top 20 movies of 2020

Juliette Perks

Juliette Perks

Writer | Content Creator

Now that we’re fresh out of 2020, we’ll be taking a look back at some of the best films of that year – and what a year it was!

With the Coronavirus pandemic, the film industry was hit hard and many distributors had to rethink their release plans. If a film was lucky, it would have made it to the big screen during the time periods where national lockdowns were not in place, but that doesn’t mean it would have lured in its usual box office audience!

Other films landed straight onto streaming sights and often with a premium charge, a bold but fairly welcome initiative when audiences were staying at home to stay safe.

We’ve had a long hard look back on the year and have collated and ranked our top 20 films of 2020, for both theatrical and streaming releases…

20 > Lost Girls

Genre: Crime / Mystery 

Watch for: Based on the nonfiction book by the same name, this true crime mystery deals with a mothers contempt with the law after her daughter goes missing after a night out. Bodies start to pile up of young women in Long Island, and appear to be the work of an illicit serial killer, yet to be found.  

Released: Netflix

19 > Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Genre: Music / Musical

Watch for: “Tensions and temperatures rise at a Chicago music studio in 1927 when fiery, fearless blues singer Ma Rainey joins her band for a recording session. Starring: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman” – Netflix

Released: Netflix

18 > The Assistant

Genre: Drama / Thriller

Watch for: Follows the story of the day in the life of a young girl as she kick starts her dream career as an aspiring film producer. Things take an eerie turn when she starts to experience degrading circumstances and workplace abuse, which only accentuates the magnitude of her problems and worst fears. 

Released: streaming services

17 > Extraction

Genre: Action / Thriller

Watch for: Extraction is set primarily in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. It tells the tale of a black-listed Aussie muscle-for-hire Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth). When an imprisoned crime lord’s son is kidnapped and held for ransom, the family hire a team of private extraction experts to retrieve him. The mission takes the team into dark territory and tests the strength and resilience of our hero, pushing him to extreme limits.

Released: Netflix

16 > Borat Subsequent Movie Film

Genre: Comedy

Watch for: Sacha Baron Cohen takes on the role of Borat once more, this time, with a sturdy sidekick (Maria Bakalava). Expect the same xenophobia and gasp-inducing disbeliefs as Borat’s last ‘documentary’, but this one’s about coronavirus, conspiracy theories, white supremacy, #MeToo, and plastic surgeons. Not forgetting an incredible Trump costume and more scandalous Trump-related behaviour, Borat Subsequent Movie Film is an awkward, uncomfortable but hilarious wrap up of the numerous gloomy headlines we’ve all seen over the years.

Released: Amazon Prime Video

15 > Host

Genre: Horror

Watch for: An innovative approach to filmmaking in the time of a pandemic. Host was filmed during coronavirus restrictions and the cast had the challenge of setting up their own cameras, lighting and stunts, whilst director Rob Savage directed them remotely. With the plotline focusing on a group of friends in lockdown, it’s a premise which has been all too familiar to us. The result? A clever DIY found-footage horror.

Released: Shudder

14 > Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Genre: Romance / Drama

Watch for: An exquisite love story which is both beautiful and thrilling. This French film wowed viewers around the world and offered a thought-provoking watch, over the backdrop of the aesthetically pleasing setting.

Released: Sky cinema / streaming services

13 > Da 5 Bloods

Genre: Drama

Watch for: An admirable and explosive film from Spike Lee. Its plot is rooted in turmoil offering grandstanding monologues, hectic action sequences and a strong social commentary. It also brought one of the most intense and frightening sequences to 2020 – keep an eye out for the mine-fields in this one.

Released: Netflix

12 > The Devil all the Time

Genre: Drama

Watch for: A southern gothic starring Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, and an ensemble of great actors. Worth watching for its fascinating characters, inter-woven plotlines, and Pattinson’s crazy-good but creepy southern accent. You’ll like it for its atmospheric and brutal storytelling.

Released: Netflix

11 > Birds of Prey

Genre: Action / Adventure

Watch for: Another chance to see Margot Robbie dazzle as Harley Quinn. It’s a female kick-ass action flick that excels in its aesthetics; it bursts colour, glitter bombs, fireworks and some really entertaining cartoon-esque violence. A fun, colourful and exuberant watch, especially when you’re in need of an escape from the real world of lockdown life.

Released: in Theatres

10 > Onward

Genre: Animation / Adventure

Watch for: An emotional but imaginative and inventive addition to Pixar’s collection. Tom Holland and Chris Pratt will take you on a journey about family and brotherly love, in a fun and creative world of wizardry, elves, fairies and some pretty aggressive motorbikes.

Released: Disney+

9 > The Invisible Man

Genre: Horror

Watch for: Elizabeth Moss continuing to be incredible. This sci-fi reboot is a modernisation of H.G. Wells original story and uses the material to provide a horrifying commentary of domestic violence and toxic relationships. It’s intelligent, genuinely scary and an entertaining race-for-survival movie.

Released: in Theatres

8 > Soul

Genre: Animation / Adventure

Watch for: Stellar animation and enchanting visuals, as well as its truly captivating and emotional themes surrounding life, personalities, passions and second chances. Soul is a beautiful film and one many adults should get swept up in.

Released: Disney+

7 > The Trial of the Chicago 7

Genre: Drama

Watch for: The true story of the Chicago Seven, a group of anti-Vietnam War protestors on trial for conspiracy and inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Watch for an energetic screenplay with an ensemble cast, including Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and more.

Released: Netflix

6 > Wonder Woman 1984

Genre: Adventure / Fantasy

Watch for: Gal Gadot wowing the world with her performance as Diana Prince, the second-time running. Expect incredible special effects, enticing cinematography, new arch-enemies and an emotional journey to carry Diana’s story.

Released: HBO Max

5 > The Gentlemen

Genre: Crime / Comedy

Watch for: Exactly what you expect Guy Ritchie to deliver; a stellar cast, hilarious and expectantly scrutinized humour, suave editing and sound effects, and an all-round wild ride. Worth watching for the style, as well as the questionable narrator and enough twists and turns to keep you invested.

Released: in Theatres

4 > Tenet

Genre: Action / Sci-Fi

Watch for: Nolan’s mind-boggling screenplay and testing of time – yet again! The film’s shot on IMAX, is filled with colossal action sequences, incredible stunt work and serves up Robert Pattinson and John David Washington as an exhilarating duo. Most of what you see is created by practical effects too and it’s worth watching just for the clean “inverted” moments – tense, yet epic!

Released: in Theatres

3 > Hamilton

Genre: Musical

Watch for: An ingenious display of history told in the form of rap and larger-than-life tunes. It’s catchy, wholly entertaining and the cast offer incredible and emotional performances. Once you’ve seen it once, you’ll be playing it back on repeat for weeks to come.

Released: Disney+

2 > Jojo Rabbit

Genre: Comedy / War

Watch for: Taika Watiti’s electric performance as a young boy’s imaginary friend brings humour to a tragic time in history. Hitler Youth cadet, Jojo finds a Jewish girl hiding in his house and soon his ideals of Nazism are shortly shattered. 

Released: in cinemas

1 > Parasite

Genre: Drama / Thriller

Watch for: Well deserving of its first place, Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite took the film industry by storm thanks to its unbeatable screenplay, gripping direction and cinematography, inconceivable plot twists and its thrilling but awfully dark humorous tone. Everything about Parasite is simply brilliant and the message it highlights is even more compelling. This one will have you in shock for days.

Released: in selected Theatres and Amazon Prime Video

There you have it, that’s our best films of 2020 ranked! Which one was your favourite, or do you have any of your own contenders? Let us know over on Instagram.

⬇️ Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and let us know what you’ll be watching first! ⬇️

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