It’s become a tradition for me to call out an additional 15 strong films from every year, and since there was plenty more good stuff that didn’t make it into my Top Ten for 2020, I’m carrying on with it.
Nearly all of the following films have some political or sociological importance. I didn’t do that on purpose — it’s just what resonated with me this year. The reality we lived in during 2020 was so extreme, it often felt like a dystopic movie. The figureheads charged with ensuring our safety were so untruthful, so I sought truth in fiction. Things have gone seriously haywire when the movies tell us more about what’s going on in the world than our government will, but this was not entirely new in 2020. It was just worse than before.
As I noted in my Top Ten write-up, it was a sad year for movies, too, with productions halted, release dates abandoned, theaters shuttered, and a couple major studios betraying the medium that built them in the first place. The good films that did rise out of the ashes of 2020 were a lifeline. Cinema is just about the only thing that got me through a tough year. I can’t claim it was escapism, but these are the films that brought me joy — even if, in the case of many, it was through the sorrow, rage, or fear felt by their characters — and helped me feel connected to something beautiful, something human, when I otherwise couldn’t in real life.