Best-Reviewed Dramas 2020

Regina King’s directorial debut, One Night in Miami, was the best drama of the year according to the critics, and notably five of the films in the top 10 were directed by women, including Best Picture frontrunner Nomadland and Channing Godfrey Peoples’ Miss Juneteenth. This is not to say the list is just a great moment for representation (though it is): Every entry features thrilling, harrowing, uplifting, and sometimes tragic tales that have moved critics and audiences. From the grief and revenge of Promising Young Woman and the inspiring determination of Daniel Kaluuya as Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah to the quiet contemplation of Fern in Nomadland, no aspect of the human condition is left unexplored.

The order of the rank below reflects the Adjusted Score as of February 28, 2021. Scores might change over time.

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 116534%
Critics Consensus: A hauntingly powerful reflection on larger-than-life figures, One Night in Miami finds Regina King in command of her craft in her feature directorial debut.
Synopsis: On one incredible night in 1964, four icons of sports, music, and activism gathered to celebrate one of the biggest... [More]
Directed By: Regina King

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 119309%
Critics Consensus: Framed by a pair of powerhouse performances, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom pays affectionate tribute to a blues legend -- and Black culture at large.
Synopsis: Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians... [More]
Directed By: George C. Wolfe

#3
Adjusted Score: 115070%
Critics Consensus: Powerfully acted and directed, Never Rarely Sometimes Always reaffirms writer-director Eliza Hittman as a filmmaker of uncommon sensitivity and grace.
Synopsis: Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support, Autumn and her cousin, Skylar, travel across state lines... [More]
Directed By: Eliza Hittman

#4

Minari (2020)
98%

#4
Adjusted Score: 114098%
Critics Consensus: Led by arresting performances from Steven Yeun and Yeri Han, Minari offers an intimate and heart-wrenching portrait of family and assimilation in 1980s America.
Synopsis: A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas... [More]
Directed By: Lee Isaac Chung

#5

Nomadland (2020)
93%

#5
Adjusted Score: 116294%
Critics Consensus: A poetic character study on the forgotten and downtrodden, Nomadland beautifully captures the restlessness left in the wake of the Great Recession.
Synopsis: A woman embarks on a journey through the American West after losing everything during the recession.... [More]
Directed By: Chloé Zhao

#6
Adjusted Score: 114929%
Critics Consensus: An electrifying dramatization of historical events, Judas and the Black Messiah is a forceful condemnation of racial injustice -- and a major triumph for its director and stars.
Synopsis: FBI informant William O'Neal infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther Party and is tasked with keeping tabs on their charismatic leader,... [More]
Directed By: Shaka King

#7

Sound of Metal (2019)
97%

#7
Adjusted Score: 117033%
Critics Consensus: An evocative look at the experiences of the deaf community, Sound of Metal is brought to life by Riz Ahmed's passionate performance.
Synopsis: During a series of adrenaline-fueled one-night gigs, itinerant punk-metal drummer Ruben (Riz Ahmed) begins to experience intermittent hearing loss. When... [More]
Directed By: Darius Marder

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 120357%
Critics Consensus: A boldly provocative, timely thriller, Promising Young Woman is an auspicious feature debut for writer-director Emerald Fennell -- and a career highlight for Carey Mulligan.
Synopsis: Nothing in Cassie's life is what it appears to be -- she's wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning, and she's living a... [More]
Directed By: Emerald Fennell

#9

Da 5 Bloods (2020)
92%

#9
Adjusted Score: 113460%
Critics Consensus: Fierce energy and ambition course through Da 5 Bloods, coming together to fuel one of Spike Lee's most urgent and impactful films.
Synopsis: Four African American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#10

Miss Juneteenth (2020)
99%

#10
Adjusted Score: 109389%
Critics Consensus: Like a pageant winner walking across the stage, Miss Juneteenth follows a familiar path -- but does so with charm and grace.
Synopsis: A former beauty queen and single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the "Miss Juneteenth" pageant.... [More]