By Morgan Roberts
Wow. 2020 was a giant dumpster fire, wasn’t it? But here’s the thing: television and films saved us. The arts are always the first thing to go with budget cuts, but without art this year, how many of us would have the respite we so desperately needed during this time? So, thank you to everyone who puts their all into their craft, who gave us wonder and escape during this unprecedented time.
And without further ado, here are my Top 10 Films of 2020.
10. Black Bear, dir. Lawrence Michael Levine
What did I just watch? Literally my first thought after watching this outrageous film. But as you ruminate on the experience, you uncover one of the greatest pieces of cinema this year. A film where lines between reality and art are blurred. Aubrey Plaza gives an amazing performance.
9. The Broken Hearts Gallery, dir. Natalie Krinsky
I LOVE ROM-COMS. No shame. And Natalie Krinsky brought us a lovely, ooey-gooey rom-com in the middle of a pandemic. Geraldine Viswanathan is wonderful in the leading role, and Dacre Montgomery is endlessly charming. Shoutout to Molly Gordon and Phillipa Soo for being a scene-stealing duo.
8. I’m Thinking of Ending Things, dir. Charlie Kaufman
There is literally no way to describe this film. I mean that in the best way possible. It is a real mind-bender of an experience with stellar performances from Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette, and David Thewlis. No better road trip and meet-the-parents film than this one.
7. The Assistant, dir. Kitty Green
What does the world truly look like in the midst of the “Me Too”/”Time’s Up” paradigm shift? Kitty Green attempts to give us a glimpse into the harsh, and stark, realities of entertainment world. Julia Garner gives a powerful and quiet performance in the central role.
6. Palm Springs, dir. Max Barbakow
The whole reliving-the-same-day trope is as old as time, but “Palm Springs” breathes new life into it. It’s funny and endearing. With Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti as the leads in this rom-com, it oozes greatness with this pair’s endless charm and wit.
5. Swallow, dir. Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Very rarely do I find a film that tackles mental health so perfectly. What “Swallow” accomplishes is humanized and empathetic portrayal of a rare mental health condition, with the backdrop of a more sinister underlying disorder, if you will. Cinematography by Katelin Arizmendi is utterly stunning.
4. Yes, God, Yes, dir. Karen Maine
If “Saved!” (2004) was one of those films that spoke to you in your youth, then Karen Maine’s “Yes, God, Yes” will speak to you now. Heartfelt, raunchy, and empowering. The film, starring Natalia Dyer, tackles what happens when the awkwardness of puberty is exacerbated by religious shame and discomfort.
3. Misbehaviour, dir. Philippa Lowthorpe
This film tackles the real-life events of the Miss World beauty competition. Philippa Lowthorpe is tasked with having to show the layered and complex situation that sparked further conversation about women’s rights and beauty representation. Full of amazing performance, Gugu Mbatha-Raw stood out as the real MVP.
2. Buffaloed, dir. Tanya Wexler
From the very beginning, “Buffaloed” will have you hooked. It is a fast-paced hustle that you cannot take your eyes off of. Zoey Deutch gives an amazing performance in the lead with Jai Courtney playing a deliciously-douchey “King Pin”-type.
1. Promising Young Woman, dir. Emerald Fennell
This tour-de-force, vengeance thriller is certainly one to keep you on your toes. “Promising Young Woman” is a masterpiece. It’s due to not just the writing and directing of pure genius Emerald Fennell but also due to the stellar central performance by Carey Mulligan. It’s a breathtaking and haunting piece of cinema.