Alex Howard's Top 10 Films of 2020

My top 10 films of 2020 has a great mixture of heart-wrenchers an heart-warmers. I highly recommend all of these films. This year the Oscars cut-off Is February 28th so you are bound to see some of these talked about for months to come through awards season. Some of these I had the opportunity to see at festivals before their wide release so I will indicate where you can watch them all.

10. The Reason I Jump Idir. Jerry Rothwell) This documentary is based on the book of the same name. It beautifully explores the world and life of people with non-speaking autism. I learned a lot about autism through this documentary and will never see autism the same again. The documentary will hopefully bring more awareness to the truths about autism as well as the disability community as a whole. Release date: January 8, 2021

9. Never Rarely SOmetimes Always (dir. Eliza Hittman) This film is about a teenager who travels with her cousin to New York to get an abortion. This film is a tough watch as it portrays the struggle the girls go through to get an abortion. This small, independent film, is very emotional and features great performances by it’s stars, Talia Ryder and Sidney Flanigan. Streaming now on HBO Max

8. Swallow (dir. Carlo Mirabella-Davis) Another tough watch, Swallow is a bout a newly pregnant woman who begins to be compelled to swallow various items around her home. Her compulsion only gets worse as her husband and his family try to control her more and more. This film is intense and visceral. It demonstrates the harm of an unhappy, abusive relationship and the lengths someone may go to get out. The film had me on the edge of my seat and cringing in all the right places. Currently streaming on ShowtimeAnytime

7. Onward (Dan Scanlon) This Disney/Pixar film is about two elven brothers (voiced by Chris Pratt and Tom Holland) who embark on a quest to bring their father back to life for one day. Obviously this film is about the bond between father and son but it is also about the bond between brothers. It has the perfect ending and may even make you shed a tear. This family themed Pixar movie is fantastic for everyone of all ages to enjoy. Now streaming on DIsney+

6. Pieces of a Woman (dir. Kornell Mundruczo) This heart-breaking film is about a couple dealing with the death of their child during childbirth. Vanessa Kirby gives an unbelievable performance as a grieving mother and is one of my favorite performances of 2020. The cinematography is also beautiful as most of the scenes take place in one long take. A powerful, unforgettable film about grief and loss. Streaming on Netflix January 7, 2021.

Check out all of my reviews from TIFF 2020 including more on Pieces of a WOman here:

5. Sound of Metal (dir. Darius Marder) This film about a drummer going deaf really struck a chord with me. The movie is about accepting your disability as well as yourself, something I continue to struggle with. Riz Ahmed gives an outstanding performance as we witness his character, Ruben, struggle to accept and adapt to his deafness. A powerful film that will speak to everyone, but especially those with disabilities. Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Check out my full review with RespectAbility here:

4. Promising Young Woman (dir. Emerald Fenell) This film does a great job of taking the issue of rape and sexual assault and putting it front and center. It gives the issue perspective and forces you to stare its consequences in the face. As a man, watching this film was probably powerful in a different way. Most of the men in the movie are obviously portrayed in a bad light, but for a good reason. Most of those men also claim to be “nice guys”, like I do. The film forces men to not only check themselves but their friends as well. Promising Young Woman is not only an outstanding thriller, but it’s message is important, especially in our present society. One of the best endings of the year! A fantastic performance from Carey Mulligan!! Now playing in theaters.

See my full review from mxdwn here:,powerful%20in%20a%20different%20way.

3. Palm Springs (dir. Max Barbakow) This is one of the funnest films of the year. It makes you think, feel and laugh all at the same time. The movie is about two people (Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti) who get stuck in a time loop at a wedding. If you think you’ve seen this plot done too many times, you’ve never seen it done this way. This movie is an absolute joy. Now streaming on Hulu.

2. Soul (dir. Pete Doctor) This masterful animated feature from Pixar goes philosophical, tackling the afterlife and beyond. It really makes you think about your purpose, what drives you and has a great message about just enjoying life, I have been striving to live in the moment myself and this film hammers that message home beautifully. A family film with surprisingly complex emotions and themes that may also make you cry. Now streaming on Disney+.

1. The Invisible Man (Leigh Whannell) This film exceeded my expectations, which were already high going in. Whannell tackles issues of domestic abuse, touches on the #MeToo movement and puts the Universal monster movie reboots back on track. He makes a beautiful, mind-bending horror film that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s stellar and makes me look forward to anything and everything he will do in the future including his upcoming Wolfman project. This is the way modern horror should be done! Now streaming on HBO Max.

Check out my full review here:

Honorable Mentions: The Devil All the Time (Netflix), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix), Run. (hulu), Bad Education (HBO Max), The King of Staten Island (HBO Max),The Dissident

Still need to See: One Night in Miami, The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Trial of the Chicago 7, Small Axe

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