TAGGED AS: festivals, Film Festival, movies, Sundance
The Sundance 2021 Movie Scorecard
Sundance, the last film festival to play in-full and in-person before the 2020 pandemic shutdown last year, returned for an all-virtual edition in 2021. Some of the biggest, buzziest Sundance 2021 movies included the directorial debuts of Rebecca Hall (Passing) and Robin Wright (Land), a bonkers Sion Sono/Nicolas Cage team-up (Prisoners of the Ghostland), Rita Moreno doc Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, and Judas and the Black Messiah, which is already generating Oscar-nom talk for Daniel Kaluuya.
With the Sundance 2021 Movie Scorecard, see all the movies that played at the fest and, with enough critics reviews, got their Tomatometer scores! —Alex Vo
Adjusted Score: 109676%
Critics Consensus: Deftly interweaving incredible live footage with a series of revealing interviews, Summer of Soul captures the spirit and context of a watershed moment while tying it firmly to the present.
In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary-part music film, part historical... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100944%
Critics Consensus: An affecting profile of screen legend Rita Moreno, Just a Girl is at once a sharp critique of the industry's crushing inequities and a beautiful homage to an artist who never backed down despite the odds.
Over a 70+ year career, Rita Moreno defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become a celebrated and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 107508%
Critics Consensus: Depicting the refugee experience through vivid animation, Flee pushes the boundaries of documentary filmmaking to present a moving memoir of self-discovery.
FLEE tells the story of Amin Nawabi as he grapples with a painful secret he has kept hidden for 20... [More]
Adjusted Score: 103651%
Critics Consensus: Their albums may be cult favorites, but this Edgar Wright-directed documentary offers an introduction to Sparks that has something for everyone.
How can one rock band be successful, underrated, hugely influential, and criminally overlooked all at the same time? Edgar Wright's... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95182%
Critics Consensus: An eerily relevant debut from writer-director Iuli Gerbase, The Pink Cloud reaches into the emotional fault lines of pandemic life and comes away with striking observations about human behavior.
A mysterious and deadly pink cloud appears across the globe, forcing everyone to stay home. Strangers at the outset, Giovana... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97390%
Critics Consensus: A fascinating tribute to a pioneer as well as an engrossing act of environmental advocacy, Playing with Sharks makes up in enjoyment what it lacks in depth.
Photographer Valerie Taylor becomes a trailblazing advocate for the ocean's most maligned and misunderstood creatures.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98015%
Critics Consensus: Straightforward and disarmingly, charmingly sincere, Try Harder! follows college-bound students through their final year of high school.
At Lowell High School, the top public high school in San Francisco, the seniors are stressed out. As they prepare... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100236%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully filmed and emotionally impactful, Luzzu uses one man's story to capture the struggles of a region at a cultural crossroads.
A hardworking Maltese fisherman, Jesmark is faced with an agonizing choice. He can repair his leaky luzzu -- a traditional,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 97997%
Critics Consensus: Jockey rests almost entirely on Clifton Collins Jr. in the title role -- and he proves more than up to the task with a brilliant performance that gives this poignant drama its soul.
An aging jockey (Clifton Collins Jr.), hopes to win one last title for his longtime trainer (Molly Parker), who has... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93299%
Critics Consensus: Ailey pays invigorating tribute to its subject's brilliant legacy -- and offers a tantalizing introduction to the rest of a fascinating story.
Alvin Ailey was a trailblazing pioneer who found salvation through dance. AILEY traces the full contours of this brilliant and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94440%
Critics Consensus: My Name Is Pauli Murray educates and uplifts in equal measure while paying stirring tribute to a largely unsung -- yet hugely important -- individual.
Fifteen years before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat, a full decade before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91069%
Critics Consensus: A fascinating documentary with unique visual flair, Rebel Hearts offers stirring tribute to largely unheralded leaders in the fight against religious patriarchy.
In 1960s Los Angeles a trailblazing group of nuns, The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, bravely stood up... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96395%
Critics Consensus: All Light, Everywhere poses thought-provoking questions about our view of objective reality -- and the implications for our growing reliance on surveillance technology.
ALL LIGHT, EVERYWHERE is an exploration of the shared histories of cameras, weapons, policing and justice. As surveillance technologies become... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101866%
Critics Consensus: Writing with Fire pays stirring tribute to the power of journalism -- and presents a chilling glimpse of the forces aligned against it.
Armed with smartphones and tenacity, a fearless group of journalists from India's only women-led news outlet confront social injustice while... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101495%
Critics Consensus: Sabaya presents a scary and sobering look at human suffering -- and the efforts of those dedicated to ending it.
Members of a group risk their lives trying to save Yazidi women and girls who are being held as sex... [More]
Adjusted Score: 100593%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Sebastian is an ordinary man in his thirties devoted to his loyal dog and working in a slew of temporary... [More]
Adjusted Score: 114894%
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.
FBI informant William O'Neal infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther Party and is tasked with keeping tabs on their charismatic leader,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 101399%
Critics Consensus: A restless and riveting fable, Night of Kings sees writer-director Philippe Lacôte in full command of his craft.
A young man is sent to "La Maca," a prison in the middle of the Ivorian forest ruled by its... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98024%
Critics Consensus: Gripping and clear-eyed, In the Same Breath captures history as it's being written -- and governmental failures as they amplify worldwide tragedy.
IN THE SAME BREATH recounts the experiences of people on the ground in the earliest days of the novel coronavirus... [More]
Adjusted Score: 108763%
Critics Consensus: CODA's story offers few surprises, but strong representation and a terrific cast -- led by Emilia Jones' brilliant performance -- bring this coming-of-age story vividly to life.
Seventeen-year-old Ruby (Emilia Jones) is the sole hearing member of a deaf family -- a CODA, child of deaf adults.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81937%
Critics Consensus: The World to Come is made from ingredients that will be familiar to fans of period forbidden romance movies, but they're given fresh life thanks to an excellent cast.
In this powerful 19th century romance set in the American Northeast, Abigail (Katherine Waterston), a farmer's wife, and her new... [More]
Adjusted Score: 94501%
Critics Consensus: Smart, well-acted, and above all scary, Coming Home in the Dark finds first-time director James Ashcroft making his mark with a white-knuckle ride for horror fans.
A family's idyllic outing at an isolated coastline descends into terror when high school teacher Alan 'Hoaggie' Hoaganraad, his wife... [More]
Adjusted Score: 99307%
Critics Consensus: Like the show whose groundbreaking creation it commemorates, Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street is as enlightening as it is purely entertaining.
Street Gang will take us inside the minds and hearts of the Sesame Street creators to help us understand not... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86493%
Critics Consensus: Homeroom offers an encouraging -- and engaging -- look at young people preparing to leave high school behind and shape the future.
In "Homeroom," Oakland High School's class of 2020 confronts an unprecedented year. Anxiety over test scores and college applications gives... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104402%
Critics Consensus: Mass requires a lot of its audience, but rewards that emotional labor with a raw look at grief that establishes writer-director Fran Kranz as a filmmaker of tremendous promise.
Years after an unspeakable tragedy tore their lives apart, two sets of parents (Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton, Reed Birney... [More]
Adjusted Score: 86865%
Critics Consensus: Cusp smartly and sensitively captures the experiences of a trio of teen girls as they navigate the uncertain ground between youth and adulthood.
Cusp chronicles one formative year of teenage life for three friends in a Texas town where there's little to do... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90593%
Critics Consensus: At the Ready takes the audience inside a fascinating -- and often unsettling -- collision between politics, education, and law enforcement.
Ten miles from the Mexican border, students at Horizon High School in El Paso, Texas, are enrolling in law enforcement... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89433%
Critics Consensus: I Was a Simple Man tells a simple story whose deceptively straightforward approach yields richly melancholic rewards.
I Was A Simple Man is a ghost story set in the pastoral countryside of the north shore of O'ahu,... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93354%
Critics Consensus: Son of Monarchs requires patience, but viewers attuned to its ambitious wavelength will be rewarded with a film that gracefully combines science with social identity.
After his grandmother's death, a Mexican biologist living in New York returns to his hometown, nestled in the majestic monarch... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96333%
Critics Consensus: El Planeta taps into real-life economic anxiety to present a darkly humorous glimpse of life spent teetering on the edge of financial ruin.
Amidst the devastation of post-crisis Spain, mother and daughter bluff and grift to keep up the lifestyle they think they... [More]
Adjusted Score: 98226%
Critics Consensus: Together Together explores love and parenthood from unexpected angles, capturing a broad spectrum of emotions through Patti Harrison and Ed Helms' starring performances.
When young loner Anna is hired as the gestational surrogate for Matt, a single man in his 40s who wants... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96757%
Critics Consensus: Occasionally uneven but bold and viscerally effective, Censor marks a bloody good step forward for British horror.
Film censor Enid takes pride in her meticulous work, guarding unsuspecting audiences from the deleterious effects of watching the gore-filled... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91721%
Critics Consensus: Strawberry Mansion's sci-fi premise provides cover for a film whose dream logic and surreal visuals are underscored by quietly poignant themes.
In 2035, our dreams are no longer our own-they're infused with product placement and auditors assess unpaid taxes on our... [More]
Adjusted Score: 89485%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
In early November 2018, raging wildfires killed 88 residents and destroyed tens of thousands of homes in the cities of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93582%
Critics Consensus: Violation presents a powerful depiction of one woman's trauma -- and its uncomfortably gripping aftermath.
With her marriage about to implode, Miriam returns to her hometown to seek solace in the comfort of her younger... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88397%
Critics Consensus: A coming-of-age story with a uniquely crowd-pleasing touch, Marvelous and the Black Hole transcends its familiar story with fresh direction and charming performances.
A teenage delinquent (Miya Cech) befriends a surly magician (Rhea Perlman) who helps her navigate her inner demons and dysfunctional... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90103%
Critics Consensus: It's occasionally uneven, but On the Count of Three finds director/star Jerrod Carmichael attempting an ambitious blend of drama and dark comedy -- and often succeeding.
From Annapurna Pictures (Spring Breakers, Sorry to Bother You, Booksmart) and Orion Pictures, Jerrod Carmichael makes his directorial debut and... [More]
Adjusted Score: 88235%
Critics Consensus: In the Earth's bleak kaleidoscope of horror is a hallucinogenic meditation on the residual pandemic fears that haunt humanity.
As the world searches for a cure to a disastrous virus, a scientist and park scout venture deep in the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 102268%
Critics Consensus: While Passing's delicate approach has a dampening effect on its story, debuting director Rebecca Hall makes the most of an impressive cast -- and handles thorny themes with impressive dexterity.
In 1920s New York City, a Black woman finds her world upended when her life becomes intertwined with a former... [More]
Adjusted Score: 91860%
Critics Consensus: President opens a sobering window into the precariousness of democracy -- and how difficult it can be to pull it back from the brink.
When Robert Mugabe was removed from power, Zimbabwe military leaders promised they would not seize control for themselves but would... [More]
Adjusted Score: 95316%
Critics Consensus: Narratively challenging and visually haunting, We're All Going to the World's Fair adds a uniquely ambitious and unsettling entry to the crowded coming-of-age genre.
Late on a cold night somewhere in the U.S., teenage Casey (Anna Cobb in her feature debut) sits alone in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 81871%
Critics Consensus: A slow-burning thriller that teeters between reality and delusion, Knocking views social issues through a blurred lens streaked with horror.
After suffering a traumatic incident, Molly (Cecilia Milocco) moves into a new apartment to begin her path to recovery, but... [More]
Adjusted Score: 68545%
Critics Consensus: Prisoners of the Ghostland is far from Sono's most distinctive work, but viewers in the mood for a deliriously gonzo genre mash-up featuring an explosive performance from Nicolas Cage just might have a ball.
In the treacherous frontier city of Samurai Town, a ruthless bank robber (Nicolas Cage) is sprung from jail by a... [More]
Adjusted Score: 70166%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Alternately humorous and touching, Searchers draws on encounters with a diverse set of New Yorkers as they navigate their preferred... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79865%
Critics Consensus: The Most Beautiful Boy in the World tells an undeniably familiar cautionary tale, but it's no less unbearably tragic in the telling.
In 1971at the world premiere of Death in Venice in London, Italian director Luchino Visconti proclaimed Björn Andrésen, the teen... [More]
Adjusted Score: 93712%
Critics Consensus: While Wild Indian might have benefited from a more probing approach to its themes, it's held together by Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.'s skilled direction and a strong performance from lead Michael Greyeyes.
Decades after covering up his classmate's murder, Michael (Michael Greyeyes) has moved on from his reservation and fractured past. When... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72461%
Critics Consensus: Although occasionally muddled, A Glitch in the Matrix is a thought-provoking portrait of digital culture and its relationship to reality.
What if we are living in a simulation, and the world as we know it is not real? To tackle... [More]
Adjusted Score: 76793%
Critics Consensus: For a werewolf movie, The Cursed is frustratingly lacking in killer instinct -- but its intriguing additions to well-worn mythology add some necessary bite.
In the late 1800s, a once-peaceful remote country village is under attack--but by who or what, no one knows. Villagers... [More]
Adjusted Score: 69858%
Critics Consensus: Although it may be too clever for its own good, Human Factors benefits from strong performances and gripping tension.
To escape tensions at the advertising agency they own, a couple and their kids go away to their seaside vacation... [More]
Adjusted Score: 72084%
Critics Consensus: It can feel more like a collection of skits than a cohesive story, but How It Ends is a comedic vision of the apocalypse with fleeting moments of brilliance.
In this feel good apocalyptic comedy, freewheeling Liza (Zoe Lister-Jones) scores an invite to one last wild party before the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 54493%
Critics Consensus: Although this First Date might have gone more smoothly, it remains an (occasionally very) funny crime caper -- and an intriguing calling card for debuting co-directors Manuel Crosby and Darren Knapp.
Conned into buying a shady '65 Chrysler, shy teen Mike's (Tyson Brown) eagerly-anticipated first date with the girl-next-door, Kelsey (Shelby... [More]
Adjusted Score: 60705%
Critics Consensus: The Blazing World's scattershot script isn't always able to support writer-director-star Carlson Young's ambitions, but its arresting visuals hold the attention.
Decades after the accidental drowning of her twin sister, a self-destructive woman returns to her family home, finding herself drawn... [More]
Adjusted Score: 52644%
Critics Consensus: Very little is off-limits in Mother Schmuckers' gleefully offensive pursuit of provocation -- unfortunately, it often mistakes shock value for genuine laughs.
Issachar and Zabulon, two brothers in their twenties, are supremely stupid and never bored, as madness is part of their... [More]
Adjusted Score: 74882%
Critics Consensus: Although its visual overstimulation threatens to derail its themes, Cryptozoo is an ambitious and unique critique of capitalistic values.
Cryptozoo is a hand drawn, gritty and fantastical parable about society versus the individual. A zoo that rescues mythological creatures... [More]
Adjusted Score: 67751%
Critics Consensus: It's overlong and uneven, but One for the Road may still satisfy viewers in the mood for a road trip movie with mortality on its mind.
Boss, an elusive bar owner living in New York, reunites with his estranged best friend, Aood, for a roadtrip in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77925%
Critics Consensus: Land's lovely vistas can't compensate for a hollowness at its center.
From acclaimed actress Robin Wright comes her directorial debut LAND, the poignant story of one woman's search for meaning in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 55606%
Critics Consensus: Viewers may not be left sending out distress calls, but despite interesting ideas and a solid setup, Mayday leaves a frustrating amount of potential untapped.
Ana (Grace Van Patten) finds herself transported to a dreamlike and dangerous coastline. Once there, she joins a female army... [More]
Adjusted Score: 64793%
Critics Consensus: John and the Hole's enticingly unique premise and disquieting atmosphere are often at odds with a meandering story that prevents this thriller from fulfilling its creepy potential.
A desperate game of survival unfolds after 13-year-old John traps his family in a hole in the ground in this... [More]
Adjusted Score: 50593%
Critics Consensus: R#J represents an admirable attempt to update Romeo and Juliet, but alas, its bounty is not quite as boundless as the sea.
In fair Verona, a war as old as time is brewing between rival houses--but it's being captured in a new... [More]
Adjusted Score: 66538%
Critics Consensus: Narratively thin but visually stylish, Superior puts a noirish spin on its examination of fraught sibling dynamics.
When Marian is on the run, she goes to the only place she knows is safe: her childhood home. She... [More]
Adjusted Score: 69069%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Literary titan Amy Tan analyzes her life, her work, and her family -- in the present and past tense --... [More]
Adjusted Score: 56432%
Critics Consensus: There's no quibbling with its ambitious aims, but Users is more repetitive and less intelligent than it seems to think.
A mother wonders: Will my children grow to love their perfect machines more than they love me? Intimate in scope... [More]
Adjusted Score: 90115%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Having fled the war in Syria, best friends Mahmoud and Fawzi live in Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan. Like many... [More]