The 20 Best Films Of 2020
Despite 2020 being the year that majorly affected release calendars for films, there was still more than enough beautiful cinema to go around. In fact, I think that listing 20 movies rather than the usual 10 is now even more appropriate since you can watch a lot of these right now at home if theatres around you are closed. Just to preface the list a little bit, I prefer to do more of a ''favourite movies'' rather than ''best movies'' as in how they succeeded in their respective genres, not purely just how technically impressive they were. There are also special mentions because not everything after 20th spot is awful.
Films that didn't make the top 20 but were still impactful for variety of reasons, therefore recommended.
Best Bang For Your Buck: THE VAST OF NIGHT
• Andrew Patterson's passion project was done probably with the least amount of money compared to other films I saw this year and it is still the best return of quality for budget spent, that is why you should watch it. Incredible throwback-y film.
Against The Critical Opinion: UNDERWATER
• This Kristen Stewart starring monster horror movie is at 47% and 5.3/10 on Rotten Tomatoes and I enjoyed it much more than those numbers would indicate. Suffocating, anxious and on-to-the-point.
• They aren't even the only debut films by women from this year that I found effective (one even made it to top 20) but these three specifically make me wait for each person's sophomore release.
Not Ranked But Recommended: BORAT: SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
• Right on the line of real life and narrative where I don't write reviews about those kinds of films but ''Borat 2'' is perfectly of its time, it doesn't need to play well in five years because it's that funny and introduces a breakout star Maria Bakalova to the big audiences.
Now, the top 20 movies of last year:
20. Bad Education
• Sharp acting work from the whole ensemble, notably Hugh Jackman is great in this crime-ish drama. Unfolding screenplay knows how long to stay around and when it is time to move along the plot.
19. Black Bear
• Audrey Plaza leads the small, indie dramedy with twists and turns in excellent fashion. It doesn't try to change the landscape of cinema but the second half pays off.
18. The Invisible Man
• Classic story with somewhat modern take has its technical execution very much down and so it succeeds in selling you the horror. Elisabeth Moss and the supporting cast shine in their own corners while the invisible lurks just next to them.
17. The Devil All The Time
• A bit twisted and sour so it will probably turn off many that check it out for its (extremely) good-looking cast. If you happen to find the threaded storytelling to be your thing, the ending will surely please you.
• Visuals, visuals, visuals. Director Brandon Cronenberg knows how to fill the picture with imagery that interest your eyes but it also has a premise which carries it far. Mad sci-fi horror if you're in mood for that specifically.
• Perhaps not David Fincher's strongest outing but admittedly refreshing addition to his filmography. Lush cinematography, production design and dedicated actors are all at the top of their game.
14. Saint Maud
• Best final shot of the year? Smaller scale character study which eventually crescendos to the film's climax which is very much deserved. Strong debut by director Rose Glass.
13. First Cow
• Wholesome friendship comes along with year's worst marketing campaign, leads John Magaro and Orion Lee are a fantastic duo. This quiet western has some beautiful words on its pages.
12. Uncut Gems
• Opposite of the last film as it's pure anxiety, terror and noise from beginning to end. Adam Sandler's career-best performance by far and there's a frantic score which keeps the viewer on loop.
• Rather outstanding in every way technically. It is peak cinema when it comes to the actual craft side of things but the continuous shot is essential for the story as well.
10. Little Women
• Maybe it's the fact that it was the first ''Little Women'' that I have seen/read but there is a fine balance between classic and modern within the movie. Absolutely wonderful performances from the cast top to bottom.
• Similarly to Fincher, director Christopher Nolan didn't make the best film of his career but his take on spy action still works for the genre. As said, not his best but still entertaining and it has an energetic score by Ludwig Göransson too along with charismatic lead in John David Washington.
8. The Lodge
• Biggest outlier on this list compared to other critics? Could very well be. Most probably got their fix with 'Hereditary' in terms of insane mother figures and two kids in a house but 'The Lodge' just has a lot of the right pieces. Suffocating atmosphere and incredible sound design choices.
• Year's best animated film isn't very suitable for kids younger than seven surprisingly but at the same time, it deals with heavier themes (politics, animal rights) with grace. Outstanding use of colour and character design.
6. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
• The film with the best scene where the title is said aloud because that scene is just *chef's kiss*. Newcomers Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder both deliver on top of the great script from Eliza Hittman.
5. The Farewell
• Most original film in a long time when it comes to themes and style by director Lulu Wang. Awkwafina finds a new area from her acting range which is very much a delight to see when it is in so sweetly packaged piece of filmmaking.
4. I'm Thinking Of Ending Things
• If you absolutely love to be taken out of your comfort zone, here is a movie for you (speaking as someone who experienced just this). The fact that it's a genre that I don't really care about generally, it should say something that I was very fascinated by Charlie Kaufman's adapted storytelling.
3. Jojo Rabbit
• Whenever you're willing to walk on the thinnest of tightropes without falling over too much on your humour while sacrificing the heavier moments, you're already a winner. It just doesn't hurt when you also get good performances from your kid actors and your big name stars. The humour also happens to be ridiculously fun.
2. Palm Springs
• 2020's ''we have seen this before but somehow you stop thinking about it after the first 15 minutes''. Influencing the time loop situation with other genre tricks keeps it constantly moving and overall the film just happens to be year's funniest. Comedy and horror would easily get overlooked if you're ranking ''best films of the year'' but that shall not be the case here, that is why 'Palm Springs' is worthy of climbing so high as the comedy of 2020.
• Simply unbelievable achievement with how you can mix so many genres together so seamlessly. 'Parasite' has it all: acting, story, script, ending, production design, VFX and music are all working together to achieve something. To quote the review: ''Director Bong Joon-ho has crafted a miracle''. Just watch it, words aren't enough to describe it.
Here's to films of 2021, I guess. See you then.