Year in Review: The 5 Best Movie Characters of 2016 [Sam Kench]

Best Movies of 2016 - Top 5

Alex R. Hibbert/Ashton Sanders/Trevante Rhodes as Little/Chiron/Black in Moonlight

These three actors play the same character at different stages in his life. They work together to cohesively create a fully formed person with subtle nuances and gestures that carry over throughout his life. One of the most authentic and genuine feeling characters in recent memory despite being played by three separate people.

Best Movie Characters 2016 Michael Shannon Nocturnal Animals

This is a character that could have easily been a stereotype, a loose cannon cop with nothing to lose, but Michael Shannon avoids that pitfall with ease and becomes simultaneously one of the most intense and cool characters of the year.

Denzel Washington as Troy Maxson in Fences

Best Movie Characters of 2016 Denzel Washington

[Very slight spoiler potential] Troy Maxson is a man of many layers, some good and some bad. Throughout Fences, he gets you on his side with his natural charisma and then turns you against him once you learn more about him. The protagonist becoming the antagonist is a hard thing to do well and Troy Maxson does it very well.

Ferdia Walsh-Peelo as Conor in Sing Street

Best Movie Characters 2016 Ferdia Walsh-Peelo Sing Street

Firstly Walsh-Peelo has a tall order with this film, he needs to be a great actor and a great musician, and not even separately, he must be both simultaneously with Conor’s confidence in his singing and stage presence notably changing throughout the film. Conor has one of the best character arcs of the year and is the epitome of the traditional coming of age tale. He passes through a number of musical identities and finds himself by emulating others.

Max Records as John Wayne Cleaver
in I Am Not a Serial Killer

Best Movie Characters 2016 Max Records I Am Not a Serial Killer

This is a pretty out there pick but I think John Wayne Cleaver is one of the best characters of the year and certainly one of the most interesting. He is a young man with a morbid conflict of conscious. He fears that he may be a serial killer waiting to activate completely with warning signs and cautionary advice from his Dr. and family. The conflict of self that this boy has trying to resist his morbid temptations is fascinating.


Honorable Mentions:

Mahershala Ali as Juan in Moonlight

Jovan Adepo as Cory Maxson in Fences

Jack Reynor as Brendan in Sing Street


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