5 must-see movies from 2011

May 18, 2012, 8:18 a.m.

Some years, it seems that all of the movies produced are aimed at the under 30 crowd. Sure, films like The Avengers and Spider-Man are visually interesting and distracting for a couple of hours, but they lack any real depth. Fortunately, there are a handful of thoughtful, well-produced gems among the best films of 2011. Below are our picks for the top five:

  1. The Iron Lady. Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher: need we say more? The role, which tells the story of the rise and fall of Britain's first female prime minister, won Streep more than a dozen awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actress. In addition to being a bioptic, the film addresses how we, as a society, treat our citizens as they age.
  2. Descendants. George Clooney is powerful in this modern drama about a Hawaiian property owner struggling with his wife being in a coma, raising his two daughters, and deciding whether to sell his land to a condo developer. The film won two Golden Globe Awards -- for Best Drama and for Best Actor in a Drama.
  3. My Week with Marilyn. If you grew up intrigued by Marilyn Monroe (and who didn't), then this film is a must-see. Though the critics gave it mixed reviews, Michelle Williams is captivating as the blonde bombshell and Kevin Branagh is a convincing Lawrence Olivier.
  4. Hugo. Martin Scorsese's dalliance into G-rated cinema is entrancing and magical on several different levels. This film, which is both about a French orphan boy and the birth of the movies, is one that will interest both you and your grandchildren.
  5. The Artist. If you dismissed this movie because it's a black-and-white, silent film, think again. The winner of the 2011 Academy Award for Best Picture is a thoroughly enjoyable love story, set in Hollywood at the end of the silent film era.

So...dust off your DVD player and/or reactivate your Netflix membership. These are films you don't want to miss.

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