Film News South Africa

The top-15 films of 2014

Spending your life in the dark can be wonderful! Of the more than 250 films released commercially on the South African circuit annually, the stories that we take home with us and touch on our lives are the ones that are always good to share with other like-minded cinephiles. As a film journalist you also have the great opportunity of watching 95% of these films on the big screen, which makes the task of choosing your favourite films even harder. At the end of the day, film is in the eye of the beholder.

1. The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. Ultimate awe and storytelling at its most spectacular. The art of film in motion. The third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien, brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the Company of Dwarves.

2. Interstellar. Christopher Nolan's imaginative and bold journey into the story of a man who must decide whether or not to leave his two children behind to join the voyage and attempt to save humanity from an environmentally devastated Earth by finding a new habitable planet in another galaxy.

3. August: Osage County. Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning story tells the dark, hilarious and deeply touching story of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose lives have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

4. The Hundred-Foot Journey. Lasse Hallström's deliciously sumptuous feast for the senses explores the poignant relationship between an Indian culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch and the headstrong proprietress of a classical French restaurant.

5. Die Windpomp. Dealing with issues of getting old and grappling with loneliness, and the wonder and magic of youth, as well as searching for and finding love in unexpected places, this local stunner will sweep you off your feet.

6. Boyhood. It's one of those unique films that allows us to see our life as a whole, and how a whole life influences the many lives that walk through the turnstile of our existence.

7. Philomena. An emotional story inspired by true events, tinged with both tragedy and comedy, about two very different people who join forces for a remarkable journey who seek to uncover the truth behind a heartbreaking story that has remained a mystery for half a century.

8. Jersey Boys. From director Clint Eastwood comes the big-screen version of the Tony Award-winning musical, the unforgettable story that follows the trials, triumphs and songs of the iconic 1960s' rock group The Four Seasons, which influenced a generation.

9. Saving Mr Banks. Featuring stellar performances by Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, it was inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of how Disney's classic Mary Poppins made it to the screen.

10. The Grand Budapest Hotel. The glorious story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting; a raging battle for an enormous family fortune; and the sweetest confection of a love affair - all against the backdrop of a suddenly and dramatically changing continent.

11. The Canyons. Sexual obsession and sexuality have never been more heated than in Paul Schrader's erotically charged psycho-thriller.

12. The Great Beauty. An absolutely all-consuming exploration into the underbelly of Rome's rich-and-famous socialites and the decadence of prosperity.

13. Guardians Of The Galaxy. Ultimate escapism at its most spectacular! An American pilot ends up in space in the middle of a universal conflict and goes on the run with futuristic ex-cons who have something everyone wants.

14. Snowpiercer. Catch a thrilling ride on the action-packed Snowpiercer, a train filled with bustling human lives hurling through the aftermath of a global apocalypse, in one of the most exhilarating films in years!

15. Winter's Tale. An ultimate love story about miracles, crossed destinies, and the age-old battle between good and evil.

For more information on these films and an overview of 2014, go to

About Daniel Dercksen

Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit
Let's do Biz