It goes without saying, but 2020 has flipped everything upside down. 2019 proved to be a strong year for film, with some instant classics like Pain and Glory, The Irishman, and Parasite. 2020 was supposed to be another incredible year with releases like The Green Knight, Dune, A Quiet Place Part II, The French Dispatch, and so many other highly anticipated films being pushed back and delayed, even into 2021. With that being said, 2020 still wasn’t a terrible year for film, here are my top picks for 2020.
10. Black Bear
It’s difficult to explain exactly what this film is about. Black Bear effortlessly blurs the lines between reality and fiction, leaving you a bit confused at first, but as you catch on it becomes really enjoyable. This film feels very Kaufman-esque, so if you enjoyed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Anomalisa, this is right up your alley.
9. I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Kaufman delivers his trademark mind-bending quirky, but sort of terrifying adaptation of Ian Reid’s critically acclaimed novel of the same name. Being one of several high anticipated films released by Netflix in 2020, it was met with a lot of polarizing reviews, but still maintains a 3.5/5 rating on Letterboxd and an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. Kaufman is never an easy film to understand and yes, as pretentious as it may seem, his films are always rewarding.
8. Da 5 Bloods
Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods was also one the highly anticipated films Netflix announced early 2020 on their slate of films for the year and it did not disappoint. A story about five friends conjoined by the Vietnam war that revisit their past to finally bring to closure what has been bothering them for so long. It’s hard not to love this one.
Kajillionaire is the type of movie that leaves you feeling hopeful. Dysfunctional families have been welcomed in film and media since the Archie and his family first aired in the 70s. However, director Miranda July brings something different to the pot with Kajillionaire. A film about independence, centered around Old Dolio the daughter of a chisler couple cheating their way through life and her struggle to break free from their overly protective care. This quirky and charming story will have smiling throughout the entire film.
6. Promising Young Woman
Finally releasing Christmas Day 2020 in the United States after struggling with delay after delay while navigating the pandemic. Promising Young Woman is a comedy drama about a subject that is very pertinent to our day and age, accusations of sexual harassment. Promising Young Woman is eye opening and frustrating, emulating the very real reactions we’ve witnessed as men have been accused and charged of sexual harassment. What the film does best is take
Netflix is on fire, it’s as simple as that. They have released some of the best content of any studio as of recent. From their first Oscar winner Roma, to Mank and they are showing no signs of slowing down. Mank dives right into 1940s/50s Hollywood and follows the tumultuous life of Herman J. Mankiewicz and his life experiences that inspired him to write the critically acclaimed film Citizen Kane.
4. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
No other film was more in your face than Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always. This film accomplishes the complex task of showing the depth of the decision to abort a pregnancy. It is not a decision that is made lightly, or even easily attainable. Everything about this movie is so perfectly fit in place.
3. Sound of Metal
When trying to decide the best movies of 2020, it was difficult to pick the top. Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal eyed heavily for the top spot. Honestly, these next three films are my favorite of the year and easily could all be in the top spot. Riz Ahmed plays a metal drummer whose hearing deteriorates to the point where he becomes deaf. Struggling to accept his condition, he fights his way back to bring life back to the way it was and discovers how to finally embrace his future.
2. First Cow
Kelly Reichardt loves the Pacific Northwest, so it’s no surprise her newest project First Cow takes place in the dreamy northwest United States. A buddy drama that takes place after the westward occupation of the Pacific Northwest. When the first cow arrives in the region, Cookie Figowitz (John Magaro) stumbles upon the cow and builds a nice living by siphoning the cow’s milk. Albeit, this does last for long. I know it doesn’t sound exciting, but trust me, this move was just beautiful.
Nomadland is very special. A fictional tale, based on actual real life accounts and a book that recounts them. We follow Fern (Frances McDormand) as she struggles to find her place in life after losing her job and husband. Fern discovers the hidden lives of Southwestern American Nomads living among the desert. This story will shattered you into pieces and put you back together.