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Ten best movies of 2010

If you haven't yet seen any or all of my top 10, I envy what awaits you. These are Monitor Film Critic Peter Rainer's favorite films of the year.

10. Winter's Bone

Lionsgate/AP
A scene from Winter's Bone.

Jennifer Lawrence is probably the most gifted actress of her generation, as she definitively proves in this harrowing odyssey, co-written and directed by Debra Granik, about a fiercely independent young woman fighting for the life of her family in the clannish, drug-ridden Missouri Ozarks.

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Jennifer Lawrence stars in 'Winter's Bone': movie review

Here's the full list:

# 1 Another Year – Mike Leigh’s best movies bring the humdrum to rousing, resonant life. His latest is a season-by-season catalog of encounters between a contented North London couple (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen) and their divorced, progressively distraught friend (Leslie Manville). Beneath its deceptively casual surface is an entire world of feeling.

# 2 I Am LoveTilda Swinton plays a Russian immigrant who married into a wealthy Milanese family in this lushly lyrical, superbly intelligent, romantic drama co-written and directed by Luca Guadagnino. One of the rare movies that makes your eyes swim without also clouding your mind.

# 3 Inside Job – Charles Ferguson’s documentary is the most lucid and straightforward cinematic rendering to date of the 2008 financial collapse and its many and continuing aftershocks.

# 4 The Last Train Home – Every year during the Lunar New Year, 130 million Chinese workers return to their villages from the industrial cities where they are employed as factory workers in the booming economy. The Chinese-Canadian documentarian Lixin Fan focuses on a single couple, originally from Sichuan Province, as they attempt to reconnect with their children over a three-year period. An epic portrait, intimately told.

# 5 The Ghost WriterEwan McGregor is a ghostwriter for a former British prime minister (Pierce Brosnan), scathingly modeled on Tony Blair, who gets in way over his head. Roman Polanski directed, which means the film is simultaneously scabrous and comedic. As enjoyable as it is, “The Ghost Writer” finally sounds a note of pervasive dread.

# 6 The Illusionist – This is an ineffably sweet and melancholy handcrafted 2-D animated movie about an aging magician and the young waif he looks after. Director Sylvain Chomet, who also made the wonderful “Triplets of Belleville,” adapted a never-produced screenplay by Jacques Tati, and he serves the master superlatively well while also making the material triumphantly his own.

# 7 The King’s Speech – Colin Firth is King George VI, he of the dreadful stammer, and Geoffrey Rush is Lionel Logue, the speech therapist as miracle worker, in this immensely satisfying historical drama. Two better performances together you won’t find all year.

# 8 Toy Story 3 – I can’t think of another Part 3 in the movies that is as good as “Toy Story 3” (and no, I haven’t forgotten “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”). It is always an amazement to me how animated characters – in computer-generated 3-D no less – can evoke such deep emotions from us. A triumphant conclusion to a series that just kept getting better and better.

# 9 Vincere – Marco Bellocchio’s fervid drama about the rise of Mussolini and the hushed-up story of the wife and child he abandoned is in many ways the most jolting experience I had in the movies all year. It’s about the tragedy of totalitarianism and its impact on the human soul. As the discarded wife, Giovanna Mezzogiorno gives a performance of Anna Magnani-like intensity.

# 10 Winter’s Bone – Jennifer Lawrence is probably the most gifted actress of her generation, as she definitively proves in this harrowing odyssey, co-written and directed by Debra Granik, about a fiercely independent young woman fighting for the life of her family in the clannish, drug-ridden Missouri Ozarks.

Other worthies: "Tiny Furniture," "True Grit," "Tamara Drewe," "Mother," "Vision," "The Oath," "Boxing Gym," "Get Low," "The Tillman Story," "Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould," and "Carlos."

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