Courtesy of Fox Searchlight; Courtesy of Universal; Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Best 10 Movies for Grownups for 2015
The movies got real in 2015: Nearly every one of our Top 10 films for the year was based on a factual story, and all managed to uncover universal truths about the human condition.1 of 13
Kerry Hayes/Open Road Films
Reining in his impulsive reporters, a seasoned Boston Globe editor (Michael Keaton) guides his team as it unravels the terrible secrets surrounding pedophile priests. Director Tom McCarthy (Win Win, The Visitor) avoids sensationalizing the tricky subject matter in this fact-based drama, making us long for the not-so-distant days when voices of reason still governed mass media.2 of 13
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight
This exuberant, unapologetically innocent tale of a young Irish woman (Saoirse Ronan) finding love in early-1950s New York will have you shaking your head at the sexual cynicism that came after. Screenwriter Nick Hornby’s quiet narrative dovetails with director John Crowley’s patient pacing to create one of the year’s most beautiful films.3 of 13
Courtesy of Disney/Pixar
Pixar’s latest animated masterpiece ingeniously portrays the emotions of a tween girl as characters such as Joy (Amy Poehler) and Anger (Lewis Black), who guide her through the trials of growing up. Hilarious and heartbreaking, the film teaches us to treasure the full spectrum of our emotions (including Sadness, wonderfully voiced by Phyllis Smith of The Office).4 of 13
Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox
The elevator pitch: Marooned on Mars, Matt Damon must use his wits to stay alive until NASA can rescue him. Director Ridley Scott never resorts to cheap thrills — or easy villains — in this ultimate story of survival. The excitement of The Martian comes from witnessing our hero’s endless ingenuity and stubborn good nature.5 of 13
Courtesy of Roadside Attractions
'Love & Mercy'
The music alone lands this film biography of Beach Boy Brian Wilson on any grownup-movie list. But director Bill Pohlad’s unique choice — Paul Dano plays Wilson in his youth, John Cusack in his adulthood — really raises the bar. Wilson’s lifelong battle with mental illness (and mistreatment by an unscrupulous shrink) frames a narrative that can be as difficult to watch as it is glorious to hear.6 of 13
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'Straight Outta Compton'
This rhythm-driven drama set in the mid-1980s recounts how hip-hop music entered the cultural mainstream. Paul Giamatti plays the record-company exec who saw (and heard) gold in the beats being laid down by the likes of Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.) and Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.).8 of 13
Courtesy of Warner Brothers
What could be richer soil for dumb ageist jokes than a comedy about a bored retiree (Robert DeNiro) returning to the workplace as intern to a young Internet exec (Anne Hathaway)? Thankfully, writer-director Nancy Meyers keeps that from happening: Neither generation gets the upper hand and everyone learns from everyone else — to hilarious effect.9 of 13
Courtesy of Focus Features
'The Danish Girl'
We love this shoulder tap from director Tom Hooper and star Eddie Redmayne: Uh, you do realize boomers didn’t invent transgender identity, right? Set in the 1920s and ’30s, it tells the true story of Lili Elbe, a Danish man who underwent numerous surgeries en route to becoming a woman. A compelling account of enduring love under extreme circumstances.10 of 13
Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox
Get your life reinvention here! Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence), a housewife and former waitress, created the Miracle Mop at 35 and became an overnight Home Shopping Network icon. Writer-director David O. Russell deftly retraces the delirious story of Joy’s family business — and with her combative parents played by Robert De Niro and Virginia Madsen, what a clan it is!11 of 13
Courtesy of DreamWorks Pictures
'Bridge of Spies'
Remember “Duck and cover”? Then prepare for chills of recognition during Steven Spielberg’s retelling of a little-known Cold War drama. As a lawyer seeking the release of U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers from the Soviets, Tom Hanks brings just-the-facts authenticity to the negotiations. The diplomats on both sides, meanwhile, are desk jockeys dead set on stopping the world from incinerating itself on their watch.12 of 13
AARP13 of 13
Top Row (left to right), Courtesy of Open Road Films, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., Focus Features, Disney/Pixar, Second Row (left to right), Fox Searchlight, Roadside Attractions, DreamWorks Pictures, Universal Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Third Row (left to right), Columbia Pictures, A24, Twentieth Century Fox, The Weinstein Company, Focus Features