OF 2021  

By David Crow

2021 has been a strange year for “going to the movies.”

But whether that phrase now refers to theaters, streaming, or something in-between, it’s still been fascinating for “cinema.” Here are 10 reasons why.

West Side Story

David Lowery’s reinvention of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” features a powerhouse Dev Patel performance…

 10. The Green Knight  

… and some of the most dazzling images of the year, which both honor and deconstruct the 14th century poem.

 10. The Green Knight  

What began as a homemade comedy special turned into experimental cinema as Burnham gave voice to our bleak pandemic moment.

 9. Bo Burnham’s    Inside 

Kristen Stewart becomes Princess Diana in Spencer, a tragicomic biopic that plays closer to elevated horror.

 8. Spencer 

Denis Villeneuve realizes his childhood dream of faithfully adapting Frank Herbert’s Dune (or half of it) in this epic.

 7. Dune 

Filled with stunning production design and rich performances, this is the type of grand moviemaking we rarely see now.

 7. Dune 

Joel Coen flies solo in the best movie Macbeth ever: a horror reimagining with a magnetic Denzel Washington.

 6. The Tragedy    of Macbeth 

The Last Duel gives a smart Rashomon framing to an ancient (and timeless) #MeToo event.

 5. The Last Duel 

It’s Scott’s best 2021 movie and features a fantastic performance by Jodie Comer that deserves more attention.

 5. The Last Duel 

Here is the most intelligent and poignant rom-com in years, and a movie that introduces the world to Renate Reinsve (who is not the worst).

 4. The Worst Person    in the World 

Paul Thomas Anderson returns to his Valley roots in this easygoing, if ambiguous, love story.

 3. Licorice Pizza 

Kenneth Branagh remembers his childhood with rose-tinted glasses despite its unrosy moment in history.

 2. Belfast 

Set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, Belfast is still a warm, big-hearted, and sentimental delight.

 2. Belfast 

Steven Spielberg does the impossible and improves on a classic with a masterful version of this musical.

 1. West Side Story 

The new WSS takes greater concern for authenticity, yet remains a sweeping update of Romeo & Juliet, plus a showcase of Spielberg at his best in decades.

 1. West Side Story