The 50 best films of 2021 in the US: 50-41


50

The First Wave

Overwhelmingly emotional documentary shot inside a New York hospital at the start of the Covid pandemic, a remarkable film that feels like it could become a time capsule. Read the full review.

49

Sabaya

Extraordinary film that follows a team of volunteers as they infiltrate the dangerous al-Hawl camp in Syria to liberate Yazidi women trafficked as sex slaves. Read the full review.

48

Worth

‘Career best’ ... Michael Keaton as Kenneth Feinberg alongside Stanley Tucci as Charles Wolf in Worth.
‘Career best’ … Michael Keaton as Kenneth Feinberg alongside Stanley Tucci as Charles Wolf in Worth. Photograph: Monika Lek/Netflix

Michael Keaton excels as the lawyer tasked with allocating funds for those who lost someone during the terrorist attacks in 2001, a story brought to the screen with sensitivity and care. Read the full review.

47

Boiling Point

Dizzying single-take drama featuring a potent lead performance from Stephen Graham as a chef enduring a nightmarish evening. Read the full review.

46

Last Night in Soho

Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy and Matt Smith star in Edgar Wright’s horror-thriller that takes a trip to the sleazy heart of London’s past and toxic 60s glitz. Read the full review.

45

Titane

Quite a show ... Agathe Rousselle in Julia Ducournau’s Palme d’Or winner Titane.
Quite a show … Agathe Rousselle in Julia Ducournau’s Palme d’Or winner Titane. Photograph: BFA/Alamy

Julia Ducournau’s follow-up to her smart 2016 debut, Raw, is a freaky Cronenbergian body-horror that facetiously explores identity with yucky flair. Read the full review.

44

State Funeral

The eerie last rites of Stalin’s Soviet Union are enacted as massed mourners hail the dictator’s flower-clad body in a film that gives long-lost footage, assembled by In the Fog director Sergei Loznitsa, a new and unnerving lease of life. Read the full review.

43

Shiva Baby

All relative ... Rachel Sennott in family drama Shiva Baby.
All relative … Rachel Sennott in family drama Shiva Baby. Photograph: Organic Publicity

Writer-director Emma Seligman’s debut about a young woman running into her sugar daddy at a family event is an amusing, transparently personal piece, a black comedy festival of excruciating embarrassment. Read the full review.

42

C’mon C’mon

Written and directed by Thumbsucker’s Mike Mills, this coming-of-age heartwarmer, shot in classy monochrome and starring Joaquin Phoenix, oozes prestige as it tackles weighty themes. Read the full review.

41

The Reason I Jump

This documentary inspired by the bestselling book of the same title is an empathic study of nonverbal autism that takes us into the world of young neurodivergent people across the world. Read the full review.

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