2021: 25 Films

Julian’s eighth annual video tribute to the Top 25 Films of 2021


2021 was an impossibly fantastic year for movies, and I hope this cut can hope do justice to how this year’s entries uplifted, provoked, and amazed all of us.

The best films of 2021 allowed their audiences to connect with wildly diverse stories and themes in ways they never could before. Such storytelling feats often confronted us with points of view so far removed from our own, placing us headlong into situations, relationships, and conflicts that challenged long-held beliefs and dared us to deepen our sense of empathy and community. The films that I ultimately represented here in this absolute banner of a year are ones that pushed my cinematic boundaries, deeply moved me in the process, and ultimately encouraged me to believe that the world can possibly change for the better. Here’s hoping that 2022 can help bring their message to fruition.

The 25:

  1. Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson)
  2. The Green Knight (David Lowery)
  3. The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion)
  4. The Matrix Resurrections (Lana Wachowski)
  5. Benedetta (Paul Verhoeven)
  6. Pig (Michael Sarnoski)
  7. Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  8. Flee (Jonas Poher Rasmussen)
  9. The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson)
  10. CODA (Siân Heder)
  11. The Harder They Fall (Jeymes Samuel)
  12. Drive My Car (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
  13. Mass (Fran Kranz)
  14. Titane (Julia Ducournau)
  15. Dune (Denis Villeneuve)
  16. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (Junta Yamaguchi)
  17. Spencer (Pablo Larraín)
  18. Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro)
  19. Quo Vadis, Aida? (Jasmila Žbanić)
  20. Passing (Rebecca Hall)
  21. The Novice (Lauren Hadaway)
  22. Petite Maman (Céline Sciamma)
  23. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (Josh Greenbaum)
  24. West Side Story (Steven Spielberg)
  25. BELLE (Mamoru Hosoda)

Honorable Mention: I’m Your Man (Maria Schrader), The Execution (Lado Kvataniya), A Hero (Asghar Farhadi), Spider-Man: No Way Home (Jon Watts), Last Night in Soho (Edgar Wright)

The Music:

“Tell Me a Tale of Yourself, So That I Might Know Thee,” Composed by Daniel Hart (The Green Knight)
“Legs Body Arms (Arms Body Legs),” Composed by Alex Weston (The Novice)
“Life on Mars?,” Written and Performed by David Bowie (Licorice Pizza)

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