DISCLAIMER: These are movies from the calendar year 2020 (released in the United States). I have not seen a ton of movies from the calendar year 2020 because of the closing down of movie theaters. Also I don’t have a desire to pay 20 bucks to watch a movie at home when it’ll eventually be streaming. If I am not going to be getting an experience, then I am not gonna shed the cash.
Now with that being said, since I have begun tracking more rigorously on Letterboxd in March, I have seen at least 60 movies that were released in the calendar year 2020. (For the curious, I have watched 212 movies overall since March).
And here are my five favorite movies from the calendar year (released in the United States) 2020.
Director: Aneesh Chaganty
Writer: Aneesh Chaganty, Sev Ohanian
Cinematographer: Hillary Spera
Staring: Sarah Paulson, Keira Allen
Release Date: November 20, 2020
This is not going to be the only time on this list that a pair of female leads carried a movie to ridiculously tall heights. Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen are both unbelievable in Run. Paulson as the overbearing mom, and Allen as the caged daughter; the pair share the screen the entire movie and propel the tension to def-con levels.
Run will leave your jaw hanging and make you remember it.
Stanko Rating: A (4.5/5 Stars)
Director: Thomas Kail
Writer: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ron Chernow
Cinematographer: Declan Quinn
Staring: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Daveed Diggs, Chris Jackson
Release Date: July 3, 2020
Yea, it is basic. But so what!?
With Hamilton coming out on Disney+, I could finally allow myself to listen to the sound track and embrace it. I had made a rule that I would not allow myself to listen to the music until I saw the play, and I can say now after years of steadiness, that vow was truly worth it.
Hamilton delivers exactly what it is meant to. It is an escape for the outside world. It is an experience that not everyone had the funds to experience in person on Broadway, but now it is in everyone’s home. Hamilton is rewatchable as long as you love the music, and the soundtrack is timeless.
Stanko Rating: A (5.0/5 Stars)
Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Tonight
Director: Bartosz M. Kowalski
Writer: Bartosz M. Kowalski, Jan Kwiecinski, Mirella Zaradkiewicz
Cinematographer: Cezary Stolecki
Staring: Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz, Michal Lupa, Wiktoria Gasiewska
Release Date: October 28, 2020
I am willing to bet that this is the most obscure movie to people reading this. Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Tonight is a self-aware Polish horror movie that blends comedy and slasher. You have stranded teens in a camp they don’t want to be at, and all things are hunky-dorey until they run into a pair of cannibal mutant brothers. Yea, you read that right.
Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Tonight is on this top-five because it is unique, funny and better than ever expected. It deserves more eyes and more people’s attention.
Stanko Rating: B (3.5/5 Stars)
Yes, God, Yes
Director: Karen Maine
Writer: Karen Maine
Cinematographer: Todd Antonio, Somodevilla
Staring: Natalia Dyer, Timothy Simons, Wolfgang Novogratz
Release Date: July 24, 2020
Yes, God, Yes is the funniest movie I have seen this year. Running a short 78 minutes, this movie tells a story of self discovery and realization that many Oscar bait movies try for. Natalia Dyer sheds her Stranger Things persona and takes on a controversial yet remarkably relatable role. Speaking strictly as a man, I have limited experience with girls discovering their sexuality, but Yes, God, Yes made it more than just enjoyable.
Also, the fact this movie makes fun of religion, that’s just a cherry on top. And the final scene, I mean I was cheering Alice (Natalia Dyer) on the entire time.
Stanko Rating: A- (4.5/5 Stars)
Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
Director: Céline Sciamma
Writer: Céline Sciamma
Cinematographer: Claire Mathon
Staring: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami
Release Date: February 14, 2020
This is not only my favorite movie from 2020, but also the best movie from 2020. Portrait Of A Lady On Fire is one of, if not they best, romantic movie I have ever seen. Not often can someone truly perfect nonverbal communication, but that is exactly what director Céline Sciamma did.
Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel are both unbelievable in their roles. Vulnerability combined with resilient strength. Portrait Of A Lady On Fire will destroy you, leave you shattered to the bone and make you yearn for a love you didn’t know existed.
Stanko Rating: A+ (5.0/5 Stars)
HONORABLE MENTIONS: 1917, Class Action Park, Extraction, The Invisible Man, The Way Back