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Understanding the Factors Behind the Highest Bank Savings Rates
When it comes to saving money, finding the right bank account with high interest rates is essential. With so many options available, understanding the factors that contribute to the highest bank savings rates can help you make an informed decision. In this article, we will explore these factors and provide valuable insights into how banks determine their interest rates.
Economic Conditions and Market Trends
Economic conditions and market trends play a significant role in determining bank savings rates. Banks closely monitor factors such as inflation, interest rate movements by central banks, and overall market conditions. When the economy is strong and interest rates are higher, banks tend to offer more attractive savings rates to encourage customers to save rather than spend.
Additionally, market competition also influences bank savings rates. Banks strive to attract customers by offering competitive interest rates that outperform their competitors. This healthy competition can lead to higher savings rates for consumers as banks vie for their business.
Risk Assessment and Cost of Funds
Banks must carefully assess risk when setting their savings rates. The riskier an investment or loan portfolio is perceived to be, the higher return a bank will require on its deposits. This assessment takes into account factors such as creditworthiness of borrowers, default probabilities, and potential losses due to economic downturns.
The cost of funds is another crucial factor in determining bank savings rates. Banks need capital to lend out money or invest in various financial instruments. They acquire this capital by attracting depositors through offering competitive interest rates on savings accounts. The cost of acquiring funds directly impacts the bank’s ability to offer high-interest savings accounts.
Account Features and Bank Policies
Bank policies and account features also contribute significantly to the offered savings rate. Some banks may have minimum balance requirements or impose fees if certain conditions are not met. These policies can affect the overall return on your savings account.
Additionally, banks may offer promotional or introductory rates to attract new customers. These rates are often higher than the standard rates, but they may only last for a limited period. It is important to consider both the initial rate and the long-term rate when evaluating the overall value of a savings account.
Relationship with the Bank
Maintaining a good relationship with your bank can have an impact on the interest rates offered. Long-standing customers who have multiple accounts or loans with a particular bank may be eligible for preferential rates. Building trust and loyalty with your bank can lead to better savings opportunities.
Furthermore, some banks offer relationship pricing based on the total assets held by a customer across various accounts and investments. The higher your assets, the more negotiating power you may have in securing higher interest rates on your savings.
In conclusion, several factors contribute to determining the highest bank savings rates. Economic conditions, market trends, risk assessment, cost of funds, account features, bank policies, and customer relationships all play crucial roles in setting these rates. By understanding these factors and conducting thorough research, you can make an informed decision when choosing a bank account that offers the best return on your savings.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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The 10 Highest-Rated Movies Since 2020 (So Far), Ranked According to IMDb
Expect to see these films on decade-end lists.
2020 marked the rise of a worldwide pandemic, which continued through 2021 and 2022 . The pandemic hit the filmmaking business hard, delaying many high-profile projects and releasing others to a much smaller audience, severely affecting their chance at the box office. Despite the dire situation, the film industry showed remarkable resistance and endurance. Fewer movies came out, but some were among the most acclaimed in recent memory.
Fans on IMDb have rated the decade's releases, voting for what they believe are the best movies from the 2020s so far . From animated gems like Soul to blockbuster sci-fi adventures like Dune , these movies defied the odds, providing audiences with entertainment and inspiration through this remarkable time. Film lovers on IMDb have given these releases their seal of approval, granting them high rankings and cementing their place as the best films from the 2020s so far.
10 'Soul' (2020)
Imdb score: 8.0/10.
A computer-animated fantasy comedy-drama movie, Soul centers on a middle school teacher and jazz pianist named Joe Gardner ( Jamie Foxx ). After accidentally entering a coma just before getting his big break as a musician, Joe sets out to bring his split spirit and body back together.
Soul is a serious and existential animated family movie that goes beyond the usual theological, psychological, and emotional territory covered in Pixar movies. It also has a tender disposition, some nice laughter, and an even kinder heart. Soul is powered by Jamie Foxx's astounding performance , proving that Pixar is still a business that operates in its own unique way, and that can only be a good thing.
Watch on Disney+
9 'CODA' (2021)
Remade from the 2014 French-Belgian film La Famille Bélier , CODA follows Ruby Rossi ( Emilia Jones ), the titular CODA, or "child of deaf adults." The sole hearing person in her family, Ruby works to support her family's failing fishing operation while following her dream to be a singer.
CODA seeks to close the gap between the parallels and differences it finds while telling a tale of struggle, development, and exploration. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture , with Troy Kotsur earning the statuette for Best Supporting Actor. CODA is an emotional coming-of-age tale that may cause spectators to cry ; however, it additionally inspires viewers and makes them feel wonderful since there is so much more goodness in the world.
Watch on Apple TV+
8 'Dune' (2021)
Based on the first half of the 1965 novel of the same name by Frank Herbert , Dune follows the story of a gifted young man, Paul Atreides ( Timothée Chalamet ). Along with his family, Paul must travel to the barren planet of Arrakis, where the only supply of the universe's most precious psychotropic drug, spice, and the people who take them, Fremen, can be found. To keep his family, the House Atreides, and the people safe, Paul must face the deadly planet to fulfill the destiny he was born to do.
Denis Villeneuve's Dune is a cerebral sci-fi film with an epic scope, mind-blowing action scenes, and breathtaking cinematography . The film was a box-office hit, grossing $400 worldwide despite a day-and-date release on Max. Moreover, Villeneuve used the screenplay's slow, deliberative pace to highlight the novel's key scenes and plot points, along with brilliant world-building that fans of the book cannot help but gasp.
Watch on Max
7 'Past Lives' (2023)
Imdb score: 8.1/10.
Celine Song's feature directorial debut, Past Lives , is a riveting and emotionally charged romantic drama . It traces the journey of two childhood friends, Na Young ( Greta Lee ) and Hae Sung ( Teo Yoo ), and their evolving relationship spanning 24 years as they grapple with the changes in their lives and slowly grow apart. The plot draws inspiration from real events in Song's life and is semi-autobiographical in nature.
Past Lives is realistically subtle and understated , occasionally veering into the ordinary but ultimately reflecting the complexities of lives through a universal tale of life choices. It captivates viewers, particularly in its climactic, emotionally draining moments. A further aspect of the movie's charm is the way the camera seems to caress the landscape of the desolate cities while it catches their beauty.
Nora and Hae Sung, two deeply connected childhood friends, are wrested apart after Nora's family emigrates from South Korea. Twenty years later, they are reunited for one fateful week as they confront notions of love and destiny.
Rent on YouTube
6 'The Father' (2020)
Imdb score: 8.2/10.
The Father follows Anthony ( Anthony Hopkins ), a Londoner, who is reluctant to tell his daughter Anne ( Olivia Colman ) that he can no longer take care of himself. He changes from being endearing to disrespectful when Anne brings in a nurse. One day, Anthony awakens confused in a house he is unfamiliar with, and it is then that he realizes how reality is slipping from his grasp.
Harrowing and thought-provoking, The Father is a challenging movie to watch . However, the daring decisions, the emotional transparency, the sharp, precise storytelling, and Hopkins's outstanding performance make every second worthwhile. Moreover, it has a superb script, not just because of the excellent dialogue but because it plays with the viewer's perceptions and understanding.
Rent on Prime Video
5 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' (2021)
Serving as the third installment in the same-name franchise in the MCU, Spider-Man: No Way Home continues to follow the titular character ( Tom Holland ) as he asks Dr. Strange ( Benedict Cumberbatch ) to employ magic to keep his identity as Spider-Man a secret once more following his public disclosure at the conclusion of Far From Home . Parker's constant interruption causes the magic to fail, which opens up the multiverse and lets people from other realities invade Parker's world.
True to form, Spider-Man: No Way Home is a heartfelt, open love letter to the Spider-Man franchise. The movie is emotionally charged, hits hard, and is darker than the previous installments for a good cause. Fans cannot help but reflect deeply on Spider-Man's significance. MCU once again proves that their movies don't need to be lighthearted and fun.
Spider-Man 3 / Spider-Man: No Way Home
Watch on Starz
4 'Hamilton' (2020)
Imdb score: 8.3/10.
Based on the 2004 book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow , Hamilton recounts the actual life of Alexander Hamilton ( Lin-Manuel Miranda ), the first Secretary of the Treasury and one of America's most important founding fathers. With the original Broadway cast, the movie was filmed live on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
The idea is anything but a gimmick; Hamilton is a dynamic, heart-stopping masterwork that harnesses contemporary culture to portray historical facts . The film does a lot for fans who cannot access the original live show but still be able to experience one of the best plays of the 21st century with a varied ensemble portraying America today and amazing visuals.
3 'Top Gun: Maverick' (2022)
Serving as a sequel to the 1986 film Top Gun , Top Gun: Maverick continues to follow Pete "Maverick" Mitchell ( Tom Cruise ), who is forced to face his innermost fears and the ghosts from the past. Now a reluctant teacher for a new generation of pilots, Maverick must deal with a dangerous missing while facing Rooster, the son of his late best friend, Goose.
Top Gun: Maverick is visually and emotionally rewarding in ways uncommon for modern blockbusters . Elevated by Tom Cruise's now-legendary commitment to envelope-pushing action , the film excels as breathtaking and emotionally gripping entertainment. Top Gun: Maverick quickly became a cultural phenomenon and was the second-highest-grossing film of 2022 , behind only Avatar: The Way of Water . Moreover, even while it follows the same conventional narrative beats and expected character arcs as the original, the simplified plot has been given a carefree air that complements and enhances the visual show.
Top Gun: Maverick
Watch on Prime Video
2 'Oppenheimer' (2023)
Imdb score: 8.6/10.
Adapted from the 2005 biography American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin , Oppenheimer explores the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer ( Cillian Murphy ). The plot emphasizes his academic pursuits, his leadership of the Manhattan Project during World War II, and his subsequent downfall during the 1954 security hearing.
Oppenheimer is a mythic, monumental achievement by Christopher Nolan , with Murphy and Robert Downey Jr. delivering career-best performances in what stands as the most significant movie of the decade. The movie is unquestionably a cinematic masterpiece of the highest caliber, earning high marks from critics - currently standing at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes - and audiences - grossing over $900 million worldwide . The film meticulously crafts a sensory journey that reimagines a historically significant event, making it not only relevant but transcendent.
Oppenheimer is currently playing in theaters in the United States and Canada.
1 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' (2023)
Imdb score: 8.7/10.
Continuing the story in the first installment released in 2018, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse takes place in a shared multiverse of parallel universes known as the Spider-Verse. To battle a new force of evil that is more potent than anything they have ever faced, Miles Morales ( Shameik Moore ) must join forces with Gwen Stacy ( Hailee Steinfeld ) and a new band of Spider-People across the Multiverse while dealing with his own demons.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is an incredible and groundbreaking accomplishment in animation . It takes audiences on an exhilarating and more intense adventure filled with astonishing revelations that make it a sequel that's just as good as its predecessor, or even better. In addition to its impressive visual effects, the second installment maintains its exceptional character development, showcasing well-crafted and heartfelt tributes to the titular character. Furthermore, the film outperforms No Way Home in its approach to introducing and exploring the multiverse, providing the audience with a deeper comprehension of this intricate concept.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Miles Morales catapults across the Multiverse, where he encounters a team of Spider-People charged with protecting its very existence. When the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles must redefine what it means to be a hero.
Watch on Netflix
NEXT: The Best Films of 2022
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Best Movies of 2020 seen so far
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1. One Night in Miami... (2020)
R | 114 min | Drama
A fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali , Malcolm X , Sam Cooke , and Jim Brown gathered discussing their roles in the Civil Rights Movement and cultural upheaval of the 60s.
Director: Regina King | Stars: Kingsley Ben-Adir , Eli Goree , Aldis Hodge , Leslie Odom Jr.
2. Sorry We Missed You (2019)
Not Rated | 101 min | Drama
Hoping that self-employment through gig economy can solve their financial woes, a hard-up UK delivery driver and his wife struggling to raise a family end up trapped in the vicious circle of this modern-day form of labour exploitation.
Director: Ken Loach | Stars: Kris Hitchen , Debbie Honeywood , Rhys Mcgowan , Katie Proctor
3. Rocks (2019)
TV-MA | 93 min | Drama
A young teenage girl finds herself struggling to take care of herself and her younger brother after being abandoned by their single mother with no choice but to live out on the streets.
Director: Sarah Gavron | Stars: Bukky Bakray , Kosar Ali , D'angelou Osei Kissiedu , Shaneigha-Monik Greyson
4. The Father (I) (2020)
PG-13 | 97 min | Drama, Mystery
A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.
Director: Florian Zeller | Stars: Anthony Hopkins , Olivia Colman , Mark Gatiss , Olivia Williams
5. Wolfwalkers (2020)
PG | 103 min | Animation, Action, Adventure
A young apprentice hunter and her father journey to Ireland to help wipe out the last wolf pack. But everything changes when she befriends a free-spirited girl from a mysterious tribe rumored to transform into wolves by night.
Directors: Tomm Moore , Ross Stewart | Stars: Honor Kneafsey , Eva Whittaker , Sean Bean , Simon McBurney
6. House of Hummingbird (2018)
Not Rated | 138 min | Drama
Seoul 1994, in the year the Seongsu Bridge collapsed, 14-year-old Eunhee wanders the city searching for love.
Director: Bora Kim | Stars: Park Ji-hu , Sae-byeok Kim , In-gi Jeong , Soo-Yeon Park
7. First Cow (2019)
PG-13 | 122 min | Drama, Western
A skilled cook has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant also seeking his fortune. Soon the two collaborate on a successful business.
Director: Kelly Reichardt | Stars: Alia Shawkat , John Magaro , Dylan Smith , Ryan Findley
8. Minari (2020)
PG-13 | 115 min | Drama
A Korean American family moves to an Arkansas farm in search of its own American dream. Amidst the challenges of new life in the strange and rugged Ozarks, they discover the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.
Director: Lee Isaac Chung | Stars: Steven Yeun , Yeri Han , Alan Kim , Noel Cho
9. The Wolf House (2018)
Not Rated | 75 min | Animation, Drama, Horror
Tells the story of Maria, a young woman who takes refuge in a house in southern Chile after escaping from a German colony.
Directors: Joaquín Cociña , Cristóbal León | Stars: Amalia Kassai , Rainer Krause , Karina Hyland , Carlos Cociña
10. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020)
R | 94 min | Drama, Music
Tensions rise when trailblazing blues singer Ma Rainey and her band gather at a recording studio in Chicago in 1927.
Director: George C. Wolfe | Stars: Viola Davis , Chadwick Boseman , Glynn Turman , Colman Domingo
11. The Swerve (2018)
95 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller
A woman with a seemingly ideal life battles insomnia.
Director: Dean Kapsalis | Stars: Azura Skye , Bryce Pinkham , Ashley Bell , Zach Rand
12. Collective (2019)
Not Rated | 109 min | Documentary, Crime
Director Alexander Nanau follows a crack team of investigators at the Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor as they try to uncover a vast health-care fraud that enriched moguls and politicians and led to the deaths of innocent citizens.
Director: Alexander Nanau | Stars: Dan Alexandru Condrea , Liviu Iolu , Razvan Lutac , Mirela Neag
13. Soul (2020)
PG | 100 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
After landing the gig of a lifetime, a New York jazz pianist suddenly finds himself trapped in a strange land between Earth and the afterlife.
Directors: Pete Docter , Kemp Powers | Stars: Jamie Foxx , Tina Fey , Graham Norton , Rachel House
14. Saint Maud (2019)
R | 84 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
A pious nurse becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.
Director: Rose Glass | Stars: Morfydd Clark , Caoilfhionn Dunne , Jennifer Ehle , Marcus Hutton
15. Small Axe (2020) Episode: Mangrove (2020)
TV-MA | 127 min | Drama, History
Mangrove tells this true story of The Mangrove Nine, who clashed with London police in 1970. The trial that followed was the first judicial acknowledgment of behavior motivated by racial hatred within the Metropolitan Police.
Director: Steve McQueen | Stars: Gary Beadle , Darren Braithwaite , Richie Campbell , Ben Caplan
16. The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel (2020 TV Movie)
TV-PG | 110 min | Drama
Details the humble beginnings, struggles to find their place, to later becoming the best-selling Gospel group in the music world.
Director: Christine Swanson | Stars: Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor , Michael Xavier , Raven Goodwin , Ronnie Rowe
17. Nomadland (2020)
R | 107 min | Drama
A woman in her sixties, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.
Director: Chloé Zhao | Stars: Frances McDormand , David Strathairn , Linda May , Gay DeForest
18. Better Days (2019)
135 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
While she copes the the pressures of her final examinations, a bullied teenage girl forms an unlikely friendship with a mysterious young man who protects her from her assailants.
Director: Derek Tsang | Stars: Dongyu Zhou , Jackson Yee , Fang Yin , Ye Zhou
19. The Vast of Night (2019)
PG-13 | 91 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
One night in New Mexico, in the late 1950s, a switchboard operator and radio DJ discover a strange audio frequency which could change the future forever.
Director: Andrew Patterson | Stars: Sierra McCormick , Jake Horowitz , Gail Cronauer , Bruce Davis
20. Premature (2019)
Unrated | 90 min | Drama, Music, Romance
Seventeen year-old Ayanna meets handsome and mysterious Isaiah in her path toward self-discovery. Her entire world is turned upside down as she travails on the rigorous terrain of young love in the summer before she leaves for college.
Director: Rashaad Ernesto Green | Stars: Zora Howard , Joshua Boone , Michelle Wilson , Alexis Marie Wint
21. Bacurau (2019)
Not Rated | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
After the death of her grandmother, Teresa comes home to her matriarchal village in a near-future Brazil to find a succession of sinister events that mobilizes all of its residents.
Directors: Juliano Dornelles , Kleber Mendonça Filho | Stars: Bárbara Colen , Thomas Aquino , Silvero Pereira , Thardelly Lima
22. The Painted Bird (2019)
Unrated | 169 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller
A young Jewish boy somewhere in Eastern Europe seeks refuge during World War II where he encounters many different characters.
Director: Václav Marhoul | Stars: Petr Kotlár , Nina Sunevic , Alla Sokolova , Stanislav Bilyi
23. The Painter and the Thief (2020)
106 min | Documentary
An artist befriends the thief who stole her paintings. She becomes his closest ally when he is severely hurt in a car crash and needs full time care, even if her paintings are not found. But then the tables turn.
Director: Benjamin Ree | Stars: Karl Bertil-Nordland , Barbora Kysilkova , Øystein Stene
24. Vitalina Varela (2019)
124 min | Drama
A Cape Verdean woman navigates her way through Lisbon, following the scanty physical traces her deceased husband left behind and discovering his secret, illicit life.
Director: Pedro Costa | Stars: Vitalina Varela , Ventura , Manuel Tavares Almeida , Francisco Brito
25. Only the Animals (2019)
117 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
A woman disappeared. After a snowstorm, her car is discovered on a road to a small remote village. While the police don't know where to start, five people are linked to the disappearance. Each one with his or her own secret.
Director: Dominik Moll | Stars: Denis Ménochet , Laure Calamy , Damien Bonnard , Nadia Tereszkiewicz
26. Sound of Metal (2019)
R | 120 min | Drama, Music
A heavy metal drummer's life is turned upside down when he begins to lose his hearing and he must confront a future filled with silence.
Director: Darius Marder | Stars: Riz Ahmed , Olivia Cooke , Paul Raci , Lauren Ridloff
27. Time (I) (2020)
PG-13 | 81 min | Documentary, Biography
Fox Rich fights for the release of her husband, Rob, who is serving a 60-year sentence in prison.
Director: Garrett Bradley | Stars: Sibil Fox Richardson , Robert G. Richardson , Mahlik Richardson , Remington B. Richardson
28. Arkansas (2020)
R | 117 min | Crime, Thriller
Kyle and Swin live by the orders of an Arkansas-based drug kingpin named Frog, whom they've never met. But when a deal goes horribly wrong, the consequences are deadly.
Director: Clark Duke | Stars: Liam Hemsworth , Jacob Zachar , Patrick Muldoon , Clark Duke
29. Beasts Clawing at Straws (2020)
108 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A struggling restaurant owner, caring for his sick mom, finds a bag of cash in a sauna locker, while a customs officer gets into trouble when his girlfriend runs off with money he borrowed from a loan shark.
Director: Kim Yong-hoon | Stars: Jeon Do-yeon , Jung Woo-sung , Sung-Woo Bae , Youn Yuh-jung
30. Beanpole (2019)
Unrated | 130 min | Drama, War
1945, Leningrad. WWII has devastated the city, demolishing its buildings and leaving its citizens in tatters, physically and mentally. Two young women search for meaning and hope in the struggle to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins.
Director: Kantemir Balagov | Stars: Viktoria Miroshnichenko , Vasilisa Perelygina , Andrey Bykov , Igor Shirokov
31. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)
PG-13 | 101 min | Drama
A pair of teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania travel to New York City to seek out medical help after an unintended pregnancy.
Director: Eliza Hittman | Stars: Sidney Flanigan , Talia Ryder , Théodore Pellerin , Eliazar Jimenez
32. Small Axe (2020) Episode: Lovers Rock (2020)
TV-MA | 70 min | Drama, History
A single evening at a house party in 1980s West London sets the scene, developing intertwined relationships against a background of violence, romance and music.
Director: Steve McQueen | Stars: Dennis Bovell , Saffron Coomber , Frankie Fox , Daniel Francis-Swaby
33. Make Up (2019)
TV-MA | 86 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
On a remote holiday park in Cornwall, a young woman is drawn into a mysterious obsession when she suspects her boyfriend has cheated on her.
Director: Claire Oakley | Stars: Molly Windsor , Joseph Quinn , Stefanie Martini , Theo Barklem-Biggs
34. Marona's Fantastic Tale (2019)
Not Rated | 92 min | Animation, Drama, Family
After an accident, a little dog remembers all the different masters she's had successively and loved unconditionally.
Director: Anca Damian | Stars: Lizzie Brocheré , Olimpia Melinte , Marius Manole , Bruno Salomone
35. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
R | 129 min | Drama, History, Thriller
The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.
Director: Aaron Sorkin | Stars: Eddie Redmayne , Alex Sharp , Sacha Baron Cohen , Jeremy Strong
36. A White, White Day (2019)
Unrated | 109 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
An off duty police begins to suspect a local man for having had an affair with his recently dead wife. Gradually his obsession for finding out the truth accumulates and inevitably begins to endanger himself and his loved ones.
Director: Hlynur Pálmason | Stars: Ingvar Sigurdsson , Ída Mekkín Hlynsdóttir , Hilmir Snær Guðnason , Sara Dögg Ásgeirsdóttir
37. La Llorona (2019)
Not Rated | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Horror
An aging paranoid war criminal, protected by his faithful wife, faces death while being haunted by the ghosts of his past.
Director: Jayro Bustamante | Stars: María Mercedes Coroy , Sabrina De La Hoz , Margarita Kenéfic , Julio Diaz
38. Another Round (2020)
Not Rated | 117 min | Drama
Four high-school teachers consume alcohol on a daily basis to see how it affects their social and professional lives.
Director: Thomas Vinterberg | Stars: Mads Mikkelsen , Thomas Bo Larsen , Magnus Millang , Lars Ranthe
39. Da 5 Bloods (2020)
R | 154 min | Adventure, Drama, War
Four African-American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen squad leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide.
Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Delroy Lindo , Jonathan Majors , Clarke Peters , Norm Lewis
40. Proxima (2019)
107 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
An astronaut prepares for a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station.
Director: Alice Winocour | Stars: Eva Green , Zélie Boulant , Matt Dillon , Aleksey Fateev
41. A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2019)
G | 86 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
When an alien with amazing powers crash-lands near Mossy Bottom Farm, Shaun the Sheep goes on a mission to shepherd the intergalactic visitor home before a sinister organization can capture her.
Directors: Will Becher , Richard Phelan | Stars: Justin Fletcher , John Sparkes , Amalia Vitale , Kate Harbour
42. Corpus Christi (2019)
Unrated | 115 min | Drama
Daniel experiences a spiritual transformation in a detention center. Although his criminal record prevents him from applying to the seminary, he has no intention of giving up his dream and decides to minister a small-town parish.
Director: Jan Komasa | Stars: Bartosz Bielenia , Aleksandra Konieczna , Eliza Rycembel , Tomasz Zietek
43. The Wild Goose Lake (2019)
113 min | Crime, Drama
A gangster on the run sacrifices everything for his family and a woman he meets while on the lam.
Director: Yi'nan Diao | Stars: Ge Hu , Gwei Lun-Mei , Fan Liao , Regina Wan
44. Les Misérables (2019)
R | 104 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A cop from the provinces moves to Paris to join the Anti-Crime Brigade of Montfermeil, discovering an underworld where the tensions between the different groups mark the rhythm.
Director: Ladj Ly | Stars: Damien Bonnard , Alexis Manenti , Djebril Zonga , Issa Perica
45. Palm Springs (2020)
R | 90 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Mystery
Stuck in a time loop, two wedding guests develop a budding romance while living the same day over and over again.
Director: Max Barbakow | Stars: Andy Samberg , Cristin Milioti , J.K. Simmons , Peter Gallagher
46. The Forty-Year-Old Version (2020)
R | 123 min | Comedy, Drama
Radha is a down-on-her-luck NY playwright, who is desperate for a breakthrough before 40. Reinventing herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime, she vacillates between the worlds of Hip Hop and theater in order to find her true voice.
Director: Radha Blank | Stars: Radha Blank , Peter Kim , Oswin Benjamin , Imani Lewis
47. The Mole Agent (2020)
Not Rated | 84 min | Documentary
A private investigator in Chile hires someone to work as a mole at a retirement home where a client of his suspects the caretakers of elder abuse.
Director: Maite Alberdi | Stars: Sergio Chamy , Romulo Aitken , Marta Olivares , Berta Ureta
48. Pieces of a Woman (2020)
R | 126 min | Drama
When a young mother's home birth ends in unfathomable tragedy, she begins a year-long odyssey of mourning that fractures relationships with loved ones in this deeply personal story of a woman learning to live alongside her loss.
Director: Kornél Mundruczó | Stars: Vanessa Kirby , Shia LaBeouf , Ellen Burstyn , Iliza Shlesinger
49. Run (I) (2020)
PG-13 | 90 min | Mystery, Thriller
A homeschooled teenager begins to suspect her mother is keeping a dark secret from her.
Director: Aneesh Chaganty | Stars: Sarah Paulson , Kiera Allen , Sara Sohn , Pat Healy
50. Tenet (2020)
PG-13 | 150 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: John David Washington , Robert Pattinson , Elizabeth Debicki , Juhan Ulfsak
Votes: 569,951 | Gross: $58.46M
51. Yes, God, Yes (2019)
R | 78 min | Comedy, Drama
After an innocent AOL chat turns racy, a Catholic teenager in the early 2000s discovers masturbation and struggles to suppress her new urges in the face of eternal damnation.
Director: Karen Maine | Stars: Natalia Dyer , Timothy Simons , Wolfgang Novogratz , Francesca Reale
52. Bad Education (2019)
TV-MA | 108 min | Biography, Comedy, Crime
The beloved superintendent of New York's Roslyn school district and his staff, friends and relatives become the prime suspects in the unfolding of the single largest public school embezzlement scandal in American history.
Director: Cory Finley | Stars: Hugh Jackman , Ray Romano , Welker White , Allison Janney
53. Black Bear (I) (2020)
R | 104 min | Comedy, Drama
A filmmaker at a creative impasse seeks solace from her tumultuous past at a rural retreat, only to find that the woods summon her inner demons in intense and surprising ways.
Director: Lawrence Michael Levine | Stars: Aubrey Plaza , Christopher Abbott , Sarah Gadon , Paola Lázaro
54. Alice (II) (2019)
103 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
Alice, a happy and perfect wife and mother, has her life turned upside down when she discovers her husband is living a secret life.
Director: Josephine Mackerras | Stars: Emilie Piponnier , Martin Swabey , Chloé Boreham , Jules Milo Levy Mackerras
55. Mank (2020)
R | 131 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama
1930s Hollywood is re-evaluated through the eyes of scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz as he races to finish the screenplay of Citizen Kane (1941).
Director: David Fincher | Stars: Gary Oldman , Amanda Seyfried , Lily Collins , Tom Pelphrey
56. Acute Misfortune (2018)
Unrated | 91 min | Biography, Drama
The Film adaptation of Erik Jensen's award-winning biography of Adam Cullen is the story of the biographer and his subject, as it descends into a dependent and abusive relationship.
Director: Thomas M. Wright | Stars: Daniel Henshall , Toby Wallace , Gillian Jones , Robyne Spicer
57. Heroic Losers (2019)
TV-MA | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime
In times of the infamous Argentinian Corralito, the neighbors of a little town trace a plan to recover the money they lost after learning that their bank manager and a corrupt lawyer have stolen it.
Director: Sebastián Borensztein | Stars: Ricardo Darín , Luis Brandoni , Verónica Llinás , Daniel Aráoz
58. The Man Standing Next (2020)
Not Rated | 114 min | Drama, History, Thriller
In the 1970s, Korea is under the absolute control of President Park, who controls the KCIA, the organization with the edge over any branch of government.
Director: Min-ho Woo | Stars: Lee Byung-hun , Lee Sung-min , Kwak Do-won , Lee Hee-joon
59. The Dark and the Wicked (2020)
Not Rated | 95 min | Horror
On a secluded farm in a nondescript rural town, a man is slowly dying. His family gathers to mourn, and soon a darkness grows, marked by waking nightmares and a growing sense that something evil is taking over the family.
Director: Bryan Bertino | Stars: Marin Ireland , Michael Abbott Jr. , Julie Oliver-Touchstone , Lynn Andrews
60. Miss Juneteenth (2020)
Unrated | 99 min | Drama
A former beauty queen and single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the "Miss Juneteenth" pageant.
Director: Channing Godfrey Peoples | Stars: Nicole Beharie , Liz Mikel , Marcus M. Mauldin , Kendrick Sampson
61. The Climb (2019)
R | 98 min | Comedy, Drama
A look at the friendship between two guys that spans over many years.
Director: Michael Angelo Covino | Stars: Kyle Marvin , Michael Angelo Covino , Gayle Rankin , Talia Balsam
62. Thappad (2020)
Not Rated | 142 min | Drama
Thappad is a story of Amrita whose seemingly perfect life is shattered when her husband slaps her once in a party. But is one slap enough to question what a relationship stands for?
Director: Anubhav Sinha | Stars: Taapsee Pannu , Pavail Gulati , Kumud Mishra , Ratna Pathak Shah
63. Yummy (2019)
Not Rated | 88 min | Comedy, Horror
An orgy of blood, violence and fun in which a young couple travel to a shabby Eastern European hospital for plastic surgery. Once there things unravel.
Director: Lars Damoiseaux | Stars: Maaike Neuville , Bart Hollanders , Benjamin Ramon , Clara Cleymans
64. Crystal Swan (2018)
Not Rated | 95 min | Drama
In 1990s Belarus, a wanderlust young DJ is derailed by a typo in a forged US Visa application, forcing her to a backwater village where she is determined to fake her way to the American dream.
Director: Darya Zhuk | Stars: Alina Nasibullina , Ivan Mulin , Yura Borisov , Svetlana Anikey
65. Deliver Us from Evil (2020)
Not Rated | 108 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
An assassin goes to Thailand in order to solve a kidnapping case linked to him, and finds himself chased by a man whose sibling he killed.
Director: Won-Chan Hong | Stars: Hwang Jung-min , Lee Jung-jae , Jeong Min Park , Darina Boonchu
66. The Deeper You Dig (2019)
95 min | Drama, Horror
In the aftermath of a roadside accident, the line between the living and the dead collapses for a mother, a daughter and a stranger.
Directors: John Adams , Zelda Adams , Toby Poser | Stars: Toby Poser , Zelda Adams , John Adams , Shawn Wilson
67. Ordinary Love (2019)
R | 92 min | Drama, Romance
An extraordinary look at the lives of a middle-aged couple in the midst of the wife's breast cancer diagnosis.
Directors: Lisa Barros D'Sa , Glenn Leyburn | Stars: Lesley Manville , Liam Neeson , Esh Alladi , Melanie Clark Pullen
68. Swallow (I) (2019)
R | 94 min | Drama, Thriller
Hunter, a newly pregnant housewife, finds herself increasingly compelled to consume dangerous objects. As her husband and his family tighten their control over her life, she must confront the dark secret behind her new obsession.
Director: Carlo Mirabella-Davis | Stars: Haley Bennett , Austin Stowell , Denis O'Hare , Elizabeth Marvel
69. Calm with Horses (2019)
R | 100 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
Douglas 'Arm' Armstrong has become the feared enforcer for the drug-dealing Devers family, whilst also trying to be a good father. Torn between these two families, Arm's loyalties are tested when he is asked to kill for the first time.
Director: Nick Rowland | Stars: Cosmo Jarvis , Barry Keoghan , Liam Carney , David Wilmot
70. Panga (2020)
Not Rated | 131 min | Drama, Sport
Panga is inspired by the life of a National-level Kabbadi player from India. It follows her triumphs, struggle, and overcoming of stereotypes. It shows how important family love and support is for success.
Director: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari | Stars: Kangana Ranaut , Jassie Gill , Richa Chadha , Neena Gupta
71. Midnight Family (2019)
Unrated | 81 min | Documentary, Action, Crime
In Mexico City's wealthiest neighborhoods, the Ochoa family runs a private ambulance, competing with other for-profit EMTs for patients in need of urgent help.
Director: Luke Lorentzen | Stars: Juan Ochoa , Fer Ochoa , Josue Ochoa , Manuel Hernandez
72. The Assistant (III) (2019)
R | 87 min | Drama
A searing look at a day in the life of an assistant to a powerful executive. As Jane follows her daily routine, she grows increasingly aware of the insidious abuse that threatens every aspect of her position.
Director: Kitty Green | Stars: Julia Garner , Owen Holland , Jon Orsini , Rory Kulz
73. I'm Your Woman (2020)
R | 120 min | Crime, Drama
In this 1970s set crime drama, a woman is forced to go on the run after her husband betrays his partners, sending her and her baby on a dangerous journey.
Director: Julia Hart | Stars: Rachel Brosnahan , Marsha Stephanie Blake , Arinzé Kene , Jameson Charles
74. The King of Staten Island (2020)
R | 136 min | Comedy, Drama
Scott has been a case of arrested development since his firefighter dad died. He spends his days smoking weed and dreaming of being a tattoo artist until events force him to grapple with his grief and take his first steps forward in life.
Director: Judd Apatow | Stars: Pete Davidson , Bel Powley , Ricky Velez , Lou Wilson
75. Banana Split (2018)
R | 88 min | Comedy
Over the course of a summer, two teenage girls develop the perfect kindred spirit friendship, with one big problem: one of them is dating the other's ex.
Director: Benjamin Kasulke | Stars: Hannah Marks , Liana Liberato , Dylan Sprouse , Luke Spencer Roberts
76. Driveways (2019)
83 min | Drama
A lonesome boy accompanies his mother on a trip to clean out his late aunt's house, and ends up forming an unexpected friendship with the retiree who lives next door.
Director: Andrew Ahn | Stars: Lucas Jaye , Hong Chau , Brian Dennehy , Laurent Rejto
77. Residue (2020)
90 min | Drama
A young filmmaker returns home after many years away, to write a script about his childhood, only to find his neighborhood unrecognizable and his childhood friends being scattered to the wind.
Director: Merawi Gerima | Stars: Obinna Nwachukwu , Dennis Lindsey , Taline Stewart , Derron Scott
78. Ghost Town Anthology (2019)
Not Rated | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
In a small and isolated town, Simon Dubé dies in a car accident. The stunned townspeople are reluctant to discuss the circumstances of the tragedy. From that point on time seems to lose all meaning, and the days stretch on without end.
Director: Denis Côté | Stars: Robert Naylor , Josée Deschênes , Jean-Michel Anctil , Larissa Corriveau
79. Come As You Are (2019)
Not Rated | 106 min | Comedy, Drama
Three young men with disabilities hit the road with a jaded nurse driver to a brothel in Montreal catering to people with special needs. Remake of the acclaimed Belgian film 'Hasta La Vista'.
Director: Richard Wong | Stars: Grant Rosenmeyer , Hayden Szeto , Ravi Patel , Gabourey Sidibe
80. Babyteeth (2019)
MA-17 | 118 min | Comedy, Drama, Music
Milla, a seriously ill teenager, falls in love with a drug dealer, Moses, her parents' worst nightmare.
Director: Shannon Murphy | Stars: Eliza Scanlen , Michelle Lotters , Toby Wallace , Sora Wakaki
81. A Good Woman Is Hard to Find (2019)
A recently widowed young mother will go to any lengths to protect her children as she seeks the truth behind her husband's murder.
Director: Abner Pastoll | Stars: Sarah Bolger , Edward Hogg , Andrew Simpson , Jane Brennan
82. Shirley (2020)
R | 107 min | Biography, Drama, Horror
A famous horror writer finds inspiration for her next book after she and her husband take in a young couple.
Director: Josephine Decker | Stars: Elisabeth Moss , Odessa Young , Michael Stuhlbarg , Logan Lerman
83. Relic (2020)
R | 89 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
A daughter, mother and grandmother are haunted by a manifestation of dementia that consumes their family's home.
Director: Natalie Erika James | Stars: Robyn Nevin , Emily Mortimer , Bella Heathcote , Steve Rodgers
84. Color Out of Space (2019)
Unrated | 111 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi
A secluded farm is struck by a strange meteorite which has apocalyptic consequences for the family living there and possibly the world.
Director: Richard Stanley | Stars: Nicolas Cage , Joely Richardson , Madeleine Arthur , Elliot Knight
85. Baseball Girl (2019)
105 min | Drama, Sport
A female high school baseball player strives to overcome the barrier of getting into the male-dominated professional baseball team.
Director: Yun Tae Choi | Stars: Lee Joo-young , Lee Jun-hyuk , Yeom Hye-ran , Young-kyu Song
86. Buffaloed (2019)
Not Rated | 95 min | Comedy, Drama
In the underworld of debt-collecting, homegrown hustler Peg Dahl will do anything to escape Buffalo, NY.
Director: Tanya Wexler | Stars: Zoey Deutch , Jai Courtney , Judy Greer , Jermaine Fowler
87. The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020)
R | 85 min | Comedy, Horror, Mystery
Terror grips a small mountain town as bodies are discovered after each full moon. Losing sleep, raising a teenage daughter, and caring for his ailing father, officer Marshall struggles to remind himself there's no such thing as werewolves.
Director: Jim Cummings | Stars: Jim Cummings , Riki Lindhome , Robert Forster , Chloe East
88. Archive (2020)
TV-MA | 109 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
2038: George Almore is working on a true human-equivalent AI. His latest prototype is almost ready. This sensitive phase is also the riskiest. Especially as he has a goal that must be hidden at all costs.
Director: Gavin Rothery | Stars: Theo James , Stacy Martin , Rhona Mitra , Peter Ferdinando
89. #Alive (2020)
TV-MA | 98 min | Action, Drama, Horror
The rapid spread of an unknown infection has left an entire city in ungovernable chaos, but one survivor remains alive in isolation. It is his story.
Director: Il Cho | Stars: Yoo Ah-in , Park Shin-Hye , Jeon Bae-soo , Hyun-Wook Lee
90. Rent-A-Pal (2020)
Unrated | 108 min | Horror, Thriller
1990: David, 40, looks after his dementia mom. He uses a video dating service to no avail. He buys a "Rent-A-Pal" video tape and things change.
Director: Jon Stevenson | Stars: Brian Landis Folkins , Wil Wheaton , Kathleen Brady , Amy Rutledge
91. Yellow Rose (I) (2019)
PG-13 | 94 min | Drama, Music
A Filipina teen from a small Texas town fights to pursue her dreams as a country music performer while having to decide between staying with her family or leaving the only home she has known.
Director: Diane Paragas | Stars: Eva Noblezada , Princess Punzalan , Sylvia Ramos , Liam Booth
92. Mutant Blast (2018)
83 min | Action, Comedy, Horror
Maria, a fearless soldier, and TS-347, a man with superhuman strength, are being pursued by a military cell responsible for scientific experiments that have resulted in a zombie apocalypse.
Director: Fernando Alle | Stars: Pedro Barão Dias , Maria Leite , João Vilas , Mário Oliveira
93. Hippopotamus (II) (2018)
77 min | Drama, Thriller
Ruby has been kidnapped, but her kidnapper doesn't want a ransom. He wants her to fall in love with him.
Director: Edward A. Palmer | Stars: Ingvild Deila , Jonathan Cobb , Tom Lincoln , Stuart Mortimer
94. The Whistlers (2019)
Not Rated | 97 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Not everything is as it seems for Cristi, a policeman who plays both sides of the law. Embarking with the beautiful Gilda on a high-stakes heist, both will have to navigate the twists and turns of corruption, treachery and deception.
Director: Corneliu Porumboiu | Stars: Vlad Ivanov , Catrinel Marlon , Rodica Lazar , Sabin Tambrea
95. Extra Ordinary (2019)
R | 94 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
Rose, a mostly sweet and lonely Irish driving instructor, must use her supernatural talents to save the daughter of Martin (also mostly sweet and lonely) from a washed-up rock star who is using her in a Satanic pact to reignite his fame.
Directors: Mike Ahern , Enda Loughman | Stars: Maeve Higgins , Barry Ward , Will Forte , Claudia O'Doherty
96. Goldie (II) (2019)
TV-MA | 88 min | Drama
A teenager in a family shelter wages war against the system to keep her sisters together while she pursues her dreams of being a dancer. A story about displaced youth, ambition. and strength.
Director: Sam de Jong | Stars: Slick Woods , George Sample III , Danny Hoch , Marsha Stephanie Blake
97. Why Don't You Just Die! (2018)
Not Rated | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Thriller
Andrei, a detective and the world's most horrible father, brings together a terrible group of people in his apartment: his resentful actress daughter, an angry thug, and a cheated cop. Each one of them has a reason to want revenge..
Director: Kirill Sokolov | Stars: Aleksandr Kuznetsov , Vitaliy Khaev , Evgeniya Kregzhde , Michael Gor
98. Crip Camp (2020)
R | 106 min | Documentary, History
Down the road from Woodstock, a revolution blossomed at a ramshackle summer camp for teenagers with disabilities, transforming their lives and igniting a landmark movement.
Directors: James Lebrecht , Nicole Newnham | Stars: James Lebrecht , Lionel Je'Woodyard , Joseph O'Conor , Ann Cupolo Freeman
99. Divine Love (2019)
101 min | Drama, Sci-Fi
A woman uses her bureaucratic job to convince divorcing couples to stay together and is utterly committed to getting pregnant by her husband in a future of dance parties, ritualistic orgies and fundamentalist Christianity.
Director: Gabriel Mascaro | Stars: Dira Paes , Julio Machado , Antonio Pastich , Rubens Santos
100. Host (II) (2020)
Not Rated | 57 min | Horror, Mystery
Six friends hire a medium to hold a seance via Zoom during lockdown, but they get far more than they bargained for as things quickly go wrong.
Director: Rob Savage | Stars: Haley Bishop , Jemma Moore , Emma Louise Webb , Radina Drandova
Tell your friends, other lists by bouncebac2010.
IMDb’s 20 Highest-Rated Movies of the 2020s (So Far)
From mind-bending sci-fi to heartwarming dramas, this IMDb list of high-rated movies has something for every film enthusiast.
Unfolding a new chapter in cinematic excellence, the 2020s have proven to be a remarkable decade for the world of film so far. From groundbreaking visual spectacles to emotionally charged dramas, the past few years have seen a plethora of extraordinary movies that have left permanent marks on both audiences and critics alike. As we approach the mid-point of this transformative decade, it is the perfect time to explore IMDb 's 20 highest-rated movies of the 2020s thus far.
These cinematic gems represent the finest storytelling, exceptional performances, and cutting-edge creativity that have graced the silver screen, captivating hearts and minds worldwide. Join us as we embark on a journey through the most esteemed films of the decade, where we encounter everything from otherworldly adventures to intimate explorations of the human condition. From iconic and influential superheroes to endearing animated characters , these movies have truly raised the bar and set new standards for what exceptional filmmaking can achieve in the 2020s.
20 Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) — Rated: 7.6
James Cameron's long-awaited sequel to his 2009 blockbuster Avatar did pretty well for itself, earning a place on our list. The visually stunning world of Pandora continues to enchant audiences, as new adventures unfold in the deep, mysterious oceans. With cutting-edge technology and a gripping storyline, Avatar: The Way of Water proves that Cameron's visionary storytelling remains a force to be reckoned with. And according to Vulture , Avatar 3 , Avatar 4 , and Avatar 5 are in the works for future development.
19 The Banshees of Inisherin (2022) — Rated: 7.7
Set in a small Irish village, The Banshees of Inisherin stars Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell as two friends who are currently going through a platonic break-up. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, this film was a critical darling last year, scoring a plethora of major awards nominations, including multiple Oscars for its four actors (Gleeson, Farrell, Barry Keoghan, and Kerry Condon), writing, and direction, to name a few.
18 Aftersun (2022) — Rated: 7.7
Starring Paul Mescal, Aftersun is a slowburn drama from director Charlotte Wells, based on her own childhood experiences, that follows 11-year-old Sophie (Frankie Corio) as she and her father (Mescal) take a holiday on a Turkish resort. Hailed as one of the best films of 2022, Aftersun earned many awards and nominations, including a Best Actor Oscar nom for Mescal.
17 The Whale (2022) — Rated: 7.7
The Whale presents a poignant story of redemption and acceptance, focusing on the life of a reclusive man who seeks forgiveness from his estranged daughter. Marking another powerful performance by Brendan Fraser, this emotionally charged drama explores the complexities of relationships and the power of forgiveness.
16 Thirteen Lives (2022) — Rated 7.8
Director Ron Howard brings to life the harrowing true story of the Tham Luang cave rescue in Thirteen Lives . The film portrays the bravery and determination of the rescuers who worked tirelessly to save a group of young soccer players trapped in a flooded cave. With compelling storytelling and remarkable performances, Thirteen Lives is a gripping tribute to the resilience of the human spirit.
Related: 30 Best Movies Turning 100 in the 2020s
15 All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) — Rated: 7.8
A modern adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque's classic novel, All Quiet on the Western Front depicts the horrors of war and the toll it takes on young soldiers. With a stellar ensemble cast and an unflinching portrayal of the realities of war, this film leaves a lasting impact on its audience.
14 Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022) — Rated: 7.8
This genre-blending sci-fi film takes audiences on an exhilarating ride across multiple dimensions. Starring Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All At Once masterfully blends action, comedy, and existential themes, creating an unforgettable cinematic experience.
13 The Batman (2022) — Rated: 7.8
Matt Reeves' dark and brooding take on the iconic superhero The Batman delivers a gripping crime thriller that delves deep into the psyche of Bruce Wayne. Robert Pattinson's portrayal of the caped crusader has been hailed as one of the most compelling versions to date, securing its position on this prestigious list. A sequel, The Batman Part II was announced in 2023, but has since been delayed .
12 Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) — Rated: 7.9
Zack Snyder's Justice League served as the director's cut of Justice League , and was a much-anticipated release and proved to be worth the wait. With a runtime of over four hours, the film provides a more comprehensive and immersive look into the DC superhero team-up, receiving acclaim for its character development and visual spectacle.
11 Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2023) — Rated: 7.9
Everyone's favorite swashbuckling feline is back in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish . This animated adventure takes Puss (voiced by Antonio Banderas) on a quest to find the legendary Last Wish, leading to a thrilling and heartwarming journey that appeals to audiences of all ages.
10 John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) — Rated: 7.9
The relentless action and intense fight sequences return with John Wick: Chapter 4 . Keanu Reeves reprises his role as the iconic hitman, John Wick, in this action-packed installment that takes the assassin to new heights and darker depths. With its gripping plot and stunning choreography, John Wick: Chapter 4 earns its place among the highest-rated movies of the decade.
Related: Best Film Scores of the 2020s (So Far), Ranked
9 Soul (2020) — Rated: 8.0
Pixar strikes gold again with Soul , a heartwarming and introspective animated film that delves into life's most profound questions. The movie follows a jazz musician, voiced by Jamie Foxx, who embarks on an existential journey through the afterlife. With its thought-provoking themes and stunning animation, Soul leaves a lasting impact on audiences of all ages.
8 CODA (2021) — Rated: 8.0
Bringing heart and authenticity, CODA tells the touching story of a child of deaf adults, played by Emilia Jones, who dreams of becoming a singer. This heartwarming drama explores themes of identity, family, and pursuing one's dreams, resonating with audiences and earning critical acclaim.
7 Dune (2021) — Rated: 8.0
Denis Villeneuve's epic adaptation of Frank Herbert's sci-fi novel Dune mesmerized audiences with its grand scope and stunning visuals. With an ensemble cast led by Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson, Dune presents a gripping tale of political intrigue and personal growth in a mesmerizing and dangerous world. Dune: Part Two releases November 3, 2023, per Deadline , though that might change amidst the ongoing strike in Hollywood.
6 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) — Rated: 8.1
The ragtag group of intergalactic misfits returns for another adventure in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 adding another solid entry to the MCU. Directed by James Gunn, this superhero film seamlessly blends humor, heart, and action, as the Guardians face new challenges and confront their pasts. With its witty dialogue and emotional depth, the film continues the beloved franchise's success.
5 The Father (2020) — Rated: 8.2
Anthony Hopkins delivers a tour-de-force performance in The Father , portraying a man grappling with dementia. The film's unique narrative style immerses the audience in the disorienting perspective of its protagonist, offering a poignant and empathetic look at the impact of the disease on both the individual and their loved ones.
4 Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) — Rated: 8.2
Continuing the MCU, Tom Holland swings back into action as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: No Way Home . This highly anticipated installment in the Spider-Man franchise explores the Multiverse and brings together characters from previous iterations, creating a thrilling and nostalgic experience for fans of the web-slinging hero.
3 Hamilton (2020) — Rated: 8.3
Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway sensation, Hamilton , makes its way to the screen, offering a groundbreaking fusion of history and hip-hop. This cultural phenomenon captivated audiences with its clever storytelling, brilliant performances, and iconic music, cementing its place as one of the highest-rated movies of the decade.
2 Top Gun: Maverick (2022) — Rated: 8.3
Tom Cruise returns to his iconic role as Maverick in Top Gun: Maverick , a long-awaited sequel to the 1986 classic. With thrilling aerial sequences and a nostalgic nod to the original, the film pays homage to the past while introducing new characters and dynamics, captivating both old and new fans. While there has been no confirmation as of the time of this writing, Esquire Magazine believes a Top Gun 3 could be coming in the future.
1 Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023) — Rated: 8.9
The groundbreaking animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse gets a sequel with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse . This visually stunning and inventive film introduces audiences to new dimensions and iterations of Spider-Man, continuing the unique and beloved story that defies expectations and pushes the boundaries of animation.
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Best Movies of 2020
The 50 Best Movies of 2020, According to Over 230 Film Critics
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Nominations for the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the Critics Choice Awards have turned the likes of “Nomadland,” “Mank,” “Promising Young Woman,” “Minari,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “Ma Rainy’s Black Bottom,” and “Borat Subsequent Film” into major Oscar season contenders. What do all of these films also have in common? They were all selected as the best films of the year in IndieWire’s annual 2020 critics poll. Per tradition, IndieWire asked over 200 film critics around the world to rank their favorite films of last year. We tallied up the numbers and present the 50 highest rated titles below. The poll featured reviewers from major trade publications such as Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, as well as critics from local newspapers and websites, freelancers, and contributors on film from across Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
While the top 50 list includes many films now in the running for top Oscar season film awards, it also includes overlooked indie film gems such as “Vitalina Verela,” “Shirley,” and “Fourteen.” One of the rare studio films to appear on the list is “The Invisible Man,” the Universal-released horror movie starring Elizabeth Moss.
For the first time in the IndieWire Critics Poll’s history, the No. 1 film is directed by a woman (Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland”). Female directors had a strong showing in this year’s results, with the top three films of the year all hailing from female filmmakers (joining Zhao are Eliza Hittman with “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” and Kelly Reichardt with “First Cow”). The poll’s Best First Film category was also topped by Fennell, while the Best Documentary category was led by Kirsten Johnson’s “Dick Johnson Is Dead.”
The full critics poll includes selections in various categories such as Best Performer (Riz Ahmed took the honor in 2020 for “Sound of Metal,” followed closely by Frances McDormand in “Nomadland” and Chadwick Boseman in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Best Director (“Nomadland” director Chloe Zhao topped the list, just as she did at NYFCC and LAFCA), and Best First Feature (Emerald Fennell’s “Promising Young Woman,” which cracked the top 15 of the IndieWire Critics Poll).
Check out the complete list of the IndieWire Critics Poll top 50 films of 2020 below.
Director: Chloé Zhao
Cast: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Charlene Swankie, Bob Wells
Accolades: Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Read IndieWire’s review : “Nomadland” is the kind of movie that could go very wrong. With Frances McDormand as its star alongside a cast real-life nomads, in lesser hands it might look like cheap wish fulfillment or showboating at its most gratuitous. Instead, director Chloé Zhao works magic with McDormand’s face and the real world around it, delivering a profound rumination on the impulse to leave society in the dust.
2. “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Director: Eliza Hittman
Cast: Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder, Théodore Pellerin, Ryan Eggold, Sharon Van Etten
Accolades: Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival
Read IndieWire’s review : Hittman’s ability to write and direct such tender films has long been bolstered by her interest in casting them with fresh new talents, all the better to sell the veracity of her stories and introduce moviegoers to emerging actors worthy of big attention. With “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” Hittman continues her traditions with her most vivid work yet, one all the more impressive for its studio pedigree. (This is not the kind of film many mainstream outfits would support and make, and more power to Focus Features and Hittman for endeavoring to bring it to a large audience.)
3. “First Cow”
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Cast: John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones, Ewen Bremner, Scott Shephard, Gary Farmer
Read IndieWire’s review : Few filmmakers wrestle with what it means to be American the way Kelly Reichardt has injected that question into all of her movies. In a meticulous fashion typical of her spellbinding approach, “First Cow” consolidates the potent themes of everything leading up to it: It returns her to the nascent America of the 19th Century frontier at the center of “Meek’s Cutoff,” touches on the environmental frustrations of “Night Moves,” revels in the glorious isolation of the countryside in “Certain Women,” and the somber travails of vagrancy at the center of “Wendy and Lucy.”
4. “Lovers Rock”
Director: Steve McQueen
Cast: Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn and Michael Ward
Read IndieWire’s review : Set across a single night in 1980 and loaded with a soundtrack from the eponymous reggae music, “Lovers Rock” is a paean to an energized youth culture taking control of its surroundings, despite the social unrest around them. Experienced on its own terms, this delightful snapshot of boozy dance-floor seduction plays like an artist unleashing years of repressed good vibes by applying his lyrical style to pure, unbridled bliss for almost the entirety of its 68 minutes.
5. “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Cast: Jesse Plemons, Jessie Buckley, Toni Collette, David Thewlis
Read IndieWire’s review : If “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” feels like both an act of self-parody for its director and also a radical departure from his previous work, that’s because it takes Kaufman’s usual fixations and turns them inside out. While this leaky snow globe of a breakup movie is yet another bizarre and ruefully hilarious trip into the rift between people, it’s not — for the first time — about someone who’s trying to cross it. On the contrary, Kaufman is now telling a story about the rift itself.
Director: Kantemir Balagov
Cast: Viktoria Miroshnichenko, Vasilisa Perelygina, Konstantin Balakirev, Andrey Bykov
Read IndieWire’s review : Inspired by Svetlana Alexievich’s book “The Unwomanly Face of War,” Balagov’s frigid “Beanpole” tells a glacially paced but gorgeously plotted story about two women — two best friends — who grow so desperate for any kind of personal agency that they start using each other to answer the unsolvable arithmetic of life and death.
Director: Garrett Bradley
Read IndieWire’s review : A woman’s 20-year fight to free her husband is captured on home video and cut together into a profoundly moving story of hope. On its surface, Garrett Bradley’s “Time” asks a simple question: How can you convey the full length of 21 years in the span of a single film, let alone a documentary that runs just 81 minutes? And from its degraded opening images — borrowed from the first of a thousand video messages that a black Louisiana woman named Sibil Fox Richardson (aka “Fox Rich”) recorded for her husband as she waited for him to be released from the State Penitentiary — offers a similarly simple answer: You don’t measure it in length, but rather in loss.
8. “Da 5 Bloods”
Director: Spike Lee
Cast: Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Paul Walter Hauser, Jean Reno, Chadwick Boseman
Read IndieWire’s review : “Da 5 Bloods” doesn’t always gel as it careens through overstuffed plot twists and disparate tones, with some big moments better executed than others. Still, that freewheeling energy is in short supply, and this pure distillation of a Spike Lee joint illustrates the rarity of an American filmmaker so confident in his sensibilities and style that nothing can slow them down.
9. “Martin Eden”
Director: Pietro Marcello
Cast: Luca Marinelli, Carlo Cecchi, Jessica Cressy, Vincenzo Nemolato, Marco Leonardi
Read IndieWire’s review : Pietro Marcello’s “Martin Eden” is a dreamy and surprisingly faithful Jack London adaptation made with more than 100 years of hindsight, one that doesn’t bend over backwards to prevent modern audiences from missing London’s points. London’s novel is all the more powerful because it’s not prescriptive — because it gives readers just enough rope to hang themselves, and sets them all the same traps that Martin himself falls into.
Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles
Cast: Sônia Braga, Udo Kier, Bárbara Colen, Thomas Aquino, Silvero Pereira, Karine Teles
Accolades: Jury Prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival
Read IndieWire’s review : “Aquarius” director Kleber Mendonça Filho returns with a wonderful and demented Western about the perils of rampant modernization. In some respects, the film can be seen as a logical continuation of the Brazilian critic-turned-auteur’s two previous features. Much like 2012’s revelatory “Neighboring Sounds,” for example, “Bacurau” is a patient and sprawling portrait of a Brazilian community as it struggles to defend itself against the dark specter of modernity. And much like 2016’s unshakeable “Aquarius,” “Bacurau” hinges on an immovably stubborn woman who refuses to relinquish her place in the world — who won’t allow our blind lust for the future to bury her meaningful ties to the past.
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Arliss Howard, Charles Dance
Read IndieWire’s review :
Though forged in a meticulous 1930s backdrop that merges historical detail with the style and tone of that era, “Mank” is hardly a playful throwback. Fincher has made a cerebral psychodrama that rewards the engaged cinephile audience in its crosshairs, but even when cold to the touch, the movie delivers a complex and insightful look at American power structures and the potential for a creative spark to rankle their foundations.
11. “Dick Johnson Is Dead”
Director: Kristen Johnson
Read IndieWire’s review : The title of “Dick Johnson Is Dead” doesn’t lie, but it’s not exactly truthful, either. Dick Johnson dies many times in his daughter Kirsten’s poignant and personal documentary, starting with the opening credits. And yet he’s very much alive the whole time, playacting in an elaborate form of cinematic therapy with his filmmaker offspring as she wrestles with the anxiety of losing him.
Director: Lee Isaac Chung
Cast: Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho, Youn Yuh-jung, Will Patton
Accolades: U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival
Read IndieWire’s review : Told with the rugged tenderness of a Flannery O’Connor novel but aptly named for a resilient Korean herb that can grow wherever it’s planted, Lee Isaac Chung’s semi-autobiographical “Minari” is a raw and vividly remembered story of two simultaneous assimilations; it’s the story of a family assimilating into a country, but also the story of a man assimilating into his family.
14. “Promising Young Woman”
Director: Emerald Fennell
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Connie Britton, Laverne Cox
Read IndieWire’s review : Emerald Fennell’s raucous debut, “Promising Young Woman,” twists its buzzword-laden, spoiler-free synopsis — it’s a #MeToo rape revenge thriller with bite! — into something fresh and totally wild. Thank both Fennell’s wicked mind and star Carey Mulligan’s somehow even more wicked performance for that. Cooked up by Fennell and dizzyingly embodied by an incendiary Mulligan, Cassie is an anti-heroine for our times, and a wholly unique one at that.
Director: Miranda July
Cast: Evan Rachel Woods, Debra Winger, Richard Jenkins, Gina Rodriguez
Elevated by an extraordinary Evan Rachel Wood performance that finds her character literally discovering her free will, “Kajillionaire” splits the difference between “Shoplifters” and “Parasite”: It’s an understated dramedy with bite, oscillating from the implication that family bonds are bullshit to the conclusion that everybody deserves a little tough love.
Director: Alexander Nanau
Read IndieWire’s review : “Collective” starts as one of the greatest journalism movies of all times, and then it goes one step further, exposing democracy at war with itself. Romanian director Alexander Nanau’s bracing, relentless documentary tracks the aftermath of the 2015 fire that killed 64 people, hovering at the center of a system on the verge of collapse. And then it does, much like the flames that engulfed Bucharest’s Colectiv nightclub and sent the nation into a tailspin, as “Collective” sits at the center of the chaos with an unflinching gaze.
17. “One Night in Miami”
Director: Regina King
Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr.
Read IndieWire’s review : Directed by Regina King (already an Oscar and Emmy winner for her acting) and adapted by Kemp Powers (who first launched the project as a stage play), “One Night in Miami” is both a formidable debut for King (who has previously directed a slew of episodes of high-profile television series) and a strong argument for Powers’ medium-crossing skills. It’s also one of the year’s best acting showcases, including turns from Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X, Leslie Odom Jr. as Sam Cooke, Aldis Hodge as Jim Brown, and Eli Goree as Cassius Clay.
18. “Vitalina Verela”
Director: Pedro Costa
Cast: Vitalina Varela and Manuel Tavares Almeida
Accolades: Golden Leopard and Best Actress winner at 2019 Locarno International Film Festival
Read IndieWire’s review : The mystery and wonder of Pedro Costa’s filmmaking defies any specific category other than his own unique blend. The Portuguese director conjures dark, dreamlike visions of post-colonial neglect and yearning that hover somewhere between fantasy and neorealism, horror and melodrama, spirituality and desperation. “Vitalina Varela,” Costa’s fifth journey into the shantytown Fontainhas outside of Lisbon, once again showcases Costa’s masterful ability to mine cinematic poetry from a unique environment and the mournful figures who wander through its murky depths.
19. “The Nest”
Director: Sean Durkin
Cast: Jude Law, Carrie Coon, Charlie Shotwell, Tobias BA Macey, Oona Roche, Adeel Akhtar
Read IndieWire’s review: In Durkin’s icy, slow-burn drama, every frame benefits from masterful composition. Carrie Coon and Jude Law deliver sizzling performances defined by mutual indignation, but it ultimately amounts to little more than talent spinning its wheels on both sides of the camera.
20. “The Sound of Metal”
Director: Darius Marder
Cast: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Lauren Ridloff, Mathieu Amalric
Read IndieWire’s review : As Ruben, the heavy-metal drummer going deaf at the center of the mesmerizing debut from writer-director Darius Marder, Riz Ahmed conveys the complex frustrations of losing touch with the world around him no matter how much he fights to hold onto it. This devastating conundrum relies on the best use of sound design in recent memory, as Marder immerses viewers within the confines of Ruben’s deteriorating relationship to the world around him, and he sorts through the wreckage to construct a new one. Ahmed’s brilliant performance coasts on a complex soundscape that resonates even in total silence.
21. “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Cast: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Daniel Flaherty, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Eddie Redmayne, Noah Robbins, Mark Rylance. Alex Sharp, Jeremy Strong
Read IndieWire’s review : “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is exactly as advertised — a giant, giddy burst of earnest theatricality, loaded with a formidable ensemble that chews on every inch of the scenery, that overall makes a passionate case for the resilience of its formula more than using it as an excuse.
22. “The Assistant”
Director: Kitty Green
Cast: Julia Garner, Matthew Macfadyen, Makenzie Leigh, Kristine Froseth
Harvey Weinstein doesn’t appear in “The Assistant,” and nobody mentions him by name, but make no mistake: Director Kitty Green’s urgent real-time thriller marks the first narrative depiction of life under his menacing grip. “Ozark” breakout Julia Garner is a revelation as the fragile young woman tasked with juggling the minutiae of the executive’s life, arranging a never-ending stream of airplane trips, staving off angry callers, and picking up the trash left in his wake.
23. “David Byrne’s “American Utopia”
Read IndieWire’s review : “American Utopia” isn’t just a concert doc, but also a life-affirming, euphoria-producing, soul-energizing sing-along protest film that’s asking us to rise up against our own complacency.
Director: Pete Docter
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Questlove, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, Angela Bassett
Read IndieWire’s review : The first entry in the Pixar canon to center on a Black character is a magical crowdpleaser that embodies the Pixar Touch. While Disney’s decision to bypass a theatrical release for the film to post “Soul” straight onto Disney+ on Christmas Day doesn’t do any favors to the sorry state of exhibition, “Soul” is well worth signing up for the service, as it’s one of the very best Pixar efforts in years.
25. “The Invisible Man”
Director: Leigh Whannell
Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman, Oliver Jackson-Cohen
Read IndieWire’s review : Whannel makes his “Invisible Man” an unbearably tense ride through his blocking choices, which often use negative spaces to induce fear in the viewer. Whether it gets Oscar buzz or not, “The Invisible Man” is bound to go down as one of the strongest reviewed studio films of 2020.
26. “The Whistlers”
Director: Corneliu Porumboiu
Cast: Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon, Rodica Lazar |
Read IndieWire’s review : Corneliu Porumboiu’s enjoyable riff on the heist movie tradition has a unique hook, and is begging for an English language remake. This entertaining noir is a polished mashup of genre motifs that suggests what might happen if the “Ocean’s 11” gang assembled on the Canary Islands.
Director: Francis Lee
Cast: Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Jones, James McArdle, Alec Secăreanu, Fiona Shaw
Read IndieWire’s review : Lee’s restraint is successful. The film never delivers obvious platitudes about how difficult it was to be a 19th-century woman who loved other women, and how any dreams of a happy life together are all but impossible. Although Mary’s mother occasionally shoots the pair biting glances, the film doesn’t wield the threat of discovery. It’s clear that this romance is not one for public eyes and Lee trusts his audience to understand that with a minimum of information.
28. “News of the World”
Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel
Read IndieWire’s review : These are the moments where “News of the World” is at its most urgent — when this bittersweet but richly sentimental Western pauses to reflect on the double-edged power of the stories we tell ourselves, and the power that telling them to each other gives us to change what happens in the next chapter.
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Rossif Sutherland, Tuppence Middleton, Sean Bean, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Read IndieWire’s review : A queasy and intriguing horror-inflected techno-thriller that gets lost somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle between “Mandy,” “Inception,” and “Ghost in the Shell,” Brandon Cronenberg’s “Possessor” is so drunk on its own sick potential that it doesn’t have the time (or the balance) required to realize most of it. On the other hand, 90 minutes of Andrea Riseborough and Christopher Abbott engaging in ultra-gory psychic warfare over control of the latter’s body is more satisfying than what most of the current Best Picture nominees have to offer, so maybe it’s wise not to look a gift horse in the mouth.
30. “Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets”
Director: Bill and Turner Ross
Read IndieWire’s review : The film is both a grand cinematic deception and a bold filmmaking experimentation from two of the most intriguing directors working in non-fiction today. This has been the Ross brothers’ motif since their earliest work, the expressionistic midwestern snapshot “45365” and “Tchoupitoulas,” which followed three prepubescent kids across a single meandering New Orleans night. “Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets” sits on the same continuum. The movie pretends to be a fly-on-the-wall observational tale, but in the process of assembling its remarkable homegrown universe, becomes a legitimate one anyway.
31. “Palm Springs”
Director: Max Barbakow
Cast: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, Peter Gallagher, J. K. Simmons
Read IndieWire’s review : “Palm Springs” offers a novel way to explore why the decision to share your life with someone can be more than just a band-aid placed atop a gaping wound of loneliness. Sure, “Groundhog Day” arrives at essentially the same place, but — start to finish — this winsome bauble of a movie is uniquely eager to embrace the idea that life isn’t quite as limitless as it seems.
Director: Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart
Cast: Honor Kneafsey, Eva Whittaker, Sean Bean, Simon McBurney, Maria Doyle Kennedy
Read IndieWire’s review : With “Wolfwalkers” — the final installment of the studio’s informal trilogy of films about Irish folklore — Cartoon Saloon has realized its true potential at last. Far and away the best animated film of the year so far (one worthy of such hosannas no matter how limited the competition has been), this heartfelt tale of love and loss is the most visually enchanting feature its studio has made thus far, as well as the most poignant.
Director: Josephine Decker
Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg, Odessa Young, Logan Lerman
Read IndieWire’s review : “Shirley” is no more of a biopic than “Bright Star,” “An Angel at My Table,” or “Shakespeare in Love.” Adapted from the Susan Scarf Merrell novel of the same name, Decker’s characteristically sawtoothed and delirious new film is set in the same latent space between fact and fantasy — a story and its telling — where she located all of her previous work.
34. “Another Round”
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang, Lars Ranthe
Accolades: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay at the European Film Awards
Read IndieWire’s review : Thomas Vinterberg’s absorbing dark comedy turns into a lively and fascinating referendum on booze, with Mads Mikkelsen’s fierce and unsettling performance vibrating at its center. Teaming up for the first time since their similarly unnerving character study “The Hunt” in 2012, the Danish actor and director join forces for a wily character study that enhances the one-note premise through the sheer gusto of its execution.
Cast: Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes, Malachi Kirby, Rochenda Sandall, Alex Jennings, Jack Lowden
Read IndieWire’s review : The dramatic story of the Mangrove Nine, when a group of Black British activists fought back against racist police raids in a tense series of courtroom showdowns, practically pitched itself as a movie when it unfolded in 1970. (They were acquitted of most charges, but the raids didn’t stop.) It only took 50 years, but writer-director Steve McQueen’s “Mangrove” works overtime to fill the gap, resulting in a delectable crowdpleaser both specific to its moment and relevant today.
36. “City Hall”
Director: Frederick Wiseman
Read IndieWire’s review : As attention spans dwindle and the complex mess of American governance grows murkier than ever, Wiseman’s immersive dive into Boston’s city services ignores the pressure to dumb things down and marvels at the complexity of a system designed to make the world run right.
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Director: Jason Woliner
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen and Maria Bakalova
Read IndieWire’s review : Cobbled together in the midst of the pandemic and rushed out ahead of the presidential election, the new “Borat” plays like a prankish wakeup call to the lunacy he’s been pointing towards for ages. At a time when satire often feels too soft, this brilliant, vulgar plea for a better world cuts deep.
Director: Dan Sallitt
Cast: Tallie Medel and Norma Kuhling
The fifth feature by revered critic, compulsive cinephile, and occasional filmmaker Dan Sallitt, “Fourteen” is a modest but gradually — and, in the end, greatly — affecting sketch of how even the closest of friendships can shift and wither over the years. People change in different ways. Some don’t change at all. It helps when there’s a clear reason beneath the shifting tectonic plates that cause the rifts between us, but it still hurts all the same.
39. “The Vast of Night”
Director: Andrew Patterson
Cast: Sierra McCormick and Jake Horowitz
Read IndieWire’s review : This is a thriller nostalgic for the days of letterman jackets, rotary phones, Cold War-era conspiracy theories, and when everybody, even kids, smoked. With his retro, lo-fi, low-budget first feature, director Patterson should easily expect Hollywood to soon start throwing plenty of higher-concept genre fare at him, and on the basis of the supreme confidence of “The Vast of Night” alone, he’s ready for it.
40. “Sorry We Missed You”
Director: Ken Loach
Cast: Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood, Rhys Stone, Katie Proctor
Read IndieWire’s review : “Sorry We Missed You” is the latest installment in this sprawling pantheon of cinematic activism, and delivers another tough, poignant look at desperate characters trapped by the only system that allows them to survive.
41. “She Dies Tomorrow”
Director: Amy Seimetz
Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Kentucker Audley, Katie Aselton, Chris Messina, Tunde Adebimpe
Read IndieWire’s review : “She Dies Tomorrow” is a gripping seriocomic apocalyptic thriller that combines classic David Cronenberg body horror and with the scathing surrealism of Luis Buñuel. Envisioning a disease where the afflicted believe they’ll die by morning, the movie taps into a timeless anxiety with hilarious and disquieting results, often delivered in the same dose.
Director: Christian Petzold
Cast: Paula Beer and Franz Rogowski
Accolades: Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival and the European Film Awards
Read IndieWire’s review : Much like the “Vertigo”-inspired “Phoenix,” Petzold imbues the material with a Hitchcockian build, as subtle moments drop hints of dark, invisible forces conspiring to complicate the situation. Undine may be losing her grip on reality, but reality has a few surprises in store for her as well.
43. “On the Rocks”
Director: Sofia Coppola
Cast: Rashida Jones, Bill Murray, Marlon Wayans, Jenny Slate
Read IndieWire’s review : It’s the first Sofia Coppola movie that feels — if only during its flattest stretches — as if it could have been made by somebody else, and yet at the same time it also plays like the loose and tipsy self-portrait of a maturing filmmaker being visited by the ghost of her greatest success.
44. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Director: George C. Wolfe
Cast: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts
Read IndieWire’s review : An actor’s showcase for Viola Davis as the show-stopping singer and the late Chadwick Boseman as the scheming trumpeter angling to steal her spotlight, director George C. Wolfe’s reverential adaptation livens up the material with sizzling color and vivid closeups. Save for a few digressions, however, Wolfe and screenwriter Ruben Santiago-Hudson have put the play into the movie, rather than vice versa.
45. “The Young Ahmed”
Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Cast: Idir Ben Addi, Olivier Bonnaud, Myriem Akheddiou, Victoria Bluck as Louise
Read IndieWire’s review : While propelled by a handful of gripping encounters and the Dardennes’ usual economical storytelling, “Young Ahmed” never quite gets beyond the fundamental challenge Ahmed faces to provide deeper insights into his behavior, even as it delivers on its timely, provocative concept in rather straightforward terms.
46. “Let Them All Talk”
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen, Gemma Chan, Lucas Hedges, Dianne Wiest
Read IndieWire’s review : With “Let Them All Talk,” Soderbergh has gone from making movies informed by his “let’s just do it and be legends” ethos to making a movie about the futility of perfection, and the consequences of imposing it on an unruly world. If this gentle and luxuriant floating gabfest isn’t the least bit hostile towards Fincher or anyone else, it’s still a clear shot across the bow at the idea that artists have the final say over how people live with their work.
Director: Autumn de Wilde
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner, Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Bill Nighy
Read IndieWire’s review : Director Autumn de Wilde’s lavish but loyal “Emma” (stylized “Emma.”), an indulgent movie about indulgent people that dares to imagine how — on a long enough timeline — the whole of human existence might be no more important than a straw hat shaped like a fortune cookie, or a navy blue shirt popping against a mustard peacoat, or the romantic misfortunes of an unsophisticated teenage girl as they reverberate through a vain pocket of the English gentry.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagh, Elizabeth Debicki
Read IndieWire’s review : What kind of picture is it? Big, certainly: IMAX-scaled, and a hefty 150 minutes even after a visibly ruthless edit. It’s clever, too — yes, the palindromic title has some narrative correlation — albeit in an exhausting, rather joyless way. As second comings go, “Tenet” is like witnessing a Sermon on the Mount preached by a savior who speaks exclusively in dour, drawn-out riddles. Any awe is flattened by follow-up questions.
49. “His House”
Director: Remi Weekes
Cast: Wunmi Mosaku, Sope Dirisu, Matt Smith
Read IndieWire’s review : One of the best debuts of the year, Remi Weekes’ shrewd, tender, and sometimes terrifying “His House” begins with a clever premise — the immigrant experience as a horror movie — and expands on that idea in knowing and unexpected ways.
50. “The Painter and the Thief”
Director: Benjamin Ree
Read IndieWire’s review : Benjamin Ree’s nuanced and beguiling new documentary is about the various things we all take from each other…It’s a frequently riveting movie that’s full of raw and loaded encounters. Ree shoots “The Painter and the Thief” with the probing composure of a scripted European drama (few documentaries make it so easy to imagine their narrative remakes).
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The Best Movies Of 2020
Well, that didn’t quite go how anyone expected it to. At the start of 2020, the future looked bright – another year packed with cinematic treats from big ol’ blockbusters (Bond! Black Widow ! Wonder Woman 1984 !) to other highly-anticipated treats ( Last Night In Soho ! In The Heights ! Candyman !) But in March, the world turned upside down, lockdown began, and cinemas shuttered for months on end.
There’s no getting around it – 2020 has been a tough, tough year for so many people, in so many ways. But despite everything, despite the film venue closures, despite the lack of communal viewing experiences, a slew of incredible films still managed to make their way into the world over the last 12 months. Growing through the cracks, flourishing in their own way, movies have been as green and verdant and resilient as ever. Some helped us get through lockdown, others shone a spotlight on injustice in the world, many delivered pure spills and thrills, or scared our socks clean off.
The complete shake-up of the cinematic landscape brought on by the pandemic inevitably makes for a very different end-of-year list. But as you look through Empire ’s best movies of 2020 – as compiled from top ten rankings submitted by members of the entire Empire family – you’ll still see a selection of must-watch movies that kept us engaged and entertained as the year went on. New voices made a major splash. Familiar faces delivered astonishing fresh work. An array of diverse creators spoke loud and clear.
As it turns out, 2020 wasn’t a total disaster after all – and here, in film form, is the proof.
READ MORE: The 100 Greatest Movies Of All Time
Here's a film that could truly only have been made in 2020. For most movies, the Coronavirus pandemic halted production – but for Host, it made it possible. Writer-director Rob Savage, and co-writers Jed Shepherd and Gemma Hurley, cooked up an ingenious lockdown horror presented as one terrifying Zoom call – and who can say that they didn't have one of those this year? Host's simple online-séance-goes-awry premise delivers more than its fair share of supremely inventive jolts, tailor-made to Zoom's video-call features, right down to its brilliant final credits. And for all its serious spooks it's laugh-packed too, with pitch-perfect performances from an utterly believable ensemble cast. The inevitable prospect of 'pandemic horror' wasn't exactly enticing – but Host made it essential, offering up one of the most complete and satisfying filmic experiences of the year in a runtime under an hour. We rate the quality of this call very, very highly. Read the Empire review
19) Da 5 Bloods
At different points of the year, for very different reasons, Spike Lee's latest joint cut deep. Part war movie, part adventure-thriller about four African-American soldiers – played by Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Norm Lewis, and standout Delroy Lindo – reuniting in present-day Vietnam, Lee's film spoke to the intersection of American racism and imperialism in the Vietnam War. Released in the weeks after the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests that were sparked across the world, it was clear that Lee's voice remains as vital and righteous as it ever has been. And then, in late summer, Chadwick Boseman suddenly passed away, bringing a whole new layer of heartbreak to the film – the heavenly imagery of Boseman's fallen leader Stormin' Norman gaining a fresh tragic resonance. Switching tones and registers with skill and ease, Da 5 Bloods is Spike Lee through and through – and boasts a stunning monologue from Lindo that ranks among the year's most unforgettable scenes. Read the Empire review
Released just before the pandemic ramped up, Pixar's adventure fell prey to cinema closures – but turned out to be the ideal film for lockdown, with its fantastical escapism, gags galore, and themes celebrating the life-affirming bonds of family. Director Dan Scanlon drew from intensely personal details of his own upbringing and the father he never got to know, channelling it into the story of elf brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot (a charming Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) as they embark on a magical quest to meet their deceased dad for one day only. In true Pixar style, it's incredibly emotional – with a beautiful final reel that delivers what audiences need rather than what they maybe wanted. But it's also a big, joyous adventure flick, with thrilling setpieces, D&D references aplenty, a surprising elf-mom action hero, and genius sight gags. Onward brought cathartic laughs and tears in a year when people really needed both. Read the Empire review
After the CIA-wetwork-level secrecy, the hype, the endless headlines about its release-date slippages and whether it could save cinema, Christopher Nolan's palindromic pulse-pounder turned out to be, well, just a film. But it was a film that kept us all talking throughout the dog days of summer, the actual 150-minute tale just a launchpad for feverish time-travel debates that made some at Empire turn into Charlie Day jabbing at an evidence board in It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Not all the dialogue was audible. The third act required DIY flowcharts to track. And it's debatable whether it needed to wrap up with a rap whose lyrics include "Last time I did the whippets (yeah)/ Last time I live reverse (yeah, yeah, ooh)". But still, this was an all-caps EVENT MOVIE in a year with very few of them – and a staggeringly smart one too, scenes looking like a Bond flick but sounding like a Mensa convention. Tenet practically demands to be watched again at home over Christmas. This time with subtitles on. Read the Empire review
16) A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood
Casting Tom Hanks as the nicest man in America is a no-brainer. But, rather than rest on its laurels, Marielle Heller's study of the relationship between beloved children's personality Fred Rogers (Hanks) and cynical journo Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) finds more interesting dynamics and flavours. This is partly through Heller's filmmaking, bringing Mister Rogers' worldview to life through charming flights of fancy, and partly through performances; Rhys makes Vogel's journey from cynic to something approaching openness believable and affecting, as Hanks embodies Rogers warmth and intelligence without being afraid to hint at a darker side. The film's standout scene sees Rogers invite Vogler to enjoy a minute's silence, a chance "to remember all the people who loved you into being." This idea is Heller's film in miniature, and confirms her as one of the most exciting talents working today. Read the Empire review
15) i’m thinking of ending things
In a move that surprised absolutely no-one, it took Charlie Kaufman to deliver 2020's biggest cinematic headfuck. Although it's based on a novel by Ian Reid, i'm thinking of ending things (no capitals) is 100% Kaufman, a blackly funny, meta meditation on the human condition that is more head-scratching than a symposium of fleas. It begins like a twisted version of Meet The Parents as a young woman (Jessie Buckley) and her beau Jake (Jesse Plemons) drive to a farmyard to meet his folks (David Thewlis, Toni Collette, both terrific). Then it enters its own zone of madness involving euthanised farm animals, the recurring image of a school janitor, a faux Robert Zemeckis film, a ghost pig, modern dance and a naked man bawling in the back of a truck. It's a bleak film about the impossibility of hope and the fragility of life, but it finds its soul and centre in Buckley, who gives Kaufman's cerebral ideas vulnerability and emotion. The year's boldest flick from the platform (Netflix) that also brought you Hubie Halloween. Read the Empire review
Is it a film or not? Either way, it's one of the most outstanding and defining pieces of popular culture of the last decade, Lin-Manuel Miranda turning dry American history into a dazzlingly entertaining tale of bitter personal rivalry, revolutionary war, and the power of words. The songs, inspired by decades of hip-hop, are beginning-to-end sensational – but the real treat of the Disney+ version, filmed with the original Broadway cast in 2016, is getting up-close and personal to its knock-out performances. It's a vantage point that might ordinarily cost you hundreds of dollars. You can see the fire in Leslie Odom Jr.'s eyes as he sings 'Wait For It', feel Phillipa Soo's utter heartbreak in 'Burn', and – yes – almost feel the spray of Jonathan Groff's liberal saliva in the King George numbers. Dropped on the streaming service right in the middle of lockdown, Hamilton was vital escapism – and completely democratised a theatrical experience that everyone should seek out. Read the Empire review
Much was made of the sheer technical achievement of Sam Mendes' World War I movie, presented as one extended take through the Boschian hellscape of the frontlines. And it is an astonishing feat – seamlessly stitched together, Roger Deakins' camerawork fluidly taking in every assault and eerie landscape. But 1917 is an emotional, visceral experience too, George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman putting in excellent, empathetic performances as the soldiers dispatched across No Man's Land to stop thousands of British soldiers walking into a devastating ambush. A frequently harrowing, heart-stoppingly tense cinematic odyssey – and filmmaking at its most immersive. Read the Empire review
12) Queen & Slim
Of all the films released in 2020, Queen & Slim was perhaps the 2020-est. Following two young African Americans who meet on a Tinder date and get plunged into a nightmare when a cop car pulls them over, Melina Matsoukas' film tackled police brutality and mass protest in scenes that echoed out in real life as the year progressed. But despite its bleak subject matter and the righteous anger fuelling it, Queen & Slim again and again finds beauty amidst the horror which features too much in the Black experience, whether it's the stunning visuals captured by cinematographer Tat Radcliffe, or the tender romance that unfurls between Jodie Turner-Smith's Queen and Daniel Kaluuya's Slim – a pair who, on their first date, wish they'd swiped left on each other. A road movie with an important destination, it gets there in style. Read the Empire review
Right from its opening minutes, the sense of time and place in the first of Steve McQueen's Small Axe films is utterly transportive. The filmmaker faithfully recreates 1970s Notting Hill to shine a light on Frank Crichlow and the 'Mangrove Nine' – a true story of police brutality, institutionalised racism, and a Black community fighting for the right to live without the constant threat of unprovoked attack, right in the heart of London. In a year where so much focus was on racial inequality in America, it felt vital to see a story make clear that this is also very much a British issue. But for all that the police attack sequences feel visceral and distressing, McQueen's camera doesn't linger on the brutality, and he creates space to depict the joy and interior life of the neighbourhood's West Indian residents. Filled with powerful imagery of protests, and depicting a court case which saw Black British people defend themselves in their own voices, Mangrove is captivating and essential. Read the Empire review
10) Jojo Rabbit
'Taika Waititi is making his movie again' may one day become a stick with which to beat the Kiwi writer-director, but not as long as he continues to make movies as original and invigorating as Jojo Rabbit. A spiritual successor to Boy and Hunt For The Wilderpeople, it's another film about a lost boy and the role models he chooses to help him chart a path into adulthood. As you'd expect with Taika, there are imaginary friends, meticulously framed images, and montages set to pop music. And… Nazis? Yes, because Jojo, living in Germany near the end of World War II, has unquestioningly swallowed Nazi propaganda, and his imaginary friend is a rancid, hate-spewing version of Hitler (played by Waititi himself). Waititi unwaveringly walks a tonal tightrope that moves swiftly from broad comedy to an unflinching embrace of the consequences of the war – and all with huge heaps of the heart that his films have had since day one, as young Jojo slowly bonds with the Jewish teenager (Thomasin McKenzie) his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding in the walls of their home. Long may Taika continue making his movie. Read the Empire review
In 1941, RKO gave Orson Welles an effective blank cheque to make Citizen Kane. In 2020, the cheque might not be as blank, but it's clear Netflix (or as they're here temporarily retitled, 'Netflix International Studios') have given David Fincher the carte blanche he deserves to make precisely the film he wanted to make: a typically meticulous monochrome masterpiece. The personal parallels are everywhere: in telling the story of a genius creative obsessed by a Hollywood he doesn't quite fit into, it may be the closest to a Fincher autobiography we'll ever get — given added personal dimension by the script, written by Fincher Sr. But it's also a sad portrait of a self-destructive artist, making his best work at the expense of almost everything. The deep dives into the intricacies of Old Hollywood will be too specific for some, but for Golden Age film nerds, it's absolute heaven. Read the Empire review
8) The Lighthouse
Subtext swirls and swells in Robert Eggers' head-tripping psychological horror. Both adorned with outrageous facial hair, Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are the 'wickies' – aka lighthouse keepers – stranded together on a rain-lashed rock, slowly losing their grip on sanity and displaying an obsession with the pulsating lamp at the top of the tower. Equal parts Lovecraftian and Freudian, Eggers' film is a freaky and fascinating blend of folktale, sea myth, homoeroticism, and psycho-thriller, full of unforgettable imagery and deeply unsettling sound design. And Pattinson and Dafoe give raw, wild-eyed performances, hemmed into the frame by a near-square aspect ratio that lends the whole thing the feel of an unholy long-lost film reel, freshly dredged up from the ocean depths. Read the Empire review
7) Lovers Rock
There's not much plot to speak of in Lovers Rock, which follows Martha (Amarah Jae St. Aubyn, in a sensational debut) as she sneaks out of her family home to go to a party in 1980s West London. But what Steve McQueen's second – and arguably best – Small Axe entry lacks in narrative, it makes up for with its loving exploration of Black British culture. That includes close-ups of women preparing goat curry stew that you can almost smell through the screen, and evocative dance sequences that make you long for the pre-pandemic parties of old. The most joyous moment of the film – and perhaps 2020 – comes during the instantly iconic 'Silly Games' sequence, in which everyone on the dancefloor sings Janet Kay's 1979 hit acapella for four euphoric minutes. That McQueen still finds the time in this 68 minute film to gently yet effectively remind us of the harsh world that exists outside this bubble of Black bliss is a sign of a director at the top of his game. Read the Empire review
6) The Invisible Man
Rising from the ashes of the Dark Universe, the iconic Universal Monster got a thrilling reinvention from Leigh Whannell. His take centred not on the Invisible Man himself, but on his victim – Elisabeth Moss' Cecilia, who, in a breathlessly tense opening sequence, escapes from her abusive relationship with optics engineer Adrian Griffin. Despite appearances that Griffin has committed suicide, Cecilia is convinced he's still haunting her. Whannell imbues shots of empty spaces with a sense of utter dread (could Adrian really be lurking there?), that combined with Moss' incredible wild-eyed performance makes the fantastical set-up feel completely real and grounded. The result is a deeply effective meditation on gaslighting and trauma, but one that still absolutely works as a tense and terrifying horror-thriller – with one of the most downright shocking moments of 2020. Read the Empire review
5) Saint Maud
It's hard to remember the last time a British horror debut was this finely calibrated. Rose Glass's first film is an instant classic, taking the genre's usual devil-worshipping tropes and flipping them on their head. In Morfydd Clark's Maud – a traumatised nurse who communicates with 'God', determined to save the soul of the hedonistic terminal cancer patient she's caring for – we get a new kind of holy terror, a character who's equal parts pitiful and powerful, her fearsome fervour fuelling her increasingly dangerous detachment. Like its central character, the film around her is brittle and jagged but carefully controlled, with a tone that shifts seamlessly between ghoulish dark humour, psychosexual imagery and bloody frights. A searing, visionary work, centred on an incredible star-making turn. Praise the Maud. Read the Empire review
This chaotic and loving ode to friendship is the best British teen movie in years. Set in East London, the film follows Rocks (Bukky Bakray), an aspiring makeup artist who is abandoned by her mother and forced to care for her younger brother Emmanuelle (D'angelou Osei Kissiedu, the undisputed star of 2020). At her side, however, are a group of fiercely loyal friends who try their best to keep Rocks' feet on the ground. Director Sarah Gavron and screenwriters Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson workshopped the film extensively with their predominantly street cast ensemble. The result is a collaborative celebration of female spirit and resilience that's never romanticised but always raw, tender and blissfully funny. The year has done its best to stifle the connections between friends as a wave of isolation has swept across the world. Rocks reminds us that we need these connections more than ever. Read the Empire review
3) Uncut Gems
The Safdie Brothers took their ability to create pure cinematic anxiety to new heights with a thriller that plays more like a sustained panic attack. Adam Sandler puts in a career-best performance as reckless diamond dealer Howard Ratner, who owes money all around town – and while a rare Ethiopian black opal looks set to improve his fortunes, he can't help but make yet more deeply dangerous decisions. Between Sandler's jittery performance (you'll root for him, while cursing every single terrible choice he makes), the hectic soundscape of overlapping chatter, and a wobbly Jenga tower of dodgy deals that threaten to collapse at any second, it's a pulse-pounding adrenaline ride without a single action set piece. Read the Empire review
2) Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
On an isolated island in 18th Century Brittany, artist Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is commissioned by a noblewoman (Valeria Golino) to paint a picture of her daughter Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) as a means of attracting wealthy suitors. The hitch? Heloise refuses to have her likeness painted, so Marianne has to pull off the portrait covertly. Out of this high concept, writer-director Celine Sciamma has created a masterpiece – a thrilling, intoxicating love story that has no truck with cliché or sentiment or male worldviews (this is a film where men are relegated to the background). Anchored by two terrific central performances, few films have so economically captured feelings of longing and love without diluting an ounce of passion. The filmmaking is impeccable – take a bow, DP Claire Mathon, for some of this year's most lucid imagery – all in service of a film about a connection so intense it burns a hole in the screen. Read the Empire review
Bong Joon Ho has been concocting heady genre fusions for years – and Parasite found the Korean auteur at his most intoxicating. Is it a thriller? Or a dark comedy? Or a tragedy? Or a satire? All of the above, and more. The intertwined stories of the hardscrabble Kim family and the wealth-dripping Parks is deeply layered, richly thematic – and, most of all, breathlessly exciting, twisting and turning in such unexpected ways that you're never quite sure what comes next. Bathed in Hitchcockian suspense, nodding to decades of Asian horror movies, peppered with laugh-out-loud lines, it's a supremely entertaining ride, flawlessly executed by Director Bong with precise craft and a knockout ensemble cast. Before 2020 went off the rails, it began with a miracle: for once, Best Picture really did go to the best picture. Read the Empire review
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The 10 Best Movies of 2020
T here’s no subtle way to put it: 2020 has been a truly strange year for movies , a mini-epoch that has forced us to reckon with what movies can be and mean . It’s not just that we watched movies, for the most part, on a small screen at home. We also watched them with anxiety roiling within us, and sometimes with tragedy unfolding just outside our door. We watched them as a way to unwind after a long day of re-creating our work routines at home , perhaps with the additional stress of caring for (and teaching) kids unable to go to school . Some of us watched them after long days or nights spent outside the home, as necessary workers —in that context, a bright spot of entertainment means even more than it would in a normal year. In all ways, this year was unlike any other. But the one thing we can say is that the movies didn’t let us down . So what if we didn’t get our usual fall complement of big-ticket Oscar movies? This new, temporary normal allowed smaller movies—films that might otherwise have been lost among glitzier releases—to grab the spotlight for once. In terms of accessibility and quality, it was still a year of riches. Here are 10 of the very best.
Also read TIME’s lists of the 10 best fiction books , nonfiction books, YA and children’s books , podcasts, songs , TV shows and video games of 2020.
10. B ill and Ted Face the Music
In an unequivocally terrible year, who didn’t need a crazy, ebullient, deeply gratifying burst of optimism? Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves reappeared in the roles they originated some three decades ago: then, they were goofy but open-hearted teenage guitar obsessives from San Dimas, Calif., who changed the world via a time-travel phone booth. Today, they’re husbands and dads facing all the insecurities that come with middle age—and yet, in some ways their story is just beginning. Through their daughters, they’ve laid the groundwork for another act of world-saving derring-do, a reaffirmation that our collective dreams are our true strength. This work of ramshackle earnestness and generosity lit a path through a very dark summer. You can’t ask for more from a comedy.
Read TIME’s full review here
9. Miss Juneteenth
In an America so divided that it sometimes seems each inhabitant is the sole citizen of his or her own stubborn country, writer-director Channing Godfrey Peoples’ debut feature is a balm. Nicole Beharie gives a marvelous performance as a former pageant winner who tries to project her own dreams onto her teenage daughter, though this story is universal as well as personal. Set in Fort Worth, a city with a long tradition of celebrating the day in 1865 when Texas slaves finally learned they’d been freed, Miss Juneteenth is a tapestry of a whole community, a reminder that this country is much bigger—and richer, and more diverse—than we tend to think.
8. N omadland
What’s the meaning of home? Is it the dwelling we live in, or a spirit that dwells within us? That’s the question Chloé Zhao explores in the radiant and perceptive Nomadland . Frances McDormand gives a sterling performance as a widow who sells off her house and takes to the road in a van kitted out with the essentials for living, picking up seasonal work where she can. Though she’s on her own, she’s never fully alone. The people she meets in her travels have their quirks, but it’s compassion and generosity that guide and unite them.
7. W olfwalkers
This beguiling animated delight from Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart tells the story of an English girl in 17th century Ireland who longs to become a wolf hunter like her father—only to befriend a mysterious forest-dwelling punkette who carries the secret of the wolves within her very being. Wolfwalkers is brushed with the mystical spirit of a Kate Bush song, rendered in a dazzling midcentury-modern design scheme. Its spell is irresistible.
Though Jane Austen has never been exactly obscure, her career as a superstar of mugs and cloth tote bags is a fairly recent development. Autumn de Wilde’s bright and lively adaptation of Austen’s 1815 novel gets back to basics, reminding us why her work has endured. Anya Taylor-Joy plays the eponymous meddlesome heroine; Johnny Flynn is the family friend who watches in horror as she makes one misstep after another. These two are wonderful, together and separately, in a work that feels both modern and authentic in the best way. It invites everyone, diehard Austenites and newbies alike, into its embrace.
5. L overs Rock
This is the shortest of the films in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology, but its hypnotic beauty is immeasurable. In London circa 1980, West Indians—often denied entrance to clubs—would host their own house parties, swaying on the dance floor as all manner of amorous possibilities played out, or failed to. Lovers Rock captures the energy and promise of just one of those nights, as well as what it means to find solace and solidarity within the larger, colder world. It captures a universe of time in just 68 poetic minutes.
4. D avid Byrne’s American Utopia
This grand and glorious filmed record of David Byrne’s hit Broadway show , directed by Spike Lee , is a work of great joy and expressiveness, a tower of song with room for everybody. As performed by Byrne and his troupe of 11 musicians and dancers, the numbers—some of them recent Byrne compositions, others drawn from his body of work with Talking Heads—feel fresh and familiar at once, inclusive but also mildly explosive. Lee captures perfectly the urgency of Byrne’s intent: to live in any meaningful way, we must stay connected. It’s a principle so glaringly simple that it’s radical.
3. T he Trial of the Chicago 7
Aaron Sorkin details the half-circuslike, half-somber drama of an intense pocket of American history , during which a group of anti-war activists were tried for conspiring to incite violence at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The result is a lively work attuned to civic responsibility and small-d democratic ideals, a movie as simultaneously entertaining and galvanizing as anything you’ll see this year.
2. C ollective
Alexander Nanou’s Collective , which follows a team of Romanian journalists as they uncover a health-care scandal whose tentacles reach deep into a corrupt government, is that rare documentary that plays like a political thriller. But It’s also a deeply moving testament to both the power and the necessity of investigative journalism—in any country run by a government that strives to distort the truth to serve its own goals.
1. First Cow
In the verdant Pacific Northwest of the 1820s, two settlers—a baker and a Chinese immigrant with an entrepreneurial streak—start a business selling fried cakes made with the purloined milk of a local cow. The enterprise takes off, as their friendship deepens. Both tranquil and dazzling, Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow is a song of this weird, rough-edged stretch of stolen land we call America, a place where tenderness is still the most precious commodity.
Martin Eden , On the Rocks , The Assistant , The Old Guard , The Half of It , Relic , Mangrove and The Jesus Rolls
Read the rest of TIME’s best-of 2020 coverage:
- The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2020
- The 10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2020
- The 10 Best YA and Children’s Books of 2020
- The 100 Must-Read Books of 2020
- The 10 Best Movie Performances of 2020
- The 10 Best TV Shows of 2020
- The 10 Best Songs of 2020
- The 10 Best Albums of 2020
- The 10 Best Podcasts of 2020
- The 10 Best Video Games of 2020
- Who Will Be TIME's Person of the Year 2023?
- Why Cell Phone Reception Is Getting Worse
- The Dirty Secrets of Alternative Plastics
- Column: It's Time to Scrap the Abraham Accords
- Israeli Family Celebrates Release of Hostage Grandmother
- In a New Movie, Beyoncé Finds Freedom
- The Top 100 Photos of 2023
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