For all you films buffs out there 2020 saw the decimation of cinemas and big releases like No Time to Die, Death on the Nile and the remake of West Side Story. But a lot of major movie studios made use of their streaming platforms to release their big films which is unprecedented! Whilst nothing can replace the big screen it was nice to get fresh content during all the lockdowns. And Netflix was definitely a winner of 2020, with more people binging than ever before. There were some great original feature films. So here is a list of some of the best Netflix original films of 2020. And just to warn you there will be a few spoilers.
1. Da 5 Five Bloods
This film is centred around 4 Vietnam veterans who have returned there to recover the remains of their friend… and a secret stash of gold. Not knowing much about this film before viewing it definitely enhances the viewing experience. Spike Lee is a legendary director in Hollywood for a reason and this is one of his best. Some scenes are not for the faint-hearted – we’re talking dismemberment and battle wounds. But what really made this movie was Delroy Lindo’s performance as Paul. His portrayal of a veteran dealing with PTSD and various other mental health conditions was heartbreaking to watch, even after all those decades he was still haunted by what took place on the battlefield. And of course, sadly this was one of Chadwick Boseman’s last films and a stunning performance from him as well.
2. The Devil All the Time
The plot for this one is a little difficult to describe but in a nutshell, The Devil All the Time is a multi-generational story that all connects to one boy, Arvin (Tom Holland) and how deceit and corruption affects each character’s life. This film is based on a. This film will not be everyone’s cup of tea because it’s super dark. It’s got paedophilia, suicide, homicide, necrophilia and to top it off the crucifixion of a dog. Again, the acting was sensational, especially from Tom Holland. It’s not the type of role you would expect from him, but black looks good on him. If you never knew he was British you never would’ve guessed, he had the southern drawl down to perfection. He definitely had a chance to flex his acting muscles here, and it paid off, and we can’t wait to see what project he chooses next. If you’re a fan of the gothic and gore then this one is for you.
3. All the Bright Places
All the Bright Places is a heart-warming teen romance between Violet (Elle Fanning), and Finch (Justice Smith). Violet had recently lost her sister in a car accident and dealing with grief when she and Finch are forced to work on a school project together. Now I know the YA novel adapted to film has oversaturated the film industry in recent years, and this film definitely has many clichés, yet there is a charming quality to it that makes it very likeable. I wasn’t expecting to cry during this film and was definitely in floods of tears by the ending. This movie touches on a lot of sensitive topics like depression, grief and suicide. But it focusses on a lot of positives in life too and personal growth which was really satisfying to see onscreen.
4. The Boys in the Band
Now, this is a film that went a little under the radar for me, and I did not see it advertised much. But this is a hidden gem for sure! The film is set in 1968, and a group of gay men gather at a friend’s house for a birthday party but plans go awry when a party game goes a little too far. Now, this film is based on a play, and it shows. It has that claustrophobic feel as it is mainly filmed in one location over the course of one night. I was on the edge of my seat for the majority of this movie. It’s one of those where not a lot actually happens yet it feels like a hell of a lot. Purest form of drama. And Jim Parsons gives one of his best performances to date, really showed his range here (another best actor nominee hopefully). In the end, this film is about accepting yourself and facing your demons no matter how long you have been hiding from them.
5. The Prom
Based on a Broadway musical, The Prom tells the story of a high school senior, Emma (Jo Ellen Pellman) who is a lesbian and her only wish is a dance with her secret girlfriend at the prom. However, the small-minded town that she lives in is homophobic and cancels the prom. When all hope is lost, 4 Broadway stars swoop in to help to give Emma the prom that she deserves. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from this film going in. I just assumed it was going to be a cheesy musical – which it is – but it’s so much more than that. It was about friendship, love and refusing to hide your true self all whilst listening to some banging songs and watching great dance numbers. But have your tissues to hand because this one is a tear-jerker but it will leave you with a warm feeling.
Those are some of our picks for the best Netflix original films for 2020, but there are plenty more we could have mentioned and let’s see what 2021 brings!