2021 was the year we finally returned to the theater to see movies (at least for a while)—but how many were actually worth the effort? Several of The A.V. Club’s stellar film critics chimed in on their favorites of the year in the below video, as one of those critics, Senior Writer Katie Rife, narrates:
The top films include new releases from French and Iranian directors, a western, A.V. Club favorite Sean Baker’s latest, and yes, perhaps the greatest Wes Anderson production yet. As we noted on our larger, year-end list, the films at the top of The A.V. Club’s best-of list “were not the kind of major-studio productions mounting some measure of comeback right now; only one of the 25 films in our ranked rundown had a giant budget, and its spectacle was more song-and-dance than cape-and-cowl. You want superheroes? Look for them on the box office charts, not here.” If you want to dig even deeper into the finest films of 2021, check out our year-end edition of the Film Club podcast, where Katie and Film Editor A.A. Dowd discuss the movies that mattered the most on our year-end list.
As we batten down the post-holiday winter hatches and again turn toward watching films from home, we feel confident in recommending any of these five, especially since a few of them may not even be on your radar yet. Yes, we’re also already looking ahead to new releases in January (like Scream, Morbius, and the latest Hotel Transylvania), but before we turn that page, take a gander at the above video to get a chance to say goodbye to the best in 2021 film in proper fashion. And who knows—maybe we’ll even get back to theaters again in 2022 (keeping our fingers crossed).