Top 10 Most Beautiful Films Of 2019


Animated wonders, enormous blockbusters, psychedelic horrors and striking, emotional dramas. 2019 has been filled to the brim with gorgeous films, and a number of visually beautiful masterpieces. So, here are my picks, for the top 10 most beautiful films of 2019.

10. Bait

We start with a film that might not be considered ‘beautiful’ in the conventional sense of the word, but is undeniably one of the year’s most visually arresting films.

From director Mark Jenkin, Bait, the story of a man in a small Cornish fishing village as he sees his community taken over by middle class suburbanites, is shot in the style of a classic independent British drama.

While it’s an entirely modern film, the visuals are so powerfully convincing in their emulation of classic cinema that it’s really a marvel to behold. With scratchy imagery and tactile black-and-white cinematography, it looks exactly like a film straight out of the 1950s.

But it’s more than just a gimmick, and in tandem with the film’s modern setting, the use of that old visual style brilliantly mirrors the story’s look at the clash between the traditional and modern world. And as a result, that clash proves all the more tense and exciting throughout.

Read a full review here.

9. The Aeronauts

Despite proving somewhat of a flop at the box office and on streaming platforms, director Tom Harper’s The Aeronauts is a visually gorgeous adventure, bringing life to the world above the clouds in a way we’ve never seen before.

Doing for the big blue sky what Gravity did for outer space, The Aeronauts sees Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne journey up and up to the atmosphere, surrounded by a spellbindingly empty expanse of sky, brought to life by exceptional visual effects that make the film a real visual marvel.

Although it’s far from a perfect movie, and also proves irritating with its changing aspect ratios, those scenes up in the atmosphere (shot in IMAX) are really exceptional, giving the skies a powerful visual identity that combines a pure, gorgeous emptiness and the awesome power of nature. It’s the sort of film to enjoy on the biggest screen you can find, because that’s where the majesty of its visuals really hit home.

Read a full review here.

8. The Lion King

Although Disney’s near-identical ‘live action’ remake of the beloved 1994 classic proved to be a pretty pointless film, there’s no getting past how stunning a technical achievement it is.

While the film’s lack of emotional depth means that The Lion King never really inspires great awe, the quality of the animation is breathtaking, creating animals and landscapes from scratch and making them entirely photorealistic.

In fact, the visuals are so stunning, and so completely convincing that it’s difficult to get your head around, seeing what looks like entirely real animals singing beloved Disney songs and speaking with their mouths moving. It’s a bit of a misguided film, and doesn’t really work on its own, but as far as technical achievements go, The Lion King is arguably the most visually spectacular film ever made.

Read a full review here.

7. Midsommar

Director Ari Aster’s psychedelic summer horror Midsommar is undoubtedly a spectacular film, using unique and striking visual techniques to make for what proves an often thoroughly unsettling watch.

Set in a Swedish commune at the height of summer, the film forgoes all horror clichés and tropes with a washed-out, brilliant visual palette that fills the screen with gorgeous white and yellow light.

Against the fresh, full backdrop of the Swedish countryside in full bloom, those visuals are a wonder to behold, but also play perfectly into the film’s persona as a psychedelic nightmare, with overwhelming brightness that feels exactly like a bizarre bad dream.

While the movie is a little flawed when it comes to the narrative, there’s no denying its visual mastery, stunning with a unique and eternally memorable style that we’ve never really seen before from the horror genre.

Read a full review here.

6. Parasite

Bong Joon-ho’s breathless thriller Parasite is in contention for every award under the sun this year, and it could even launch a challenge when it comes to cinematography.

Slick in every sense of the word, Parasite is a deeply beautiful watch from start to finish, crafting tension, intrigue and drama out of every corner of film it can manage, thanks to gorgeous cinematography and awards-worthy production design.

Whether it’s the dingy, dirty home of the Kim family, or the elegant, majestic piece of modern art that is the Park family home, Parasite has one of the most striking visual identities I’ve seen in years, and in that pulls you in even deeper into an absolute rollercoaster of a story, heightening the sense of peril and excitement immensely as it weaves gloriously up and down throughout.

Read a full review here.

5. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters

Far from the year’s most memorable film, if there’s one thing that’s great about Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, it’s the exhilarating visuals.

A vast improvement on its 2014 predecessor in all respects, King Of The Monsters stuns with its new and sensational electric blue visual identity, pitting Godzilla against the universe’s biggest monsters in a series of action set-pieces that will leave you gobsmacked in front of the screen.

Taking Godzilla into a battle of enormous proportions, King Of The Monsters is one of the most majestic blockbusters I’ve ever seen, with glorious action on an immense scale, all brought to life by spectacular visual effects and crisp, powerful cinematography. It may not be the best film of the year, but as far as cinematic experiences go, it’s easily one of the most beautiful.

Read a full review here.

4. Frozen II

With a decade of gorgeous animated hits already under their belt, Disney capped off the 2010s with arguably their most visually striking film of all: Frozen II.

An astonishing step up from the 2013 original, Frozen II is the very definition of beautiful modern animation, combining a fun, charismatic fairytale visual style with jaw-dropping photorealistic settings and incredible detail.

The Lion King may look more realistic, but Frozen II uses its visual prowess to brilliant effect, ranging from the enchanting sparkles of Elsa’s dresses to the deeply atmospheric settings, from the Enchanted Forest to the dark, domineering sea.

Although it doesn’t have the same show-stopping power of its predecessor, Frozen II shows just how far animation has come over the last ten years, stunning with unprecedented detail and majesty that we could have only dreamed of just a few short years ago.

Read a full review here.

3. Ad Astra

With modern visual effects continuing to push the boundaries, space movies are always where we see just how spectacular Hollywood can be.

And this year, no film was even close to Ad Astra. A moving, elegant space opera reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s legendary 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film is an awe-inspiring watch from beginning to end, starting with a breathless sequence hanging above the Earth, and finishing with a glorious finale just above Neptune.

Combining a realist portrayal of space in the near future with glorious, immense visuals, Ad Astra forgoes the need for big, action-packed interstellar exploits. Instead, providing a patient and intimate story of personal connection, the gorgeous, elegant visuals deepen the film’s introspective and pensive nature, proving a breathtaking blend of large-scale filmmaking and intimate emotional depth.

Read a full review here.

2. Portrait Of A Lady On Fire

A film doesn’t have to filled with big, modern visual effects just to be beautiful, and if there’s a movie that proves just that this year, it’s without a doubt Portrait Of A Lady On Fire.

An astonishingly striking drama that follows the romance between an artist and an heiress in 18th century France, the film takes place against a series of stunning backdrops, shot gorgeously by cinematographer Claire Mathon, and brought to life in splendid fashion by director Céline Sciamma.

From the windswept beaches and cliffs of Brittany to the tactile, earthy tones of the heiress’ estate, every shot in Portrait Of A Lady On Fire is spellbinding to look at, and in tandem with such strong emotional passion, it makes the film a deeply beguiling watch.

And with just as much attention paid to the most intimate moments between our two leads, the film is blessed with stunning, passionate visual majesty throughout, only intensifying its emotional depth and the tension and intrigue bubbling throughout.

Read a full review here.

1. I Lost My Body

One of the most stunning animated films ever made, I Lost My Body is a spellbinding watch, combining a transcendent story with deeply beautiful visuals that absolutely confirm the unparalleled power of animation.

Blending striking photorealistic imagery with a gritty, tactile style reminiscent of a number of modern adult animations, the film is an undeniably exquisite piece of work through and through.

The story of a young man finding his place in the world, the film’s arresting style brings exceptionally powerful drama to the table throughout, while equally allowing the film to balance its darker and grittier urban vibes with elements of fantasy and magical realism in a way that live action never could.

It’s a deeply gorgeous film at every moment, with transcendent power and emotional depth like few others, all of which emanates from those awe-inspiring visuals, placing I Lost My Body as undoubtedly the most beautiful film of 2019.

Read a full review here.


About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: