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50 best movies of 2020 so far

  • 50 best movies of 2020 so far

    This year has been turbulent for the movie industry, as much of the world has been at a standstill since March due to COVID-19. Movies haven't really been released in theaters since then, but luckily we have other ways of watching them in this day and age. Streaming services have provided a much-needed way for new movies to be released while theaters have been closed. This is somewhat ironic considering that the movie industry, Hollywood especially, has looked down upon releasing movies on streaming services until the past couple of years.

    With the wealth of movies both new and old on streaming services, it’s sometimes hard to find what has been worth watching from this year’s releases. We’ve created this list to help you save time sifting through the options and find the very best, according to critics.

    Since the beginning of this year, interesting documentaries, last year’s festival favorites, and independent gems have come out either in theaters or online. There are films that give insight into the past, and some that explicitly deal with current issues. As it’s difficult to find experiences that enlighten us without venturing out, watching movies and documentaries is a welcome outlet. There are movies for every mood, some silly and some tragic, but regardless of their subject matter, the following films are entertaining in their own ways.

    To create this list, Stacker compiled data on the top movies from 2020 and ranked them according to Metacritic data, with ties being broken by IMDb user ratings. Only films that have been released to the public, whether virtually or in theaters, were considered. With something for everyone on this diverse list, hopefully you’ll be able to find your new favorite film of the year as we wait until theaters can open again and movie-watching can resume as normally as possible.

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  • #50. Miss Juneteenth

    - Director: Channing Godfrey Peoples
    - Metascore: 73
    - IMDb user rating: 5.9
    - Runtime: 99 min

    In one of the most relevant films of the year so far, Turquoise (Nicole Beharie) is a former pageant queen, Miss Juneteenth, who is navigating a life she hadn’t planned for. She tries to guide her daughter to become the next Miss Juneteenth, even if she wants something else for herself. Channing Godfrey Peoples creates a sweet tale that is unafraid to address issues Black women live with everyday in this country.

  • #49. Capital in the Twenty-First Century

    - Director: Justin Pemberton
    - Metascore: 73
    - IMDb user rating: 7.2
    - Runtime: 103 min

    Today’s grappling with inequality is explored in this documentary based on the book of the same name by Thomas Piketty. The myths that have long dominated our way of viewing economics and wealth are dismantled in breathtaking fashion. This enlightenment may challenge everything you’ve been taught about money, but it’s for the better.

  • #48. The Infiltrators

    - Directors: Cristina Ibarra, Alex Rivera
    - Metascore: 74
    - IMDb user rating: 5.8
    - Runtime: 95 min

    A group of radical activists purposefully get themselves thrown into a border detention center in order to stop unjust deportations. The men then try to pull off an escape, but their plan is harder to execute than they thought. This semi-documentary, semi-thriller film defies genre to make for a truly inventive and moving viewing experience.

  • #47. Ghost Town Anthology

    - Director: Denis Côté
    - Metascore: 74
    - IMDb user rating: 6.5
    - Runtime: 97 min

    A car accident kills Simon Dubé (Philippe Charrette) in a desolate French town. His death shakes the small town, and what unfolds explores the emotional journey of a mystery that cannot be fully understood.

  • #46. The Half of It

    - Director: Alice Wu
    - Metascore: 74
    - IMDb user rating: 7.0
    - Runtime: 104 min

    Teen romance is turned on its head when Ellie, tasked with helping Paul win over popular girl Aster, develops feelings for Aster as well. This charming film stands out among a wealth of available original content as an undoubtedly enjoyable movie with more heart than expected.

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  • #45. Circus of Books

    - Director: Rachel Mason
    - Metascore: 74
    - IMDb user rating: 7.1
    - Runtime: 92 min

    The last people you’d expect to own and operate a adult film store in the heart of Los Angeles would be a straight couple with three kids. However, the story of how Karen and Barry Mason cultivated the perfect place for LA’s LGBT community to flourish is too strange not to be true, as told by their very own daughter.

  • #44. Zombi Child

    - Director: Bertrand Bonello
    - Metascore: 75
    - IMDb user rating: 6.0
    - Runtime: 103 min

    A young Haitian girl befriends a fellow student at her ritzy Parisian boarding school. She begins to share her family’s past, including a tale about a dead man coming back to life. Deviating from cinema conventions to create a truly fascinating look at Voodoo and Haitian culture, Bertrand Bonello has made a masterpiece.

  • #43. True History of the Kelly Gang

    - Director: Justin Kurzel
    - Metascore: 75
    - IMDb user rating: 6.1
    - Runtime: 124 min

    This film begins by telling you that everything in the movie is true, but it is meant to actively make you question everything that follows. The violent and volatile times of outlaw Ned Kelly (played by George MacKay) give life to Australia’s troubled past in the most unsettling story possible. Everything you love from the grittiest and angstiest westerns is cranked up to the max in this unconventional, artistic crime drama.

  • #42. José

    - Director: Li Cheng
    - Metascore: 75
    - IMDb user rating: 6.4
    - Runtime: 85 min

    In Guatemala City, José and his mother live a modest life amid the constant turmoil of the city. José’s life is thwarted by a forbidden romance with Luis, a Caribbean immigrant of whom his devoutly religious mother would never approve. José experiences the kind of love and pain that can shape a young person’s life, especially one so previously sheltered.

  • #41. Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy

    - Director: Elizabeth Carroll
    - Metascore: 75
    - IMDb user rating: 6.6
    - Runtime: 75 min

    Diana Kennedy has lived quite a life as a cookbook author and activist. In this documentary, she looks back on her experiences cultivating an understanding of Mexican cuisine from all over the country. This film won the Excellence in Storytelling Award at 2019’s SXSW Film Festival, thanks no doubt to its charismatic subject.

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