Top 10 movies of 2020: From 1917 to Soul – Express.co.uk’s favourite films of the year

Soul: Jamie Foxx stars in trailer for Disney Pixar film

This year has been like no other for Film, with cinemas across the globe closing due to the pandemic and studios pushing their biggest blockbusters back to 2021. Nevertheless, the year began with a decent Oscars season before the first lockdown and there’s been some streaming highlights throughout. Now Express.co.uk has polled its Film writers for the Top 10 movies of 2020, to give our readers an aggregated list of our favourites from across the last year.

10. The Old Guard

This Netflix comic book adaptation was a big hit for the streaming service over the summer. Charlize Theron’s Andy led a team of immortal mercenaries bent on a revenge mission. The Old Guard’s stunning action sequences won over the critics in a welcome piece of pure entertainment that cheered us up midway through the year.

9. Parasite

The first foreign-language film to win the Best Picture Oscar, Parasite crossed the genres moving from black comedy con artistry to borderline horror. Bong Joon-ho’s thriller was praised for its commentary on class conflict and the less you know about the movie before seeing it, the better. Riding its popularity, a black and white version was released in the summer, while an HBO spin-off TV series in the works.

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8. Uncut Gems

When he’s not making critically-panned comedies, Adam Sandler really can act. Uncut Gems saw him star as Howard Ratner, a Jewish-American jeweller and gambling addict based in New York’s Diamond District, who is bent on retrieving a pricy gem to pay off his debts. The Safdie Brothers’ direction speeds the audience through a heart-pounding, intense ride of a Netflix movie – strap yourself in for this one.

7. Soul

Originally set for cinematic release earlier in the year, Disney decided to send Pixar’s latest straight to its streaming service on Christmas Day. Pete Docter’s Soul follows a jazz musician whose spirit is suddenly detached from his body in a near-death experience. Voiced by Jamie Foxx, Joe soon teams up with Tina Fey’s unassigned soul 22 from The Great Before, in a quest to return to Earth rather than accept death into The Great Beyond.

6. A Hidden Life

Terrence Malick’s little-seen masterpiece feels like an extraordinary spiritual successor to The Tree of Life. A Hidden Life follows the true story of Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer and devout Catholic who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II. Featuring some of the most beautifully shot cinematography in recent years, if sought out this historical epic will feed your soul.

5. The Devil All The Time

Based on Donald Ray Pollock’s debut novel, Netflix’s Southern gothic sported an all-star cast in Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson and more. The story is set over a couple of decades at the start of the post-War era, following connected characters holding secrets from their pasts. Tragic, violent and full of religious imagery, The Devil All The Time is not for the faint-hearted.

4. The Personal History of David Copperfield

Armando Iannucci’s eccentric adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic was a ray of sunshine before the first lockdown began. The Thick of It creator went for colour-blind casting which paid off spectacularly, allowing BAME actors including Dev Patel a chance to play period characters they previously wouldn’t have had the opportunity to portray in the past. The Personal History of David Copperfield is both hilarious and heartwarming.

3. Hamilton

Technically not a cinematic motion picture, but the filmed version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton performance is still a movie. Landing on Disney+ a full 18 months before it was supposed to release in movie theatres, the popular retelling of the Founding Father’s life is a wonderful watch, especially for fans who didn’t get to see him in the Broadway show. America’s story told by America today is one for the ages.

2. The Lighthouse

Robert Eggers’ psychological horror was a thrilling treat for cinephiles last Oscars season. Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson starred as two late 19th-century lighthouse keepers isolated at their post as they slowly descend into madness. Shot in black and white on a silent-era box-shaped aspect ratio, The Lighthouse is like no other film you’ve seen.

1. 1917

The votes are in and Express.co.uk’s favourite movie of 2020 was Sam Mendes’ exceptional World War I blockbuster, 1917. The Oscar-winning epic followed two British soldiers in a race against time to get a message to the front line ordering a doomed big push be called off to save hundreds of lives. Expertly shot by acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins, 1917’s camera-trickery is filmed as though the whole movie were a single take.

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