Top movies of 2018

After a reasonable year in 2017, the movies went one better in 2018. The year may – when the history is written – mark a watershed moment. This was the year when movies (percolating a cultural shift that’s been happening for a while now) realised it wasn’t all about doing the same thing over and over. As a result, movies featuring women, people of colour and other under-represented groups gained, not just a foothold, but real traction in cinema.

Avengers: Infinity War

That shift was, to some extent at least, reflected at the box office. The top money earner at the Australian box office was Avengers: Infinity War with just under $47 million. That’s probably no great surprise. What might be a surprise is that Black Panther was number 3 with almost $32 million.  They were split by The Incredibles 2 (nearly $34 million) at no. 2; which – while an animated film – featured a female protagonist. Of course, all three top earners were also superhero movies, so that might well be a factor as well. And you could also chuck the no. 5 earner, Deadpool 2, into that basket. But the top 10 movies also included Bohemian Rhapsody and Crazy Rich Asians, suggesting it’s not all about superheroes. Bohemian Rhapsody (no. 4) wasn’t the only music-themed movie to do well; with Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born raking in over $22 million to land at no. 7.

Acclaimed movies however didn’t far all that well. Oscar contender The Phantom Thread was at no. 100; while Best Picture winner The Shape of Water was at no. 57. Both were inexplicably out-performed by the execrable Kevin Hart “comedy” Night School. Indeed, their combined take was only a quarter of the money earned by the no. 10 movie, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. Ladies in Black (no. 26) was the top grossing Australian movie with a respectable $8.5 million; while sadly not a single foreign-language film appeared in the top 50 (unless you include Jennifer Lawrence’s dual-language Red Sparrow).

Red Sparrow

Leaving aside money, 2018 marked the return of some big names and the emergence of others. Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread), Spike Lee (BlacKKKlansman), and Wes Anderson (Isle of Dogs) all had new films. Meanwhile, actors Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) and John Krasinski (A Quiet Place), all went behind the lens to direct memorable films.

At the other end of the scale, 2018 also saw a series of flops. As we’ve explained previously, judging the “biggest” flop is difficult (because it depends on what factors you take into account). But big-budget movies like The Girl in the Spider’s Web , Robin Hood and Mortal Engines would have to be up there.

A little oddly, critics weren’t as polarised by the year’s films as seemed to be the case in 2017. Certainly, there didn’t seem to be a film as divisive as say Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! from 2017; although Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri came close. Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria stoked some fires of controversy, as did All the Money in the World, though for very different reasons.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web

So to our favourites. We’ve kept to last year’s formula, with each of our reviewers providing a top ten list; plus a consolidated list. Looking over our critics’ lists, the striking thing is the diversity of selections. Only 4 films appeared on more than one list; meaning 26 unique selections appeared. The consolidated list has been compiled by taking all the choices and allocating a score of 3 for movies ranked between 1 and 3 on each list; 2 for those from 4 to 6; and 1 for 7 to 10. The consolidated list this year only goes to 8, because the range of selections meant there were multiple ties for the two positions remaining, so it seemed fairer to highlight the higher picks.

As always, if you enjoy movies please, please get out to the cinema if you can. We’re looking forward to an even bigger and better year of movies in 2019, and we hope you’ll join us on the journey. And now here are our critics’ top movies of 2018:


  1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  2. A Star is Born
  3. The Favourite
  4. Cold War
  5. The Shape of Water
  6. BlacKKKlansman
  7. Bohemian Rhapsody
  8. The Post

Greg King

  1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  2. A Star Is Born
  3. Bohemian Rhapsody
  4. Paddington 2
  5. A Prayer Before Dawn
  6. Lean On Pete
  7. A Quiet Place
  8. The Insult
  9. RBG
  10. Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse

David Edwards

  1. The Favourite
  2. Cold War
  3. BlacKKKlansman
  4. I, Tonya
  5. Widows
  6. Lady Bird
  7. The Death of Stalin
  8. Tully
  9. A Simple Favour
  10. Isle of Dogs

Alex First

  1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  2. The Shape of Water
  3. The Post
  4. A Star is Born
  5. See You Up There
  6. Disobedience
  7. The Favourite
  8. Leave No Trace
  9. Cold War
  10. First Man

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