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.

Adjusted Score: 115418%
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 the night of Feb. 25, 1964, in Miami, Cassius Clay joins Jim Brown, Sam Cooke and Malcom X, and... [More]
Directed By: Regina King

Adjusted Score: 112478%
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 rise when trailblazing blues singer Ma Rainey and her band gather at a recording studio in Chicago in 1927.... [More]
Directed By: George C. Wolfe

Adjusted Score: 110232%
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


Minari (2020)

Adjusted Score: 113385%
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 Korean American family moves to an Arkansas farm in search of its own American dream. Amidst the challenges of... [More]
Directed By: Lee Isaac Chung


Nomadland (2020)

Adjusted Score: 120676%
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

Adjusted Score: 113861%
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: Offered a plea deal by the FBI, William O'Neal infiltrates the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party to gather... [More]
Directed By: Shaka King


Sound of Metal (2019)

Adjusted Score: 111617%
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: A drummer's life gets turned upside down when he suddenly loses his hearing.... [More]
Directed By: Darius Marder

Adjusted Score: 111100%
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


Da 5 Bloods (2020)

Adjusted Score: 108002%
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


Miss Juneteenth (2020)

Adjusted Score: 105869%
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]

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