It has been a year of documentaries made on big ideas and small resources. At the other end of the spectrum, some of the best fiction films had the look and feel of a documentary, attesting to the modern notion that the individual and his/her story are just about the most interesting things around.
1. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower": Shy high school freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman) tries to locate a tribe of his own, and hits the jackpot when he meets seniors Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller). The book was published in the 1990s and was heralded the new "Catcher in the Rye"; author Stephen Chbosky refused to sell the rights for an adaptation, sitting on it for a full decade until he could direct his movie himself. Fresh, engaging, beautiful.
2. "The We and the I": French filmmaker Michel Gondry's English may be a little iffy, but that didn't stop him holding an acting workshop with kids from a Bronx high school. A faux documentary of the bus ride home from school on the last day before summer vacation, this charts the swaying emotions and shifting loyalties of real teens in the Bronx. Raucous and funny, but ultimately heartrending.