Sundance Film Festival: five hottest movies to see this year

Suicidal twins, a brutally savage music teacher and Frank Sidebottom are among the best of Sundance

LAST UPDATED AT 15:47 ON Tue 21 Jan 2014

CRITICS have descended on Park City in Utah for this year's Sundance Film Festival and are already picking out their favourite films for 2014. The festival kicked off last week and concludes on Sunday, showcasing indie movies from nearly 40 different countries. Here are five with the best reviews so far...

The Skeleton Twins

Estranged suicidal twins Maggie and Milo (Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader) reunite and consider why their lives have gone so badly wrong. Critics are raving about one scene in which the siblings spontaneously lip-sync to Starship's cheesy 1980s anthem Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now – a scene that "may be worth the price of admission all by itself", says Variety.

Love is Strange

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina star as a gay couple forced to live apart shortly after taking their long-overdue marriage vows. A "brilliantly performed romance", says Indiewire, which praises the film's "gentle humanity, its heartbreaking portrait of a couple kept apart, its dry wit and completely earned tear-jerking moments".

Frank

A comedy about a young wannabe musician (pictured above) who joins a band of eccentric performers, led by Chris Sievey, better known as his papier mache head-wearing alter ego Frank Sidebottom. Michael Fassbender plays the title character, whose decision to never to remove his fake head is unquestioned by the band. LA Times names it as a "must-see movie of the year".

Boyhood

A coming-of-age drama shot over 11 years, starring a young boy called Mason (Ellar Coltrane), directed by Richard Linklater. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke also star as Mason's parents. The Guardian's Xan Brooks describes it as an "astonishing achievement" and says it is "far and away" the best film he has seen at Sundance.

Whiplash

A promising young drummer (Miles Teller) and his brutally savage music teacher (JK Simmons) are locked in a power struggle to each prove their greatness as a jazz drummer — bleeding hands and broken psyches ensue. Vulture critic Jada Yuan said he and many other Sundance veterans agreed that it was the festival's "strongest opening film in years".  · 

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