6:37 pm - 12/04/2009

The Best Movie Posters of 2009

The first and most critical function of a movie poster is, of course, to sell the movie. But selling the movie and subtly giving audiences clues as to what happens in it are two different things.

A poster designer could, for example, make use of a blood-red background and have the stars' names over the word "in" over the name of the film, with all the traditional details in their traditional spot at the bottom. But unless a total lack of ideas were the game, why would you do that? It's better to dream up an image -- or a montage -- connecting audiences to the action of the film.

It turns out that 2009 was an above-average year for movie posters; choosing the top 10 seems like a crime. Still, here are 10 we think were the best of 2009 -- among the best, anyway. Let us know your picks in the comments section below.


Simple works! If you didn't know Meryl Streep was playing culinary icon Julia Child and didn't know Amy Adams was playing gastronomic blogger Julie Powell, you'd at least sense a seriously fun foodie thing going on. And you gotta love the dainty items out of focus behind Streep and Adams' adorably wicked finger tasting.


Precious' Job-like journey is encapsulated two ways here. The smudgy off-grey glow underscores the idea that her story is very little in the way of black or white. Second, the lack of details of the character's face -- or that of lead actress Gabourey Sidibe -- tells the viewer this is a Everywoman's story, yet a specific one.


This year's winner of the Sledgehammer Award goes to this poster, which gets to the meat of the matter, so to speak. Still, it's a smart image for the film, which pretty much bitch-slaps the hyper-industrialized system of American food production. Not to understand that from the image seems, well, udderly impossible.


Truth be told, even without the hint-hint-hint tag line at the bottom, the image of faceless souls shlepping through an airport gives this poster a sucker-punch of sense, plus a touch of ironic humor. It's pretty clever when you realize how the airplane is so much larger than the pathetic man -- presumably star George Clooney -- staring at it.


The composite-image poster for Quentin Tarantino's World War II riff, featuring Brad Pitt smack in the center, may be more familiar to audiences, but this high-concept piece completely nails it. How do you convey the film's fantastic elements with Tarantino's tribute to the spaghetti western? The surnames inscribed on the bat is one way, that's for sure.


Fear, beauty and sex; sensuousness at a distance; the complexities of love -- these are all themes Pedro Almodovar toys with again and again. This time, in the poster for 'Broken Embraces,' Almodovar's follow-up to 2006's 'Volver,' the sizzle of Penelope Cruz's lips and windblown hair make her character seem as irresistible as the actress herself.

4. UP

The poster for 'Up' is supremely wise not to communicate when or where the characters land. In fact, the whole point of the movie, one of the most emotionally arresting animation features in years, is that it's the ride up, up, up that matters, not just what happens at Paradise Falls.


Writer-director Diablo Cody may be keepin' on keepin' on in the name of girl power, but let's be totally blunt: this was Megan Fox's year, and this 'Jennifer's Body' teaser was a surefire way to pump up moviegoers' testosterone. The post-opening poster, picturing Fox looking like the devilish innocent she plays, was steamy -- but not nearly as mouth-droppingly good.


Like Steven Soderbergh's film itself, the poster for 'The Girlfriend Experience' is an obscured mystery. Yet while the dynamic between adult-film star Sasha Grey's character and the comic-booky pop-art of Roy Lichtenstein isn't too clear, the densely plotted, color-changing dots do dare you to peek behind them. This poster wins 2009's Stand Up and Take Notice honor.


All right, all right -- so this image for 'An Education' isn't high-concept and it doesn't revolutionize the movie-poster genre. But look at how tiny details echo Lone Scherfig's directing and Nick Hornby's screenplay. A young girl in love with a dashing older gent. However much they're one, they'll always see the world very, very differently. Together, yet apart. Or are they?


They're all beautiful posters, imo.
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samanarana 4th-Dec-2009 10:43 pm (UTC)
You've gotta be kidding me...
1cupofrpattz 4th-Dec-2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
I know, 'An education' looks weirdly photoshooped and ....strange!
grammaire 4th-Dec-2009 10:43 pm (UTC)
The UP poster makes me want to cry with happiness.
rhapsodeeinblue 4th-Dec-2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
I have the DVD and I pretty much do whenever I look at it.
sinked 6th-Dec-2009 01:20 am (UTC)
Completely agree
bingomassacre 4th-Dec-2009 10:43 pm (UTC)
jennifer's body DOES NOT belong here.
pigeonswerver 4th-Dec-2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
mooie_ziel 5th-Dec-2009 05:07 am (UTC)
that icon cracks me up
ben_superdetka 4th-Dec-2009 10:48 pm (UTC)
cascianca 4th-Dec-2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
it's not even original!
serendipitylust 4th-Dec-2009 10:50 pm (UTC)
i love "from the creaters of JUNO!"
cause if you love juno at all, you'll TOTALLY love this movie too...
same genre and all.
roxi9 4th-Dec-2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
brelicious 4th-Dec-2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
me_and_jimmy 4th-Dec-2009 10:54 pm (UTC)
MTE ...it looks like any other generic crap horror movie poster.
almightyspaz 4th-Dec-2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
Would you rather have that or New Moon, be honest
lamboyster 4th-Dec-2009 11:02 pm (UTC)
It would if it wasn't a complete fucking ripoff.

It's not like they didn't have time to change the poster, the Trueblood one has been around for over a year iirc. Not that it's a totally original concept but when there's a poster almost identical to it in the public eye???
redsprings 4th-Dec-2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
Lol, well several of these don't but IA.
vamp926 4th-Dec-2009 11:18 pm (UTC)
Plus it's a rip off of the True Blood original promotional poster.

Edited at 2009-12-04 11:18 pm (UTC)
freeze_i_say 5th-Dec-2009 04:39 am (UTC)
this - so cliché I was shocked to find out it was a poster for a 2009 film
wickedmynx 4th-Dec-2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
OMG FOOD, INC was so 0.0
serendipitylust 4th-Dec-2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
i was a vegetarian for about 12 hours after watching it.
wickedmynx 4th-Dec-2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
gurl, I was like... Is this shit for real?
mistertickle 4th-Dec-2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
Scariest horror movie of the year.
sgtpeppergirl 4th-Dec-2009 11:14 pm (UTC)
I've never seen it, but I imagine it was a lot like The Jungle? DNW, even if I am a vegetarian
swissbeauty23 4th-Dec-2009 11:32 pm (UTC)
was it good, bb? do you recommend i watch it?
morgan90 4th-Dec-2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
stepliana 4th-Dec-2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
An Education? REALLY? What that nonsense cutout text?

also_loled_irl 4th-Dec-2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
Up! was seriously an amazing movie. I want to see it again!
jkpolk 5th-Dec-2009 04:48 am (UTC)
I saw it a second time on an airplane home from Utah and was embarrassed that I ended up crying again surrounded by strangers, heh.
krysteener 5th-Dec-2009 05:30 am (UTC)
la biblioteca
grande_latte 4th-Dec-2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
xxxjoannxxx 4th-Dec-2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
i LOVE inglourious basterds but that poster doesnt do it justice
courtachino 4th-Dec-2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
Up was such a great movie, even though it had me crying like a baby in the first 10 minutes. I love the retro Up posters that were posted here a few weeks back.
polaroidmoment 4th-Dec-2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
ooh link? I never saw those.
xsweetxtormentx 4th-Dec-2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
i refuse to watch it again. balling my eyes out twice is enough.
supermusicmaker 4th-Dec-2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
oic @ Jennifer's Body
oh_harley_quinn 4th-Dec-2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
i love the up poster most
cherisheddesire 4th-Dec-2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
omg I remember this post from last year
/life is going too fast
some_dumb_kid 4th-Dec-2009 11:03 pm (UTC)
lol your icon
mistress_f 4th-Dec-2009 10:44 pm (UTC)

astormatsea 4th-Dec-2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
whenever i see peter sarsgaard all i can think of is the Peter Sargaard SARS guard
youbeboy 4th-Dec-2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
oh_harley_quinn 4th-Dec-2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
lol same here
ichdontthinksoo 4th-Dec-2009 10:47 pm (UTC)
lmao, I LOVED THAT. His SNL episode was so good <3

Well, it probably wasn't, but the Sars Guard bit is what I always remember, so in my book, it was awesome.
erin_chupacabra 4th-Dec-2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
I loved that skit so much.
sinked 6th-Dec-2009 01:24 am (UTC)
Hahahaha same
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