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My Top Ten Films of 2021

2020 is over, and what a year it has been. In a year that has had cinemas shut for a majority of the year, it can be easy to think that this year was slow for releases and that nothing came out. However, this is also a year that I saw 77 new releases from the UK, and that was with missing some films such as Bad Boys For Life, Mulan, On the Rocks and Happiest Season (all films I plan to catch up on at the start of 2021).

I want to make it clear that this is a list based on the UK release schedule, as I have done for the past few years. It is the fair way for me to rank these films without waiting, as I have not had a chance to see films such as Sound of Metal or Nomadland. Whilst I have seen releases such as Promising Young Woman, Another Round, and Minari, I will not be including these films in this year’s list as they have not been officially released in the UK as of yet.

Without further ado, here are my top ten films of 2020.

10. The Devil All The Time – whilst I may be one of the few that ranks the film this high, I just loved the editing and narrative of this film. Fantastic performances from the entire cast and the tone the film takes makes this a film I haven’t been able to forget this year.
9. The Broken Hearts Gallery – this is a film that sadly many people missed due to it releasing in cinemas in September. It may be a chick-flick film, but it is the heart-warming story that I needed during this time. It’s hard not to fall in love with the cast and this story.
8. Dick Johnson is Dead – in what is the best documentary this year by a mile, Kirsten Johnson is able to have fun with such a dark subject matter and make the most of the documentary. A must watch for anyone.
7. Parasite – people are going to say “too low” when they see my placement of Parasite (the final third still doesn’t live up to the rest of the film) but it’s hard to deny the craftsmanship of this film, and it is easily a worthy winner of the Best Picture award at the Oscars last year.
6. Wolfwalkers – this was my first film from Cartoon Saloon, and I am so desperate to watch more of their work. This is the biggest surprise of the year for me, with the gorgeous animation and heartfelt story bringing this world to life.
5. The Trial of the Chicago 7 – I know not everyone loves this movie as much as I did, but it is hard to deny Aaron Sorkin’s writing in terms of conflict and narrative. A compelling story that is accessible to most viewers and one that may make some impact come awards season.
4. 1917 – the first 5/5 film of the year and it fully earns that reward. Not only is it technically well crafted, but Sam Mendes puts his heart on the screen with a story and characters that are so easy to like and cheer on.
3. Soul – this is a year with not only one, but two spectacular animated films as Pete Docter once again creates another masterpiece. Whilst the subject matter is more mature, it is a story that I needed to see and Joe Gardner is someone that I know I can easily connect with and understand.
2. Portrait of a Lady on Fire – what can I say about this film that I haven’t already said? I’ve done a whole podcast episode on this film. The cinematography. The costumes. The story. The performances. The locations. It’s a piece of artwork with every frame.
1. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – if you have known me for most of 2020, you will know how much this movie impacted me. This is a film that I will talk about for many more years to come, and I hope I have encouraged at least one person to check it out and fall in love with it.

What do you make of my top ten? What film was your favourite of the year? Let me know in the comments section and let’s have a discussion.

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