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The Top Movies of 2011

By Kristyn Lyncheski
On December 29, 2011

  • Viola Davis (left) gave a heart-wrenching performance as maid Aibileen Clark, living and working in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960s. Davis has already received a Golden Globe nomination for her role, adding to the other four nominations the film has garned. Photos from
  • French actors Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo play silent films actors adjusting to the use of movies with sound in director Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist. The film has already been nominated for six Golden Globe awards.
  • George Clooney and his co-star Shailene Woodley both garnered Golden Globe nominations for their performances in The Descendants. The film is also up for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
  • Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star in the cancer dramedy 50/50, for which Gordon-Levitt has earned a Golden Globe nomination.

In a year of raunchy comedies, summer superheroes, blockbuster finales and plenty of Oscar bait, The Setonian looks back at our favorite movies of 2011.

"The Help" – Much like the book, the film became a must-see phenomenon across the country.  Exploring the controversy of the 1960s, "The Help" takes a new and unique approach to looking at the civil rights movement, through the eyes of the household maid.

"The Artist" – This silent movie about the silent movie era – it was also filmed in black and white – had a limited release in the United States, but is considered a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination in the coming year. Critics and fans alike rave about the extraordinary and unexpected impact of the film about a silent film actor adjusting to the coming attraction of "talkies."

 "Like Crazy" – The film tells the love story of two college students from different countries who are forced to fight for their love when they are separated during an immigration battle.  The film is highly emotional and was a favorite at the Sundance Film Festival, so it may receive Oscar nods. The actors and director Drake Doremus wanted to redefine the romance genre.

"The Descendants" – This drama about a family going through a crisis took off as soon as it hit theaters.  In what has been called the best role in his career, George Clooney brilliantly plays a distant father who suddenly becomes the main caretaker of his two daughters after his wife falls into a coma.

"50/50" – Based on a true story, the film portrays how a young man with cancer comes to terms with his diagnosis through humor and the company of his friend.  Its reliability and authenticity helped drive this film to the top this year. Read the Setonian's coverage of this film here.

"Bridesmaids" – Although it might not be an Oscar nominee, no other comedy made quite as big of a splash at the movies this year. With its raunchy, laugh-out-loud humor, "Bridesmaids" was considered the female version of "The Hangover," even overshadowing "The Hangover 2" this past summer.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" – This summer saw the end of an era with the final installment of the series of the boy wizard. Fans were not disappointed with the last "Harry Potter" film, some calling it the best of all eight movies. Read The Setonian's review here.

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" – The highly anticipated English version of the best-selling novel has already had incredible reviews in the short amount of time that it has been released.  While most people thought it could not get much better than the Stieg Larsson novel or the original Swedish version, fans are praising Rooney Mara, who has wowed audiences in her true breakout role as the films heroine, Lisbeth Salander. You can also read an alternative opinion of the movie here.


Kristyn Lyncheski can be reached at


Read The Setonian's choice for the top albums of 2011 here. What did you think of our recap? Leave your opinion in the comments!

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