The Best Films of the Decade: #35. 45635 (2010)

| December 7, 2019
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In just 24 days, the decade will come to a close and so for movie lovers like me it is an opportunity to look over the decade of movies that are left behind. Over the next few weeks I am going to count down the best films of the past 10 years from #40 to #1. My choices are personal choices swayed by nothing but the love I have for this medium. These are all great movies. These films all achieved something great. All reached for something special. They are the best of the decade . . .

Someone once asked me why I go to the movies. My answer was very simple. I go to the movies to see things that seem more magical than real life. The funny thing about the documentary 45635 is that it is about real life and, in its minute details it all seems strange and funny and tragic and unexpected and, at times, a little bit magical.

45635 is the zip code for the small town of Sidney, Ohio, a postage stamp-sized town of about 20,000 that was also the hometown of the film’s directors Bill and Turner Ross who, in 2007, went back home and spent several weeks filming the goings on in the town.

What they captured were the congruities of life as it is lived in small town American. There’s a cop cruising around in his patrol car; there are activities going on in a courtroom, a nursing home, a playground, a radio station that still has a human D.J. We are present at a football game, a parade, and even a criminal trial.

By the film’s end we have come to live in the lives of at least 2 dozen fascinating people. The Ross brothers give us a beautiful tapestry of faces, places, events, activities. We spend time with the people of Sidney. We’re at their dinner tables. We’re at their prayer services. We’re in their cars. It’s an amazing journey. By its end we feel that we could go to Sidney next week and we’d already feel right at home.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
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