The Best Films of 2020

Pin It
Small Axe, 2020
Small Axe, 2020(Film still)

The AnOther team reveal their film highlights of the year, from a new David Copperfield adaptation to a feature tracing one day in the life of a young PA to a monstrous entertainment mogul

Susannah Frankel, Editor-in-Chief

“Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield is so uplifting, a great example of faithfulness to the spirit of a very famous book and story combined with a certain irreverence that makes it more relevant to the time we are living in now. The ideas in David Copperfield are universal; the treatment in this instance, and conversely, is particular – idiosyncratic. Almost polar opposite: Clemency which is painful to watch and intensely moving.”

Alexander Fury, Fashion Features Director

“God, 2020 has felt like a strange year for cinema – given that we haven’t been able to go to any. The last incredible film I watched was at the very end of 2019 – Celebration, a documentary directed by Olivier Meyrou charting Yves Saint Laurent’s final haute couture collections before his retirement in 2002. It actually originally premiered in 2007, but was suppressed by Pierre Bergé, the label’s co-founder and Yves Saint Laurent’s husband. You can see why: it’s sometimes brutally candid, but ultimately touching. I watched it twice.”

Katie Shillingford, Fashion Director (Women’s)

“I haven’t watched many new films this year! But I really liked Martin Margiela, In His Own Words. It’s amazing to be reminded of his genius. Such an incredible insight into one of the most important fashion designers of all time. We could all learn a lot from his philosophy, especially right now. Watching this was both uplifting and very sad. I really liked Da 5 Bloods, too – Spike Lee has a great way of telling such important stories with both a lightness and a seriousness that they deserve. It shines a light on the number of young Black soldiers who were sent to Vietnam. I loved how the flashback scenes were played by the same actors even though they were older men, it was amazing how not changing their appearance or age worked so well.”

Ellie Grace Cumming, Fashion Director (Men’s)

Martin Margiela, In His Own Words by Reiner Holzemer, Small Axe by Steve McQueen, and Shirley by Josephine Decker. All very important for different and the same reasons, inspirational people following their own path, pushing boundaries, changing view points, creating new paths to be walked.”

Sophie Bew, Editor

“The usually enrapturing film calendar has been dampened somewhat this year, for obvious reasons. Standout releases for me include Antonio Campos’s playfully sinister The Devil All the Time (with its excellent cast of Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgård and Riley Keough); while Armando Ianucci’s David Copperfield offered much needed happiness. But nothing changed my life. Instead, it was TV that really had me shook. Alex Garland’s DEVS presented me with grave existentialism, while Michaela Cole’s revolutionary I May Destroy You left me reeling and rattled. Luca Guadagnino has tossed a late hat into the ring with his totally transportive We Are Who We Are and I adore it – I’m eeking it out bit by bit.”

Hannah Lack, Managing Editor

“Kitty Green’s feature The Assistant traces one day in the life of a young PA to a monstrous entertainment mogul based on you-know-who. Julia Garner, the mouthy best thing in Ozarks, is virtually silent in this, but she telegraphs volumes with her body language, uneasiness seeping through every gesture as she books flights, takes lunch orders, scrubs unidentified stains from the boss’s couch. We don’t see his face or find out his name because Green’s target – as chilling as a predatory boss – is the toxic network of enablers around him, wielding carrots and sticks, and maintaining a web of secrecy propped up by smirky in-jokes and a lethally persuasive HR department. It plays out like a weirdly compelling thriller: tiny clues and overheard snippets jigsawing together to reveal the horror unfolding behind closed doors.”