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The SXSW 2021 Movie Scorecard

SXSW, the first film festival to cancel its in-person events as the 2020 pandemic began last year, returned for an all-virtual edition in 2021. With our SXSW 2021 Movie Scorecard, see all the movies that played this year and, with enough critics reviews, got their Tomatometer scores! Alex Vo

#57
Adjusted Score: 100084%
Critics Consensus: Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché pays worthy tribute to its trailblazing subject with a documentary that honors her life as engagingly as it chronicles her career.
Synopsis: Poly Styrene was the first woman of color in the UK to front a successful rock band. She introduced the... [More]
Directed By: Celeste Bell, Paul Sng

#56
Adjusted Score: 101705%
Critics Consensus: Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror takes a fascinating deep dive that'll leave like-minded viewers making numerous new additions to their streaming queues.
Synopsis: WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED is the first feature-length documentary on the history of folk horror, exploring the phenomenon from... [More]
Directed By: Kier-La Janisse

#55
#55
Adjusted Score: 101056%
Critics Consensus: Introducing, Selma Blair lives up to its title with a personal look at a celebrity pulling back the curtain with courage, humor, and grace.
Synopsis: One woman's journey of personal acceptance and resilience after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.... [More]
Starring: Selma Blair
Directed By: Rachel Fleit

#54

Swan Song (2021)
92%

#54
Adjusted Score: 96628%
Critics Consensus: Udo Kier's layered performance lends Swan Song a nuance and poignancy that offset its potentially outlandish story.
Synopsis: Legendary actor Udo Kier stars as retired hairdresser Pat Pitsenbarger, who escapes the confines of his small-town Sandusky, Ohio nursing... [More]
Directed By: Todd Stephens

#53

Reality Winner (2021)
91%

#53
Adjusted Score: 91191%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A state of secrets and a ruthless hunt for whistleblowers -- this is the story of 25-year-old NSA contractor Reality... [More]
Directed By: Sonia Kennebeck

#52

Dear Mr. Brody (2021)
97%

#52
Adjusted Score: 97731%
Critics Consensus: Dear Mr. Brody uses its stranger-than-fiction true story to take a touching look at how an act of kindness can reverberate for years.
Synopsis: When 21-year-old hippie-millionaire Michael Brody Jr. decided to give away his $25-million fortune to anyone in need, he ignited a... [More]
Directed By: Keith Maitland

#51

Ninjababy (2021)
100%

#51
Adjusted Score: 101110%
Critics Consensus: Led by Kristine Kujath Thorp's charming performance, Ninjababy offers a refreshingly -- and rudely -- honest take on unplanned pregnancy.
Synopsis: When Rakel (23), way too late, finds out she's six months pregnant after a not-so-romantic one-night stand, her world changes.... [More]
Directed By: Yngvild Sve Flikke

#50
Adjusted Score: 86110%
Critics Consensus: More than a making-of documentary, Charli XCX: Alone Together ties the story of a new album's creation to the bond between the artist and her fans.
Synopsis: Seeking solace in music during the COVID-19 pandemic, global pop star Charli XCX asks her fans to help her make... [More]

#49

Not Going Quietly (2021)
100%

#49
Adjusted Score: 100244%
Critics Consensus: Not Going Quietly uses its subject's remarkable story to offer an uplifting tribute to the way an individual voice can lead to activism and collective change.
Synopsis: A rising star in progressive politics and a new father, 32-year-old Ady Barkan's life is upended when he is diagnosed... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Bruckman

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 43280%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This unscripted feature follows five years in the life of Claude Motley as he tries to recover mentally and physically... [More]
Starring: Claude Motley
Directed By: Brad Lichtenstein

#47

Language Lessons (2021)
96%

#47
Adjusted Score: 100249%
Critics Consensus: Language Lessons extols the value of friendship with a simple story rendered all the more effective by its pure spirit and the chemistry between its leads.
Synopsis: When Adam's (Mark Duplass) husband surprises him with weekly Spanish lessons, he's unsure about where or how this new element... [More]
Directed By: Natalie Morales

#46

See You Then (2021)
97%

#46
Adjusted Score: 97893%
Critics Consensus: A character-driven treat for fans of conversation-based drama, the well-acted See You Then offers a refreshing perspective on relationship stories and gender roles.
Synopsis: A decade after abruptly breaking up with Naomi, Kris invites her to dinner to catch up on their complicated lives,... [More]
Directed By: Mari Walker

#45
Adjusted Score: 88731%
Critics Consensus: Uneven yet powerfully affecting, I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking) looks at life below the poverty line with clear-eyed compassion.
Synopsis: When a recently widowed mother becomes houseless, she convinces her 8-year-old daughter that they are only camping for fun while... [More]

#44

Alien on Stage (2020)
95%

#44
Adjusted Score: 96392%
Critics Consensus: A delight for fans of Ridley Scott's 1979 classic, Alien on Stage celebrates the power that art possesses to bring people together to honor their dreams.
Synopsis: British bus drivers spend one year creating a stage production of Ridley Scott's classic 1979 science fiction film "Alien."... [More]
Starring:

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 80916%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scientists prepare to launch NASA's Webb Space Telescope, a massive machine that can peer more than 13 billion light-years into... [More]
Directed By: Nathaniel Kahn

#42

Kid Candidate (2021)
78%

#42
Adjusted Score: 78245%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Kid Candidate tells the story of Hayden Pedigo, a 24-year-old experimental musician and his unlikely run for city council in... [More]
Starring: Hayden Pedigo
Directed By: Jasmine Stodel

#41

Clerk (2021)
82%

#41
Adjusted Score: 82785%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Examining the life and career of indie filmmaking icon Kevin Smith. Featuring interviews with friends, family, filmmaking peers, and icons... [More]
Directed By: Malcolm Ingram

#40

Here Before (2021)
87%

#40
Adjusted Score: 90058%
Critics Consensus: Resting its slowly twisting tale on a magnetic Andrea Riseborough performance, Here Before is a solidly unsettling effort from debuting writer-director Stacey Gregg.
Synopsis: When a new family moves in next door, their young daughter, Megan, quickly captivates Laura, stirring up painful memories of... [More]
Directed By: Stacey Gregg

#39

Islands (2021)
91%

#39
Adjusted Score: 91190%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A coming-of-middle-age film about a timid Filipino immigrant struggling with the care of an elderly parent while managing his first... [More]
Directed By: Martin Edralin

#38

The Fallout (2021)
93%

#38
Adjusted Score: 95732%
Critics Consensus: Empathetic and well-acted, The Fallout uses the aftermath of teen trauma to grapple with the experience of grief.
Synopsis: Bolstered by new friendships forged under sudden and tragic circumstances, high schooler Vada (Jenna Ortega) begins to reinvent herself, while... [More]
Directed By: Megan Park

#37

Executive Order (2020)
88%

#37
Adjusted Score: 88043%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Set in a dystopian near future in Rio de Janeiro, a lawyer (Alfred Enoch) sues the Brazilian government for reparation... [More]
Directed By: Lázaro Ramos

#36

Luchadoras (2021)
94%

#36
Adjusted Score: 86470%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The film is an intimate portrait of three courageous female wrestlers (Luchadoras) from Ciudad Juarez. Despite being surrounded by machismo... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Jasim, Paola Calvo

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 82840%
Critics Consensus: With a hard fantasy story that stands in service of its eye-catching animation, The Spine of Night is a distinctive treat for genre enthusiasts.
Synopsis: In THE SPINE OF NIGHT, an ultra-violent fantasy epic, ancient dark magic falls into sinister hands and unleashes ages of... [More]

#34

The Feast (2021)
80%

#34
Adjusted Score: 83870%
Critics Consensus: Traditional horror may not be on the menu, but for fans of the gruesomely disquieting, The Feast more than lives up to its name.
Synopsis: An affluent family gathers at their lavish home in the Welsh mountains for a dinner party, hosting a local businessman... [More]
Directed By: Lee Haven Jones

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 92543%
Critics Consensus: A layered look at fame in the digital era, Lily Topples the World benefits immensely from a subject with an uplifting story and immense charm.
Synopsis: LILY TOPPLES THE WORLD follows 20-year-old sensation Lily Hevesh -- the world's most acclaimed domino toppler and the only girl... [More]
Starring: Lily Hevesh
Directed By: Jeremy Workman

#32
Adjusted Score: 78193%
Critics Consensus: It's hard to ignore the parts that are left unexamined, but WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn does well enough by its real-life stranger-than-fiction story.
Synopsis: WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn is a feature documentary that explores the rise and... [More]
Directed By: Jed Rothstein

#31
Adjusted Score: 90082%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Never-before-seen footage and interviews provide insight into the creative spirit of rocker Tom Petty as he works on his seminal... [More]
Starring: Tom Petty
Directed By: Mary Wharton

#30

Gaia (2021)
84%

#30
Adjusted Score: 86679%
Critics Consensus: If its narrative ambitions aren't always equaled by its chilling visuals, Gaia remains an effective slice of ecological horror.
Synopsis: An injured forest ranger on a routine mission is saved by two off-the-grid survivalists. What is initially a welcome rescue... [More]
Directed By: Jaco Bouwer

#29

Inbetween Girl (2021)
88%

#29
Adjusted Score: 88731%
Critics Consensus: A refreshingly honest coming-of-age story, Inbetween Girl suggests a bright future for its debuting director and her first-time film star.
Synopsis: Teen artist Angie Chen does NOT like Liam--she just likes getting rides home from him after soccer practice. Okay, so... [More]
Directed By: Mei Makino

#28

Offseason (2021)
68%

#28
Adjusted Score: 70808%
Critics Consensus: Led by strong performances from Jocelin Donahue and Melora Walters, Offseason is a solid supernatural horror story that casts a sneaky spell.
Synopsis: Upon receiving a mysterious letter that her mother's grave site has been vandalized, Marie quickly returns to the isolated offshore... [More]
Directed By: Mickey Keating

#27

The Lost Sons (2021)
83%

#27
Adjusted Score: 83243%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: 1960s Chicago, a baby is kidnapped from a hospital. Fifteen months later, a toddler is abandoned. Could he be the... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Ursula Macfarlane

#26

The Oxy Kingpins (2021)
88%

#26
Adjusted Score: 38086%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Oxy Kingpins covers the untold story of how a network of pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, and retailers worked together to... [More]
Starring:

#25

Ludi (2021)
83%

#25
Adjusted Score: 83245%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Desperate to send money to her family back in Haiti, hardworking and exhausted nurse Ludi Alcidor spends a chaotic day... [More]
Directed By: Edson Jean

#24

Jakob's Wife (2021)
85%

#24
Adjusted Score: 89032%
Critics Consensus: Jakob's Wife gives genre legend Barbara Crampton an opportunity to carry an old-school horror story -- and she bloody well delivers.
Synopsis: Anne is married to a small-town minister and feels like her life and marriage have been shrinking over the past... [More]
Directed By: Travis Stevens

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 66597%
Critics Consensus: The consistency isn't always smooth, but Sound of Violence's blend of character study and horror marks writer-director Alex Noyer as an ambitious, visually distinctive filmmaker.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Alex Noyer

#22

Witch Hunt (2021)
63%

#22
Adjusted Score: 63731%
Critics Consensus: Witch Hunt's smart social commentary is undercut by its lack of original storytelling ideas, but this supernatural horror outing has just enough bite to recommend for teens.
Synopsis: In a modern America where magic is real and witches are persecuted by US authorities, teenager Claire and her family... [More]
Directed By: Elle Callahan

#21

Women is Losers (2021)
72%

#21
Adjusted Score: 73110%
Critics Consensus: While it might have benefited from a subtler approach to its message, Women Is Losers is elevated by outstanding work from lead Lorenza Izzo.
Synopsis: In 1960's San Francisco, bright and talented catholic school girl Celina Guerrera (ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD's Lorenza Izzo)... [More]
Directed By: Lissette Feliciano

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 92434%
Critics Consensus: Although it's undermined by uneven execution and a subpar script, Potato Dreams of America puts a singular spin on the crowded coming-of-age genre.
Synopsis: Wes Hurley's autobiographical dark comedy about a gay boy growing up in the collapsing USSR, his courageous mail-order bride mother... [More]
Directed By: Wes Hurley

#19

The End Of Us (2021)
64%

#19
Adjusted Score: 64786%
Critics Consensus: The End of Us approaches the breakup dramedy from an intriguingly timely angle, but its overall lack of new ideas undermines strong work from its charming stars.
Synopsis: A witty and timely comedy full of heart and humor. Cohabitating couple Nick and Leah are on the verge of... [More]

#18
Adjusted Score: 81354%
Critics Consensus: The Drover's Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson occasionally struggles to cohere, but writer-director-star Leah Purcell offers a unique, compelling perspective on historic myths.
Synopsis: In 1893 on an isolated property, a heavily pregnant woman named Molly Johnson (Leah Purcell) and her children struggle to... [More]
Directed By: Leah Purcell

#17
Adjusted Score: 70354%
Critics Consensus: Broadcast Signal Intrusion struggles to satisfactorily resolve its setup, but for much of its runtime, it offers an intriguing, well-acted diversion for horror fans.
Synopsis: While logging tapes of decades-old TV broadcasts, video archivist James (Harry Shum Jr.) discovers a surreal and disturbing clip that... [More]
Directed By: Jacob Gentry

#16

Violet (2021)
82%

#16
Adjusted Score: 85221%
Critics Consensus: Uneven yet admirably ambitious, Violet takes a thoughtful look at the occasionally profound difference between a person's private thoughts and public face.
Synopsis: What would you do if you weren't afraid? After realizing she's spent years allowing fear to drive every decision she... [More]
Directed By: Justine Bateman

#15

Our Father (2021)
42%

#15
Adjusted Score: 42028%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Two sisters (Baize Buzan and Allison Torem) go in search of a long-forgotten uncle.... [More]
Directed By: Bradley Grant Smith

#14
Adjusted Score: 67217%
Critics Consensus: A silly bloody good time, Paul Dood's Deadly Lunch Break is an all-you-can-eat buffet not easily digestible for every stomach.
Synopsis: Paul, a weedy charity-shop worker, has his heart set on winning a national talent competition. With a sparkly suit, killer... [More]
Directed By: Nick Gillespie