Top Ten Movies of 2020 (#10 – #6)



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When looking back, the year 2020 is sure to be discussed as an unprecedented mysterious year for not just movies but life in general. The global Covid-19 pandemic disrupted what possibly could have been just as big, if not a bigger year than 2019, yet here we are. Just like with sports that literally all paused the same day, the entertainment business halted. Productions shut down, films on the release radar were pushed back a few months to a year, and sadly theaters closed their doors temporarily, some very heartbreakingly sad, permanently.  

Even with all these delays and unpredictable circumstances, theaters opened back up with safety regulations and limited seating capacities. What a feeling it was to step back into a theater after months away to view movies in the way they were intended and not on an iPhone.

One could argue that Tenet is perfect for that size screen to get the full effect that Nolan was going for.

Just as championship teams will have an asterisk placed on their winning seasons, the academy award winners should also have that asterisk placed. In a perfect world, who knows if this would be the nominees for the upcoming Oscars. 

The best thing that I personally love about movies besides the escapism of it all is the subjectivity that surrounds us and the films we all love or hate. We all like different movies – no one movie will be liked and appreciated by every single human on earth, it’s not possible. We connect with them differently and interpret messages that may not translate to the next person. My all-time favorites will be totally different than the next person but as long as we can have intelligent conversations about film then the possibilities are endless. 

That being said, here is my subjective top ten of 2020 (and some 2021, since the academy awards were pushed back this year). #10 – #6.


10) Never Rarely Sometimes Always


“I want to spend some time talking about your relationships because they can effect your health.”“I want to spend some time talking about your relationships because they can effect your health.”

“I want to spend some time talking about your relationships because they can effect your health.”


Never Rarely Sometimes Always focuses more on the actuality of an unplanned pregnancy, the negative stigma it places on a person based on their age and home life, the woman’s environment and abortion process rather than the dramatization of it. The topic of abortion itself is a difficult topic to discuss let alone create a film about since there are many who choose make decisions for a woman yet may not be women at all. Yes, there are still dramatic moments weaved within by writer/director Eliza Hittman. The title consists of four simple words but the meaning behind these four words is powerful to the person on the receiving end of some very hard to swallow questions. Sydney Flanigan and Talia Ryder bring their characters to life that can make those who are ignorant to this process more empathetic and understanding. Their relationship only gets stronger as the story moves forward. Never Rarely Sometimes Always can make you feel uncomfortable and disturbed yet is a powerful enough story to root for the main characters in their trip to New York.


9) Promising Young Woman


"Can you guess what every woman’s worst nightmare is?""Can you guess what every woman’s worst nightmare is?"

“Can you guess what every woman’s worst nightmare is?”


Promising Young Woman, the feature directorial debut for Emerald Fennell packs a lot of punch largely due to the strong script written by Fennell and lead performance by Carey Mulligan. A woman hell bent on revenge for the rape and murder of her friend has a multi dimensional structure to it with different tones. One moment you’re watching Mulligan get taken home by unsuspecting male who thinks he’s helping out by convincing himself he’s a “good guy” and the next moment he’s proving her point – he’s just like everyone else. Promising Young Woman features a strong supporting cast with Mulligan stealing every scene she’s in (yes, It’s her movie, I get it), laugh out loud moments, heartwarming romances, and tense and real conversations about getting involved, accountability, or looking the other way when a sexual assault takes place. Some characters and a weaker ending keep this from being a stronger contender.


8) Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom


“What you all say don’t count with me, you understand? Ma listen to her heart. Ma listen to the voice inside her. That’s what count with Ma.”“What you all say don’t count with me, you understand? Ma listen to her heart. Ma listen to the voice inside her. That’s what count with Ma.”

“What you all say don’t count with me, you understand? Ma listen to her heart. Ma listen to the voice inside her. That’s what count with Ma.”


A one, a two, a you know what to do….sadly and devastatingly heartbreaking, the last time we will ever see Chadwick Boseman act. Though his spirit lives on in the characters he brought to life or the real ones he resurrected, his loss, and a damn near perfect performance may have sealed his posthumous best actor Oscar win. But, he isn’t the only one who stands out in this stage adapted story by producer Denzel Washington based on the production by August Wilson. Viola Davis goes full method acting in the ways of Christian Bale – putting on weight to play Ma Rainey, the Mother of Blues. Shot to capture the atmosphere of a small contained stage production, Ma Rainey’s explores what it is like being a black musician in a white man’s world. Costume and set design are dazzling to the eye that can transport you back to that era as well as the outstanding work by hair and makeup respectively. With a strong supporting cast in the likes of Coleman Domingo among others, Ma Rainey’s is one of the best pictures of the year.


7) Sound of Metal


“Everybody here shares in the belief that being deaf is not a handicap. Not something to fix.”“Everybody here shares in the belief that being deaf is not a handicap. Not something to fix.”

“Everybody here shares in the belief that being deaf is not a handicap. Not something to fix.”


The Sound of Metal puts the viewer in an uncomfortable situation – hearing loss to the point of its main character becoming deaf. Sound of Metal has the best sound design and effects of the year the same way Ford V Ferrari was the best in 2019. A metal drummer, on tour losing his hearing – something that he relies on to do his job is the worst case scenario for Ruben (played by Riz Ahmed). Equally his co-star Paul Raci does everything in his power to transition Ruben into a Deaf Community and make him feel whole and at home. Both performances are powerful, brilliant, inspirational and poignant that stand out in this film. Sound of metal opens eyes and ears to the Deaf Community and treats Deafness in a way that shouldn’t be looked at as a handicap or a disability. Ruben’s goal is to fix something that doesn’t need to be fixed given the rich life he could possibly have.


6) Mangrove (Small Axe)


"We mustn't be victims, but protagonists of our stories. And what better way of representing ourselves than self-representing ourselves.""We mustn't be victims, but protagonists of our stories. And what better way of representing ourselves than self-representing ourselves."

“We mustn’t be victims, but protagonists of our stories. And what better way of representing ourselves than self-representing ourselves.”


From academy award nominated director Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) Mangrove is the first episode in the Small Axe anthology series and a courtroom/legal drama about the Mangrove 9. Racism, social injustice and discrimination against a group of people by police is just as relevant today as it was when the demonstration and trial took place. McQueen captures the spirit of optimism along with the heartbreaking reality that these activists endured paired with the sense of community that was built by Frank Crichlow – owner of the Mangrove restaurant. It’s as much a celebration of culture and heritage as it is a dispicable act of agression toward a group of people. Mangrove is one of the best films of the year with three of the best performances by Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes, & Malachi Kirby.


There you have it, the first half of my top ten of 2020. The remaining (#5 – #1) will be out tomorrow so stay tuned because the films are only going to get better from here. 

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