20 Best Films Of 2021

The finest works of cinema from the past year.

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Focus Features

There's no denying that 2020 was one of the strangest and most unexpected years for cinema ever - and really the world at large.

With the theatrical and streaming landscapes undergoing major overhauls and countless blockbusters moving back to 2021 for obvious reasons, there was clear hope that this past year would mark the beginnings of a major resurgence for the art form.

And 2021 has certainly seen encouraging gains for tentpole cinema, even if mid-budget and adult-skewing genre films have unfortunately continued to struggle in the theatrical space.

The cinema's loss is streaming's gain, though, as non-blockbuster films have basically been the bread and butter of services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+.

The models of moviemaking and distribution will continue to shift well into 2022 and beyond, but aside from the business side of the art form, 2021 sure was a great year for movies.

With things inching a little closer to "normal" - whatever that means now anyway - the past 12 months in cinema served up a well-rounded platter of quality, big-budget blockbuster films, rewarding "prestige" fare, stunningly inventive genre flicks, and low-key smash hits nobody saw coming.

And so, these are the 20 best movies from 2021...

20. Titane

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Julia Ducournau followed up her acclaimed cannibal horror film Raw with one of the most bizarre yet slyly affecting releases of the entire year, and one which unexpectedly won the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Titane centers around Alexia (Agathe Rousselle), a serial killer who, following a brutal car accident in her youth, exhibits an attraction to cars which, without giving anything away, leads to a most unexpected outcome.

Titane is certainly a shocking and materially strange film, but Ducournau clearly has more on her mind than merely provoking: at its core this is a tale about family and acceptance that's deceptively moving in all the right ways.

Rousselle gives a fantastic, star-making performance in the lead role, while Ducournau cements herself as one of the boldest and most interesting filmmakers working today.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.