5. Bill & Ted Face the Music
In a year that has been as bad 2020, we need films like this. The final part of the Bill and Ted Trilogy concludes the boys’ mission to unite the world through music. However, things have not been so great for Bill and Ted since we last saw them…
Despite being married to the Princesses and having two excellent daughters, they have spent the last 30 years trying with no avail to write the music that will unite the world. In case that was not enough pressure, they are summoned to the future and told that they have to write the song in the next 72 minutes or the world will end. No pressure at all.
Bill and Ted Face the Music do the ‘feminist reboot of a classic film’ in the best way possible. Bill and Ted’s daughters travel through time to put together a band to help their dads create the song. The standout performance of the film comes from Brigette Lundy-Paine, who plays Ted’s daughter Billie. They manage to make the role their own while capturing the essence of a young Keanu Reeves. The film is a great hit of nostalgia, both in the fact that we are catching up with old friends and following a classic adventure structure. Tears will be shed.
4. A Secret Love
A Secret Love tells the story of Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel, former All-American Girl’s Professional League Baseball players. The documentary is sparked by Terry and Pat having to make a decision about where they are going to spend their retirement years. This life change forces the couple to face the fact that they have kept their relationship a secret from their families for almost 70 years.
A Secret Love breaks your heart within the first 4 minutes, when Terry worries that if she tells her family the truth it will change how they love her. It is important to see this coming out narrative, which although not idealistic is not toxic. Here, Pat respects and supports Terry in her coming out process. The documentary reminds us that coming out transcends the progress made between generations, and that these same struggles continue today.
The documentary is not without fault, namely in how it is presented. The documentary’s director is Pat and Terry’s great nephew, which does not allow the documentary to fully explore why it is that the couple felt they could not tell Terry’s family about their relationship. There is a conflict between Terry’s family and Pat which is not explored as it should be. Perhaps so that Terry’s family do not come across as the bad guys, A Secret Love is not conclusive as to whether the issue is personal to Pat or a result of homophobia.
Despite these framing issues, the narrative is one that needs to be told and the documentary the very best of the year.
Honourable Mentions: Onward, Lovebirds, Dark Waters, Disclosure.
3. The Lighthouse
On paper The Lighthouse shouldn’t work – a black and white film in a 1.19:1 ratio about two lighthouse keepers drinking, collecting coal and farting – but it is one of the year’s best thrillers nonetheless. Much like screenwriter-director Robert Eggers’ debut feature The VVitch, The Lighthouse is a masterclass in suspense. Before you have time to realise it, the tension is at 100% and you are on the edge of your seat.
The Lighthouse is a true cinematic experience, best viewed in complete darkness with disorienting surround sound.
The combination of the isolated setting and the extremely pared-down cast means that the performances need to be outstanding, and of course they are. Get ready to question your own sanity as well as Patterson and Dafoe’s.