This will be one of many posts during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.
Now that the dust has settled from my first experience at this year’s festival, let’s take a look back at some of my picks for the best films from the festival (note: I got to see 23 festival films and you can see more of my thoughts on my Letterboxd).
|The Nest is a slow burn of a relationship drama that may have been a bore for some people but it was saved by its atmosphere created by some great cinematography and an eerie score, along with a pair of stellar lead performances from Jude Law and Carrie Coon.|
|The Assistant was a surprise but not really considering the subject matter. It’s cold exterior and pacing make it an extremely uncomfortable watch but in the best was possible. While the film may be short, Julia Garner’s dynamite performance is more than worth it.|
|The best kinds of films stay in your mind long after watching it. Crip Camp is an inspiring documentary that shines a light on a disenfranchised group that we may have forgotten about, the disabled. This empathetic film paints them as who they really are, people. More than just a film about a summer camp for the disabled, you’ll be laughing and crying so much that it’s easy to forget that these people are disabled.|
On paper, Zola is a film that would never work but in this case it does. A film based on a famous Twitter thread definitely felt like one. While it certainly won’t be for everyone, it undoubtedly is an equally hilarious and uncomfortable experience that will stay with you long after watching.
|Fans of The Exorcist rejoice. Leap of Faith William Friedkin on The Exorcist is an excellent documentary that serves as a fitting companion piece. What could be considered as a commentary track for the film goes even further as Friedkin talks about his experience while making the film and sharing his many inspirations. Definitely an eye-opening experience.|
|Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a gut-punch of a film whose grounded and subtly powerful depiction of abortion. Giving off plenty of Manchester by the Sea vibes, hopefully this follows the same path as Sidney Flannigan is definitely deserving of award consideration thanks to her incredible lead performance.|
Uncle Frank is an entertaining roller-coaster family dramedy that will make audiences laugh as well as make them cry. Over its many twists and turns, the one constant that ties it all together is the career-best performance from Paul Bettany as the titular uncle.
Charm City Kings is a gripping coming-of-age drama adapted from a popular documentary finds its footing by creating a truly memorable experience. This immersive love letter to Baltimore, with some cool dirt bike moments, and a celebration of the disenfranchised is superbly acted and compelling to watch and one that will stay with viewers long after watching.
The trend of heartbreaking films continues with The Father. Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman definitely do not disappoint in this twisty, devolving father and daughter dementia tale with the former delivering a performance that will surely be in the conversation come next year’s Oscars.
Minari is a beautiful piece of the immigrant experience and the pursuit of the American dream. This complex generational family drama is not only uplifting and inspiring though also an engaging emotional rollercoaster. Add another adorable A24 Asian grandmother™ and impressive lead performances from Steven Yeun and the rest of the family make this not only the best film of the festival but also one that should end up at or near the top of many best films of 2020 lists (assuming it is released in 2020 of course).
Honorable Mention: Promising Young Woman
*logo and caption-less stills courtesy of Sundance