jazz band that is lead by Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), a teacher who encourages people in an abusive way and often calls out band members and puts them in uncomfortable situations. Andrew soon finds out what kind of teacher Fletcher is and how much effort he will need to put in to achieve perfection.

“I was there to push people beyond what’s expected of them. I believe that’s an absolute necessity.”

Whiplash, in the direction of Damien Chazelle, is full of unexpected moments, happening fast one after another. The story is very intense and it ends so fast it leaves you amazed and, in a way, satisfied. It makes you question if abuse is necessary to encourage someone to reach their full potential.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street is Martin Scorsese’s biographical movie about Jordan Belfort, an author and former stockbroker. It was based on Belfort’s book with the same name to which he remained faithful.  

The movie follows Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) in his raising career as a stockbroker, starting in the early 1990s when he stared a brokerage firm with Donny Azoff (Jonah Hill). Belfort’s way of doing business caught people’s attention and the more their company grew, the more illegal acts they committed. Belfort’s wealthy lifestyle became full of drug business, prostitution and office parties. His actions eventually lead him to his downfall, as his wife Naomi (Margot Robbie) divorces him and takes full custody of their daughter while he gets arrested. Once he gets out of prison, he needs to use his knowledge to find a future potential millionaire.

“Still, give them to me young, hungry, and stupid. And in no time, I will make them rich.”

The Wolf of Wall Street is a real roller coaster. It contains dark humor, ridiculous scenes you laugh at and intense scenes you sometimes can’t help but smile at because of how good the acting is. It has good messages, amazing cast alongside with amazing acting and great combination of comedic and gripping scenes. At the same time, it often feels like its only purpose is entertainment and representation of how wealthy people spend their money.

Parasite (2019)

2019 was a ground-breaking year for the cinema and among many movies, Parasite has made a great impact on its audience and media in general. Having become one of the best movies in the last decade, it has been a break-through for the Korean film industry and the famous Korean director Joon-ho Bong. Parasite is a perfect combination of comedy and tragedy since it deals with heavy topics such as poverty, privilege of rich people and injustice affecting poor families in general.

The movie follows the Kim family: father Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho), mother Chung-sook (Jang Hye-jin), son Ki-woo (Choi Woo‑shik) and daughter Ki-jung (Park So‑dam). As he was in the need of money, Ki-woo got a tutoring job at the house of the rich Park family. With careful planning and cleverly created scenarios, every member of the Kim family gets employed by the Parks and uses that privilege, not knowing how everything will turn against them.

“You know what kind of plan never fails? No plan. No plan at all. You know why? Because life cannot be planned.”

The amazing plot twist divides the movie into two parts. The first part with comedy elements, clever foreshadowing moments and a light-hearted atmosphere. The second part suddenly turns the movie into a gripping horror story filled with scenes that are hard to watch without being deeply affected. And on top of it all comes the unexpected ending.

Written by Nola Kolarek

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