In a year that was like no other, a list of the Best Films of 2020 is an interesting one. Beginning with the game-changer that was Parasite – a film not in the English language winning the Best Picture, Original Screenplay and Director (as well as Best Foreign Language Film) at the Oscars – it would seem that at the start of 2020 this was going to be a fantastic year for cinema. Little did we know then how much everything would change. Cinemas closed and many of the year’s big releases were pushed back into 2021. There was a moment of relief when cinemas reopened in August with Tenet, but the less said about that the better.
Despite what feels like a year of negativity, there have been some great films released in 2020 that deserve celebration. Here are Annice White’s Best Films of 2020. Note: these are 2020 films based on UK release dates.
Make sure to follow the author of this article, Annice White, on Twitter @annicewhite_.
10. The Climb
The opening of The Climb sets up beautifully for the rest of the feature – long shots of ‘best friends’ Mike (writer, director, and star Micheal Angelo) and Kyle (Kyle Marvin) cycling a leg of the Tour De France. Kyle is excited about his upcoming wedding, and his fiancée is amazing. Unfortunately, Mike is already very much aware of this. He is also in love with her, and they have been having an affair behind Kyle’s back. Mike is a terrible person and an even worse friend. The Climb is an anti-bromance film.
It is a beautiful film filled with slow and controlled shots. Many have criticised The Climb on the basis that ‘little happens’, but that is the beauty of this small budget independent. We are there to observe life as it happens. There may be moments of heartbreak, but The Climb has honesty and humour at its core.
9. The Boys in the Band
This Netflix Original, based on the play by Mart Crawley and previously adapted for the big screen in 1970, has flown under the radar in a noteworthy year for streaming giants. The film was released with some audience uncertainty as an ‘unnecessary remake’, however, the cast of the film are the stars of the 2018 Broadway revival, so this version comes from a place of respect for the source material. The film was also possibly overlooked due to its lead being played by the often typecast Jim Parsons, though in The Boys in the Band the former ‘Big Bang Theory’ actor shows that he can play much more than a geeky scientist.
The central narrative of how LGBTQ+ people have to hide a part of themselves is unfortunately still relevant. An old college friend of Michael’s (Parsons) is stopping by for a drink but he does not know that Micheal is gay, and Micheal would like his friends to act accordingly. This night throws up issues of internal and external homophobia, and expectations that are placed on a person based on their sexuality. The cast of The Boys in the Band is comprised of openly gay actors, which is something to be championed in 2020, but this not a gimmick and the performances are captivating. The Boys in the Band is a real treat to watch.