To say 2020 was not a normal year is an understatement and like most things movies were not the same, as we were kept out of theaters most of the year. While there was indeed a lack of blockbusters, the lack of good movies did not happen, as they just found new ways to get them to us. As I sat down to make this list I found it hard to narrow this to just twelve, but tough choices were made and with that said, here are my favorite films of 2020.
Good investigative journalism is a great thing , as it can uncover truths that are hidden amongst so many lies. That is what happened in Romanian as the Gazeta Sporturilor uncovered health-care fraud that was making a lot of politicians rich and led to the deaths of many people. Director Alexander Nanau takes us down a hole of truth and what we see, we will not soon forget.
- The Assistant
Kitty Green’s horror film is not one that will leave your thoughts anytime soon after watching it. The story of the day in the life of an assistant to a Harvey Weinstein inspired role will leave you feeling dirty. Led by a stellar performance by Julia Garner and some incredible sound design that leaves you feeling like you are in that office with her all add up to a fantastic movie.
- First Cow
A film that came out earlier in the year that happened to be released right when things started to go south on us. It’s the story a cook traveling west with a group of fur trappers. Along his travels he connects with a Chinese immigrant, who he forms a successful business with. First Cow is a moving story, with a great score by William Tyler and Cinematographer Christopher Biauvelt also deserves high praise.
- Nine Days
This is the story of a reclusive man whose job it is to interview human souls for the chance to be born. The sign of a great science-fiction story is provoking real life questions after, and Nine Days does just that With an incredible script by Edson Oda that will have you re-consider some of your own views, this is one movie you must witness yourself.
- Beastie Boys Story
If you are of a certain age, you grew up listing to the Beastie Boys as they changed the way some might look at music. While nostalgia and love of them got me in the door, Spike Jonze, Adam Horovitz, and Mike D. kept me there with stories that will leave you wanting more.
Another great piece of science-fiction, by the way of some good horror. Brandon Cronenberg takes us into a world where agents in a secretive organization use brain implant technology to take over other people’s bodies. Once in control they use them as assassins for high paying customers. Cronenberg is a master of this universe and shows off his full skill set in this one that will leave you amazed.
- Another Round
I could lure you in just by telling you that you get to watch Mads Mikkelsen be awesome as usual, all while finding a way to take it up a level with one of the best endings in a movie this year. That may be enough for most, but in this story about four friends who test a theory to improve their lives, by maintaining a certian level of alcohol in their blood, would be underselling this gem.
- Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always
Often stories try and give you a feel of what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes . I will never know what it is like to be a seventeen year old girl who has to make a decision that no one wants to make. Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder show us what it is like in Eliza Hittman’s unflinching story that will impact you.
- Promising Young Woman
When a traumatic event happens in Cassandra’s (Carry Mulligan) life she decides not to take it lightly. Instead decides to teach those who cross her path a lesson they soon will not forget, in this revenge thriller. Writer/ Director Emerald Fennell takes you through some twist and turns, but is Mulligan’s performance that you will be talking about the most.
- Small Axe: Lover’s Rock
In case you didn’t know, Steve McQueen dropped five fantastic movies on Amazon Prime as part of his Small Axe series. While all films are great, none of them hit me like Lover’s Rock , which takes place in a single evening at a house party in West London in the 1980’s. It will leave you dancing, crying, and just plain leave you in awe at what you are seeing.
- Sound of Metal
Another story that puts us in the shoes of someone who can teach us a thing or two about ourselves. Riz Ahmed plays a heavy metal drummer who loses his hearing which causes his life to spiral downward. With incredible sound design and what might be the best performance by a male lead in Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal gives you a lot to unpack.
What can I say, I love movies that give me all the feels. Lee Isaac Chung’s story about a Korean family’s move to Arkansas to start a farm in the 80’s will surely give you a bunch of feels. Steven Yeun is fantastic as the father who is trying to build something for his family, in this story about family that gets right to the heart to what the word “family” means.
Honorable Mentions: Boys State, WolfWalkers, News of the World, The Forty-Year-Old Version , The Wolf of Snow Hollow, Relic, and I’m Thinking of Ending Things