Last week, we posted our 10 Most Redeeming Films of 2004. And this week, we present our Critics' Choice Awards for the Top 10 Films of 2004.

What's the difference between the lists? The "redeeming" list speaks for itself—films that told a story of redemption (something or somebody bad turned good, an uplifting story that celebrates truth, goodness and/or biblical values, etc.). Our Critics' Choice list, on the other hand, consists of the 10 films that our panel believes were the most excellent films of 2004, whether they carried a "redeeming" message or not.

Our list resembles many you've seen in the mainstream—including many recent Academy Award nominees, like The Aviator, Hotel Rwanda, Million Dollar Baby, and Vera Drake. But we've got a few off-the-beaten-path picks, like The Return, a limited distribution film from Russia; Dogville, a disturbing yet thought-provoking drama from Lars von Trier; and The Story of the Weeping Camel, a story so heartbreaking that it might also be called "The Story of the Weeping Viewer."

Tops on our list is the quirky Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which received a couple of Oscar nominations—including a best actress nod for Kate Winslet. It's a strange trip through dreamy sequences and memory erasure, but in the end, we loved its overriding message of unconditional love—that it's a good thing to choose to continue loving someone even when you know all their faults and flaws.

We also let each of our five panelists choose "One That Got Away"—a single film they wish had made our Top Ten list. Think of those five extra films as sort of our "honorable mentions."

Our five voting panelists were Russ Breimeier, Peter T. Chattaway, Lisa Ann Cockrel, Jeffrey Overstreet, ...

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The 2004 Critics' Choice Awards
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February 2005

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