100 Best Movies of 2020, According to Critics

To say that 2020 has been a trying year for the film industry would be an understatement. Since the ongoing coronavirus pandemic drove the world to a halt back in March, most major new releases have been delayed far past their release dates. One shining glimmer of hope lies in streaming, which has provided a way for many movies originally intended for theaters to still enjoy 2020 releases (whether on streaming platforms like Netflix or Hulu, or through video on demand).

Although blockbusters like "Dune" and "Black Widow" have been pushed back to 2021 in hopes of still securing strong box office numbers, the year has also given film lovers time to appreciate the wealth of indie cinema that came out, which might have escaped many viewers' notice otherwise—look no further than gems like Eliza Hittman's Never Rarely Sometimes Always and Miranda July's Kajillionaire.

100 best movies of 2020, according to critics
Screen Australia

Many acclaimed documentary filmmakers have also released remarkable work during this unpredictable year. In 2020, moviegoers got to virtually enjoy the return of iconic director Frederick Wiseman in his city government-centric film City Hall. The documentaries 76 Days and Totally Under Control also shone important light on the terrifying uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, as the year draws to a close, it can be difficult to sift through the many new releases that may have passed you by and find ones most worthy of your attention. That's why Stacker has created this list to help you save time and savor the very best, as determined by film critics.

In order to find and rank the top 100 films of the year, Stacker gathered Metacritic data on reviews for 2020 movies. To qualify, each film had to be released in theaters or on VOD in 2020. Ties were broken by the number of critical reviews available.

So sit back, grab some popcorn, and read on to find out if your favorite movie of 2020 made the list. Counting down from #100, here are the best films of the year.

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#100. Red Penguins
Gabriel Polsky Productions

#100. 'Red Penguins'

- Metascore: 76
- Reviews: 11

In the documentary Red Penguins, director Gabe Polsky recounts the unlikely true story of the Americans who attempted to get rich by investing in the Moscow hockey team after the Soviet Union fell. The investors' attempts to increase attendance soon give way to outrageous publicity stunts, such as bringing strippers and actual bears to the rink.

#98. We Are Little Zombies (tie)
Oscilloscope Laboratories

#98. 'We Are Little Zombies' (tie)

- Metascore: 76
- Reviews: 13

"Little Zombies" is the name of the rock band formed by four orphaned Japanese teens at the center of Makoto Nagahisa's most recent film. The movie is notably hyperstylized, including over-the-top elements of musicals and celebrity satire.

#98. Howard (tie)
Stone Circle Pictures

#98. 'Howard' (tie)

- Metascore: 76
- Reviews: 13

Howard celebrates the life and work of songwriter Howard Ashman, who worked on Disney projects like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, before dying of AIDS at 40. Alan Menken, who worked with Ashman on several major films, composed the movie's score.

#97. Mucho Mucho Amor
Muck Media

#97. 'Mucho Mucho Amor'

- Metascore: 76
- Reviews: 16

Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch's documentary Mucho Mucho Amor centers on Walter Mercado, a gender-noncoforming astrologer who became an iconic face in Latin American TV. The Netflix film focuses on both his career and personal life, including interviews with other Latinx entertainment stars, as well as Mercado's family members.

#96. The Wild Goose Lake
Arte France Cinéma

#96. 'The Wild Goose Lake'

- Metascore: 76
- Reviews: 17

This Chinese neo-noir follows mob leader Zhou (Hu Ge), who's forced to go on the run after accidentally murdering a cop. During his time on the lam, Zhou finds himself falling for a mysterious woman (Gwei Lun-mei) with her own secret motives. The Wild Goose Lake competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

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#95. The Whistlers
mk2 Films

#95. 'The Whistlers'

- Metascore: 76
- Reviews: 28

In The Whistlers, Romanian police officer Cristi (Vlad Ivanov) journeys to the Spanish island of La Gomera to learn its inhabitants' ancient whistling language. Through using this special code, he hopes to free imprisoned businessman Zsolt (Sabin Tambrea), who has important ties to the mob.

#94. Shirley
Los Angeles Media Fund (LAMF)

#94. 'Shirley'

- Metascore: 76
- Reviews: 42

Based on Susan Scar Merrell's book of the same name, Shirley stars Elisabeth Moss as a fictionalized version of famous horror author Shirley Jackson. The biographical drama begins as Shirley and her husband (Michael Stuhlbarg) open their house to a young couple (Logan Lerman and Odessa Young), and she finds an unlikely, complicated muse—one of her young guests, Rose (Young).

#93. The Trial of the Chicago 7
Dreamworks Pictures

#93. 'The Trial of the Chicago 7'

- Metascore: 76
- Reviews: 47

In The Trial of the Chicago 7, acclaimed screenwriter and director Aaron Sorkin adapts the real-life story of seven activists (originally, eight) who were charged for their involvement with protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The Netflix original features numerous A-list stars, including Jeremy Strong, Sacha Baron Cohen, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Eddie Redmayne.

#91. Marona's Fantastic Tale (tie)
Aparte Film

#91. 'Marona's Fantastic Tale' (tie)

- Metascore: 77
- Reviews: 7

This French animated film centers on stray dog Marona, who is suddenly hit by a car. With the help of a mix of hand-drawn and computer-generated animation, Anca Damian's film includes several flashbacks of Marona's life, as she considers all of the people she's loved.

#91. Incitement (tie)
TIFF 2019

#91. 'Incitement' (tie)

- Metascore: 77
- Reviews: 7

Incitement centers on activist-turned-assassin Yigal Amir, tracking him for a year up until he killed Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Due to the movie's controversial subject material, a Toronto International Film Festival screening had to be evacuated due to a security threat. However, Yaron Zilberman's film went on to be selected as Israel's entry for the Oscars' Best International Feature Film category.

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#89. Mayor (tie)
Rise Films

#89. 'Mayor' (tie)

- Metascore: 77
- Reviews: 8

David Osit's documentary spends two years following Musa Hadid, the mayor of Palestine's capital city of Ramallah. In his review, Indiewire's Eric Kohn wrote that Mayor offers "a striking new perspective on [the West Bank struggle], with a personal on-the-ground quality matched by great tonal ambitions."

#89. Buoyancy (tie)
Causeway Films HQ Pty Ltd.

#89. 'Buoyancy' (tie)

- Metascore: 77
- Reviews: 8

As Buoyancy opens, a 14-year-old Cambodian boy named Chakra (Sarm Heng) is sold into slavery, becoming the property of a Thai fishing ship captain (Thanawut Kasro). Rodd Rathjen's crime drama was inspired by real-life instances of Southeast Asian human trafficking.

#87. Human Nature (tie)
Sandbox Films (II)

#87. 'Human Nature' (tie)

- Metascore: 77
- Reviews: 9

This documentary looks into CRISPR, a groundbreaking gene editing process that could give people the ability to impact their unborn children's genetic makeup and cure major diseases. Human Nature features several interviews with the genetic engineers and scientists who are making this technology possible.

#87. The Mole Agent (tie)
Micromundo Producciones

#87. 'The Mole Agent' (tie)

- Metascore: 77
- Reviews: 9

In Maite Alberdi's documentary, a private detective hires an 83-year-old Chilean man named Sergio to help determine if a retirement home is abusive. The official Sundance synopsis for The Mole Agent describes it as "a unique meditation on compassion and loneliness that will infiltrate your heart and never let go."

#86. A Secret Love
Beech Hill Films

#86. 'A Secret Love'

- Metascore: 77
- Reviews: 12

Produced by Ryan Murphy, this Netflix documentary pays tribute to the nearly 70-year romantic relationship between former baseball players Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel. The two kept their relationship a secret for decades, and now navigate the difficulties and joys of getting older and coming out late in life. A Secret Love was directed by Chris Bolan, the couple's great-nephew.

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#85. Corpus Christi
Aurum Film

#85. 'Corpus Christi'

- Metascore: 77
- Reviews: 20

When Corpus Christi protagonist Daniel is released from a Polish youth detention center, his dreams of becoming a priest are initially dashed due to his criminal history. However, when he poses as the new priest of a rural parish, he and the traumatized parishioners attempt to find redemption in each other.

#84. Babyteeth
Screen Australia

#84. 'Babyteeth'

- Metascore: 77
- Reviews: 29

Little Women and Sharp Objects breakout Eliza Scanlen stars in Babyteeth as Milla, a terminally ill teenager who enters into a relationship with local drug dealer Moses (Toby Wallace). The film was adapted from Rita Kalnejais' 2012 play of the same name.

#83. Relic
AGBO

#83. 'Relic'

- Metascore: 77
- Reviews: 36

Lauded for its allegorical depiction of caring for a family member with dementia, Relic starts as elderly matriarch Edna (Robyn Nevin) goes missing, forcing her daughter Kay (Emily Mortimer) and granddaughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) to track her down. Soon, Kay becomes convinced that a malevolent force is feeding off of her mother.

#82. The Personal History of David Copperfield
Film 4

#82. 'The Personal History of David Copperfield'

- Metascore: 77
- Reviews: 39

The Personal History of David Copperfield puts a comedic, modern spin on Charles Dickens' classic tale, with Oscar-nominated actor Dev Patel taking on the titular role. The story explores Copperfield's life, tracking his ascent from young orphan to respected Victorian author.

#79. Crazy, Not Insane (tie)
HBO

#79. 'Crazy, Not Insane' (tie)

- Metascore: 78
- Reviews: 7

Narrated by actress Laura Dern, this HBO documentary delves into psychiatrist Dorothy Otnow Lewis' research about the psychology of murders. Other professionals like Richard Burr, Catherine Yeager, and Park Dietz were also interviewed for Crazy, Not Insane.

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#79. Spontaneous (tie)
Awesomeness Films

#79. 'Spontaneous' (tie)

- Metascore: 78
- Reviews: 7

Katherine Langford and Charlie Plummer star in Spontaneous, playing two high school seniors who fall in love as their classmates start to suddenly explode around them. "It's at times a horror film, at times a teenage romance, sometimes a comedy, other times an allegory of teenage angst," wrote San Francisco Chronicle writer G. Allen Johnson. "But that's what makes it strangely wonderful and fresh."

#79. Beyond The Visible: Hilma af Klint (tie)
Kino Lorber

#79. 'Beyond The Visible: Hilma af Klint' (tie)

- Metascore: 78
- Reviews: 7

Halina Dryschka's new documentary celebrates Hilma af Klint, who created abstract paintings in the early 1900s, years before supposed pioneer of abstract art Kandinsky began working. Still, the painter's work was only recently credited due to a recent Guggenheim exhibition, something that the film questions.

#77. All In: The Fight for Democracy
Amazon Studios

#77. 'All In: The Fight for Democracy'

- Metascore: 78
- Reviews: 8

Political activist Stacey Abrams worked with documentarians Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés on All In: The Fight for Democracy. The documentary explores the history of American voter suppression, and features an original song by artist Janelle Monaé entitled "Turntables."

#77. An Easy Girl
Les Films Velvet

#77. 'An Easy Girl'

- Metascore: 78
- Reviews: 8

Rebecca Zlotwoski's French coming-of-age indie centers on Naima (Mina Farid), a teenager whose life gets turned upside down when her older cousin Sofia (Zahia Dehar) draws her into her free-spirited lifestyle. Zlotwoski received the Director's Fortnight prize for best French-language movie at 2019's Cannes Film Festival.

#75. The Social Dilemma (tie)
Exposure Labs

#75. 'The Social Dilemma' (tie)

- Metascore: 78
- Reviews: 9

In the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, director Jeff Orlowski uncovers how social media negatively impacts users through the spread of conspiracy theories, data mining, and surveillance. Apart from featuring interviews with social network execs like former Pinterest president Tim Kendall, the film also includes dramatizations of a teenager (Skyler Gisondo) becoming addicted to social media.

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#75. My Darling Vivian (tie)
Element Twenty Two

#75. 'My Darling Vivian' (tie)

- Metascore: 78
- Reviews: 9

My Darling Vivian pays homage to Vivian Liberto, Johnny Cash's first wife and the mother of his four children. Although Vivian is often pushed to the side in honor of June Carter Cash, Matt Riddlehoover's documentary shines a light on how she dealt with intrusive fans and largely raised her daughters alone. The movie features interviews with Vivian's children, love letters between her and Cash, and family home videos.

#74. Robin's Wish
Quotable Pictures

#74. 'Robin's Wish'

- Metascore: 78
- Reviews: 11

Robin's Wish delves into iconic entertainer Robin Williams' final days. It explores Lewy body dementia, the disease for which Williams received a diagnosis shortly before he died, while also honoring his career and talents.

#73. The Painter and the Thief
Medieoperatørene

#73. 'The Painter and the Thief'

- Metascore: 78
- Reviews: 29

The Painter and the Thief tracks the friendship that unexpectedly blooms between a Czech artist—Barbora Kysilkova—and Karl Bertil-Nordland, who stole two of her paintings. Benjamin Ree's documentary received the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Creative Storytelling at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

#71. Les Misérables (tie)
Srab Films

#71. 'Les Misérables' (tie)

- Metascore: 78
- Reviews: 35

Set in the French commune of Montfermeil after the conclusion of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Les Misérables references Victor Hugo's novel to tell the story of a cop who discovers tensions between the police and vulnerable citizens, when he works in a poor neighborhood as part of the Paris Anti-Crime Brigade. The movie was France's official entry for Best International Feature at the 2020 Academy Awards, and later clinched the nomination.

#71. Kajillionaire (tie)
Annapurna Pictures

#71. 'Kajillionaire' (tie)

- Metascore: 78
- Reviews: 35

Evan Rachel Wood leads Kajillionaire as a young woman called Old Dolio Dyne, whose con artist parents have trained her in the art of swindling since birth. However, when a newcomer (Gina Rodriguez) joins the family's operations, her presence threatens to blow their latest scheme.

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#70. I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Netflix

#70. 'I'm Thinking of Ending Things'

- Metascore: 78
- Reviews: 46

Adapted from Ian Reid's 2016 book of the same name, this psychological drama begins as an unnamed young woman planning to break up with her boyfriend Jake agrees to meet his parents at their remote home. Soon, their awkward dinner grows surreal, as Jake's complicated psyche and past relationships come to the fore.

#69. The Twentieth Century
TIFF 2019

#69. 'The Twentieth Century'

- Metascore: 79
- Reviews: 13

This Canadian Screen Award-winning film satirizes former Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King's (Dan Beime) rise to power. CityNews Toronto praised Matthew Renkin's dramedy, noting that it "subverts the mystique around politicians by mocking patriotism, propaganda, and Canadian identity."

#68. La Llorona
El Ministerio de Cultura Y Deportes de Guatamala

#68. 'La Llorona'

- Metascore: 79
- Reviews: 14

La Llorona takes inspiration from the folktale of the same name, following the ghost of an indigenous Guatemalan woman (María Mercedes Coroy) as she haunts the Guatemalan general (Julio Diaz) who ordered the genocide that killed her and her family decades ago. RogerEbert.com writer Monica Castillo praised Jayro Bustamante's movie as "not just a creepy story, but a painful reflection of injustice."

#66. Fourteen (tie)
Static Prods

#66. 'Fourteen' (tie)

- Metascore: 79
- Reviews: 16

Fourteen explores the close bond between two friends—Jo (Norma Kuhling) and Mara (Tallie Medel)—that deteriorates over the course of 10 years. As social worker Jo struggles more and more with undiagnosed mental health issues and the bad influences of boyfriends, Mara tries to help her move on.

#66. Black Bear (tie)
Tandem Pictures

#66. 'Black Bear' (tie)

- Metascore: 79
- Reviews: 16

Aubrey Plaza stars in Black Bear, playing a filmmaker who goes on a lakeside retreat and stays with a troubled young couple (Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon) who are expecting their first child. Soon, the three of them become embroiled in a conflict that blurs the line between fiction and reality, delving into dark truths about gender politics and art.

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#65. A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Aardman Animations Ltd

#65. 'A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon'

- Metascore: 79
- Reviews: 17

In this sequel to 2015's Shaun the Sheep Movie, Shaun (Justin Fletcher) and his flock must return their new alien friend home before the evil Ministry for Alien Detection can imprison her. The animated comedy was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 2020 BAFTAs.

#64. Feels Good Man
Ready Fictions

#64. 'Feels Good Man'

- Metascore: 79
- Reviews: 18

Arthur Jones' directorial debut delves into the backstory behind the iconic Internet meme Pepe the Frog, and the struggles of creator Matt Furie to reclaim Pepe from alt-right members who co-opted his work. Feels Good Man debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, and received a U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker.

Bad education
HBO Films

#63. 'Bad Education'

- Metascore: 79
- Reviews: 29

HBO's Bad Education centers on Long Island school district superintendent Frank (Hugh Jackman), who scrambles to hide an embezzlement scheme threatening the district's pristine reputation with the help of his assistant, Pam (Allison Janney). The movie won the Emmy Award for Outstanding TV Movie.

#62. The Nest
Element Pictures

#62. 'The Nest'

- Metascore: 79
- Reviews: 30

Jude Law and Carrie Coon lead The Nest, playing a wealthy couple whose life together spirals after husband Rory (Law) suddenly moves his family to a remote English country manor. The official Sundance Institute synopsis hails Sean Durkin's thriller for "blurring social critique and character drama."

#61. Mank
Netflix

#61. 'Mank'

- Metascore: 79
- Reviews: 42

After a six-year feature film hiatus, acclaimed director David Fincher returned with Mank, which retells the story of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz's (Gary Oldman) initial writing of Citizen Kane. The movie was inspired by a script written by Fincher's late father, and Variety critic Owen Gleiberman hailed it as "a dizzying time-machine splendor."

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#60. The Assistant
3311 Productions

#60. 'The Assistant'

- Metascore: 79
- Reviews: 43

In The Assistant, Julia Garner plays an aspiring film professional and young assistant at a major entertainment company. Over the course of one day, she endures harassment that shines a light on how misogynistic workplace abuse is often ingrained in day-to-day proceedings.

#59. Cane River
Oscilloscope Laboratories

#59. 'Cane River'

- Metascore: 80
- Reviews: 7

Cane River was the only feature film made by director Horace B. Jenkins, whose death shortly before its completion in 1982 kept it from theaters until now. Featuring an entirely African American cast and crew, the film centers on a forbidden romance that shakes the rivalry between two Louisiana communities.

#58. Jezebel
House of Numa

#58. 'Jezebel'

- Metascore: 80
- Reviews: 8

In Jezebel, a teenage girl named Tiffany (Tiffany Tenille) begins to work as a cam girl to support herself after her mother's death. The semi-autobiographical film is based on director Numa Perrier's own experiences in the cam world in the 1990s. Perrier also stars in the film, playing Tiffany's older sister Sabrina.

#57. Disclosure
Disclosure Films

#57. 'Disclosure'

- Metascore: 80
- Reviews: 10

The Netflix documentary Disclosure details the history of transgender representation in Hollywood, also touching on how these depictions have impacted cultural attitudes towards the trans community. Several prominent trans creatives like Lilly Wachowski, Jen Richards, and Laverne Cox provide commentary throughout the film.

White Riot
Smoking Bear Productions

#56. 'White Riot'

- Metascore: 80
- Reviews: 11

White Riot recounts the story of the 1970s British protest movement "Rock Against Racism." Using new interviews and archival footage, the documentary reveals how 1976 punk artists rallied together to take on the far-right U.K. political party National Front.

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Coup 53
Amirani Media

#55. 'Coup 53'

- Metascore: 80
- Reviews: 12

Helmed by director Taghi Amirani, Coup 53 tells the true story behind Operation Ajax, a coup staged by MI6 and the CIA in order to displace Iranian Prime Minister Mossadegh. Amirani himself was involved in uncovering the plot. Actor Ralph Fiennes lends his voice to read a transcript from an interview with MI6 operative Norman Darbyshire, who admitted to working on Coup 53.

Desert One
Cabin Creek Films

#54. 'Desert One'

- Metascore: 80
- Reviews: 13

Acclaimed documentarian Barbara Kopple recently released Desert One, which digs into the history behind a failed 1980 U.S. military effort to rescue American hostages during the 1979 Iranian revolution. Kopple utilizes a variety of sources, including interviews with major figures (from President Jimmy Carter to some of the hostages), as well as archival footage from the era.

#53. A White, White Day
Danish Film Institute

#53. 'A White, White Day'

- Metascore: 80
- Reviews: 14

A White, White Day was Iceland's official entry for Best International Feature Film at the 2020 Oscars. The film follows an off-duty Icelandic police chief (played by Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson) who goes to treacherous lengths to find out if a local man had an affair with his late wife.

Totally Under Control
Jigsaw Productions

#52. 'Totally Under Control'

- Metascore: 80
- Reviews: 25

After a close friend died of the coronavirus, documentarian Alex Gibney set out to make a film about the United States' failed response to the global pandemic. Also directed by Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger, the film features interviews coordinated brilliantly by cinematographer Ben Bloodwell, who sent many subjects filming kits so they could record scenes safely.

#51. The Forty-Year-Old Version
Hillman Grad

#51. 'The Forty-Year-Old Version'

- Metascore: 80
- Reviews: 27

Director and star Radha Blank plays a fictionalized version of herself in The Forty-Year-Old Version, which follows a weary playwright who decides to chase stardom by becoming a rapper at 40. Rolling Stone critic K. Austin Collins described the comedy as a satire of "the theater world, middle age, New York, the racial and gendered expectations of commercial art."

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#50. She Dies Tomorrow
Rustic Films

#50. 'She Dies Tomorrow'

- Metascore: 80
- Reviews: 37

She Dies Tomorrow opens as a woman named Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) becomes convinced she will die the next day, sharing this belief with everyone she meets. Director Amy Seimetz based the allegory on people's reactions to her admitting that she has anxiety attacks.

#47. The Truffle Hunters (tie)
Go Gigi Go Productions LLC

#47. 'The Truffle Hunters' (tie)

- Metascore: 81
- Reviews: 8

The Truffle Hunters centers on a group of elderly Italian men who are passionate about scavenging for rare white Alba truffle mushrooms in the Piedmont forests. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the film also "suggests a melancholy sense of a disappearing way of life dating back to old-world Europe." The documentary is set to be officially released in the U.S. on March 12, 2021.

A Thousand Cuts
CineDiaz

#47. 'A Thousand Cuts' (tie)

- Metascore: 81
- Reviews: 8

In Ramona S. Diaz's documentary A Thousand Cuts, the extent to which Phillipines President Rodrigo Duterte has utilized social media to spread misinformation is revealed. It also focuses on Rappler founder Maria Ressa, whose critiques of Duterte's administration led to her risking her life.

#47. Make Up (tie)
BBC FIlms

#47. 'Make Up' (tie)

- Metascore: 81
- Reviews: 8

Make Up opens as young British couple Ruth and Tom (Molly Windsor and Joseph Quinn) go on a remote vacation in Cornwall. But when Ruth seemingly finds evidence of Tom's infidelity, she spirals down a dangerous web of obsession.

#46. Premature
Astute Films

#46. 'Premature'

- Metascore: 81
- Reviews: 13

During her last summer in Harlem before college, teenager Ayanna (Zora Howard) strikes up an unexpected and passionate romance with older music producer Isaiah (Joshua Boone). However, the sometimes harsh realities of adulthood soon threaten their relationship, and the course of Ayanna's own future.

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The Go-Gos
Polygram Entertainment

#45. 'The Go-Go's'

- Metascore: 81
- Reviews: 15

The Go-Go's revolves around the popular '80s band of the same name, who were also the first all-female group to hit number one on the charts with songs they'd written and performed themselves. In the Showtime documentary, its former members document the band's rise, discography, and fall, in their own words.

#44. One Night in Miami
ABKCO Films

#44. 'One Night in Miami'

- Metascore: 81
- Reviews: 19

In her feature directorial debut, Emmy- and Oscar-winning actress Regina King tells the fictionalized story of a one-night meeting between civil rights icons Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). "One Night in Miami" is based on Kemp Powers' play of the same name.

#43. Sound of Metal
Caviar

#43. 'Sound of Metal'

- Metascore: 81
- Reviews: 27

Riz Ahmed stars in Sound of Metal as a metal drummer whose life is turned upside down as he starts to lose his hearing. Hollywood Reporter critic John DeFore wrote that "without romanticizing deafness, Sound of Metal makes a case for acceptance and embracing the inevitability of unpredictable change."

House of Hummingbird
Epiphany

#42. 'House of Hummingbird'

- Metascore: 82
- Reviews: 10

House of Hummingbird takes place in Seoul, South Korea, as 14-year-old Eunhee (Ji-hu Park) begins to reckon with her adolescence through chance encounters and romantic exchanges. In 2020, The Guardian listed Bora Kim's film at #18 on its list of the best modern South Korean films. It also won the Grand Prix from the Generation 14plus International Jury at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival.

#41. Residue
Residue DC

#41. 'Residue'

- Metascore: 82
- Reviews: 12

In Residue, a filmmaker (Obinna Nwachukwu) who wants to write a script about his childhood is shocked to return and find that his old neighborhood is unrecognizable due to gentrification. "Residue is a fleeting and haunting lament for what is lost to gentrification, and other tolls on Black life in America," wrote The Guardian critic Radheyan Simonpillai. "But at the same time, we're discovering a bold and sensitive new voice."

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#40. Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
Department of Motion Pictures

#40. 'Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets'

- Metascore: 82
- Reviews: 23

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets takes place on the final night of business for iconic Las Vegas dive bar The Roaring 20s, as its staff and patrons reflect on its legacy. The documentary's synopsis describes it as "a carefully constructed yet oddly affecting record of an American sensibility at once straining to survive and ready for the end."

Bacaru
Ancine

#38. 'Bacurau' (tie)

- Metascore: 82
- Reviews: 26

The Brazilian film Bacaru distinguished itself by winning the Jury Prize at 2019's Cannes Film Festival. The story follows a woman named Teresa (Bárbara Colen), who returns to her home village only to find out that American visitors have created a disturbance there while on a dangerous hunting trip. Soon, tensions build to a standoff between the villagers and the visitors.

#38. The Climb (tie)
Topic Studios

#38. 'The Climb' (tie)

- Metascore: 82
- Reviews: 26

In The Climb, best friends Kyle (Kyle Marvin) and Mike's (director and star Michael Angelo Covino) close bond is seriously fractured after Mike sleeps with Kyle's fiancée, Ava (Judith Godrèche). The Los Angeles Times' Carols Aguilar called it "a wholehearted and hilarious ode to a fraternal bond more profound and enduring than any romantic attachment."

#37. Sorry We Missed You
BBC FIlms

#37. 'Sorry We Missed You'

- Metascore: 82
- Reviews: 29

Sorry We Missed You centers on a British working-class couple who take delivery-driving jobs, only to end up trapped in a modern-day form of labor exploitation. Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday praised Ken Loach's drama as "an unsparing look at the human costs of the gig economy."

#36. Da 5 Bloods
40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks

#36. 'Da 5 Bloods'

- Metascore: 82
- Reviews: 49

One of Spike Lee's 2020 releases, Da 5 Bloods shares the experience of four African American veterans who return to Vietnam to locate their late squad leader's remains and the gold that they buried decades ago. Delroy Lindo in particular has received praise for his leading role as conflicted veteran Paul.

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I Wish I knew
Shanghai Film Group

#35. 'I Wish I Knew'

- Metascore: 83
- Reviews: 7

Jia Zhangke's documentary explores the history of Shanghai's people and architecture from the mid-1800s until modern times. Using interviews with 18 individuals, from politicians' kids to ex-soldiers to artists, the director paints a portrait of growing up and living in the major city.

#34. 76 Days
76 Days LLC

#34. '76 Days'

- Metascore: 83
- Reviews: 16

This pandemic-centered documentary centers on Wuhan, China healthcare workers and patients as they attempt to get through the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. Daily Dot reporter Michelle Jaworski described 76 Days as "an eye-opening look at the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic that showcases the best of humanity within the walls of several Wuhan hospitals."

Driveways
CinemaWerks

#33. 'Driveways'

- Metascore: 83
- Reviews: 19

Driveways examines the unlikely, close bond that forms between a lonely boy named Cody (Lucas Jaye) and his retired next-door neighbor Del (Brian Dennehy) over the course of a summer. The film received nominations for Best Female Lead (for Hong Chau) and Best First Screenplay at 2020's Film Independent Spirit Awards.

#32. Saint Frances
Easy Open Productions

#32. 'Saint Frances'

- Metascore: 83
- Reviews: 24

Saint Frances focuses on Bridget, a thirty-something who bonds with the six-year-old she's nannying, while terminating an unwanted pregnancy and figuring out what she wants from her life. Writer and star Kelly O'Sullivan based the movie on her own abortion experience, telling TIME that she wanted to create a realistic and "non-traumatic depiction of abortion."

#31. Palm Springs
Limelight

#31. 'Palm Springs'

- Metascore: 83
- Reviews: 41

In Palm Springs, wedding guests Nyles (Andy Samberg) and Sarah (Cristin Milioti) slowly fall in love after getting trapped in a time loop. FilmWeek praised the movie for being an "inventive new take on 'Groundhog Day,'" with "more on its mind than the run-of-the-mill rom-com."

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#30. Our Time Machine
Walking Iris Media

#30. 'Our Time Machine'

- Metascore: 84
- Reviews: 10

After learning that his father has Alzheimer's, Chinese artist Ma Liang invites him to collaborate on a complex stage show involving large mechanical puppets, named "Papa's Time Machine." In tracking their artistic process, the documentary explores impending loss and how art can preserve memories that are eventually lost to the passage of time.

#29. Black Is King
Walt Disney Pictures

#29. 'Black Is King'

- Metascore: 84
- Reviews: 19

Beyoncé released the Disney+ film Black Is King as an allegory for the African diaspora, and as a visual companion film to her 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift. Like The Lion King, it centers on a young prince (Folajomi Akinmurele), who must reclaim the kingdom that was stolen from him as a child.

#28. On the Record
Artemis Rising Productions

#28. 'On the Record'

- Metascore: 84
- Reviews: 22

In On the Record, the directors (Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering) share stories of sexual harassment and abuse allegations made against major hip-hop figure Russell Simmons, most notably rape allegations from record executive Drew Dixon. Executive producer Oprah Winfrey withdrew from the project soon before its release, citing "creative differences."

#27. Beanpole
AR Content

#27. 'Beanpole'

- Metascore: 84
- Reviews: 26

In the aftermath of a deadly siege of Leningrad during World War II, two young women (Viktoria Miroshnichenko and Vasilisa Perelygina) struggle to find solace in one another and find a way to move forward after tragedy. Beanpole was Russia's official entry for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Oscars.

#26. Boys State
Concordia Studio

#26. 'Boys State'

- Metascore: 84
- Reviews: 32

This Sundance prize-winning film shines a light on the week-long Boys State program, which American Legion has run in Texas since 1935. While the 1,000 participants are there, they build a mock representative government to learn about how modern American democracy operates.

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#25. The Vast of Night
GED Cinema

#25. 'The Vast of Night'

- Metascore: 84
- Reviews: 35

The Vast of Night unfolds in 1950s New Mexico as switchboard operator Fay (Sierra McCormick) and radio DJ Everett (Jake Horowitz) uncover a mysterious alien radio frequency. The story was based on real UFO "incidents," such as the Kecksburg Incident and the Foss Lake disappearances.

#24. Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin
BBC Scotland

#24. 'Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin'

- Metascore: 85
- Reviews: 9

Nomad director Werner Herzog was inspired to make his new documentary after his friend, British travel writer Bruce Chatwin, gave Herzog his well-worn rucksack before passing away from AIDS. The director then sets out on a trek to honor Chatwin's life, dividing the documentary into eight travel chapters.

#23. Athlete A
Actual Films

#23. 'Athlete A'

- Metascore: 85
- Reviews: 12

In the documentary Athlete A, Indianapolis Star reporters break the news of doctor Larry Nassar's abuse and assaults of Olympic female gymnasts. The movie dropped on Netflix in June, after originally being scheduled to debut at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.

#22. Small Axe: Red, White and Blue
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

#22. 'Small Axe: Red, White and Blue'

- Metascore: 85
- Reviews: 14

Star Wars actor John Boyega demonstrates his acting versatility in Steve McQueen's Red White and Blue, playing London police officer Leroy Logan. After witnessing racist police misconduct, Leroy founded the Black Police Association in an attempt to reform the institution.

#21. Divine Love
Sundance Institute

#21. 'Divine Love'

- Metascore: 86
- Reviews: 8

Set in the near future, Divine Love follows a religious registry clerk who attempts to use her career and faith to stop couples from getting divorced. To do so, she often convinces them to take part in her Divine Love therapy sessions, in which couples swap lovers in erotic experiences in order to salvage their sexual chemistry.

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#20. The Wolf House
León & Cociña

#20. 'The Wolf House'

- Metascore: 86
- Reviews: 9

Based on the real-life story of Colonia Dignidad, The Wolf House finds a woman named Maria (Amalia Kassai) taking refuge at a Chilean house while on the run from German religious zealots. However, things turn nightmarish when the pigs there begin turning into human figures.

#19. The Father
Trademark Films

#19. 'The Father'

- Metascore: 86
- Reviews: 10

Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman star in The Father, which centers on an elderly Welshman (Hopkins) who struggles to accept his dementia diagnosis and help from his adult daughter (Colman). The movie was praised for its depiction of memory loss and aging, and is scheduled to be released in the U.S. on February 26, 2021.

#18. Welcome to Chechnya
BBC Storyville

#18. 'Welcome to Chechnya'

- Metascore: 86
- Reviews: 17

David France's documentary reveals the extent of the homophobic 2010s purges that took place in Russia's republic of Chechnya. Welcome to Chechnya includes interviews with many of the gay refugees who were tortured and detained during Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov's anti-gay campaign.

#17. Vitalina Varela
Optec

#17. 'Vitalina Varela'

- Metascore: 86
- Reviews: 21

As Vitalina Varela opens, its titular protagonist has just traveled from Cape Verde to Lisbon, Portugal for the first time to attend her husband's funeral. While there, she discovers the turbulent secret life that he led during their marriage.

#16. Wolfwalkers
Apple Original Films

#16. 'Wolfwalkers'

- Metascore: 86
- Reviews: 22

Based on Celtic folklore, Wolfwalkers tells the story of an unlikely friendship that develops between young wolf hunter Robyn and a young girl named Mebh, whose people are rumored to turn into wolves at night. The film has been particularly praised for its animation, which was done by the studio Cartoon Saloon.

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#15. Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution
Higher Ground Productions

#15. 'Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution'

- Metascore: 86
- Reviews: 29

Crip Camp follows the 1970s teens of Camp Jened, an upstate New York camp dedicated to giving teens with disabilities a summer to remember. It then flashes forward, as many of the campers become American disability activists. The documentary was executive-produced by the Obamas, and won the Audience Award at 2020's Sundance Film Festival.

#14. What the Constitution Means to Me
Big Beach TV

#14. 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

- Metascore: 87
- Reviews: 7

Filmmaker Marielle Heller directed this filmed version of Heidi Schreck's Broadway show of the same name. In the mostly one-woman show, Schreck uses numerous anecdotes and historical records to question the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, particularly what it means for women.

#13. Rewind
Step 1 Productions

#13. 'Rewind'

- Metascore: 87
- Reviews: 12

Over the course of Sasha Joseph Neulinger's Rewind, the documentarian combs through his family home videos to process his own childhood sexual abuse. Variety critic Owen Gleiberman wrote that "watching the movie is like staring at a blurred image of the past that gradually, over 86 minutes, comes into terrifying focus."

#12. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Netflix

#12. 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom'

- Metascore: 87
- Reviews: 28

In Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, tensions flare as legendary blues singer Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) and her band gather for an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago. Notably, the musical film features late actor Chadwick Boseman's performance, as trumpeter Levee.

#11. City Hall
Zipporah Films

#11. 'City Hall'

- Metascore: 88
- Reviews: 17

Longtime documentarian Frederick Wiseman's latest endeavor dives deep into the inner workings of Boston, Massachusetts' city government. RogerEbert.com writer Peter Sobczynski noted that "[City Hall] allows viewers to see that while the system as a whole may not work perfectly for everybody all the time, it is nevertheless driven by individuals doing what they can to help it evolve."

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#10. Dick Johnson Is Dead
Netflix Worldwide Entertainment

#10. 'Dick Johnson Is Dead'

- Metascore: 89
- Reviews: 8

In Dick Johnson Is Dead, filmmaker Kristen Johnson processes her father's inevitable death from dementia by staging his eventual death in comical and outrageous ways. Washington Post writer Ann Hornaday praised Johnson for creating "a dread-fulfillment fantasy that brims with love, humor, and, of all things, life."

#9. Soul
Walt Disney Pictures

#9. 'Soul'

- Metascore: 89
- Reviews: 16

When music teacher and passionate jazz musician Joe (Jamie Foxx) ends up in another realm where souls are developed, he's tasked with helping a soul-in-training (Tina Fey) regain their faith in life in order to come back to Earth. The film is set for release on Disney+ on Christmas Day, and initially received a 100% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

#8. First Cow
A24

#8. 'First Cow'

- Metascore: 89
- Reviews: 41

Loosely adapted from Jonathan Raymond's 2004 book Half Life, Kelly Reichardt's latest film follows King-Lu (Orion Lee) and Cookie (John Magaro), two unlikely friends living in the Oregon frontier in the early 19th century. The two hatch a scheme to make a living by making baked goods using stolen milk from a wealthy Englishman's cow, creating a story about compassion amid early American capitalism.

#7. Small Axe: Mangrove
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

#7. 'Small Axe: Mangrove'

- Metascore: 90
- Reviews: 24

As part of his Small Axe anthology, filmmaker Steve McQueen dramatizes the landmark British civil rights case of the Mangrove Nine. In 1971, several Black activists were charged with inciting a riot after their peaceful protest against police brutality turned violent, but they were able to successfully defend themselves in court.

#6. Hamilton
Walt Disney Pictures

#6. 'Hamilton'

- Metascore: 90
- Reviews: 42

All fans of Lin-Manuel Miranda's hit hip hop musical were able to experience the show when a professional recording of Hamilton was released on Disney+ in July 2020. The musical retells the tumultuous story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

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#5. Time
Concordia Studio

#5. 'Time'

- Metascore: 91
- Reviews: 23

Garrett Bradley's documentary centers on matriarch Fox Rich, who advocates for prison abolition and the release of her husband, who was sentenced to 60 years. The film was made using video footage from two decades, and examines the shattering impact that American mass incarceration has on families (particular Black families and families of color).

#4. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
BBC FIlms

#4. 'Never Rarely Sometimes Always'

- Metascore: 91
- Reviews: 34

In Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Pennsylvania teenager Autumn heads on a treacherous journey to New York City with her cousin Skylar to receive an abortion. The film won the Silver Bear Grand Jury prize at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival. Director Eliza Hittman was inspired to make the film after reading about Savita Halappanavar, an Irish woman who died in 2012 after being denied access to an abortion.

#3. David Byrne’s American Utopia
40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks

#3. 'David Byrne's American Utopia'

- Metascore: 93
- Reviews: 26

Filmmaker Spike Lee directed this recorded version of beloved musician David Byrne's Broadway show of the same name. The A.V. Club critic Erik Adams argued that American Utopia is "the right movie for 2020," adding that "the key to [the film's] resonance isn't so much one of joy versus despair as it is connection versus isolation."

#2. Collective
Alexander Nanau Production

#2. 'Collective'

- Metascore: 95
- Reviews: 23

Collective follows several Romanian journalists as they expose the secret health care fraud behind a 2015 Bucharest nightclub fire that claimed multiple lives. In his review of the documentary for Variety, Jay Weissberg called it "a documentary for our times, deserving of widespread exposure."

#1. Small Axe: Lovers Rock
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

#1. 'Small Axe: Lovers Rock'

- Metascore: 95
- Reviews: 25

This installment of Steve McQueen's Small Axe anthology tells the story of two young lovers (played by Michael Ward and Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn) who meet and fall in love over the course of a 1980s West London reggae party. The official BBC synopsis notes that the film is "an ode to the romantic reggae genre called Lovers Rock, and to the youth who found freedom and love in its sound."

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