Best-Reviewed Movies 2020: Limited Release

Some will quibble that Portrait Of A Lady On Fire is even on this list, given the dent it made in last year’s awards season. But the film was officially released – after showing in just a handful of cinemas in 2019 to qualify for the Oscars – February 14, 2020, in the U.S. And so Céline Sciamma’s gorgeous romance takes out Best Limited Release and tops a formidable list of indie titles. Several of the titles focus on families, and specifically the bond between parents and their kids, and what happens when those bonds come under strain (Minari, Miss Juneteenth, The Father, and Driveways), while the category also includes three stellar documentaries, including the ultra-timely 76 Days, which places viewers in a Wuhan hospital in the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

#1
Adjusted Score: 113979%
Critics Consensus: A singularly rich period piece, Portrait of a Lady on Fire finds stirring, thought-provoking drama within a powerfully acted romance.
Synopsis: In 1770 the young daughter of a French countess develops a mutual attraction to the female artist commissioned to paint... [More]
Directed By: Céline Sciamma

#2
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

#3

Minari (2020)
98%

#3
Adjusted Score: 113180%
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

#4

Miss Juneteenth (2020)
99%

#4
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]

#5

76 Days (2020)
100%

#5
Adjusted Score: 104436%
Critics Consensus: A raw, fly-on-the-wall recounting of hospital life in Wuhan in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, 76 Days is an engrossing and potent documentary - and a surprisingly comforting portrait of humanity.
Synopsis: Health care workers and patients combat the COVID-19 outbreak during a lockdown in Wuhan, China.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Hao Wu, Weixi Chen

#6

The Father (2020)
98%

#6
Adjusted Score: 114627%
Critics Consensus: Led by stellar performances and artfully helmed by writer-director Florian Zeller, The Father presents a devastatingly empathetic portrayal of dementia.
Synopsis: A man refuses assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances,... [More]
Directed By: Florian Zeller

#7

Collective (2019)
99%

#7
Adjusted Score: 105385%
Critics Consensus: Collective presents a darkly effective overview of the cycle of political corruption and public cynicism that takes hold when government abrogates its responsibility to the people.
Synopsis: Journalists uncover health care fraud in the wake of a deadly nightclub fire in Bucharest, Romania, in 2015.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Alexander Nanau

#8

MLK/FBI (2020)
99%

#8
Adjusted Score: 107164%
Critics Consensus: MLK/FBI presents a sobering overview of the American intelligence community's efforts to discredit and destroy a leader of the civil rights movement.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Sam Pollard examines the U.S. government surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr., based on recently declassified files.... [More]
Directed By: Sam Pollard

#9

Saint Frances (2019)
99%

#9
Adjusted Score: 103701%
Critics Consensus: Saint Frances approaches an array of weighty issues with empathy, humor, and grace -- and marks star and writer Kelly O'Sullivan as a tremendous talent to watch.
Synopsis: After an abortion, a deadbeat nanny finds friendship with the 6-year-old she's hired to watch.... [More]
Directed By: Alex Thompson

#10

Driveways (2019)
99%

#10
Adjusted Score: 101453%
Critics Consensus: Understated yet powerful, Driveways is a character study anchored in fundamental decency -- and a poignant farewell to Brian Dennehy.
Synopsis: A lonely boy goes with his mother to help clean out his late aunt's house.... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Ahn

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