Top 10 Best Movies Of 2020

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Well, that didn’t go to plan, did it? 2020 was an utterly chaotic year in the world of cinema, ravaging everything we thought we knew about moviegoing and perhaps changing the industry forever.

Amidst all the mayhem, however, a few really great films made themselves came to briefly brighten our days. So, here are my picks for the top 10 best movies of 2020.


Honourable Mentions

Wonder Woman 1984 – The glorious, big-budget blockbuster that we sorely missed for so much of 2020.

Dick Johnson Is Dead – A wonderfully funny and touching documentary with a unique outlook on life.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – An energetic and rhythmic film adaptation of a gripping stage play.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga – So, so funny and maybe the biggest surprise of the year.

Mank – A sumptuous, passionate and utterly riveting look back into the annals of Hollywood history.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm – Even funnier than the first one, and manages to tell a surprisingly heartfelt story.

The Eight Hundred – A rare Chinese blockbuster that prioritises characters and drama over special effects.

Greyhound – Claustrophobic and incredibly intense, portraying ocean warfare better than any other film.

Wolfwalkers – Yet another gorgeous and elegant storybook-style animation from Tomm Moore.


10. Da 5 Bloods

I was hardly the biggest fan of director Spike Lee’s BlackKklansman, but Da 5 Bloods brings home his undying passion for social change and African-American culture with powerful poignance and some of the year’s best performances.

The story of four Vietnam veterans who return to the country to retrieve buried treasure, the film blends an almost nostalgic adventure story with fascinating and brilliantly-written reflections on African-Americans’ role in the war, as well as in modern society.

Take all of that and add some strikingly dark humour, moments of thrilling action, and a standout performance from Delroy Lindo, and Da 5 Bloods is an unforgettable drama from Spike Lee.

Read a full review here.


9. The Invisible Man

The surprise hit of 2020, The Invisible Man wasn’t the lazy horror remake so many expected, but rather a reinvigorating thriller the likes of which we haven’t seen in a very long time.

Featuring visually gorgeous and palpably tense direction from Leigh Whannel and a career-best performance from Elisabeth Moss filled with anguish, this isn’t a horror for the faint-hearted.

Brilliantly reinventing H.G. Wells’ classic story for the modern day, the movie tells a consuming tale of paranoia and the indelible effects of abuse, as Moss puts on a staggering show of distress and terror from start to finish.

Read a full review here.


8. Birds Of Prey

Birds Of Prey was every bit the joyful, action-packed and fantastically funny comic book hit that the desperately disappointing Suicide Squad wasn’t.

Starring Margot Robbie in a fun-filled performance as Harley Quinn, the movie breaks off the shackles of the previously drab DC Extended Universe, instead telling a zany, rapid-fire and irresistibly enjoyable comic book story that I absolutely loved to bits.

Backed up by a brilliant ensemble cast, lively and colourful direction from Cathy Yan, a kicking soundtrack and great comic book action, Birds Of Prey is by far the most fun I had at the cinema all year, and it’s a film that I already love to go back and watch again and again.

Read a full review here.


7. Rose Island

A hugely enjoyable window into a surprisingly little-known episode of history, Italy’s Rose Island is as fascinating as it is funny and genuinely touching.

The true story of an eccentric engineer who established his own nation on a platform just off the coast of Italy, the movie is an energetic and fun-loving biography that strikes up thought-provoking themes and a unique outlook on the world.

It’s the kind of story that you’ll have heard about in passing, but never told with the detail and passion that it really deserves. And with a hugely likable ensemble cast headed up by Elio Germano, Rose Island is a movie that will keep you smiling endlessly from start to finish.

Read a full review here.


6. Babyteeth

A devastating rollercoaster of emotions, Shannon Murphy’s achingly beautiful coming-of-age drama Babyteeth is pretty much as genuine as cinema gets.

Featuring a stunning lead performance from Eliza Scanlen as a sheltered teenage girl with a terminal illness, the film holds none of its punches as it swings back and forth between soaring coming-of-age drama and a devastating tale of a wonderful girl fighting to live against all the odds.

Darkly funny when it needs to be and unstoppably bleak at moments, Babyteeth is by no means the easiest watch of 2020, but it’s a film with such rich and genuine drama that you’d be hard pressed not to be deeply, deeply touched by it.

Read a full review here.


5. Rebecca

Remaking any classic of cinema is a daunting task, but remaking Alfred Hitchcock’s legendary Best Picture-winning Rebecca? Now, surely that can’t go well.

However, Ben Wheatley’s revival of the classic story isn’t just a worthy remake, but stands on its own as a bright and sumptuous retelling of an incredible tale, featuring sprawling cinematography, high drama and fantastic performances across the board.

The film may focus less on the claustrophobic psychodrama that made Hitchcock’s adaptation so intense, but with its gorgeous sunbaked visuals and effortless charisma from leads Lily James and Armie Hammer, this new Rebecca really stands on its own two feet alongside its lofty predecessor.

Read a full review here.


4. Palm Springs

You’ve seen Groundhog Day, right? Edge Of Tomorrow? Happy Death Day? You’d think by now that there was no way that the time loop concept could be reinvented, yet Palm Springs came along this year and proved there’s so much more to the classic premise than we ever knew.

Starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti in two of the funniest performances of the year, the film tells the story of a pair of singletons trapped in a constant loop at a dull wedding in the desert. On the surface, it’s a hilarious comedy full of laughs, and it’s particularly playful with the time loop concept, but that’s not all that makes it a great film.

Palm Springs really goes all out with all the possible permutations and consequences thrown up by a time loop, landing its characters in a blend of hilarious mishaps and thought-provoking, emotional moments. This movie is a lot sharper than you might at first think, and that’s what makes it such a memorable and refreshing take on a classic premise.

Read a full review here.


3. Soul

The second offering of the year from legendary animators Pixar, Soul is just the kind of film we love to see from the studio: visually beautiful, imaginative, funny and wonderfully touching.

The story of a middle-aged jazz professor who fights to live after finding himself in ‘The Great Beyond’, Soul features some rather challenging emotional themes, but in true Pixar style manages to blend stunning dramatic depth with fun, innocent adventure that all can enjoy.

There are moments where the movie feels a little too silly for its rich thematic depth, but with a boundlessly imaginative way of portraying complex and abstract concepts, some powerful tear-jerking moments and animation so beautiful it could make you cry, there’s no denying Soul is yet another classic from Pixar.

Read a full review here.


2. Eternal Beauty

By far the most criminally overlooked film of 2020, director Craig Roberts’ Eternal Beauty is a beautifully unique and darkly funny look at mental illness, and a passionate and uplifting film like few others in this darkest of years.

Starring Sally Hawkins in one of her very best performances as a woman struggling with mental illness, Eternal Beauty refuses to content itself with the often overly gloomy and melodramatic stories dealing with the subject matter, instead using its main character’s wonderfully eccentric outlook on life to tell a truly unique story.

Featuring hilarious and brilliantly uncomfortable comedy throughout, the film is so much more enjoyable than you’d expect at the outset, and it finishes on a wonderfully uplifting note, never bound by the potentially despondent shackles of its challenging subject matter.

Read a full review here.


1. Tenet

Looking back through 2020, there’s one film that stands head and shoulders above the rest, and that’s Christopher Nolan’s Tenet.

Yet another ingeniously-crafted, mind-bending sci-fi thriller from one of the best directors working today, the film is two and a half hours of non-stop, sleek action and intrigue, all told in the middle of a seemingly incomprehensible story that somehow brings itself together in the most satisfying of ways.

Tenet is just as visually stunning as all of Nolan’s films, while featuring an incredible score from Ludwig Göransson, and a collection of fantastic leading performances from John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh.

It was the film that put its neck on the line when cinemas finally reopened in the summer, and although it may not have been a financial winner due to circumstances out of its control, Tenet isn’t just the year’s bravest film from a creative perspective, but the film that put everything out there to save cinema when it was most needed.

Read a full review here.

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About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com