My Favorite Films of 2021

There are many movies I saw last year which I enjoyed (even enjoyed a great deal) and recommend (now and then maybe with minor caveats) – Belfast, Belle, Being the Ricardos, Black Widow, CODA, Don’t Look Up, Encanto, Eternals, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Free Guy, Jungle Cruise, The King’s Man, King Richard, Lamb, The Last Duel, Last Night in Soho, Licorice Pizza, The Lost Daughter, Luca, Matrix Resurrections, The Mitchells vs the Machines, The Night House, Nine Days, No Time to Die, Parallel Mothers, Raya and the Last Dragon, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Saint Maude, Shiva Baby, Spencer, Spider Man: No Way Home, Stillwater, Tick Tick … Boom, Undine, Venom – Let There Be Carnage, Vivo, The Worst Person in the World, Zola – but these twelve, this dear dozen, starting with my absolute favorite, the delightful, moving, and smart “I’m Your Man” with Dan Stevens giving my favorite performance of the year, are the movies that reached into my heart, my thoughts, my imagination the most deeply. (There are also films like Nomadland and Minari and Judas and the Black Messiah which I would include in a top twelve, except that I think of them as 2020 films regardless of the fact that I saw them early in 2021.)

(There are some films I saw which left me feeling disappointed to some extent or even a very great extent. Some of these are even far more interesting than some sweet trifles I recommend above, but the disappointing elements brought me too far down, sometimes with a sigh, sometimes with a thud. And then there are films I didn’t see, and some I avoided. No point listing any of those titles here, let’s focus on the positive.)

I’ve found that the less I know about a movie before I see it, the more I can enjoy what it has to offer while I am watching it. If I can go in with just the expectation that I am likely to like it and nothing else – and the rest is to be discovered while watching, that is the ideal. So I will say no more about these movies except what their posters reveal and that I for one found these films wonderfully, enduringly rewarding.

About dannyashkenasi

I'm a composer with over 30 years experience creating music theater. I'm also an actor, writer, director, producer, teacher and general enthusiast for the arts.
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