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The movies that mattered in 2021, while the transmission went off and the box office suffered




However, there were still films that mattered for a variety of reasons, some of which had as much to do with what they portrayed as the films themselves, in what is clearly an evolutionary period for film and cinema.

How much premium content is there? As a pretty funny sign, four films for this list that were shot in black and white were seriously considered: “Belfast,” “Go, Go,” “Passing,” and “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”

It’s also worth acknowledging some other omitted admirable films, starting with “Dune,” which played a little too visibly as “Part One”. feeling almost incomplete until “Part Two” sees the light. “King Richard” represented another upcoming call-up, with the strength of his performances (Will Smith in particular) elevating an otherwise quite conventional sporting framework.

What did the cut do? Let’s start with a group look at a genre that offered more quality than box office dollars:

‘West Side Story’, ‘Tick, Tick … Boom!’ i ‘In the Heights

'West Side Story'

These three films could have qualified individually, but the excitement of three outstanding musicals in one year was partially offset by their commercial struggles, with only “Tick, Tick,” Lin’s impressive directorial debut. -Manuel Miranda, no questions asked. on performance below the box office under which Netflix refused to provide this data.

However, these films deserve to be praised collectively in part to encourage more, with the understanding that more in the bat will inevitably involve artistic and / or financial interventions, in the “Annette” and “Dear Evan Hansen”.

‘Shang-Chi’ and the ‘Legend of the Ten RingsiCharm ‘

Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Simu Liu in 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.'
Disney credit with a double blow for inclusion by launching Marvel’s first Asian superhero vehicle and an animated musical (also with music by Miranda) about a Latin family whose matriarch survived a refugee experience to settle in Colombia. The two films were pretty good on their own, but together they make a stronger statement.

‘Coda’ i ‘Belfast’

Caitriona Balfe, Jamie Dornan, Judi Dench, Jude Hill and Lewis McAskie in 'Belfast.'
The short history of coming of age has been almost completely relegated to the shelves of independent films, but the History with the support of Apple TV + about the deaf parent hearing child did not make any false notes, an example of taking a very basic template and making it shine.
Ditto for Kenneth Branagh semi-autobiographical journey returns to Ireland devastated by the violence of his youth, in a film that shows the educational role of pop culture in the life of the young protagonist, while offering a timely illustration of the human toll associated with bigotry and division.

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’

Zendaya and Tom Holland in 'Spider-Man: No Way Home.'
A lot a nice sequel on its own, represented here mainly by the reassuring signal it sends about the ability to get people to the cinemas. That said, the film’s blockbuster figures also highlight the gap between these marquee franchises and a more serious dramatic fare: a party or (more often) starvation scene that has become a yawning abyss. during the pandemic.

‘The power of the dog’

Benedict Cumberbatch on 'The Power of the Dog'
Another title that benefited from Netflix sponsorship, allowing writer and director Jane Campion to adapt a story that is a burns very, very slowly, with one of the most persistent benefits of any film released this year. Even with a splendid cast led by Benedict Cumberbatch, it is the kind of movie that is making streaming more and more possible, and surely more people have seen it because of it.

‘Licorice Pizza’

Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim at 'Licorice Pizza.'

A light comedy by director Paul Thomas Anderson, reminiscent of life in the San Fernando Valley of LA during the 1970s, which validates a certain type of cinema driven by the author. In this sense, despite the problematic aspects of their central relationship, the film stood out alongside less accomplished examples of that in 2021, such as “The French Dispatch” by Wes Anderson and “Nightmare Alley” by William del Toro.

“Drive my car”

Hidetoshi Nishijima and Tôko Miura in 'Drive My Car.'
While Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s film arrives at three o’clock (so no points for the economy), it’s a fascinating story of loss and forgiveness, and is based on an early response, perhaps the best position to expand the representation of international cinema in the Oscars after The advance of “Parasite”. in 2020.


'Escape' uses animation in a documentary about a refugee story.

In a year full of fantastic documentaries, it’s hard to think of one that more agilely combines different genres than this Danish film, using the animation to tell the story of Amin Nawabi, who fled Afghanistan to Denmark and he saw little future as a young gay man growing up under an oppressive regime.

Although used in part to hide Amin’s identity, the animation adds a vivid and almost hypnotic quality to these memories, bringing the story together in a totally original way.

‘The summer of the soul’

Sly Stone as seen in the documentary 'Summer of Soul.'
Those of Questlove debut in management selected from newly discovered images of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival offered a fascinating window into that historic moment and how this period has resonated from half a century ago to the present. In a year of memorable music and film weddings, the combination rarely bore its most beautiful fruit.

‘Being the Ricardos’

Nicole Kidman in 'Being the Ricardos.'

A fun, enlightening look at Lucille Ball’s genius during an eventful week during the heyday of “I Love Lucy’s,” Aaron Sorkin’s film is portrayed here primarily as a rebuke to the premature crowd. who opposed the casting before watching the film. Argue the merits of the film all you want (and certainly the reaction has been mixed), but the performances of Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem as Lucy and Desi Arnaz serve as a reminder that it is usually prudent to turn off the voices of outrage coming out of social media.