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David Edelstein

David Edelstein is a film critic for New York magazine and for NPR's Fresh Air, and an occasional commentator on film for CBS Sunday Morning. He has also written film criticism for the Village Voice, The New York Post, and Rolling Stone, and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times' Arts & Leisure section.

A member of the National Society of Film Critics, he is the author of the play Blaming Mom, and the co-author of Shooting to Kill (with producer Christine Vachon).

Film critic David Edelstein had no shortage of material to consider when it came time to make his top 10 list this year. He shares his favorites with Fresh Air's Terry Gross:

1. Room
"The story of a woman held captive ... by a sexual psychopath and the child she raises remarkably well in that space."

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Nowadays, the news is full of stories about sexual assaults on children by priests and other religious authority figures, as well as battles over compensation for victims. There were many such cases in the last half of the 20th century, but the idea that such revelations would someday be routine — and be centered all over the U.S., in Ireland, in South America — was unimaginable.

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Michael Almereyda's movie, Experimenter, revisits a controversial 1961 social science experiment, which explored whether volunteer subjects would press a button and shock other volunteers if so ordered.

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The most powerful morality plays work like drama instead of melodrama, so you're not just on the side of the victim, you also see the world through the eyes of the oppressor. Wall Street did that, although Oliver Stone made the devil-mentor of the wide-eyed protagonist, Gordon Gekko, so charismatic that a generation of moneymen adopted him as a role model.

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Sleeping With Other People has the arc of a conventional mainstream rom-com, but the beats are scrambled and the movie gets a climactic event out of the way in the prologue. The film actually opens with the male and female protagonists having sex — taking each other's virginity.

The documentary Meru charts the attempts of a trio of American climbers to be the first to scale Meru Peak, a 21,000-foot Himalayan mountain that begins near the headwaters of the Ganges River in India.

It's the sort of movie that's frequently called "inspiring" for its depiction of humans testing themselves physically, emotionally and perhaps even spiritually against the elements, and I get that. But I wasn't inspired. I was nearly out of my mind with terror.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL")

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