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The international lineup proved to be something of a mixed bag for film buffs in 2015. But the one thing that stood out among other features in this year’s films were the acting performances. Some were skilled, others were extraordinary, but mostly they were memorable and gutsy, delivered with the kind of sincerity that allows a character to reach out from the other side of the screen and touch the audience. This happens a lot less often than you would expect, but when it does, it feels like you’ve been handed a gift. On that note, here are my top 10 films from 2015 — invisibly wrapped and tied with ribbons.

10 The Captive: Critics once loved director Atom Egoyan but his more recent films generally haven’t been as well-received. “The Captive” perhaps marks the beginning of a return to greatness, although the thriller didn’t quite attract the attention it deserved at the time of its release. As the name suggests, “The Captive” tells the story of a child of working-class parents who is kidnapped. The drama unfolds against Egoyan’s favorite Canadian backdrop: snowy white skies and icy streets.

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