Greatest Films of the 2000s
Greatest Films of the 2000s

Greatest Films of the 2000s
2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009


Academy Awards for 2001 Films
Title Screen Film Genre(s), Title, Year, (Country), Length, Director, Description

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), 145 minutes, D: Steven Spielberg
This futuristic science-fiction fairy tale was a re-telling of Disney's Pinocchio (1940) about the search of a puppet to become a real boy and find real love. It starred Haley Joel Osment as 11 year-old Pinocchio-questing David, a Cybertronics android child "mecha" (robot of the future). Wrongly believing that he had real emotions and unconditional love with his adoptive parents, David was abandoned and forced to take a journey to find the "Blue Fairy" that could make him "real" and cause his mother Monica Swinton (Frances O'Connor) to love and accept him forever.

Amelie (2001, Fr./Germ.) (aka Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain), 121 minutes, D: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

A Beautiful Mind (2001), 134 minutes, D: Ron Howard

Black Hawk Down (2001), 144 minutes, D: Ridley Scott

Bridget Jones's Diary (2001, UK/US), 96 minutes, D: Sharon Macguire
Director Sharon Macguire's comedy-romance was based upon Helen Fielding's popular 1996 novel (a reinterpretation of Jane Austen's 1813 novel Pride & Prejudice), about the disastrous love life of a 30-something, unattached, plump, ever-single London Britisher female with a job in publishing. She was always embarrassed and contending with her over-indulgent drinking, smoking, and eating, while seeking someone to love. For the next year, her New Years' resolution was to document her progress in a diary about reaching all of her personal goals to attain a more perfect life (finding a boyfriend, losing weight, and drinking and smoking less). The film's tagline was: "ALL WOMEN KEEP SCORE...ONLY THE GREAT ONES PUT IT IN WRITING." The film opened at a New Years Day "turkey curry buffet" party in 1999 at her mother's place , where attempts were vainly made to set up overweight 32 year-old London book publisher assistant Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) with 36 year-old divorced barrister Mark Darcy (Colin Firth), who was home visiting his parents (neighboring friends of her family). At the party, she told him that she was slightly hung-over and vowed to reform the following year: "New Year's Resolution: drink less, oh, and quit smoking, hmm, and keep New Year's resolutions, and stop talking total nonsense to strangers - in fact, stop talking, full stop." She discovered that Mark despised her (his "blind date") and told his mother that he didn't want to date a "verbally incontinent spinster who smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish, and dresses like her mother." She vowed to keep a record for the next year as her New Years' resolution - to document her progress in a diary about reaching all of her personal goals to attain a more perfect life (finding a boyfriend, losing weight, and drinking and smoking less). However, Bridget decided to pursue her rakish, disreputable and sleazy editor-in-chief publisher boss Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant), an "office scoundrel" who sent her provocative and vulgar emails and then invited her to a dinner date. An on-going rivalry was revealed between Daniel and Mark, who had attended Cambridge University, where Daniel claimed he made the catastrophic mistake of introducing Mark to his fiancée - without providing any further details. Later, Bridget went on a mini-break holiday weekend with Daniel to a country inn, and was hopeful, but her wishes were dashed when he returned on Sunday morning for a work emergency. When she returned to London earlier than expected, she found Daniel cheating on her with a naked Lara (Lisa Barbuscia), an American colleague from the New York office. Bridget decided to find new work in television and also to break up with Daniel, who claimed he was engaged to Lara. Bridget celebrated her birthday with friends (and Mark) at a dinner party, where a drunken Daniel showed up and tried to win Bridget back, explaining how Lara had dumped him. The two rivals Mark and Daniel challenged each other to a fight out in the street and in a Greek restaurant, and Mark left after punching Daniel one last time to the ground. Bridget refused Daniel's insulting offer to reconnect: "If I can't make it with you then I can't make it with anyone." Shortly later just before the Darcys' ruby wedding party, Bridget's mother off-handedly asserted that Daniel was found on Christmas Eve with Mark's Japanese wife "in a most unorthodox position, stark naked, a tit like rabbits." At the party, Bridget approached Mark to confirm why he and Daniel had a falling-out during their university days. Daniel had lied by always claiming that Mark had run off with his fiancee and left him broken-hearted. She apologized for despising Mark for the wrong reasons, and Mark told her that the truth was reversed: (Mark: "No, it was the other way around. It was my wife, my heart"). It now made sense to Bridget why the two men had always been engaged in a strange rivalry and why Mark "beat him to a pulp": ("That's why you always acted so strangely around him and beat him to a pulp, quite rightly. Well done"). By now, however, the relationship between Bridget and Mark appeared to be over and he was preparing to be engaged to Natasha Glenville (Embeth Davidtz), his "brilliant partner-in-law" and they had both taken jobs in New York at Abbott and Abbott. In the film's conclusion, Mark suddenly appeared behind Bridget outside her flat, as she was preparing to accompany her friends on a weekend trip to Paris, to forget about him. He told her that he wasn't going to reside in America, and had returned home unexpectedly because he had forgotten something - he had come to kiss Bridget goodbye. She was utterly taken aback by his straight-forward request. In her upstairs apartment, as she changed into sexy underwear, Mark happened to get a glimpse of her diary with a series of insults that she had written about him. He was dismayed by her critical assessment of him - that he was boring and dull. He abruptly departed into the snowy night and didn't respond to her calls out to him. She realized why he had left and chased after him into the snowy street. She caught up to him in the street as he left a store, when she told him that her diary was foolish. During her ranting, he was silent, but then he replied: "I know that. I was just buying you a new one (in order) to make a new start, perhaps." He revealed a new diary from his coat pocket, bought for her to begin a new diary. She embraced him as they hungrily kissed, while passers-by watched in amusement on the street corner.

Donnie Darko (2001), 122 minutes, D: Richard Kelly

Fat Girl (2001, Fr./It.) (aka A Ma Soeur!), 93 minutes, D: Catherine Breillat

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001), 106 minutes, D: Hironobu Sakaguchi, Moto Sakakibara

Ghost World (2001), 111 minutes, D: Terry Zwigoff

Gosford Park (2001, UK/US), 137 minutes, D: Robert Altman

Hannibal (2001), 131 minutes, D: Ridley Scott
See Hannibal series.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001, UK/US), 152 minutes, D: Chris Columbus
See Harry Potter series.

In the Bedroom (2001), 138 minutes, D: Todd Field

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001, US/NZ), 178 minutes, D: Peter Jackson
See The Lord of the Rings series.
Peter Jackson's monumental, big-budget action/adventure epic (all three films) was a dazzling synthesis of many fantastical elements from J.R.R. Tolkein's masterwork about Middle-Earth: an heroic quest, good vs. evil, war stories, sci-fi creatures (dwarves, elves, goblins, orcs, etc.) and ancient wonders. Multiple story lines and epic battles were interwoven together in a story of friendship, loyalty, honor and courage. The quest was specifically to destroy a powerful artifact known as the One Ring, created by the Dark Lord Sauron (the eponymous "Lord of the Rings"), in order to end Sauron's lordship over the Elves and Middle Earth. A series of awe-inspiring battles culminated with the defeat of Sauron, an end to corrupted Wizard Saruman the White (Christopher Lee), and the destruction of the Ring. Innovative motion capture created the unforgettable, Ring-addicted creature of Gollum (Andy Serkis) (once a good hobbit named Sméagol), who served as the wretched guide to young hobbits Frodo (Elijah Wood) and friend Sam (Sean Astin) during their mission - to return the Ring to Mordor and destroy it in Mount Doom's molten lava.

The Man Who Wasn't There (2001), 116 minutes, D: Joel Coen

Monsoon Wedding (2001, India/US/Fr./It.), 114 minutes, D: Mira Nair

Monster's Ball (2001), 111 minutes, D: Marc Forster
Marc Forster's compelling romantic drama and Oscar-winning film was about an unlikely, racially-charged romantic pairing - the film's title referred to the party held by executioners for a condemned man on the night before his death. It told about the unusual, inter-racial pairing of a racist Georgia prison corrections officer with the widowed, African-American wife of an executed death-row prisoner - his last and most recent execution. The film was remarkable for its sexual candor and intensity, displayed through sexual couplings to ease life's pains. The Southern racist Grotowski family included: Hank Grotowski (Billy Bob Thornton), a widowed, hard-drinking, emotionally-drained Georgia prison (death-row) guard, Buck (Peter Boyle), Hank's sick, emphysema-stricken father whose wife had committed suicide, and Sonny (Heath Ledger), Hank's corrections-officer son. Hank's father Buck expressed his bigoted attitudes to Hank when he saw two young African-American boys, Willie and Darryl Cooper (Charles Cowan Jr. and Taylor LaGrange), walking up to the Grotowski house to speak to Sonny. Hank was pressured to go outside, confront Sonny with the boys, and scare them off with two shotgun blasts into the air. In the film's most devastating scene, African-American diner waitress Leticia Musgrove (Best Actress Oscar-winning Halle Berry) said goodbye to her about-to-be-executed (by electric chair) husband, Lawrence Musgrove (Sean "Diddy" Combs), who had been on death row for 11 years; their obese-overweight son Tyrell (Coronji Calhoun) was also present. While awaiting his execution in his cell, Lawrence drew portrait sketches of both Sonny and Hank, guards in the prison. Meanwhile, abusive mother Leticia displaced her anger by berating her son for being so fat, as she forced him to get on a scale. After the intense death row execution of Lawrence Musgrove, Hank viciously attacked his son Sonny in the prison's bathroom for vomiting during the prisoner's last walk, for ruining everything, and for being a "pussy." This led to the film's most shocking sequence - the sudden suicide of Hank's estranged son Sonny in the Grotowski's living room. When Hank ordered Sonny to leave the house for good, Sonny brandished a gun and asked his hateful father: "You hate me, don't you?"; Hank replied calmly that he had always hated his son: ("Yeah, I hate you. I always did"), causing Sonny to lethally shoot himself directly in the chest with a gun after telling his father: ("Well, I always loved you"). Afterwards, Hank buried Sonny's body in the backyard, and burned his Department of Corrections uniform in a fire - after resigning from his job as Deputy Warden, although his father was disappointed in him and disapproved of his decision to be a quitter. One very rainy night, Hank drove on the highway, passing by now single-mom Leticia who was cradling her mortally-injured son in her arms by the side of the road. He helped them to the hospital, where Tyrell died. Both Hank and Leticia were soon reunited by their common and respective grief for their deceased young sons; he tentatively began a relationship with the emotionally-devastated widow, who worked at a diner that he often frequented. When Leticia visited Hank's home to bring him a gift after he had offered her Sonny's truck, Hank's extremely-racist father Buck insultingly told Leticia that the only reason Hank was interested in her was for sex with a black female. Buck's raw, offensive and racist comments caused Leticia to break up with Hank. Angry with his father, Hank decided to cut off ties with his father by placing him in a nursing home; meanwhile, Leticia was evicted and was invited by Hank to live in his house. Although Leticia discovered that Hank oversaw and participated in her husband's execution (she found her husband's drawings) and was deeply disturbed, the two were able to reconnect. In the film's final reconciliation scene, Hank and Leticia sat on the front porch eating ice cream together. After offering her a bite of chocolate ice cream to eat, he assured her: "I think we're gonna be alright."

Monsters, Inc. (2001), 92 minutes, D: Peter Docter, Lee Unkrich, David Silverman

Moulin Rouge! (2001, US/Australia), 126 minutes, D: Baz Luhrmann

Mulholland Dr. (2001), 146 minutes, D: David Lynch

The Others (2001), 101 minutes, D: Alejandro Amenabar

The Piano Teacher (2001, Fr./Austria) (aka La Pianiste), 130 minutes, D: Michael Haneke

The Pledge (2001), 124 minutes, D: Sean Penn
Director Sean Penn's psychological thriller (symbolically similar to the Little Red Riding Hood tale) opened (and closed) with drunken, retired cop Jerry Black (Jack Nicholson) sitting outside his dilapidated, rural gas station/home, ravaged and ranting: "She said it. She said it. She did." Just before he retired, the gruesome murder of a little blonde girl with a red dress named Ginny Larsen (Taryn Knowles) was discovered in the snowy area around Reno, Nevada. Black, in the waning hours of his job, pledged his "soul's salvation" to the turkey farm-owning mother Mrs. Margaret Larsen (Patricia Clarkson) that he would find the killer. He wasn't satisfied when mentally unstable Indian Toby Jay Wadenah (Benicio del Toro) (with a criminal record for statutory rape) was arrested, cajoled to confess, and then suicidally blew his head off during the botched interrogation. After learning of two similar murders of blonde-haired little girls wearing red in a triangular area of Monash County, and having in his possession Ginny's hand-drawn picture of the tall, black-garbed killer (called "the Wizard") driving a black station wagon and offering small porcupines to her, he began to track clues and possible suspects in the surrounding crime area. He became friends with, and set up a surrogate family with abused single mother waitress Lori (Robin Wright Penn) and her 8 year old blonde daughter Chrissy (Pauline Roberts) - and eventually used the girl as bait for the pedophile child killer. This caused Lori, as the stakeout ended, to disown him for pretending to love her and the girl. She called him a "f--king bastard...f--king crazy." The unsettling film ended without closure, except for Black's hallucinatory insanity and the realization that his assumptions were right about numerous possible suspects, but misunderstood and unfulfilled.

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), 108 minutes, D: Wes Anderson

Shrek (2001), 90 minutes, D: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson
See Shrek series.

Spirited Away (2001, Jp./US) (aka Sen To Chihiro No Kamikakushi), 124 minutes, D: Hayao Miyazaki
Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki's acclaimed animated fantasy, an Alice in Wonderland self-discovery tale, combined beauty with mystery and the supernatural. In the middle of her family's move to the suburbs, spoiled and sullen 10-year-old girl Chihiro entered a magical world in an abandoned amusement park - actually a holiday resort for a group of bizarre gods and spirits. A spell turned her disobedient parents into pigs as punishment for eating food meant for the gods. During her coming-of-age navigation of this dream-like other-world mostly inside sorceress-witch Yubaba's spirit bathhouse, she had to complete ritualistic tasks during her quest to survive, heroically free herself and escape back to the human world. Chihiro was symbolically renamed Sen - to mark the start of her rite of passage. She was challenged to learn the strange illogical rules of existence, engage with many gods, creatures, natural spirits and monsters, and show bravery, self-confidence, and loyalty before reuniting with her parents.

Waking Life (2001), 99 minutes, D: Richard Linklater

Winged Migration (2001, Fr.) (aka Le Peuple Migrateur), 98 minutes, D: Jacques Perrin
French director Jacques Perrin's miraculous wildlife documentary tracked bird migrations through all kinds of weather and perilous situations in 40 countries and all seven continents over a period of four years. Gliders, helicopters, balloons and small planes equipped with ingeniously-designed cameras intimately filmed the wondrous beauty and grandeur of flight, providing a sense of soaring over magnificent landscapes and flying by landmarks - the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall, Mont-Saint-Michel, the Statue of Liberty, and Monument Valley. There were V-shaped flocks of Canadian geese winging their way across verdant backdrops and snowy mountains. Pelicans skimmed their dinner from the surf, storks strutted across creamy African sand dunes, geese flew from an avalanche in Nepal, colorful parrots soaked in an Amazonian jungle downpour, and a lone sharp-eyed bald eagle hunted in the Grand Canyon.

Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001, Mex./US) (aka And Your Mother Too), 105 minutes, D: Alfonso Cuaron

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