While the cinemas have taken a massive blow during the pandemic, viewers have still been able to check out a small number of blockbusters this year. It’s hard to believe the last time I was at a cinema was almost a year ago, but that time away from the cinema gave me a chance to catch up on the backlog of movies on my to-watch list. These are some of the best films I watched in 2020.
Enola Holmes: Enola Holmes is a delightfully charming movie. It doesn’t have the emotional or intellectual depth of award-winning blockbusters, but in a year of frustration and confusion, Enola Holmes was a breath of fresh air. Millie Bobby Brown shines as the energetic little sister of the notorious Sherlock Holmes, but it would not be fair of me not to mention the distraction that was Henry Cavill and his curls.
Marriage Story: Expectations were high for this movie, and Driver and Johansson delivered a moving performance of a couple navigating a new normal following their separation. The beauty of this film lies in the mundane. There’s no outright villain and both parties have their part to play in the downfall of their marriage. The rising tension from a string of miscommunication culminates in an emotionally charged scene that is incredibly raw and identifiable in moments of our own lives.
Parasite: Easily one of the best movies you will ever see. Parasite is a masterpiece in storytelling that deftly takes us on a haunting journey that balances humour with sustained tension and thought-provoking observations on social division. It’s a movie that will haunt you with its false sense of security and unflinching intensity. Phenomenal.
A Quiet Place: A movie that utilises sound, or the lack of it, and throws you in the heart of an intense fight for survival. A Quiet Place will have you at the edge of your seats and jumping out of your skin. It’s a movie that proves you don’t need to rely on a dialogue-heavy script to create a compelling and frightful story.
Game Night: This underrated gem is comedy gold. It’s a Game Night gone wrong, but our titular characters believe it’s all part of the game. It’s hilarious with Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman’s brilliant chemistry leading to a slew of laugh out loud moments. There are plenty of crazy shenanigans to be had in this movie, but the smart comedic timing will have you in stitches.
Searching: A mystery/thriller that takes us on a journey through media consumption. In a brilliant twist, the story unravels from news clippings, social media content, and video calls as a desperate father, played by the brilliant John Cho, is caught in a race to track down his missing daughter. Cho brilliantly captures the helplessness of a father’s realisation that he never really knew his daughter. The film also forces you to evaluate how we consume media, and how online narratives can lead you astray and guide you home.
Knives Out: One of the most engaging murder-mystery movies to ever grace the screen, Knives Out embraces every classic Cluedo-Esque trope but adds a modern flair that makes it fresh. Boasting an all-star cast, Knives Out succeeds in creating a clever who-dun-it, while subtly weaving in conversations and observations on some of America’s socio-political tensions.
The Farewell: The perfect mix of comedy and drama, The Farewell is a heartening story of a Chinese-American family, that choose not to share the news that their grandmother is terminally ill and throw a family gathering together before her passing. It’s an exploration of a family’s love and cultural values amidst the most unusual family reunion. It’s charming, sincere, and heartfelt. Simply beautiful.
Wind River: Spotlighting the often ignored crimes against Native American women, Wind River is a harrowing character-driven tale that chooses to highlight the strength and courage of a bright light taken from this world before her time. It’s a brutal tale, further heightened by the cold, bitter landscape it’s set in.
Kubo and the Two Strings: This stop-motion animation dazzles in every conceivable way. However, what makes this movie so incredible is the delicate balance they find between its heavy themes, humour, adventure, and heart. It’s a stunning animated feature.