First world war thriller directed by Sam Mendes about a perilous mission in the trenches, conceived and filmed as a “one shot” drama.

What we said: “An amazingly audacious film; as exciting as a heist movie, disturbing as a sci-fi nightmare.” Read the full review.

Uncut Gems

Adam Sandler stars in the Safdie brothers’ hyperactive drama about a jewellery dealer in seemingly permanent trouble.

What we said: “A sensationally good New York crime drama … rocket-fuelled with greed and crack-fumed with fear.” Read the full review.

Be Natural

Documentary about pioneering French director Alice Guy-Blaché, generally considered to be the first woman to direct a film, in 1896.

What we said: “A hectic, garrulous, fascinating documentary [that] recovers the story of French film-maker Alice Guy-Blaché … a hugely important pioneer of early cinema.” Read the full review.

Alexa Demie and Kelvin Harrison Jr in Waves.
Audacious … Alexa Demie and Kelvin Harrison Jr in Waves. Photograph: A24/AP


Miami-set film about an African American family, centring on a high-school wrestling star and his quiet sister.

What we said: “Texan film-maker Trey Edward Shults – still just 31 – steps up his already impressive game with this vehemently acted and formally audacious drama.” Read the full review.

Weathering With You

Your Name director Makoto Shinkai returns with another highly wrought fable of young love, here featuring a teenage runaway who falls in love with a “sun girl” – a kid who can change the weather.

What we said: “It’s thrillingly beautiful: Tokyo is animated in hyperreal intricacy, every dazzling detail dialled up to 11.” Read the full review.

The Personal History of David Copperfield

Armando Iannucci’s Dickens adaptation starring Dev Patel, with adventurous colour-blind casting reinvigorating the material.

What we said: “Everything rattles and zings like a pinball machine, and it’s a bracing, entertaining, richly satisfying experience.” Read the full review.

Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood.
‘Hypnotically watchable’ … Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood. Photograph: Lacey Terrell/Pacific Coast News/Avalon

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

Biopic of Fred Rogers, mainstay of US children’s TV for decades, with Tom Hanks as the genial presenter.

What we said: “Such is the power of Hanks’s crinkly-eyed impersonation, and the amount of reputation capital he himself brings to the film, that I spent quite a lot of this hypnotically watchable film covertly swallowing down a lump in my throat.” Read the full review.

Talking About Trees

Gentle documentary about four veteran Sudanese film-makers who are attempting to set up a cinema in Khartoum.

What we said: “A rather lovely poetic portrait of male friendship, cinephilic obsession and elegant dignity.” Read the full review.

The Lighthouse

Off-the-wall horror from The Witch’s Robert Eggers, with Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as lighthouse keepers suffering in the isolation.

What we said: “Very few films can make you scared and excited at the same time. Just like the lighthouse beam, this is dazzling and dangerous.” Read the full review.

‘Sinew and strength’ … Mr Jones starring James Norton.
‘Sinew and strength’ … Mr Jones starring James Norton. Photograph: Allstar/Film Produkcja

Mr Jones

Biopic of Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, who was the first western writer to report on the Soviet famines of the early 1930s.

What we said: “Agnieszka Holland has a real story to tell – a story that isn’t told enough – and a single, compelling and likable character with which to tell it. It’s a picture with sinew and strength.” Read the full review.


Palme d’Or winning horror-satire from Bong Joon-ho about a poor family who infiltrates the home and lives of a much richer one.

What we said: “A horribly fascinating film, brilliantly written, superbly furnished and designed, with a glorious ensemble cast put to work in an elegantly plotted nightmare.” Read the full review.

Dark Waters

Corporate thriller with Mark Ruffalo as a crusading lawyer who leads legal action against his own company when he realises locals are being poisoned by chemicals.

What we said: “It plays out in the absorbing classic style, featuring the principled lawyer taking on the corporate bad guys on behalf of ordinary folks.” Read the full review.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Eighteenth-century erotic drama about a portrait artist commissioned to paint the picture of a bride-to-be … and falls in love with her subject.

What we said: “A superbly elegant, enigmatic drama that compels a shiver of aesthetic pleasure and fear.” Read the full review.

True History of the Kelly Gang.
Brutal and stark … True History of the Kelly Gang. Photograph: PR

True History of the Kelly Gang

Adaptation of Peter Carey’s award-winning novel about the Australian folk hero, with George MacKay as the bushranger who is tracked down by the authorities.

What we said: “Justin Kurzel detonates a punk power-chord of defiance and anarchy with this brutally violent and unflinchingly stark tale that unfolds in a scorched, alien-looking landscape.” Read the full review.

Sulphur and White

Biopic of NSPCC campaigner David Tait, outlining the abuse he suffered as a child and how he embarks on a high-flying City career.

What we said: “Where screenwriter Susie Farrell and director Julian Jarrold succeed is in constantly refusing an easy moment of empathy or relatability for David, even at the moment of crisis that starts the drama.” Read the full review.

Vitalina Varela

Fable from Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa about a female immigrant from Cape Verde who has trekked to Lisbon to try and track down her vanished husband.

What we said: “This film demands a great deal of attention … There is an immersive deep-seriousness in Costa’s otherworldly artistry.” Read the full review.

The Perfect Candidate
‘Assured and watchable’ … The Perfect Candidate Photograph: PR

The Perfect Candidate

Pioneering Saudi director Haifaa al-Mansour returns with a drama about a female doctor whose bid for public office exposes the country’s sexism and cynicism.

What we said: “An assured and watchable … political drama about a woman who runs for office quasi-accidentally, in the time-honoured style, and then finds her campaign gaining an unexpected momentum. Read the full review.


Japanese experimental drama involving a confession of murder and the tensions caused when two female friends reconnect in later life.

What we said: “With eerie relevance it speaks to the spirit of our times, featuring sparsely populated or empty streets, characters who always stay a few feet apart, don’t touch and rarely speak face-to-face, and in any case only with a weird dislocation and alienation.” Read the full review.

And Then We Danced

Dance drama from Georgia, in which two male dancers forge a connection but must keep it a secret in the hyper-masculine world they occupy.

What we said: “The dance scenes are very satisfying – I could have watched them for hours on end … the physicality of this picture is exciting.” Read the full review.


Brazilian freakout parable about a town that appears to have disappeared from the map and is under threat from a group of heavily armed tourists.

What we said: “Set deep in the north-eastern Sertão – the Brazilian outback – it mashes up many themes and influences, but is chiefly a scream of satirical defiance against new president Jair Bolsonaro.” Read the full review.

Keira Knightley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Misbehaviour.
Keira Knightley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Misbehaviour. Photograph: Parisa Taghizadeh/PA


Keira Knightley stars in a real-life drama about feminist protestors at the 1970 Miss World contest.

What we said: “The objectification of women’s bodies is hardly a thing of the past, but this film brings us back to the bizarre way in which this contest turned it into a quasi-polite ritual, with rosettes on the hips and even – unbelievably – numbered discs on the wrists.” Read the full review.

The Truth

Palme d’Or winner Hirokazu Kore-eda makes his French language debut with a drama starring Catherine Deneuve as a film star who has just published her (controversial) memoirs, and Juliette Binoche as her daughter.

What we said: “The Truth starts as a droll tale but then morphs into something else, something stranger and more elusive, something with a hint of fairytale magic realism.” Read the full review.


Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots are new parents trapped in identikit suburbia in a creepy horror-satire directed by Lorcan Finnegan.

What we said: “A lab-rat experiment of a film with flat, facetious humour and a single insidious joke maintained and developed with monomaniacal intensity.” Read the full review.

Who You Think I Am

Juliette Binoche plays a woman who invents a fake online identity after being dumped by her younger boyfriend.

What we said: “The social-distancing erotic melodrama is the genre we didn’t know we needed. But now we’ve got it, in the form of this very enjoyable picture starring Juliette Binoche.” Read the full review.

Why Don’t You Just Die!
A Venus flytrap of a film ... Why Don’t You Just Die! Photograph: film company handout

Why Don’t You Just Die!

Smart, gory thriller about a police officer whose home is invaded by a man claiming to be his daughter’s boyfriend – and who is armed with a claw hammer.

What we said: “A macabre and ultraviolent Venus flytrap of a film from Russia that snaps shut with a steely clang.” Read the full review.

Beastie Boys Story

Spike Jonze-directed documentary telling the story of the hip-hop trio, with whom he made a string of celebrated music videos.

What we said: “An engaging, oddly moving film from Jonze: a record of the live stage show he devised at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York, in tribute to white hip-hop stars and tongue-in-cheek party-libertarian activists the Beastie Boys.” Read the full review.

Circus of Books

Eye-opening film about the conservative husband-and-wife who operated a celebrated gay bookshop in Los Angeles in the 1980s.

What we said: “A documentary with an absorbing and unexpectedly complicated story to tell, whose paradoxes and sadnesses are not entirely resolved by the end.” Read the full review.

… Moffie.
‘Fiercely engaged’ … Moffie. Photograph: Daniel Rutland Manners


Oliver Hermanus directs a study of two male soldiers in the South African army who are forced to hide their relationship in the face of the brutal machismo of the era.

What we said: “A fiercely engaged, complex drama of sexual identity and suppressed yearning in apartheid-era South Africa – a film with a humid intensity.” Read the full review.

DAU. Natasha

The first of a dozen or so features carved out of the full-immersion DAU project, describing the story of a woman running the canteen in a Soviet research institute.

What we said: “This film cannot simply be judged on its own terms, but as part of a gigantic (but mostly unseen and perhaps unseeable) whole: a colossal multimedia art installation project 15 years in the making that has become legend.” Read the full review.

The Assistant

Drama starring Julia Garner as the assistant to a New York film mogul, who has to cope with numerous humiliations and micro-aggressions as she becomes an enabler for his abuse.

What we said: “A brilliant study of what day-by-day, moment-by-moment abuse looks like.” Read the full review.

Guardian film

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