The Best Movies Of 2020, The Year In Which The Film Industry Changed

The best movies of 2020, the year in which the film industry changed

At the end of 2020, we can all agree that we will remember this year as the pandemic that turned the entertainment industry upside down (among others). The production and premieres of films suffered a worldwide stoppage of several months. In the last stretch of the year, streaming platforms have become a major force for exhibition, raising the need to reformulate cinema windows, domestic formats, and television that were almost immovable before, all with announcements -such as Warner’s and its decision to release simultaneously in theaters and HBO Max- that have turned the industry upside down for 2021.

2020, now almost over, leaves behind a singular year where festivals have been suspended, others have experienced a curious new life in digital, and mixed exhibition formats have been experimented with (with premieres only on digital, premium digital, or simultaneously on rooms and streaming). For this reason, our list this year is peculiar and is not restricted solely to what has been released in theaters, as is usual. We have picked out the best of 2020, including theaters, digital premieres, and even a film seen in the digital section of the festivals, if these have had a national reach.

So with this extraordinary panorama very much in mind, we begin the review. These are the best movies we’ve seen this 2020.

The best movies of 2020

The Lighthouse

The great second film by Robert Eggers, who already took horror cinema by storm a few years ago with the masterful ‘The Witch’. In this case, he wanders through less clear codes but continues to resort to quoting classics, such as William Hope Hodgson’s stories of maritime ghosts. His radical commitment to black and white photography and his suffocating, almost square format reinforce the brilliant performances of Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, giving life to two lighthouse keepers whose confinement begins to make them lose their roles.


After leaving the James Bond franchise, Sam Mendes’ first film was one of his most critically acclaimed this year, winning three technical Oscars (including, quite deservedly, outstanding cinematography by Roger Deakins) and Golden Globes. for best drama and best director. Its commercial hook is that this story narrated from the trenches of World War I takes place with a single sequence shot, but ‘1917’ goes further: the two leading soldiers (Dean-Charles Chapman and George McKay) embarked on an impossible mission to prevent a massacre, they inject humanity into a story that could have remained mere technical exhibitionism.

Dark waters

The king of perverse melodrama, Todd Haynes, is submerged on this occasion in a thriller with a very original point of view and that has the invaluable participation of Mark Ruffalo, centering practically all the action and fortunately avoiding the clichés of a judicial thriller. All his secret lies in the conversion of the protagonist from a corrupt lawyer in the pay of companies that pollute the water to a man committed to the fight for the environment. The dilemma of a business that is harmful to the health of a town but economically necessary is the core of a sober and balanced film and one of the dramas of the year.

The Wild Goose Lake

A small marvel in the form of a criminal drama that takes up some of the constants that the Chinese Diao Yinan already raised five years ago in ‘Black Coal’. Here he gets carried away even more by the clichés of a piece of the noir genre, with a criminal wanted for murder who tells his story based on captivating flashbacks. Sensorially, without a doubt, one of the year’s experiences, which takes time to portray the day-to-day of petty thieves and more ambitious crimes. A visually unique film with a very forceful reflection by its author on the drift of the country.

Birds of prey

In the year that ended up being an extended hiatus for Marvel, DC has taken the opportunity to finish defining its fictional universe as a place where everything fits. More irregular than its competition, without a doubt, but also more suggestive: continuing the carefree streak of ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Shazam’, ‘Birds of Prey  reformulates the Harley Quinn we met in ‘Suicide Squad’ with a surprising movie, fast-paced and that earned the inevitable criticism for doing things well. Perhaps not quite round because of a limping second half, but preferable to the tired gravity of ‘ Joker ‘ and the return, once again, to Snyderian solemnity with ‘ Wonder Woman 1984.’

We only have to dance.

Dancing has long been considered (also) a political act. And on some occasions, more than on others: this extraordinary film by Levan Akin, awarded in Seville and Valladolid, among other festivals around the world, introduces us to the world of Georgian dance, athletic and demanding, and the discovery of his true sexuality from a dancer not as traditionally virile as his peers. At once an anti-homophobic statement and a self-improvement film, its exquisite sensibility delivers one of the best dramas of 2020.

The movie we needed to restore our faith in video game adaptations to movies is not perfect, but it is fun enough to guarantee a good time of nostalgia and old-fashioned family cinema. With more well-grounded jokes than you might expect, a terrific Jim Carrey as Robotnik, and an unexpectedly likable Sonic, ‘ Sonic. Due to the quarantine, the film became one of the year’s highest-grossing films. And he deserves it.

Dead end manhattan

Chadwick Boseman (‘Black Panther’), Sienna Miller, and JK Simmons are some of the most relevant and charismatic names in the cast that puts a face and eyes on a modest, fleeting suspense artifact that is reminiscent of the good times of genre cinema, from the seventies: hard, rough, and simple. Brian Kirk (seasoned on television in series like ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Penny Dreadful’) goes straight to the point with the story of a New York police officer who investigates against time the murder of several colleagues. Soon the conspiracy arises in a story that only wants to entertain with a worthy and urgent genre proposal. He gets it to spare.

The invisible man

Excellent display of fantastic militant by producer Jason Blum, who endorses Universal’s purpose of reformulating its classic monsters, a purpose that was partially frustrated with the failed ‘The Mummy’ with Tom Cruise. Here he takes the monster that needs the least fuss of all Universal fauna and casts it as an allegory for domestic abuse, returning the notorious mad doctor to the realm of Verhoeven’s underrated ‘ The Man Without a Shadow ‘. Thanks to an extraordinary performance from Elisabeth Moss and a taut, tight direction from Leigh Whannell, the result is one of the best horror movies of 2020, and a deserved box office smash.

The famous bear invasion in Sicily

In a year that did not have a very bright start for animated films, this French delight of exquisite designs and low-intensity humor is, without a doubt, one of the animated releases of the year. Here, Lorenzo Mattotti adapts a children’s story by Dino Buzzati divided into two parts. First, the story of the integration of a bear cub among humans. Later, without neglecting its simplicity and fable character, the film’s graphics and morals darken and thread a unique satire for all audiences.


Released on the digital platform that its distributor arranged during the confinement and then redirected to Movistar+, this peculiar allegorical science-fiction film was seen at the Sitges festival last year. It’s an oddly appropriate satire of suburban life and couples who replace their existential emptiness with simulations of perfect lives. Its Twilight Zone’ tone and the spectacular performances by Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots (especially the latter, with her overwhelming presence) round off a modest, powerful film that limps at its conclusion but remains one of the most outstanding bets. Sci-fi Singulars of the Year.


Mixing genres in an impartial way, this kind of ” Fuenteovejuna to the rhythm of death metal ” is a warning story about the dangers of misunderstood civilization, but in an environment that mixes horror, science fiction, and satire. A Franco-Brazilian co-production directed by Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho tells, in broad strokes, how in Brazil shortly, a woman who has just lost her grandmother returns to her city of origin From her. She is unpredictable, devastating, and impressive, and she was the darling of several festivals last year for many justified reasons.

Under the skin

It arrived seven years late (a few months’ tip because of the pandemic). Still, the wait was worth it: it’s one of the best sci-fi movies of the decade, a suffocating and gorgeous piece about an alien who uses her attractiveness to attract men and devour them. However, this sort of Artie version of ‘Species’ is closer to questioning what is different from Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’. A must-see the movie and the film event of the summer (with permission from Nolan)

Color Out of Space

This summer, between films that arrived seven years late and the need to go to reruns to complete the starving billboards, it was devoted to returns. This is one of the most joyous: Lovecraft is once again the result of an adaptation with all the honors, something we haven’t seen for many years -perhaps since the increasingly popular ‘Dagon’?-, and it also meant a reunion with the great Richard Stanley, responsible for the best possible plagiarism of ‘Terminator’, the tremendous ‘Hardware’. Here, with the approval of Nicolas Cage, he presented a colorful fantasy in eighties latex tones, full of violence and extravagant humor, to face one of the most difficult stories to visualize the teacher from Providence…


First celebrated as the film that would save cinema after the pandemic, something that later had to be qualified due to its fair collection, the truth is that it was the bastion of blockbusters on the summer grill. A return of Nolan to rational science fiction with a point noir of ‘Inception’, with short-distance time travel, and a cast headed by John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, and Kenneth Branagh. The result is far from Nolan’s greatest works due to a script that is believed to be much more sophisticated than it is, but it is still one of the most ambitious proposals of the year.

Strange house

One of the most fascinating and also misinterpreted horror movies of the year. Embracing the tropes of haunted house cinema but simultaneously linking them with the tradition of African folklore ghost stories, it was released directly by Netflix. However, its production is independent of the platform. Extraordinarily interpreted and set, it is closer to a cinema that denounces the terrible situations that African immigrants have to go through on their arrival in Europe than a Blumhouse scare film, but it works just as well under the codes of the genre.

Murder Death Koreatown

One of the craziest and most fascinating cult films of the year and one that proves that the resources of “found footage” are far from exhausted. Visible on the film’s page and maintaining a disturbing balance between reality and fiction, it has acquired a certain notoriety among fans thanks to its time at specialized festivals this year -reaching much more people than the film base. Usual, thanks to streaming. A true crime investigation in Los Angeles turns into a surreal Lynchian nightmare with video texture and unpredictable results.

She Dies Tomorrow

A claustrophobic proposal that borders on horror movies but flirts with drama and comedy based on an unclassifiable plot. A woman is convinced that she will die the next day, and she lets herself be carried away by reluctance and laziness. Her attitude is so infectious that she ends up convincing a scientist friend unable to rationalize what is happening. An essay by the very sharp Amy Seimet on the lethal potential of the most powerful ideas, which she sometimes looks at ‘It Follows’, and on other occasions at the pandemic reality we are still experiencing.

The king of the neighborhood

A splendid bitter comedy with the stamp of the best Judd Apatow and autobiographical overtones, and that merges fiction and the real life of actor Pete Davidson (lead of the film), all set in the years he spent in Staten Island trying to become a tattoo artist. At almost thirty years old, Pete will discover adult life, the commitments of the people around him, and other issues that prevent him from continuing to be hooked on an immature existence with no prospects for the future.

I’m thinking of quitting.

Despite a debatable conclusion that perhaps overturns part of the findings that it has achieved in its fascinating first hour, the ambition of ‘I’m thinking of leaving it’ is beyond doubt, and in a way dignifies that subspecies of auteur films. which are Netflix exclusives and are often paperback versions of “big” movies by distinguished authors. In this case, Charlie Kaufman never hits the brakes thanks to the collaboration of actors Jessie Buckley and Jesse Plemons, with the story of a seemingly innocent visit to the in-laws and a labyrinthine, deliberately confusing narrative that takes no prisoners.


Pilar Palomero’s directorial debut is extraordinary, thanks to the vitality and authenticity that her very young cast injects into their performances. The portrait of a modern Spain trying to break through the traditions still rooted in the country’s collective psyche and symbolized in environments as Spanish as the nuns’ schools seem simple and without too many ins and outs. But the simple description of the daily life of a group of schoolgirls from the nineties and their first contradictory adult impulses inject a very special life into the film.

The year of discovery

A demanding, difficult, and non-conformist film that, with its 200 minutes on an almost perennial split screen, proposes a dialogue between the crises that have hit Spain. The starting point is the riots in 1992, that year of all possible ones, that occurred in Cartagena, where Parliament was burned down. It is an almost forgotten event, but it has much to teach us about the problems hitting the country in 2008 and even today. An unclassifiable film that puts Luis López Carrasco at the forefront of our cinema.


One of David Fincher’s worst films ends up sneaking into the best of the year lists, as has happened with this portrait of Herman J. Mankiewicz, shadow author (or so the film defends) of ‘Citizen Kane’. Shot in vibrant black and white and with a bursting Gary Oldman, in the end, the film remains a little nostalgic toy but visually very powerful (its imitation of the film staging of the time is tremendous) and, from then, a mandatory stop for classic movie buffs.

Rough diamonds

The year opened with a production released directly on Netflix, corroborating the Safdie brothers as two true visionaries. This urban and extreme epic, with an incredible Adam Sandler incarnating a New York jeweler who is involved in a plot of scams, bets, and unique diamonds, turns the viewer into a punching bag thanks to its insatiable rhythm and its staging. Suffocating _ One of the most aesthetically innovative proposals of the year and one that forces the viewer to take a comforting hot shower when he finishes.


Amaia Aberasturi and Àlex Brendemühl star in this modest but very forceful feminist chronicle of our darkest past, retelling a story that has been told a thousand times but with a hint of lyricism and contemporary fury that makes it an original proposal: the witch hunt. In the French Basque Country of the year 1609, in an area where men have gone fishing in the sea, it becomes a hotbed of repression and punishment. With notable work in sections such as photography or editing, this film by Pablo Agüero becomes one of the essential Spanish proposals of the year.


Pete Docter, director of ‘Up’ and ‘Inside Out’ brings from the hand of Pixar an overwhelming proposal that abounds in themes similar to those of his other films for the company: the afterlife and what spiritual component differentiates us from each other. Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey provide the voices for this film with its finest aesthetics and adult focus, which honors Pixar’s promise to rest its most popular franchises for a season. Now we will have to see what happens with future releases of the house after it has been seen directly and exclusively on Disney +.