Best Movies of 2021

10. The FRENCH DISPATCH

143 LISTS | 11 TOP SPOTS
Wes Anderson | 107 mins | Comedy/Drama/Romance
Benicio Del Toro | Adrien Brody | Tilda Swinton | Lea Seydoux

“Wes Anderson’s wildly comedic, yet fiercely serious, adaptation of stories and personalities from the classic age of The New Yorker unleashes a self-surpassing torrent of dramatic and decorative complexity, philosophical power, and physical intensity. It’s an extraordinary film of the life of the mind-body connection, of history in the present tense.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

9. Titane

150 LISTS | 12 TOP SPOTS
Julia Ducournau | 108 mins | Drama/Horror/Sci-Fi/Thriller
Vincent Lindon | Agathe Rousselle | Garance Marillier | Lais Salameh

“Julia Ducournau’s sophomore feature-length film, Titane, was one of the most intriguing and unique films released this year, earning the Palme d’or at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. Its story morphs from a surreal body-horror fever-dream about a female serial killer with a love (and lust) for cars into a story about two people who struggle to embrace and love one another unconditionally, in spite of their insecurities and failures. Agathe Rouselle and Vincent Lindon’s performances carry the film that ponders the self-destructive nature of failing to meet others’ expectations, and the love that can occur when people are embraced regardless of their differences.” – Paul Dika, Exclaim!

8. Summer of Soul

153 LISTS | 12 TOP SPOTS
Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson | 118 mins | Documentary/Music
Stevie Wonder | Nina Simone | Gladys Knight | B.B. King

“This documentary about a series of open-air concerts in Harlem in 1969, interweaving stunning performance footage with interviews with musicians and audience members, is a shot of pure joy. The lineup is a pantheon of Black genius, including Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, the Staple Singers, Mahalia Jackson and many more. But the film is more than a time capsule: It’s a history lesson and an argument for why art matters — and what it can do — in times of conflict and anxiety.” – A.O. Scott, New York Times

7. Pig

179 LISTS | 16 TOP SPOTS
Michael Sarnoski | 92 mins | Drama/Mystery/Thriller
Nicolas Cage | Alex Wolff | Adam Arkin | Cassandra Violet

“It’s just too easy to joke about all the B-movie roles Nicolas Cage has accepted over these last many years, and on its surface, “Pig” might have seemed like the latest in that very long line. After all, Cage is playing Rob, a former celebrated chef who is now living in a remote cabin in the Oregon wilderness with his only friend: his beloved truffle pig. When the valuable pig is kidnapped, Rob has to return to civilization to try to save her. I know, that sounds crazy, but in the hands of director and co-writer Michael Sarnoski, “Pig” is a mud-splattered, Shakespearean drama, with Cage giving a passionate but beautifully controlled performance that reminds us he can touch greatness.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

6. The Green KNight

195 LISTS | 15 TOP SPOTS
David Lowery | 130 mins | Adventure/Drama/Fantasy
Dev Patel | Alicia Vikander | Joel Edgerton | Sarita Choudhury

“David Lowery, who directed 2017’s best film “A Ghost Story,” puts his stamp on Arthurian legend in a dazzling and gleefully weird dark fantasy.  Dev Patel stars as Gawain, King Arthur’s nephew and a brash young knight who runs afoul of the mysterious emerald title character one Christmas and embarks on a quest of honor, consequence and mortality. (And if that’s not enough to whet your medieval whistle, the film also features distressed ghosts, comely temptresses, scheming bandits, naked giants and a talking fox.) You’ll definitely lose your head for this one.” – Brian Truitt, USA Today

5. West Side Story

219 LISTS | 17 TOP SPOTS
Steven Spielberg | 156 mins | Drama/Musical/Romance
Ansel Elgort | Rachel Zegler | Ariana DeBose | David Alvarez

“I was among the skeptics who thought we didn’t need a remake of the 1961 musical about a gangland Romeo and Juliet. My apologies. With the help of a racially aware and freshly textured script by Tony Kushner, Steven Spielberg sets the screen ablaze. Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose are stars in the making and when they share the screen with Rita Moreno, the Oscar-winning Anita of the first film in a new role, the only word to describe it is thrilling.” – Peter Travers, ABC News

4. Dune

272 LISTS | 23 TOP SPOTS
Denis Villeneuve | 155 mins | Action/Adventure/Drama/Sci-Fi
Timothee Chalamet | Rebecca Ferguson | Zendaya | Oscar Isaac

“A bigger-than-IMAX vision that is as smart as it is spectacular, Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” is far and away the best blockbuster of the past few years. There was so much baggage and failure and missed opportunities swirling around “Dune” that it’s kind of miraculous that they were able to make something this clear-eyed, thrilling and visually unique. The best part is it’s not even finished yet.” – Lindsey Bahr, Associated Press

3. Drive My Car

280 LISTS | 46 TOP SPOTS
Ryusuke Hamaguchi | 179 mins | Drama
Hidetoshi Nishijima | Toko Miura | Reika Kirishima | Yoo-rim Park

“In Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s quietly ravishing masterwork based on a sliver of a short story by Haruki Murakami, the death of his wife leaves an experimental theater director — played by Hidetoshi Nishijima with a stoicism that conceals complex depths — to process his grief through art with a multilingual staging of Uncle Vanya. But it’s in the deepening bond he forms with a guarded young woman assigned as his driver, and the shared sense of loss that emerges during their rhythmic daily journeys in his beloved red Saab, that this symphonic exploration of the mysteries of human connection reveals its shimmering truths about forgiveness.” – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

2. Licorice Pizza

302 LISTS | 46 TOP SPOTS
Paul Thomas Anderson | 133 mins | Comedy/Drama/Romance
Alana Haim | Cooper Hoffman | Sean Penn | Bradley Cooper

“Paul Thomas Anderson’s shaggy-dog story of self-discovery in ’70s San Fernando Valley feels to me like a loose, easy-breathing culmination for Anderson, a virtuoso filmmaker here at his most tender and organic. “Licorice Pizza,” crammed with the comic chronicles of adolescence and young adulthood, is the most lived-in movie of the year.” – Jake Coyle, Associated Press

1. The Power of the Dog

388 LISTS | 69 TOP SPOTS
Jane Campion | 126 mins | Drama/Romance/Western
Benedict Cumberbatch | Kirsten Dunst | Jesse Plemons | Kodi Smit-McPhee

“Twelve years after her last film, Campion (The Piano) returns with a vengeance in Power, a Western noir so fraught it should come with its own Xanax. Benedict Cumberbatch is frankly terrifying as Phil, a Montana rancher whose toxic dance with his fragile new sister-in-law (Kirsten Dunst) and her teenage son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) shimmers with strange electricity.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

Full List:

RTITLEL#1ARL%#1%TCLTCL1TCL%TCL1%
1The Power of the Dog388694.0348%11%1392753%12%
2Licorice Pizza302464.1438%7%1131643%7%
3Drive My Car280464.0035%7%1182445%11%
4Dune272234.9934%4%58622%3%
5West Side Story219174.8627%3%701027%5%
6The Green Knight195155.0624%2%56322%1%
7Pig179165.6122%3%43317%1%
8Summer of Soul153125.3019%2%49519%2%
9Titane150125.0119%2%32212%1%
10The French Dispatch143115.1718%2%39215%1%
11The Worst Person in the World142134.8418%2%65825%4%
12Memoria133224.2217%3%51620%3%
13CODA12295.3815%1%32312%1%
14Annette115134.9514%2%36314%1%
15Belfast114233.5714%4%29511%2%
16The Card Counter11436.2014%0%45217%1%
17Red Rocket10945.9914%1%39215%1%
18The Lost Daughter10766.3313%1%48518%2%
19Petite Maman106105.3013%2%41516%2%
20C'mon C'mon10646.3313%1%31112%0%
21The Souvenir, Part II10464.9713%1%48418%2%
22Spencer10355.9413%1%30312%1%
23tick, tick... BOOM!9815.6712%0%1707%0%
24The Last Duel9046.2911%1%30212%1%
25Passing9016.3011%0%39015%0%
26Spider-Man: No Way Home8994.7711%1%1415%0%
27The Mitchells vs. the Machines8985.6011%1%1506%0%
28Flee8955.6011%1%33113%0%
29Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy8895.1211%1%39815%4%
30Days83124.1110%2%41616%3%
31Zola8375.6310%1%26210%1%
32King Richard8235.4310%0%1807%0%
33Parallel Mothers8015.8710%0%37014%0%
34The Tragedy of Macbeth7635.429%0%2339%1%
35Benedetta7625.659%0%32012%0%
36Bergman Island7556.129%1%27310%1%
37Mass7345.389%1%2108%0%
38In the Heights7325.989%0%1707%0%
39Judas and the Black Messiah7235.569%0%803%0%
40The Father6834.519%0%2028%1%
41Nightmare Alley6745.858%1%1907%0%
42Bad Luck Banging or Looney Porn6565.258%1%31212%1%
43Shiva Baby6307.078%0%2008%0%
44The Velvet Underground6125.958%0%26210%1%
45No Time To Die6026.427%0%1305%0%
46Undine5415.627%0%2309%0%
47Don't Look Up5435.867%0%903%0%
48Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings5406.567%0%502%0%
49Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar5346.437%1%1917%0%
50The Woman Who Ran5126.066%0%2319%0%

Lists Included 801 | Top Critics’ Lists Included 260

R Rank
L Total number of lists where the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year
AR Average position on ranked top 10 lists
#1 Total number of lists where the film was selected as the best film of the year
L% Percentage of total lists where the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year
#1% Percentage of mentions where the film was selected as the best film of the year
TCL Number of times that the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL1 Number of times that the film was selected as the best film of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL% Percentage of times that the film was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year on top critics’ lists
TCL1% Percentage of lists where the film was selected as the best film of the year on top critics’ lists