A Separation, directed by Asghar Farhadi from Iran, is on nearly every film critic’s top ten list for 2011. It’s a surgical dissection of a legal and moral dispute between a young woman and her male employer. It begins with a woman filing for a divorce from her husband. This separation sets in motion a chain of events that allows Farhadi to explore aspects of Islamic society, such as gender roles, crime, and aging. A philosophical film while literal and realistic, A Separation offers a lot to wrap your mind around.

Film Socialisme, directed by Jean-Luc Goddard, is what it is. I guess I’m down. If I made this movie, everybody who watched it would think I’m an asshole, and only my mom and Marissa would sit through more than ten minutes of it. If you think The Tree of Life is pretentious, don’t try Film Socialisme. Is it genius? What do I know?

Terri is the third feature by Azazel Jacobs, a director who shows an enormous amount of sensitivity to his characters. This is a brilliant study of an obese teenage boy who takes care of his senile uncle, played by the dude who plays Creed on The Office, in a cluttered horde of a house. I don’t remember if we ever find out what happened to Terri’s parents. Terri wears pajamas every day to school and he’s such a social misfit that the principal, played by John C. Reilly, needs to set up a time once a week to meet with Terri in his office. Terri’s never been taken care of, so as he grows into adulthood, confusion turns to pain turns to isolation from the rest of his peers. Luckily, he finds some other outcasts to share the burden.