As I have gotten older, I am not afraid of having a good old fashioned ugly cry in the cinemas when the time calls for it, and hell I probably got emotional just writing this list (Spoiler: I did). Sometimes they are tears of grief, sometimes they are tears of joy, and even still sometimes they are tears of anger.
Emotion is a core part of the cinema experience. If you can’t get us to respond to your characters and/or the situation emotionally, well then I am sorry you have failed in making a good film.
So without further ado, these are the films of 2020 that emotionally wrecked us. Be warned that there will be some big spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, you can click on the banners to go to the full review.
There is a moment in this film where Ben Mendelsohn broke me with a single look
Directed by – Shannon Murphy
Screenplay by – Rita Kalnejais
Based on – Babyteeth by Rita Kalnejais
Da 5 Bloods
A film that attempts to humanise everyone creating a raw unflinching film that reaches for those emotions.
Directed by – Spike Lee
Written by – Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Spike Lee & Kevin Willmott
Let Him Go
This is a film marked with heartbreak, a loss that marks every character in the film somehow.
Directed by – Thomas Bezucha
Screenplay by – Thomas Bezucha
Based on – Let Him Go by Larry Watson
This film structures itself around a tragedy that drags you to that moment, breaks your heart, and then propels the film forward from there.
Directed by – Greta Gerwig
Screenplay by – Greta Gerwig
Based on – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Windermere Children
In the aftermath of horror, this is a film about finding humanity in moments of joy.
Directed by – Michael Samuels
Written by – Simon Block
And the Winner is!!!!! – Babyteeth & Little Women
Out of all the categories this year, this was the category that it was the hardest to pick an outright winner. When I think back to the year that was, both Babyteeth and Little Women had me break down in tears in the cinemas. I think it might be hard to separate them because both films are exploring the same thematic ground and that Eliza Scanlen plays a vital role in both of them.
For Babyteeth, we know from the outset that this is likely not going to have a happy ending, even if we hope above hope that this gut feeling is wrong. But there is this moment in the end where two characters share a look, which you understand the meaning of in the moments before the reality hits. It was honestly heartbreaking, and then the film would continue from there continuing to break me frame after frame.
For Little Women, the framework of the film is built around Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Amy (Florence Pugh), and Meg (Emma Watson). However, the film’s emotional core (and indeed the film’s structure) revolves around Beth (Eliza Scanlen). Her journey has the most significant impact on the film, making everything that happens after she gets scarlet fever all the more impactful. I openly wept in the cinemas during this film, and it has stuck with me ever since.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
What are your favourite cinematic moments from 2020?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images used were created by the respective studio and artist of each film