Photo from Variety

2021 was definitely a busy year for movies. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to see any of the Foreign Language films currently in Oscar contention like Parallel Mothers, Drive My Car, The Worst Person in the World, or Petite Maman.

Honorable mentions go to Spencer, Passing, Luca, Shiva Baby, and Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It.

10. tick, tick…BOOM!

Photo from The Guardian

I know the musical “Rent but was not familiar with the creator behind it. Here you get a glimpse into the life and imagination of a struggling artist. This is very much Andrew Garfield’s movie and he gives a memorable performance worthy of an Oscar. Lin-Manuel Miranda also impresses in his directional debut.

9. Nightmare Alley

Nightmare Alley is a different Guillermo del Toro film but in a good way. Bradley Cooper managed to totally enrapture me here and he gives a fantastic performance. Nightmare Alley has a very cool setting and interesting story at its core that really pays off. It is also a film that I haven’t been able to forget about.

8. Spider-Man: No Way Home

No Way Home just proves to be a great time at the theaters. While it may sometimes feel like there’s too much fan service here, I cannot deny that those moments got to me. There is also an emotional story at the center of this film that I wasn’t expecting but really worked.

7. CODA

Photo from The Hollywood Reporter

CODA is a coming-of-age tale about a young teen who is the only non-deaf person in her family. She struggles to choose whether to pursue music and singing or to stay home with her family after high school. Sure, the film can be cliché, but overall it is just a nice, emotional, feel-good movie.

6. The Mitchells vs The Machines

I feel that The Michells vs The Machines was forgotten as the year continued on, but I still consider it to be the best animated film of the year. This film is a lot of fun, and I can definitely relate to the film nerd protagonist, Katie. It also has the added bonus of having a distinct animation style.

5. Dune

I feel that more blockbusters should aspire to be more like Dune. Dune is expertly directed, has great performances, and inspires a sense of wonder and awe. It utilizes a lot of practical effects and makes an effort to combine those practical effects with CGI to make the environment feel more real. I’m so ready for Dune Part 2.

4. Minari

Minari centers on an immigrant family who move to Arkansas. They struggle to adapt to farm life which causes tension between the parents. Minari is a beautiful and relatable drama with memorable characters at its core, especially the little boy, David, and his grandmother. The film also analyzes the different cultures and ways of life in Korea vs in America.

3. Bo Burnham: Inside

Photo from Variety

Some will not consider Inside to be a film as it is technically a comedy special. But I think this is a film as it has a 90 minute run-time along with a narrative and themes. Bo Burnham is fantastic here as he crafts what it is like to be stuck inside during a pandemic. Inside is filled with funny, catchy songs, but also is not afraid to explore the anxieties and hopelessness that self-reflection and the state of society today can cause.

2. Mass

Mass is a heartwrenching film to watch but it is just completely masterful. It is a small film that consists of four people talking in a room. But the conversation at hand hits you like a gut punch. You can’t tear your eyes away from the amazing performances on screen.

1. C’mon C’mon

C’mon C’mon is another relatable family drama with amazing performances. This film to me just feels so much like a breath of fresh air. It feels real. It feels like I know these people. It captures how lost and scared you can feel sometimes, but it also gives you hope that everything will turn out okay in the end.

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