2011 introduced audiences to new movie stars (Felicity Jones, Rooney Mara) and helped established actors (George Clooney, Brad Pitt) reclaim their box office moo. Us Weekly's Mara Reinstein recaps the year's 10 best films:

1. The DescendantsGeorge Clooney dials down the charisma to play a family man in kris in a compassionate drama. No cool effects? No tidy end? No problem.

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2. The ArtistThe silent movie about silent movies enchants from the first moments to the exhilarating, toe-tapping finale.

3. MoneyballIt's easy to root for this real-life underdog story, featuring Brad Pitt's stellar turn as an innovative-yet-devoted baseball general manager. He's never been more appealing.

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4. MelancholiaThey all can't be heart-warmers! This apocalyptic drama, with Kirsten Dunst as a manic bride, never loses its grip.

5. BridesmaidsFemale friendship, bad Brazilian food and Wilson Phillips! Cheers to this instant Saturday-night cable classic.

6. War HorseSteven Spielberg's movie epic follows the relationship between a soldier and his horse. Not treacly, just terrific.

7. The HelpThe engaging hit drama is bolstered by top-notch performances from Viola Davis (an overworked maid in the racist South) and Emma Stone (the author who tells her story).

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8. 50/50Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets cancer and tries to laugh about it. Amazingly, this unusual concept succeeds.

9. The Girl With the Dragon TattooThe searing adaptation exceeds the hype. Rooney Mara for best actress, anyone?

10. Like CrazyFelicity Jones and Anton Yelchin go deep playing a devoted-but-conflicted long-distance couple in a poignant -- and criminally underappreciated! -- love story.

For more honorable mentions, including My Week With Marilyn and The Ides of March, pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on stands now!

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