A perfect 5-star rating is hard to achieve. It SHOULD be hard to achieve, by design. Movies rarely are perfect, though we appreciate the ones that strive for greatness. And this year, though we handed out numerous 4.5-star grades to movies like Moana, American Honey, Hell or High Water and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we only distributed 5-star ratings to eight films.

These, then, are the cream of the crop. They are the best films that the critics at CinemaBlend saw, the ones that made us go all the way to the top of our ratings scale and give out the perfect grade. Chances are you will read about these movies again as we start to publish our personal Top 10 lists on the site this week. So, how many of these perfect films did you see? And do you agree that, for 2016, these were as close to perfection as the year could manage?


Denis Villeneuve, who is about to break it big with Blade Runner 2049 and a possible reboot of Dune, shows off his knack for intelligent science-fiction with this astounding contemplation of the global community's reaction to First Contact. Amy Adams plays a key linguist brought in to establish communication with an alien species, potentially preventing World War III in the process.

From our review:

Like the best examples of science-fiction, dating back to the earliest examples of stories in the genre, Arrival says as much about what is happening in our current global-political environment as it does about what could happen if we don't learn from a few of this movie's messages. Villeneuve announced his presence as a complicated and challenging storyteller by delivering smart and difficult dramas like Prisoners and Sicario. Here, he argues that in our tense and trigger-happy world, we rarely take the time to clarify intent before we act. Not just on a national level, but also in our own personal relationships. And how many conflicts, both massive and minuscule, could be avoided -- politically, religiously and socially -- if the parties involved paused long enough to discuss a supposed problem, particularly if it springs from a miscommunication?

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