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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

2020’s films ranked

This ranking includes only new theatrical or VOD releases viewed for the awards year of 2020, for eligibility for the OFCS and AWFJ awards; some films released in the UK without US releases (and so ineligible for those awards this year) may also be included, for my own bookkeeping purposes.

Eligibility for the Academy Awards has been shifted because of the coronavirus pandemic, and will include films released between January 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021.

This ranking is still ongoing.

Links go to my review. Numbers after each entry are Date First Viewed/US Release Date/UK Release Date; year is 2020 unless otherwise noted.

Films without theatrical releases are typically not eligible for year-end awards like the Oscars, but rules are being amended this year because of the shuttering of cinemas during the crisis. In the listing below, a film’s release was theatrical unless otherwise noted:

indicates a film originally scheduled for theatrical release but released direct to VOD

° indicates a film released direct to streaming


other yearly rankings:
2021
2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010
2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003


green light
worth paying multiplex prices for

[5 stars]
Shirley (06.04/06.05/10.30)
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm° (10.21/10.23/10.23)
Kajillionaire (10.07/09.25/10.09)
Promising Young Woman (11.29/12.25/04.16.21°)
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (04.04/03.13/05.13)
Sorry We Missed You (11.02.19/03.04/11.01.19)
One Night in Miami… (10.11/12.25/12.26)
The Assistant (01.24/01.31/05.01)
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (02.04/02.07/02.07)
First Cow (07.20/03.06/05.28.21)
Nomadland (01.01.21/12.04/02.19.21)
Mangrove (Small Axe)° (10.07/11.20/11.15)
Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint (04.11/04.17/10.09°)
Last and First Men (07.22/TBA/07.30°)
Mogul Mowgli (10.02/TBA/10.30)
Wolfwalkers (12.15/11.13/10.30)
The Truffle Hunters (12.17/12.25/02.05.21)
Assassins° (01.28.21/12.11/01.29.21)
#Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump (09.01/08.28/10.09°)
7500 (06.15/06.18°/06.22°)
A Secret Love° (05.02/04.29/04.29)
Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts 2020 (92nd Academy Awards) (01.29/01.29/direct to VOD)

[4.5 stars]
Blow the Man Down° (03.14/03.20/03.20)
The Platform (El hoyo)° (03.24/03.21/03.21)
Fanny Lye Deliver’d (aka The Delivered) (10.12.19/01.15.21°/06.26)
Sound of Metal (01.23.21/12.04/04.12.21°)
Another Round (10.13/12.18°/TBA)
Extra Ordinary (03.26/03.06/09.13.19)
African Apocalypse (10.16/TBA/10.30°)
The Painter and the Thief (10.02/05.22/10.30)
Yellow Rose (10.09/10.09/12.28°)
Proxima (10.31/11.06°/07.31)
Coded Bias (11.07/11.11°/TBA)
Radioactive (02.24/07.24/06.15)
Family Romance, LLC.° (09.27.19/07.03/07.03)
Miss Juneteenth (06.12/06.19/09.25)
Saint Frances (03.04/02.28/07.24)
Bad Education° (09.24.19/04.25/07.13)
Little Girl (Petite Fille) (07.07/TBA/09.25°)
Corpus Christi (Boze Cialo) (03.10/02.19/10.18.19)
Misbehaviour (03.04/09.25/09.25)
The Vast of Night (05.31/05.29/05.29)
Spaceship Earth (05.05/05.08/07.10)
Oscar Nominated Documentary Shorts 2020 (92nd Academy Awards) (01.30/01.29/direct to VOD)

[4 stars]
The Personal History of David Copperfield (10.02.19/08.14/01.24)
Emma. (02.04/02.21/02.14)
Ammonite (10.17/11.13/03.26.21°)
Herself (10.05/12.30/TBA)
The Mole Agent (08.29/09.01/12.11)
Disclosure° (06.19/06.19/06.19)
All In: The Fight for Democracy (09.19/09.09/09.18°)
John Lewis: Good Trouble (07.11/07.03/10.20°)
She Dies Tomorrow (07.26/08.07/08.29)
Ordinary Love (12.03/02.14.20/12.06)
The Gentlemen (01.01/01.24/01.01)
Deerskin (09.20.19/05.01/TBA)
Lucky Grandma (09.18.19/05.22/11.09°)
Lovers Rock° (10.17/11.27/11.22)
African Violet (08.15/08.21°/TBA)
Faith Based (03.31/10.09/10.19°)
The Old Guard° (07.04/07.10/07.10)
My Darling Vivian (03.13/06.19/12.08°)
A Thousand Cuts (08.01/08.07°/TBA)
The Photograph (03.02/02.14/03.06)
The Invisible Man (02.28/02.28/02.28)
Buffaloed (02.15/02.14/TBA)
We Are the Radical Monarchs (07.18/07.20°/TBA)
Wonder Woman 1984 (12.28/12.25/12.16)
Totally Under Control (10.10/10.13/10.23)
The Audition (06.27/06.26°/TBA)
Antigone (11.14/11.13/TBA)
How to Build a Girl (05.04/05.08/07.24)
The Last Tree (06.01.19/06.26/09.27.19)
The Woman Who Loves Giraffes (12.31.19/01.10/TBA)
Lingua Franca (08.22/08.26/TBA)
True History of the Kelly Gang (03.10/04.24/02.28)
Capital in the Twenty-First Century (04.31/05.01/09.25)
Farewell Amor (10.06/12.11/12.18°)
Time (04.15.21/10.09/10.16°)
2040 (06.04/06.05/11.15.19)
Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts 2020 (92nd Academy Awards) (02.04/01.29/direct to VOD)

[3.5 stars]
Guest of Honour° (06.05/07.10/06.05)
Soul (01.23.21/12.25/12.25)
Enola Holmes° (09.27/09.23/09.23)
Love and Monsters (10.14/10.16/04.14.21°)
Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth (11.03.19/06.16°/08.30.19)
Happiest Season (11.25/11.25/11.26)
Us Kids (10.24/10.30/TBA)
To Kid or Not to Kid (06.16/11.15.19/06.12°)
The Lovebirds° (05.26/05.22/05.22)
The High Note (06.09/05.29/05.29)
South Mountain (05.09/05.05°/TBA)
One Man and His Shoes (10.13/TBA/10.26°)
Hope Gap (05.06/03.06/08.07)
Rewind (05.07/05.08°/TBA)
Becoming° (05.11/05.06/05.06)
Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl° (05.22/05.22/06.23.19)
Onward (02.29/03.06/03.06)
Olympic Dreams (02.12/02.14/04.20°)
Summer of Mesa° (05.21/05.22/05.22)
Greed (10.10.19/02.21/02.21)
Push (02.28/09.25°/02.28)
Tape (03.21/03.26/06.08°)
Bull° (04.25/05.01/08.04)
Trolls: World Tour (04.06/04.10/04.06)
The Flood (04.30/05.01°/06.21.19)
The Trip to Greece (05.19/05.22°/TV)
Irresistible (09.04/06.26/06.26)
A Simple Wedding (02.01/02.14/12.23.19°)
The Perfect Candidate (04.02/05.14.21/03.27)
The One and Only Ivan (08.22/08.21/08.21)
The Tunnel (Tunnelen)° (04.08.21/04.09.21/09.21)
The Call of the Wild (02.16/02.21/02.19)

yellow for maybe
worth seeing, but wait for DVD, unless your favorite actor is in it

[3 stars]
Relic (10.06/07.03/10.30)
Premature (02.20/02.21/direct to VOD)
Vivarium (03.27/03.27/03.28)
Luxor° (11.28/12.04/11.06)
Bill & Ted Face the Music (08.26/08.28/09.16)
I Am Woman (09.30/09.11/10.09)
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (01.02.21/10.16/10.16)
The Sunlit Night (07.13/07.17/11.16°)
Greenland (12.14/12.18/02.05.21)
Mulan (09.04/09.04/09.04)
Superintelligence° (04.13.21/11.26/12.11)
Planet of the Humans° (04.22/04.21/04.21)
Blackbird (09.18/09.18/09.21°)
Radium Girls (03.28/10.23/12.15°)
Lost Girls (03.07/03.13/direct to Netflix)
Les Misérables (01.23/01.10/09.04)
Like a Boss (02.13/01.10/02.21)
The Rescue (01.20/01.25/01.25)

[2.5 stars]
Judy & Punch (09.19.19/06.05/11.15.19)
Tesla (08.16/08.21/09.21°)
Possessor (10.16/10.02/11.27)
Pieces of a Woman (12.08/12.30/01.07.21°)
H Is for Happiness° (09.18/09.18/03.29.21)
The Midnight Sky° (12.23/12.23/12.23)
Greyhound (07.10/07.10/07.10)
Beanpole (01.18/01.29/TBA)
Sometimes Always Never (06.03.19/06.12/06.14.19)
Swallow (02.29/03.06/03.16°)
Military Wives (01.20/05.22/03.06)
Starting at Zero: Reimagining Education in America (08.14/08.14°/TBA)
The Grizzlies (08.08/07.31/TBA)

red for no
give it a miss

[2 stars]
The Way Back (aka Finding the Way Back) (11.23/03.06/07.10°)
The Informer (08.19.19/01.10/08.30.19)
Exit Plan (06.14/06.12/07.06°)
Who You Think I Am (Celle que vous croyez) (04.09/TBA/04.10)
Mr. Jones (06.20/06.19/02.07)
Speed of Life (12.28.19/01.01°/TBA)
12 Hour Shift (10.04/10.02/01.25.21°)
Spell (10.29/10.30/10.30)
Quezon’s Game (01.23/01.24/01.31)
Clementine° (05.07/05.08/02.08.21)
The Secret Garden (08.06/08.07/10.23)
The Witches (10.25/10.22/10.26)

[1.5 stars]
Tenet (12.30/09.03/08.26)
The Lodge (02.06/02.07/TBA)
Synchronic (04.07.21/10.23/01.29.21°)

[1 star]
Hunter Hunter (12.21/12.18/TBA)
Modern Persuasion° (12.12/12.18/02.08.21)
I’m Thinking of Ending Things (09.04/09.04/09.04)
The Other Lamb (04.03/04.03/10.16)
Fatman (12.10/11.13/12.07°)
Color Out of Space (09.30.19/01.24/02.28)
Sibyl (09.12/09.11°/TBA)
2067 (aka Chronical: 2067) (10.03/10.02/12.07°)
The Rhythm Section (01.28/01.31/01.31)
Endings, Beginnings (04.16/04.16/08.07°)
To the Stars (04.18/04.24/06.01°)
The Secret: Dare to Dream (08.02/07.31°/08.07°)
The Kindness of Strangers (02.14/02.14/03.29°)
Hillbilly Elegy° (04.24.21/11.24/11.24)
Antebellum (01.15.21/09.18/04.02.21°)

[.5 stars]
Fatale (01.22.21/12.18/TBA)
Wild Mountain Thyme (12.15/12.11/01.08.21)
Bloodshot (03.12/03.13/03.11)
The Christmas Chronicles 2° (11.27/11.25/11.25)

[0 stars]
The Turning (01.24/01.24/01.24)
Extraction° (04.25/04.24/04.24)
Songbird (12.16/12.11°/12.11)
The Hunt (03.11/03.13/03.11)
Inheritance° (05.18/05.22/07.06)
My Spy (06.23/06.26/03.13)
Scoob! (05.16/05.15/07.10)
Dolittle (01.25/01.17/02.07)
Artemis Fowl (06.14/06.12/06.12)

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