1. THE QUINTESSENTIAL LOVE STORY
What's at the heart of "Django Unchained"? It's not action-packed mayhem, or Leonardo DiCaprio's fancy outfits, or even a Jonah Hill cameo. Rather, "Django" is defined by the bond between Django (Jamie Foxx) and his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), hopelessly in love and tragically separated through the slave trade. Django and Broomhilda's romance is marked by little shared screen time and only flecks of dialogue, but Foxx and Washington convince the audience that their love is steeped in history, even as the world around them is crumbling spectacularly. Tarantino has explored the unstoppable impetus that love creates in earlier films, most memorably as The Bride slashes her way toward her daughter in "Kill Bill," but never with this much clarity and trust in his actors. In "Django Unchained," the great Jamie Foxx is less of a cold-blooded killer than a man whose blood runs cold because he misses his wife -- and with that in mind, we'll gladly root for him to win.