Top 10 Films of 2020

Top Ten of 2020

2020 has been a year like no other.  The hardships faced made everyday things feel like a myth.  With what reality came to be in the world, film became a real avenue of true escapism.  With theaters being closed (for most the year), venturing out into romance and fantasy was made through streaming.  No matter how stories were experienced, there were plenty of amazing journeys on the big and home screen.  No matter if it was comedy, drama, action or fantasy, there were strength in emotions and heart in the magical.  There were still a lot of great film’s in 2020. 

Like any of my list, there were a few amazing titles that missed the top 10.  The different ways of watching film expanded variety, which created a strong runner-up list of films that could make up anyone’s top 10 list.  Here are my honorable mentions are:

Jojo Rabbit – This film showcases the strength of writing through a unique spin on historical perspective.  Part period piece/part dark comedy; this Taika Waititi directed film gives you proof of how you can find folly and friendship in the oddest of places.

Mank – This film is the height of craftmanship.  With a mixture of characterization and filming techniques, it puts the heart of writing at the forefront.  Fans of old Hollywood will enjoy this retelling of how the classic, Citizen Kane, got made.  

Tenet – Christopher Nolan always pushes the medium to another level.  Through the combination of visual prowess and Sci-Fi elements, he crafts an experience that will take anyone on an imaginative roller coaster ride.  If you are a fan of Nolan, this is one not to miss.    

Mulan – Another live-action adaptation of a Disney Classic, this new take adds girth and gravitas to the original story.  Through the culture and the heart of its heroine, you experience a genuine escape into the meanings of strength, family and hope. 

Hamilton – Not your traditional film but one that deserve recognition.  This visual journey brought the experience of the stage-play to everyone’s home.  You are transported to another time where you experience the heart and struggle of one man’s journey at the birth of America.  With a strong ensemble cast and unforgettable musical elements, everyone will enjoy being in the room where it happens.    

These were amazing tales that just missed the mark.  Now, it is time to reveal my Top 10 films of 2020.

10.  The Life Ahead – What makes life all that better is the heart of relationships.  Sometimes, the strength of love is a generational thing.  This Netflix Original puts the audience on a path of enjoying an old woman’s heart to help an orphan with no hope.  Through the detail of simple human connection, this foreign film that pushes this meaning to the forefront.  A truly gratifying tale for anyone.    

9. The Trial of the Chicago 7 – The greatness of films is in the heart of its craftsmanship.  The setting of a trial has the trappings of being mundane, but Aaron Sorkin takes a topical tale and raises it to a higher level.  Through his writing, he brings meaningful complexion to a historical moment.  Through the wit and charm of a stellar ensemble cast, he bridges social commentary through the art of storytelling.  In his own way, he makes history uniquely relevant today.  This is a true work of art, a Netflix Original not to miss.      

8. The Vast of Night – Dynamism of era and character is a combination that can lead to something more.  An indie film that combines the 1950s with Sci-Fi elements, this story puts you in the heart of one fateful night.  The mysteries are driven through methodical direction, allowing the audience to live through emotional fervor of what may be an unexpected end.  Atmospheric and engrossing, this is an indie that everyone should experience.    

7. Yellow Rose – What is it when you combine family, coming-of-age and music into a tale of perseverance – you have this diamond in the rough.  This film is a standout of simple storytelling, showing struggles of societal indifference through a young girl’s passion to achieve her dreams.  Combining the today’s issues with strong characterization, this is another indie that everyone will enjoy.

6. Extraction – Not every film has to be extravagant or deeply involved.  The heart of the journey is in the emotional rush that can be pushed by its medium.  This Netflix Original puts you into the depths of the assault, pulling you along one man’s purpose to complete his mission.  With a strong lead and top-notch action sequences, this film pushes the genre to extraordinary levels.  A definite watch for fans of action films.     

5. Da 5 Bloods – What makes stories great is in the passion of the direction.  Spike Lee is a man that spins tales like no other, and this is no exception.  This is a story that infusions strong social aspect through the strength of character and friendship.  The highs and lows of personal experiences are lived through the ensemble cast, showing how the past comes to become the answer for closure.  This is an experience that anyone will enjoy, especially Spike Lee fans.

4. The Way Back – Feel-good stories tend to follow a formulaic path, but sometimes they push beyond this predictable pedigree.  This tale brings the rawness of struggle and sacrifice through a different spin of hope.  This tale of redemption highlights the realness of a person knowing when to face the music.  With a strong lead in Ben Affleck, this film will bring you emotions like no other in the genre.  A different kind of feel-good story that everyone should watch.

3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – To adapt a stage-play to the big screen can be a daunting task.  When done right, it is an adaptation that soars beyond its material.  This is a tale that puts the heart in character and music, putting the conflicts of life through riveting conversations.  The heart of one is a flaw to build towards hope, which is strongly represented in the film’s main leads (Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman).  With a mixture of era, character depth, social issues and music, this film is a slow build of emotional discourse.  A truly gratifying experience that will make you feel the meaning of the blues.

2. The King of Staten Island – The sincerity of life is sometimes captured in film.  Through folly or drama, pushing stories with heart can be a truly fun experience.  The whimsical nature of the personal aspect of characters are unique to a Judd Apatow film – especially this one.  A master of blending realism, comedy and heart, this story showcases the innate nature of struggling to find your personal worth.  With a hardship that is raw to its core, it puts a mirror on what life is and can be.  A strong experience that anyone a fan of Apatow will enjoy.

1. Soul – Films have always been defined by the important of one’s experience.  The innate ability to transport to another world is amazing, but it another to make you feel something personal is that escape.  This Disney/Pixar story transports you to another world like no other, pushing lush color and whimsical fervor that is anchored in a strong human story.  Clashed with questions of ‘What is it that makes you, you’ lays a foundation of purpose, growth and simple pleasures of life.  The highlight of one’s journey is harden by many things, but the poignant detail of realization makes this story all that more sincere.  The originality of concept, dynamic of culture and pure escape of its animation, Soul is a film that (as I said in my review) showcases the beauty of cinema.  For all this and more makes Soul my number 1 film of 2020.    

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