Best movies of 2014: ‘Boyhood’ tops the list

Leaving aside the strange and troubling end to the year in film, when a Seth Rogen comedy somehow set off a geopolitical crisis, 2014 offered your everyday assortment of quality independent films, smart and probing documentaries and just enough from the major studios to avoid succumbing to the total despair of one franchise after another.

Yet the movie atop this list of the year’s best films, which has found its way to the front of many others in recent days, stands out because there is simply nothing like it in cinematic history. And if for no other reason, the experience of discovering “Boyhood” made this a movie year worth remembering.

These are one man’s informed (though hardly exhaustive; there’s plenty I wish I’d seen) picks for the best of 2014.

Robert Levin