Hollywood Reporter Critics Pick the Best Films of 2021

The shuffling back to multiplex channels predicted in early 2021 has not entirely materialized, and the post-pandemic landscape for theatrical releases remains an uncertain blur, with the emergence of Omicron bodies are not capable of increasing speed.

However, moving away from our TVs and laptops and returning to actual movie screenings provided an invigorating jolt to weary film critics, as did the return of the film. Cannes, returns after a year of limbo with one of its strongest editions in recent memory.

Likewise, the fall festival trails in Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York, all of which distribute their jewelry, show that the anxiety pervading the crew over the past 18 months has not affected affect creativity. All but one of my Top 10 and one Honored Mention came from those festivals, or from Sundance and Berlin earlier in the year.

There are several other people I would love to include that have been narrowly moved – among them Jonas Carpignano A ChiaraPaul Schrader’s Card counting machineRobert Machoian’s The death of two loversRose Glass’ Saint MaudBy Edgar Wright The Sparks BrothersEmma Seligman’s Shiva BabyOliver Hermanus’ MoffieSian Heder CODA and Michael Sarnoski’s haunting debut, Pigled by Nicolas Cage, who had his best performance in years.

I was paired with one of the year’s most widely acclaimed critics, Paul Thomas Anderson Licorice Pizza, which feels more like a chain of twists and turns than an interconnected story. But its reminiscent feel of a place and vibe – the San Fernando Valley in the early ’70s – and the compelling gift of Alana Haim, who holds the screen with ease in her early cinematic role. Her first, provided many things to enjoy.

In terms of studio releases, a weak villain and a slow mid-section stopped There’s no time to die from the leading Bond role, but the action thriller gathered breath in its emotional ending, ending Daniel Craig’s 007 tenure with a powerful salute.

While we’ve all grumbled about superhero movie world domination, I found a lot of fun with my surprise in this year’s three MCU specials – Black Widow, the eternal and especially the delightful sight of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Read on for my picks for best movie of the year, followed by the picks of stellar colleagues Jon Frosch, Lovia Gyarkye and Sheri Linden. – DAVID ROONEY

first. Drive my car
In Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s quietly ravishing masterpiece based on a short story by Haruki Murakami, the death of his wife leaves an experimental theater director – played by Hidetoshi Nishijima with a stoicism that conceals complex depth – to process his pain through art with multilingual staging of Uncle Vanya. But it is in the deepening relationship he forms with a protected young woman appointed as his chauffeur, and that a shared sense of loss emerges in his rhythmic daily commutes. them in his beloved red Saab, whose symphonic exploration of the mysteries of human connection reveals its shimmering truth about forgiveness.

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2. The power of the dog
Jane Campion’s first feature after 12 years was her departure from her forensic studies of female psychology, instead delving into equal visions of corrosive masculinity and repressed sexuality. Unlike Big Sky Western, this 1967 adaptation of Thomas Savage’s novel uses Benedict Cumberbatch as rancher in rugged Montana Phil Burbank and Jesse Plemons as his genteel brother. George, who upsets the equilibrium in the family when he brings home his fragile wife Rose, is played by Kirsten Dunst with stinging flair. Rose falls prey to Phil’s cruel games, but her sensitive son Peter, in a knockout performance from Kodi Smit-McPhee, defies expectations by shifting the balance. power, turning the chamber drama into a startlingly weird revenge thriller.

3. World’s ugliest person
An important realization for me while watching Joachim Trier’s melancholy account of the mess we create in our lives as we grope for ourselves is how we rarely get a comedy-romantic where the abrasive edges aren’t honed by the protagonist. Played by the brilliant Renate Reinsve with a chic look and an inner turmoil, Julie shows no remorse for her mistakes as she engages in a skirmish between two men, Anders’ successful older cartoonist. Danielsen Lie and bartender Herbert Nordrum are pleased. The pressing nature of time haunts Julie, but Trier deftly widens the lens as she confronts unresolved issues from her past and navigates broken sadness to glimpse a future. that she can finally own her choice.

4. Parallel mothers
Pedro Almodóvar is one of the most generous of contemporary directors, taking on lovable roles for an informal office company of which Penélope Cruz, like Antonio Banderas, is a core member. And as he did with Banderas in Pain and glory, he convinces Cruz of the pinnacle of his career in this sumptuous melodious drama about the tangled knots of past and present. She plays Janis, a photographer who delves into a harrowing family history when she becomes pregnant with a child with an archaeologist overseeing her case; A friendship formed in midwifery with a young mother adds another layer of turbulent mystery.

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5. Daughter is gone
Maggie Gyllenhaal’s solid debut as writer-director transports Elena Ferrante’s novel to a Greek island, where Leda, a divorced scholar of Olivia Colman, seems to identify a motherhood companion during Dakota Johnson’s visit to America. Offering an exploratory, often exploratory perspective on its reflections on female relationships, motherhood, and women’s struggle to create a professional space outside of it, Leda’s dark dream of a movie that delves into the dark interior through another astonishing performance by Colman, is balanced out in flashbacks by Jessie Buckley playing the character in her younger years. that.

6. Souvenirs: Part II
A rare sequel that rearranges and expands on the original in ways that unravel, Joanna Hogg’s autobiography portrays a young filmmaker trying to bounce back from a toxic relationship that ended. in tragedy, like Drive my car, a catalytic discovery of the healing power of art. Honor Swinton Byrne once again brings the emotional transparency and rawness beneath the opulent reserve of the director’s alter ego as she traverses the difficult line between technique and realism, insecurities and creative visions.

7. West story
Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner reinterpret the 1961 classic that combines the Technicolor excitement of large-scale classical musicals with a clear contemporary awareness of the complexities of racial intolerance. Ethnicity and the importance of dignified expression. The Puerto Rican characters in this Manhattan gang clash are given dimensions they’ve been lacking before, but then everything about this breathtaking remake is bursting with new life, including tragic romance.

8. Small Maman
Many movies have crossed the two-hour mark this year, some less legitimate than others. Céline Sciamma follows her international foray, Portrait of a woman on fire, with this perfectly compact curio, packed into 73 minutes that many filmmakers can explore at any length. The time-matrix magic of a girl who first experiences loss and reunites with her biological mother as a child in the woods seems counterintuitive to Sciamma’s lame naturalism. But the dream logic of childhood games is translated here into tangible everyday terms, finding wonder in simplicity.

9. Pass
Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga bring to the heart of the vibrating emotional heart of writer-director Rebecca Hall’s first delicate adaptation of Harlem Renaissance author Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel about two black women on either side. “color boundary”. The evocative atmosphere of New York’s Jazz Age – rendered in richly textured black and white – ripples with the constant threat of people being unmasked in a thoughtful consideration. unique and moving identities in relation to race, gender, class, and sexuality.

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ten. Macbeth’s Tragedy
Joel Coen’s take on the Scottish play is furious and fleeting, heartbreaking and elemental, instantly taking its place among Shakespeare’s great screen adaptations, with its full chiaroscuro visuals. fascination evokes Dreyer. As the murderous Scots-turned-king and the manipulative wife fueling his thirst for power, Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand lead a sublime population that embodies not only ruthless ambition but also a life of love. Panic race against time to secure their place in history. And what Kathryn Hunter, playing all three witches, achieves with her diminutive physique and harsh husky voice is phenomenal.

Honorable mention: Numbe compartmentr 6, Escape, Green Knight, The hand of God, I take you with me, Identifying characteristics, Spencer, Summer of the soul, The Velvet Underground, Zola

first. The power of the dog
2. Drive my car
3. West story
4. Souvenirs: Part II
6. Spencer
7. Annette
8. Daughter is gone
9. Bergman Island
ten. Summer of the soul

Honorable mention: Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Number of compartments 6, French Dispatch, Moffie, Parallel mothers, Pass, Saint Maud, A Son (Un fils), Sublet, Summer of 85

first. Drive my car
2. The power of the dog
3. Faya Dayi
4. Pass
5. Summer of the soul
6. Parallel mothers
7. Ailey
8. Human
9. Spencer
ten. Green Knight

Honorable mention: Succession, Jockey, Daughter is gone, Plan B, Prayer for the Stolen, Progress, 7 prisoners, Shiva Baby, Sample, Zola

first. Summer of the soul
2. The power of the dog
3. Drive my car
4. Pass
5. Number of compartments 6
6. Daughter is gone
7. West story
8. Every light, everywhere
9. He is my man
ten. Human

Honorable mention: Atlantis, Azor, Cyrano, Haunting dream, Jockey, The death of two lovers, Sheep, Small Maman, Progress, What do we see when we look up at the sky?

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