The Best Movies of 2019 (So Far)

Good. Bad. Fresh. Rotten. Movies come in all degrees of quality. How about chopping through the chaff and watching only the best ones?

Welcome to the Best Movies of 2019! So far, at least. As this decade barrels towards its final destination, Rotten Tomatoes be there every day, every step of the way, adding new Certified Fresh each week. Already, we’ve got early prestige upstarts (Ash Is Purest White), family films (LEGO Movie 2), blockbusters (Captain Marvel, Shazam!), and a movie about a man who killed Hitler and then Bigfoot (The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot).

And just how does a movie become Certified Fresh, exactly? Simple: Get a Tomatometer score of 75% or higher after 40 reviews (80 reviews for wide releases), with five those coming from Top Critics.

What does the year hold in store for us? Who knows (you could check out our guide to 2019’s Most Anticipated Movies, or even 2020’s), but check back this countdown of the best movies 2019 often to witness it unfold.

Last updated 4/22: Rafiki, Hail Satan?, Little Woods

#42

Climax (2019)
72%

#42
Adjusted Score: 79.7%
Critics Consensus: Challenging and rewarding in equal measure, Climax captures writer-director Gaspar Noé working near his technically brilliant and visually distinctive peak.
Synopsis: From director Gaspar Noé (Irreversible; Enter the Void; Love) comes a hypnotic, hallucinatory, and ultimately hair-raising depiction of a party... [More]
Directed By: Gaspar Noé

#41
Adjusted Score: 76.694%
Critics Consensus: The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot just about lives up to the wild promise of its title, due in no small part to Sam Elliott's world-weary work in the title role.
Synopsis: THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT follows the epic adventures of an American legend that no one... [More]
Directed By: Robert D. Krzykowski

#40

Never Look Away (2019)
77%

#40
Adjusted Score: 81.266%
Critics Consensus: Never Look Away fills its protracted running time with the absorbing story of an incredible life -- and its impact on the singular artist who lived it.
Synopsis: A sweeping romantic historical drama, NEVER LOOK AWAY follows thirty years in the life of a great artist - loosely... [More]

#39
Adjusted Score: 85.929%
Critics Consensus: Everybody Knows is somewhat less than the sum of its parts despite the efforts of an outstanding cast - and a disappointing step back for writer-director Asghar Farhadi.
Synopsis: The film follows Laura (Cruz) on her travels from Argentina to her small home town in Spain for her sister's... [More]
Directed By: Asghar Farhadi

#38

Captain Marvel (2019)
78%

#38
Adjusted Score: 102.987%
Critics Consensus: Packed with action, humor, and visual thrills, Captain Marvel introduces the MCU's latest hero with an origin story that makes effective use of the franchise's signature formula.
Synopsis: The story follows Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in... [More]
Directed By: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

#37

The Wind (2019)
79%

#37
Adjusted Score: 80.976%
Critics Consensus: Imperfect yet intriguing, The Wind offers horror fans an admirably ambitious story further distinguished by its fresh perspective and effective scares.
Synopsis: An unseen evil haunts the homestead in this chilling, folkloric tale of madness, paranoia, and otherworldly terror. Lizzy (Caitlin Gerard)... [More]
Directed By: Emma Tammi

#36

Dogman (2019)
81%

#36
Adjusted Score: 84.121%
Critics Consensus: Dogman offers a grim character study set apart by Marcello Fonte's performance and director Matteo Garrone's tight grip on the material.
Synopsis: In a seaside village on the outskirts of an Italian city, where the only law seems to be survival of... [More]
Directed By: Matteo Garrone

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 84.976%
Critics Consensus: Ruben Brandt, Collector is flawed from a storytelling standpoint, but the eye-catching animation is more than enough to make this offbeat thriller well worth watching.
Synopsis: Ruben Brandt, a famous psychotherapist, is forced to steal 13 paintings from the world's renowned museums and private collections to... [More]
Directed By: Milorad Krstic

#34

High Life (2019)
83%

#34
Adjusted Score: 89.155%
Critics Consensus: High Life is as visually arresting as it is challenging, confounding, and ultimately rewarding - which is to say it's everything film fans expect from director Claire Denis.
Synopsis: Monte (Robert Pattinson) and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to the outer... [More]
Directed By: Claire Denis

#33
Adjusted Score: 85.576%
Critics Consensus: Knife + Heart wrings giallo-inspired thrills out of a boldly challenging story that defiantly succeeds on its own stylish merits.
Synopsis: Paris, Summer 1979. Anne (Vanessa Paradis) produces third-rate gay porn. After her editor and lover Lois leaves her, she tries... [More]
Directed By: Yann Gonzalez

#32

The Brink (2019)
84%

#32
Adjusted Score: 86.892%
Critics Consensus: The Brink won't change many minds about its subject, but it remains a compelling -- if perhaps difficult to watch -- look at a divisive ideological lightning rod.
Synopsis: When Steve Bannon left his position as White House chief strategist less than a week after the Charlottesville "Unite the... [More]
Directed By: Alison Klayman

#31

Her Smell (2019)
85%

#31
Adjusted Score: 88.808%
Critics Consensus: Held together by a gripping lead performance from Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell is challenging and admittedly uneven, but ultimately worth the effort.
Synopsis: Becky Something (Elisabeth Moss) is a '90s punk rock superstar who once filled arenas with her grungy all-female trio Something... [More]
Directed By:

#30
Adjusted Score: 87.919%
Critics Consensus: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind earns its predictably uplifting arc through strong performances and impressive work from debuting director Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Synopsis: Against all the odds, a thirteen year old boy in Malawi invents an unconventional way to save his family and... [More]
Directed By: Chiwetel Ejiofor

#29
Adjusted Score: 100.111%
Critics Consensus: While it isn't quite as much fun as its predecessor, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part fits neatly into an animated all-ages franchise with heart and humor to spare.
Synopsis: The much-anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed, global box office phenomenon that started it all, "The LEGO (R) Movie 2:... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mitchell

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 90.064%
Critics Consensus: The Hole in the Ground artfully exploits parental fears with a well-made horror outing that makes up in sheer effectiveness what it lacks in originality.
Synopsis: Sarah and her young son Chris move to a new home in the Irish countryside, next to a forest that... [More]
Directed By: Lee Cronin

#27

Rust Creek (2019)
88%

#27
Adjusted Score: 89.347%
Critics Consensus: Rust Creek subverts expectations with a surprisingly layered survival drama anchored in a rich setting and a gripping lead performance from Hermione Corfield.
Synopsis: An ordinary woman must summon extraordinary courage to survive a nightmare odyssey in this harrowing survival thriller. Sawyer (Hermione Corfield)... [More]
Directed By: Jen McGowan

#26
Adjusted Score: 91.121%
Critics Consensus: Potentially insurmountable for viewers not attuned to the director's wavelength, The Image Book is typically confounding - and ultimately rewarding - late-period Godard.
Synopsis: Do you still remember how, long ago, we trained our thoughts? Most often we'd start from a dream.... We wondered... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Jean-Luc Godard

#25

Missing Link (2019)
89%

#25
Adjusted Score: 95.269%
Critics Consensus: Another beautifully animated triumph for Laika, Missing Link is a visual treat with lots of humor, plenty of heart, and even a little food for thought.
Synopsis: This April, meet Mr. Link (Galifianakis): 8 feet tall, 630 lbs, and covered in fur, but don't let his appearance... [More]
Directed By: Chris Butler

#24

Arctic (2019)
89%

#24
Adjusted Score: 94.067%
Critics Consensus: Arctic proves that a good survival thriller doesn't need much in the way of dialogue to get by -- especially when Mads Mikkelsen is the one doing the surviving.
Synopsis: A man stranded in the Arctic after an airplane crash must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of... [More]
Directed By: Joe Penna

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 98.845%
Critics Consensus: The Kid Who Would Be King recalls classic all-ages adventures -- and repurposes a timeless legend -- for a thoroughly enjoyable new addition to the family movie canon.
Synopsis: Old school magic meets the modern world in the epic adventure THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING. Alex (Ashbourne Serkis)... [More]
Directed By: Joe Cornish

#22

Shazam! (2019)
90%

#22
Adjusted Score: 108.576%
Critics Consensus: An effortlessly entertaining blend of humor and heart, Shazam! is a superhero movie that never forgets the genre's real power: joyous wish fulfillment.
Synopsis: We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy... [More]
Directed By: David F. Sandberg

#21
Adjusted Score: 103.28%
Critics Consensus: The rare trilogy capper that really works, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World brings its saga to a visually dazzling and emotionally affecting conclusion.
Synopsis: Now chief and ruler of Berk alongside Astrid, Hiccup has created a gloriously chaotic dragon utopia. When the sudden appearance... [More]
Directed By: Dean DeBlois

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 92.69%
Critics Consensus: Giant Little Ones puts a complex and refreshingly nuanced spin on the traditional coming of age drama, further elevated by the admirable efforts of a talented cast.
Synopsis: Franky Winter (Josh Wiggins) and Ballas Kohl (Darren Mann) have been best friends since childhood. They are high school royalty:... [More]
Directed By: Keith Behrman

#19

Gloria Bell (2019)
91%

#19
Adjusted Score: 97.384%
Critics Consensus: Free of visual or narrative embellishments, Gloria Bell rests almost completely on Julianne Moore's performance in the title role -- and she's gloriously up to the task.
Synopsis: Gloria (Julianne Moore) is a free-spirited divorcée who spends her days at a straight-laced office job and her nights on... [More]
Directed By: Sebastián Lelio

#18

Rafiki (2019)
91%

#18
Adjusted Score: 92.461%
Critics Consensus: Rafiki tells a familiar story with bracing originality, marking director/co-writer Wanuri Kahiu as a talent to watch.
Synopsis: "Good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives," but Kena and Ziki long for something more. Despite the political rivalry between... [More]
Directed By: Wanuri Kahiu

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 103.162%
Critics Consensus: Much like the sport it celebrates, Fighting with My Family muscles past clichés with a potent blend of energy and committed acting that should leave audiences cheering.
Synopsis: FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY is a heartwarming comedy based on the incredible true story of WWE Superstar Paige(TM). Born into... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Merchant

#16

High Flying Bird (2019)
93%

#16
Adjusted Score: 97.609%
Critics Consensus: High Flying Bird takes a thoughtful and engrossing look at professional sports that sees Steven Soderbergh continuing to test the limits of new filmmaking technology.
Synopsis: In the midst of a pro basketball lockout, sports agent Ray Burke (André Holland) finds himself caught in the face-off... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#15

Diane (2019)
93%

#15
Adjusted Score: 96.178%
Critics Consensus: A small-scale drama rich with meaning, Diane offers audiences an uncommonly empathetic and wise look at life -- and stellar work from Mary Kay Place in the title role.
Synopsis: For Diane (Mary Kay Place), everyone else comes first. Generous but with little patience for self-pity, she spends her days... [More]
Directed By: Kent Jones

#14

The Mustang (2019)
94%

#14
Adjusted Score: 98.724%
Critics Consensus: The Mustang finds fresh perspectives in a familiar redemption tale brought brilliantly to life by powerful performances from Bruce Dern and Matthias Schoenaerts.
Synopsis: Roman (Matthias Schoenaerts), a convict in a rural Nevada prison who struggles to escape his violent past, is required to... [More]

#13
Adjusted Score: 96.663%
Critics Consensus: The Wild Pear Tree uses a young man's post-graduation experience to pose thoughtful, engaging questions about life in modern Turkey -- and the rest of the world.
Synopsis: Sinan (Aydin Doğu Demirkol), an aspiring writer, returns home after university hoping to scrape together enough money to publish his... [More]
Directed By: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

#12
Adjusted Score: 99.01%
Critics Consensus: Birds of Passage traces the familiar arc of the drug crime thriller from a different direction that's as visually absorbing as it is hard-hitting.
Synopsis: From the Oscar (R)-nominated team behind the genre-defying Embrace of the Serpent, comes an equally audacious saga centered on the... [More]

#11

Us (2019)
94%

#11
Adjusted Score: 118.243%
Critics Consensus: With Jordan Peele's second inventive, ambitious horror film, we have seen how to beat the sophomore jinx, and it is Us.
Synopsis: Haunted by an unexplainable and unresolved trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide feels... [More]
Directed By: Jordan Peele

#10

Transit (2019)
96%

#10
Adjusted Score: 101.754%
Critics Consensus: Transit lives up to its title with a challenging drama that captures characters - and puts the audience - in a state of flux and exerts an unsettling pull.
Synopsis: As fascism spreads, German refugee Georg (Franz Rogowski) flees to Marseille and assumes the identity of the dead writer whose... [More]
Directed By: Christian Petzold

#9

Hail Satan? (2019)
96%

#9
Adjusted Score: 97.69%
Critics Consensus: Hail Satan? challenges preconceived notions of its subject with a smart, witty, and overall entertaining dispatch from the front lines of the fight for social justice.
Synopsis: Chronicling the extraordinary rise of one of the most colorful and controversial religious movements in American history, Hail Satan? is... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Penny Lane

#8
Adjusted Score: 99.377%
Critics Consensus: Led by a standout performance from Ana Brun, The Heiresses takes a thoroughly compelling look at lives little explored by mainstream cinema.
Synopsis: Chela and Chiquita, both descended from wealthy families in Asunción, Paraguay, have been together for over 30 years. But recently... [More]
Directed By: Marcelo Martinessi

#7
Adjusted Score: 100.465%
Critics Consensus: Treating its timely themes with a deceptively light touch, Woman at War is easy to enjoy in the moment, yet its impact lingers long after the closing credits roll.
Synopsis: Halla is a fifty-year-old independent woman. But behind the scenes of a quiet routine, she leads a double life as... [More]
Directed By: Benedikt Erlingsson

#6

Little Woods (2019)
97%

#6
Adjusted Score: 99.606%
Critics Consensus: Led by standout work from Tessa Thompson, Little Woods tells a grimly absorbing tale that marks a commendable debut for writer-director Nia DaCosta.
Synopsis: Little Woods, North Dakota, a fracking boomtown well beyond its prime. Ollie is trying to survive the last few days... [More]
Directed By: Nia DaCosta

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 98.919%
Critics Consensus: Rodents of Unusual Size approaches a variety of timely and thought-provoking subjects from fresh angles -- and a lot of surprisingly large creatures in the bargain.
Synopsis: Hard headed Louisiana fisherman Thomas Gonzales doesn't know what will hit him next. After decades of hurricanes and oil spills... [More]
Starring: Wendell Pierce

#4

3 Faces (2019)
98%

#4
Adjusted Score: 101.694%
Critics Consensus: Observational, insightful, and ultimately powerful, 3 Faces adds another quietly thought-provoking chapter to writer-director Jafar Panahi's filmography.
Synopsis: Well-known actress Behnaz Jafari is distraught by a provincial girl's video plea for help--oppressed by her family to not pursue... [More]
Directed By: Jafar Panahi

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 102.896%
Critics Consensus: Ash Is Purest White finds writer-director Zhangke Jia revisiting familiar themes while continuing to observe modern Chinese society with an urgent, empathetic eye.
Synopsis: A tragicomedy initially set in the jianghu-criminal underworld-setting, ASH IS PUREST WHITE is less a gangster movie than a melodrama.... [More]
Directed By: Zhangke Jia

#2

Apollo 11 (2019)
98%

#2
Adjusted Score: 102.838%
Critics Consensus: Edifying and inspiring in equal measure, Apollo 11 uses artfully repurposed archival footage to send audiences soaring back to a pivotal time in American history.
Synopsis: Apollo 11 is a cinematic space event film fifty years in the making. Featuring never-before-seen large-format film footage of one... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Todd Douglas Miller

#1

Amazing Grace (2019)
99%

#1
Adjusted Score: 102.121%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly capturing a remarkable performer near the peak of her prodigious power, Amazing Grace is a thrilling must-watch documentary for Aretha Franklin fans.
Synopsis: Concert footage from 1972 of Aretha Franklin performing songs from the best-selling gospel album at the New Temple Missionary Baptist... [More]
Directed By:

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