2020. Where to even begin?
This has been a year full of unprecedented events and turmoil, where every aspect of life has changed — especially the moviegoing experience.
Going to the movie theatre is my form of self care and being unable to go on a regular basis has been nothing short of heartbreaking. I, along with so many, am SO thankful to have had a plethora of streaming platforms with a wealth of content.
So, before I go into my top 10 of 2020, I have to add a disclaimer that there are many films that I wanted to watch this year but didn’t have access to — or more than likely, their releases got pushed back into 2021, such as Chloé Zhao’s critically acclaimed, Nomadland or Sundance Festival stand out, Minari.
So my list is probably not typical of critics or other bloggers. But 2020 has not been typical.
So here we go — my top 10 of 2020.
10. I’m Thinking of Ending Things: Nothing is as it seems in Charlie Kaufman’s surreal, unsettling and quirky journey through the human psyche. In a year full of mindless watches and binges, I’m Thinking of Ending Things challenged viewers to think about the dualities of the human condition and to question between our own reality and fantasy. It’s a hoot. Plus, it stars Toni Colette, the queen of unsettling and memorable performances. So if anything, watch it for Toni’s performance and the opportunity to ponder a little more.
9. Birds of Prey: One of the most enjoyable experiences I had in the movie theatre before COVID-19 hit the U.S. was Cathy Yan’s colorful production of Birds of Prey. Margot Robbie leading this tale of mayhem, madness and fiery female fun as the infamous Harley Quinn has been exactly the sort of entertainment we needed this year. Plus that scene with the egg sandwich is just *chef’s kiss*. During the height of the pandemic, this film was one of my favorites to turn to when I needed a laugh, or needed a KILLER female-led soundtrack to empower me. So yes. Harley Quinn was one of my icons of 2020, and that just feels right to me.
8. The Invisible Man: As we continue to embark on a horror movie renaissance, no remake has been as sharply or smartly updated like The Invisible Man. Between the chilling cinematography and the complex, commanding performance by Elisabeth Moss, this is one thrilling ride you need to watch on the biggest screen possible (and with the lights out).
7. Da 5 Bloods: Spike Lee does it again with his fierce and politically charged Netflix drama, Da 5 Bloods. Boasting an incredible ensemble and a gutwretching performance by Delroy Lindo, this film watching experience immerses viewers into a side of our nation’s story that has not been told enough. This is one powerful story you should not ignore this year.
6. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: Electric, emotional and full of energy, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a master class in watching a talented ensemble successfully bring the world of August Wilson to the screen. Between Viola Davis’s transformation into the “Mother of Blues” and Chadwick Boseman’s raw final performance, this film left me in awe. How lucky are we to have witnessed two of the most perfect performances in the same film?
5. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: A couple of months ago, a friend of mine asked what one of my favorite films of the year had been. Without hesitation, I responded, “BORAT!” Borat Susequent Moviefilm is a work of comedic brilliance while also highlighting the extreme ugliness of our country in very smart and real way. Not only is the film the most I’ve laughed all year (and I was literally laugh crying) but it is surprisingly full of heart and incredible performances, including newcomer and scene-stealer, Maria Bakalova. A definite must-see in a year that has been nothing but ridiculous.
4. First Cow: Acclaimed by critics, one of the best films of 2020 is a simple, sentimental tale about friendship, baking, and a beautiful First Cow. I am typically not a fan of slow paced films (especially during this frontier-influenced time period in American history), however, Kelly Reichardt’s dramatic and heartwarming “moo-vie” (couldn’t resist) is the tender, wholesome content about the American Dream we needed this year. Plus, who can resist a cute cow?
3. Sound of Metal: One of the most unique and immersive film experiences of 2020 was Sound of Metal. Anchored by an astounding and powerful performance by Riz Ahmed and highly impressive sound editing, this emotional and delicate story raises awareness for the deaf community in the most authentic of ways.
2. Soul: There are films that inspire us and ones that have the special ability to move our very Soul. Pixar’s newest film is a mature, touching, heartfelt, and beautiful masterpiece. It reminds us to live life to the fullest and find the sparks that set our soul on fire.
1. Promising Young Woman: There was no film as brilliant, sharp or unrelenting as Emerelad Fennell’s directorial debut, Promising Young Woman. Between its powerhouse performance by Carey Mulligan, its smart sense of humor and its ability to open up discussions on rape culture in such unique and unsettling way, make it an unforgettable experience.