From blockbusters like Pixar’s Soul to lesser-known tear-jerkers like A Perfectly Normal Family, fans on Mubi have chosen the best films of 2020.
Fans on the global film streaming platform, Mubi (often stylized as MUBI), have picked the best movies of 2020. Mubi’s 50-point list of the top films from that year features incredible works that are a mix of thrillers, documentaries, animations, and more.
These films should be considered essential viewing for any subscriber who has been enjoying Mubi’s handpicked selection of “beautiful, interesting, incredible cinema.” The top movies of 2020, which were “rated by MUBI’s global community of film lovers,” are an excellent reflection of the best that filmmakers had to offer during that tumultuous year.
Director Hong Sang-soo’s mastery of subtlety in cinema is once again on display in The Woman Who Ran. The drama film revolves around Gamhee’s conversations with three friends, with who she finally has the chance to hang out when her husband goes away for business.
The nuanced film is a love story to female friendships and the beauty and strength of unique bonds with individuals who can truly empathize and understand one’s situation. It’s one of the best non-English language movies that deserves more attention for the way it delivers a moving story in a quiet but powerful way.
Pixar captivates audiences once again with director Pete Docter’s Soul. The animated movie follows the story of music teacher Joe Gardner, whose soul is abruptly separated from his body right before his first major gig as a jazz musician.
The journey that he has to go through is dizzying, emboldening, and moving from start to finish, as he realizes the profound beauty of life from his position near the afterlife. The heartfelt conversations, stunning visuals, and flawless score all make it one of the studio’s best films to date.
Notturno boldly breaks the mold of what audiences may expect from a war documentary by incorporating stillness and subtlety. Director Gianfranco Rosi depicts the devastating effects of war in locations around Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria, and Lebanon in a hauntingly delicate way.
The film contrasts dilapidated buildings with people going about their daily lives and shows gruesome drawings by children on a painfully normal school day. It’s a deeply personal look at the way others push forward in war-torn and treacherous areas and a thoughtful portrayal of all the beauty, despair, hope, and loss that come with those circumstances.
Director Serdar Kökçeoğlu delves into the fascinating story of the eclectic electronic music composer, İlhan Mimaroğlu, and his wife, Güngör, in Mimaroğlu: The Robinson of Manhattan Island. The entertaining music documentary chronicles their immigration from Turkey to the USA in 1960 and depicts their legendary careers, inspiring advocacies, and exciting love story.
Whether viewers are familiar with its subjects or have no idea who they are, the documentary is an amusing glimpse into the couple’s exhilarating lives. It’s a brilliant combination of themes like love, music, immigration, and heartbreak, without ever being overwhelming or muddled.
A Perfectly Normal Family is a drama film that offers a unique perspective on a complicated subject. Director Malou Reymann uses Emma’s experiences and feelings about her father’s transition into a beautiful woman named Agnete to depict the courage needed to come out in less than ideal environments.
Emma is understandably confused and frustrated, which only makes Agnete’s life more difficult. The film thoughtfully portrays the way they navigate the changes in their relationship as Emma learns to accept and embrace Agnete for who she is.
Inspired by the book by Eremya Çelebi Kömürciyan’s, “History of Istanbul: Istanbul in the Seventeenth Century,” director Zeynep Dadak captures Turkey in a genuinely original way in Invisible to the Eye. The touching narration complements the splendor depicted in every frame, with the documentary showing the rich culture, history, and beauty of the country.
The cinematic travelogue transports audiences to those incredible locations – from historic buildings to clear rivers. It’s an interesting attempt at depicting both the vanishing pieces of the country’s past and the irreversible ways it has molded the magnificent present.
Director Dea Kulumbegashvili’s Beginning takes place in a small Jehovah’s Witness community, where its protagonist, Yana, struggles to reconcile her beliefs with the traumatic events she experiences in quick succession. It’s doubly complicated for her to raise questions not only as the pastor’s wife, but also as a woman in a deeply religious group.
From its shocking opening scene to its polarizing ending, the drama film does not pull any punches. It raises important questions about religion, patriarchy, and family in exceedingly dark but necessary ways.
Farewell Amor is an evocative film that tells an important tale that may be all too familiar for a huge chunk of the population. Three family members are reunited after 17 years when Walter, an Angolan immigrant, is finally joined by his wife and daughter in the United States. The emotional distance that continues to separate them is only bridged by the power of dance.
Director Ekwa Msangi masterfully uses three different perspectives to give audiences a clear picture of what it’s like for the endearing characters in the movie. As awkward silences and hard conversations slowly make way for cheerful dances and heartwarming embraces, viewers likely won’t be able to help but feel like they’re right there with the protagonists as they become a family again.
Director Aurel amazingly creates one of the best animated movies for his directorial debut. Josep is a biographical film that details the tumultuous experiences of the revolutionary Josep Bartolí as he’s mistreated in a French concentration camp.
From the illustrator’s unexpected encounters with a kind guard to his brief affair with Frida Kahlo, the beautifully animated film keeps audiences enthralled as they watch the artist’s life story unfold. Some scenes are rightly heavier than others, which do justice to the protagonist’s admirable advocacies and storied career.
Fans can enjoy a legendary artist’s engrossing music from the comfort of their homes in Tripping with Nils Frahm. The German musician and composer brings some of his most iconic performances in Funkhaus-Berlin to the next level with seamless editing and immersive cinematography.
Viewers who enjoy neoclassical piano will find that the film is the closest they will get to the live experience, especially if they are stuck in their homes. Frahm’s transcendent performances will awe and entertain fans who sit down to appreciate the 90-minute masterpiece.
NEXT: 13 Best Music Documentaries On Netflix
Saab is an editor and writer for Collider and Screen Rant. Before the two sites, she worked as an editor for a digital marketing company. She's based out of Metro Manila, Philippines, where she lives with her partner, three fat cats, and two hundred houseplants. She's passionate about all things pop culture and design. When she's not typing, she's tending to her indoor garden or watching true crime stories on Netflix.