Top Ripples 2014

This year, I’ve watched over 100 films and in a much smaller proportion, read forty some books. Been to the Toronto International Film Festival, and attended a memorable session ‘Conversation with Juliette Binoche.’ That would be one of the Top Ripples for me.

The following list represents the most resonance I’ve had with the films that come out this year. As a stringent marker, I’ve only given one movie 4 Ripples, and that’s Boyhood back in August when I first saw the film. All the others earn at least 3.5 Ripples.

I’d not written a review for every film I’d seen, obviously. But even for those I did not post, I ensure you if you find them on this list, they are at least 3.5 to 4 Ripples in my mind, like Calvary, and Citizenfour. Of course, there are those that I’m still waiting to come out in the next two weeks. (Click on the links in the following titles to read my review.)

As you can see, other than films and books, I’ve also included some other memorable 2014 experiences.



The Grand Budapest Hotel



Clouds of Sils Maria

Foreign Language Films


Force Majeure

Books – Fiction

Lila by Marilynne Robinson
(2014 National Book Award Finalist, Fiction)

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
(2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner)

Books – Nonfiction

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, & Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos
(2014 National Book Awards Winner for Nonfiction)

Birding with Yeats: A Memoir by Lynn Thomson

Gallery Visits

Alex Colville and the Movies (AGO)

Nature Sightings: (rare or first time sighting for me):

The Monarch Butterfly

The Barred Owl

Porky and Wess

Best Search Engine Terms to come to Ripple Effects:

Is Downton Abbey fiction?


There are also books and films from previous years that I’ve had the pleasure to experience in 2014. Here are the Top Ripples:


12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup (1853)

Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie (2012)

A House In The Sky by Amanda Lindhout (2013)

Silence by Shûsaku Endô (1966)

The Dinner by Herman Koch (2013)


The Lunchbox (2013)

Like Father, Like Son (2013)

Charade (1963)

I Confess (1953)

Shadow of a Doubt (1943)


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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

29 thoughts on “Top Ripples 2014”

  1. Haha, love your list – and your top search. I have some doozies for the year that I’m saving for my post.

    I’ve seen three of your top 5 films – the first three on your list in fact and concur. I particularly liked Boyhood and Calvary. I’m not sure how many films I’ve seen this year but it would be have half the number you saw, and I’ve probably only read 10 or more books than you. What have I been doing!?

    Dare I tell you that we are halfway through the new season of Downton Abbey. Mr Gums ordered the Blu-Ray in advance and it arrived last week. I know some people are bored with it, but we both enjoy it. There is the soap opera element, but the social change is so interesting and well done I think. One person told me she’s sick of Maggie Smith being Lady Bracknell. Well, hmm, she’s more than that I say!

    I love your inclusion of gallery visits. This year has been a great one for me in terms of art gallery visits – here, and Canada and Singapore.

    Anyhow, just saying – great post. So glad we’ve met via this venue.


    1. WG,

      Glad to find we have some common interests in films. I’m excited to see, among all the hi tech and spectacles that the movie industry offers nowadays, there are films like the ones on this list here. I’m waiting for Calvary to come again on the big screen (likely not unless it gets an Oscar nom), or on Netflix. Want to see it again before I write about it. Citizenfour is probably the best doc I’ve seen in years. You must see this one, showing the actual events Edward Snowden went through that led to his fleeing.

      As for Downton S5, I’m eagerly waiting to see it on PBS, with all my fellow North American viewers. It’s like an annual heralding of the new year, a tradition almost, something to look forward to in the cold months of Jan. and Feb. With that setting and the performance, who’d mind if it’s a little soapy. It’s first rate production by all measures in my view.

      I look forward to your list and all the juicy bits… 😉


        1. WG,

          I usually write a review after watching once. The second time is usually for clarity or something that i missed, or if I’m really moved. Calvary I want to see again because it has been a long while since I saw it, months ago. I’d like to watch it again b/c I don’t want to miss the nuances. It’s a poignant and meaningful film that I want to do it justice. I’ve seen Ida, Force Majeure, and Budapest Hotel twice.


          1. That’s rather what I expected you would say – I’d love to read books I review twice but who has the time? Of course, with a book it is possible to flick through it to remind yourself of critical points.


            1. Do notes in the dark! That’s impressive. I’m afraid I write in books – in pencil – with main points written in the back with page refs. I did go through a stickies phase but went back to – shock, horror – writing in my books!


  2. You have a nice list of movies, books and cultural events. I did read 12 Years a Slave but I think that it was in 2013. I have not seen any of your movies and would have liked to see The Grand Budapest Hotel. I am not sure how many movies we saw this year but it would not be more than 5 or so.

    I found old copies of books written by Princess Cantacuzene (granddaughter of Ulysses Grant) and published 1919-1922. She married a Russian prince and was there during the Russian revolution, knew the Romanoffs, etc. By her writings I could feel being there, in the revolution I mean. Another book I liked was by Stanley Karnow called Paris in the Fifties. Am not sure how many books I read this year, must be about 30 to 35 or so, in French and in English.

    I did visit several historic homes. I am trying to think what else I did this year – oh yes, I traveled to St Petersburg in Russia and Tallin in Estonia and some other countries. In Russia we went to an evening of Russian dances and it was lovely. In Brussels we met a blogging friend. I was also happy to visit family in Paris last May but the weather was not great. I saw a Cher concert in Nashville and because of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and being so close to a National Battlefield Park we saw many events commemorating the war. I would have loved to listen to Juliette Binoche – her acting in the English Patient was superb. That must have been great to hear her talk.


    1. VB,

      Yes, you’re a globetrotter and I’ve enjoyed your informative, interesting posts. Travelling to St Petersburg in Russia, Tallin in Estonia, Paris and all the other places beat watching a few movies. You’ve had an eventful year and we sure can benefit from your travels as you write about your experiences. As for The Grand Budapest Hotel, I think you’ll enjoy it, with its European, fairy-tale like setting and the historic setting. Also, it’s absolutely delightful.


  3. What a fantastic list – lots for me to make a note of here! I’ve got The Grand Budapest Hotel for my son for Christmas. It’s not perhaps the most obvious choice for him, but I thought I might stretch him a bit! I’ve seen Charade and enjoyed that – but then I like most Audrey Hepburn films. And I’m hoping to get to The Goldfinch finally over the holidays.


    1. litlove,

      I’ve enjoyed catching up and/or rewatching some of the oldies, and yes, Audrey Hepburn is a delight. And thanks to Gone Girl, I’ve binge-watched many Hitchcock films and never knew how comical Cary Grant could be.

      I’d be curious to see how your son like The Grand Budapest Hotel. Good choice for a Christmas gift. 😉


  4. Love your lists! 100 films in a year? That is mind boggling to me! The only film on your top list I have seen is Grand Budapest Hotel and I did like that one very much. Delightfully odd! I’m really disappointed not to see Guardians of the Galaxy on you list though. Just kidding 🙂 The Downton Abbey search cracked me up! I never pay attention to searches that get to my blog. Maybe I should look at them now and then if for no other reason than the comic value.


    1. Stefanie,

      100+ in all formats and it’s not hard to do, much easier than reading 100 books. And, Guardians who? But hey, just FYI, you’ll be happy to know there will be many more to come, sequels after sequels of Marvel and DC com. WA simply can’t compete. For 2015, Avengers: Age of Ultron is coming out, so’s Ant-Man and The Fantastic Four. You see, 100 a year isn’t that mind-boggling. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I do love a good list and this one hits me in all the right places, with all the divine complexity and fascination for topics I love and interests I share! I will be looking for some of these films on video and certainly the books. The one I must see, simply because it sounds so darned delightful, is “Budapest” — and “Boyhood,” too!


  6. Hi Arti,
    Very impressive! 100 films & over 40 books! I haven’t been to a movie in a while, but I’m proud to say I did see two of the films on your list and absolutely loved both of them. They are The Lunch Box, and Like Father Like Son. Also enjoyed reading your posts on them.
    I’ll have to catch up after the holidays before the Oscar telecast, if not the Golden Globes. Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas and a happy New Year!


    1. Yinling,

      100 films is easy and enjoyable. After posting this yesterday, I’ve added two more already. Reading 40+ books is much harder. But you know, these include audiobooks too. That makes it easier. I like to listen to them when I drive, save a lot of time. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the catch-up. But if you haven’t seen Boyhood or Budapest Hotel, I’m afraid they may not be on the big screens anymore. Not sure about your area though. I’d love to attend another Film Festival next year, but not sure which one. Sundance is too cold. 😉 A Merry Christmas to you and yours and a bright new 2015 too!


  7. So many books and films in your list of favorite ripples are new to me. I don’t know enough about them to converse with you here, but I am glad for the titles to look up. (If I can succeed in finding them!) As for The Dinner, and Silence, they were both very powerful books to me. The Dinner is shocking in terms of what parents/society now condones and even accepts in terms of behavior. And of course Silence has so much to say about faith. I would love to talk about it with you sometime, over email or over your post should you care to review it. It’s a book I could reread many times over, as it makes me examine my own self rather closely. I’m afraid I come up a bit ashamed afterward, and vow to be stronger in the future.


    1. Bellezza,

      These books are all 2014 publications and on many Best of the Year list, except Birding with Yeats which is a lesser known Canadian memoir of a mother journaling her birdwatching trips with her teenage son. I highly recommend this one. Silence is too heavy for this time of the year, although it fits in the Season too. I haven’t been reading my Proust I’m afraid, but hopefully will catch up during the holidays. Whiny Proust? Or just a bit too sensitive? Let me find out. 😉


  8. p.s. Am halfway through Part One of Guermantes’ Way, and I’m finding Proust a little bit whiny. A little bit of an anemic weakling. For some reason, every little petty observation he has is bugging me, but it could be because my life is so frantic right now. I will carry on with him, ’til the last volume is done. Eventually. 🙂


  9. Well, my movie list wouldn’t be anything like yours, but I did find a few books we both read. I’m about 20% into Gilead and just loving Tim Jerome’s perfect pitch narration.

    Yes, you’ve had some beautiful nature sightings this year. I’m glad you are sharing these with the world 🙂


  10. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to shoehorn reading and movie watching into my life, other than the occasional, which I inevitably enjoy. Maybe this will be the year I finally manage it, although when I look at my TBR stack, it just overwhelms me.

    Ah, well. At least I have your wonderful list as a starting point! I still haven’t seen a couple of the films that really appeal, and I certainly ought to be able to do that. For now, it’s time to pull out “A Christmas Story” for the traditional multiple viewings that always make the season a little brighter.


  11. What a great format for your year in review post Arti. Im pretty astonished by 100 films too. I doubt I would have got to 20. We didn’t have much crossover. I did see Grand Budapest Hotel, but I didn’t really understand it, and I kept dosing off. I do vaguely know about Boyhood, and think I’d like to see it.


  12. Arti, love your lists! I’m intrigued by Lila but haven’t read the other books in the trilogy. Could I possibly start with Lila?
    I’m also curious about Ida, I’ve seen it on quite a number of best movies lists.


    1. I think it’s better to have read Gilesd first but then again, Lila is a book that stands on its own for it tells the story from another POV. And some past that we are not aware of in Gilead. No matter what, do go for it. As well, Ida is impressive. Hope you have a chance to see it. 🙂


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