Best Movies of 2020

Wondering what movies to watch from the first half of 2020?  Fortunately, plenty of publications have released “Best of 2020 So Far” lists.  I was able to find 32 lists – mostly from June and very early July (so Hamilton wasn’t eligible).  Below are the ten films that received the most mentions:

10. EMMA.

emma-photo-anya-taylor-joy-stars-as-emma-woodhouse-courtesy-of-box-hill-films

10 LISTS | 0 TOP SPOTS
Autumn de Wilde | 124 mins | Comedy/Drama
Anya Taylor-Joy | Johnny Flynn | Mia Goth

“This new Emma doesn’t play too fast and loose with the story or its most familiar beats, but it digs out the absurdities of being wealthy (or adjacent to wealth) around the turn of the 19th century — the affectations, the frills that cover up the crudeness of real life, and above all, the vast, unmitigated boredom.” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

9. BACURAU

Bacurau

11 LISTS | 0 TOP SPOTS
Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonca Filho | 131 mins | Adventure/Horror/Mystery
Barbara Colen | Thomas Aquino | Silvero Pereira

“There are some breathtakingly gorgeous images the movie throws at you — the townsfolk silently waving white handkerchiefs during a funeral — among the few giddily grotesque visuals that you can’t shake. (Pedro Sotero’s cinematography is as stunning as a painting and as psychotropic as the drugs the villagers take before the finale.)” – David Fear, Rolling Stone

8. THE VAST OF NIGHT

The Vast of Night

13 LISTS | 0 TOP SPOTS
Andrew Patterson | 91 mins | Drama/Mystery/Sci-Fi/Thriller
Sierra McCormick | Jake Horowitz | Gail Cronauer

“It’s an homage to radio dramas, maybe, but also works as a reminder that while film is a visual medium, sometimes sound can be enough to sustain you. It’s a sound, after all, that opens up the cloistered world that Everett and Fay are living in, exposing them to something terrible and awe-inspiring and new.” – Alison Willmore, Vulture

7. FIRST COW

First Cow

13 LISTS | 1 TOP SPOT
Kelly Reichardt | 122 mins | Drama
John Magaro | Orion Lee | Rene Auberjonois

“Once again, Reichardt has crafted a wondrous little story about two friends roaming the natural splendors of the Pacific Northwest, searching for their place in the world. The appeal of this hypnotic, unpredictable movie comes from how they find that place through mutual failure, and the nature of that outcome in the context of an early, untamed America has rich implications that gradually seep into the frame.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire

6. THE INVISIBLE MAN

The Invisible Man

14 LISTS | 0 TOP SPOTS
Leigh Whannell | 124 mins | Horror/Mystery/Sci-Fi/Thriller
Elisabeth Moss | Oliver Jackson-Cohen | Harriet Dyer

“It’s elegant and diabolically poised, a familiar story expertly retooled for an era of tech-bro sociopathy and #MeToo outrage, but also graced with an insistently human pulse. Studio brand extensions rarely feel this intimate, this personally unnerving.” – Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

5. SHIRLEY

Shirley

14 LISTS | 1 TOP SPOT
Josephine Decker | 107 mins | Biography/Drama/Thriller
Elisabeth Moss | Odessa Young | Michael Stuhlbarg

“Gubbins’ script is tart, verbally lively and neatly constructed, while director Josephine Decker, in her first outing since her well-received 2018 Sundance entry Madeline’s Madeline, keeps a very tight rein on things, adroitly mixing in tension, innuendo and dark humor to keep the drama at a satisfying low boil most of the way. ” – Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

4. THE ASSISTANT

The Assistant

15 LISTS | 0 TOP SPOTS
Kitty Green | 87 mins | Drama
Julia Garner | Owen Holland | Jon Orsini

“Instead of melodrama, the movie finds its traction in parsing out micro-aggressions and mood: a sort of devastating slow-drip portrait of the power structures that allowed a man like Weinstein to happen — and keep more like him in place, untouched by any justice a hashtag can reach.” – Leah Greenblatt

3. BAD EDUCATION

Bad Education

15 LISTS | 1 TOP SPOT
Cory Finley | 108 mins | Biography/Comedy/Crime
Hugh Jackman | Ray Romano | Allison Janney

“It’s a delicate and memorable performance by Mr. Jackman. Ms. Janney does the whole Long Island thing as well as anyone ever has. The most resonant character, though, might be Rachel, whom Ms. Viswanathan imbues with the indignation of youth—something the rest of the characters have long outgrown, but which the story was always going to need. ” – John Anderson, Wall Street Journal

2. NEVER, RARELY, SOMETIMES, ALWAYS

NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS

18 LISTS | 2 TOP SPOTS
Elza Hittman | 101 mins | Drama
Sidney Flanigan | Talia Ryder | Theodore Pellerin

“Hittman isn’t really a polemicist. She expresses her empathy and political conscience through a refined version of what’s become her signature style, zeroing in on details of place and behavior, both magnified by the reliably involving scenario of two kids from the sticks navigating the hustle, bustle, and bright lights of the city. And moments of startling, unaffected tenderness peak through the grimness of the circumstances.” – A.A. Dowd, AV Club

1. DA 5 BLOODS

Da 5 Bloods

22 LISTS | 4 TOP SPOTS
Spike Lee | 154 mins | Adventure/Drama/War
Delroy Lindo | Jonathan Majors | Clarke Peters

“Director Lee and the team of writers have created an immersive, violent and sometimes shocking tapestry that plays out like “Deer Hunter” meets “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” with a steady undercurrent of subtle and not-so-subtle social and political commentary. ” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

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