Our 2021 Annual Report continues with our Top 25 Films list. As the year winds down, stay tuned for more awards, lists, and articles about the best music, film, and TV of 2021. You can find it all in one place here.
This year, much like last year, will always be remembered with the cloud of COVID hanging over it. However, while 2020 brought us a deadly virus, 2021 delivered a vaccine, making it possible for people to feel safer going to the movies. Nicole Kidman’s not wrong about how meaningful and powerful it is to sit in a theater when the lights go down, but many of this year’s best viewing experiences were just as impactful at home.
It was a wild year when it came to film: Much of what we watched was either produced under pandemic conditions or held over from a pre-pandemic time. The long-dormant musical genre lurched forth with both reimaginings of the classics as well as original works. There was Bo Burnham: Inside, which bridged the gap between film, television, music, and comedy to be one of the defining pieces of entertainment of the year. But it was also just one of many personal stories told by filmmakers now ready to look at their lives and find resonance for today.
The films selected by the Consequence staff for this list encompass the full range of the year’s offerings, from tiny Zoom-based dramas to epic-scale sci-fi and fantasy. Even aesthetically, these picks include gaudy Floridian neon, a 1920s Harlem rendered in stark black-and-white, and the echoing expanse of the American West. From the past, to the present, to the future, from the most remote parts of the world to the most bustling cities, it’s incredible how much one year in film can contain.
In 2021, we were blessed by that true sort of diversity, and the escapes offered by it.
— Liz Shannon Miller
Senior Entertainment Editor