• George White

5 of the Best Indie Films of 2020

It's safe to say 2020 has been a difficult year for the film industry. But one massive positive has been the steady stream of incredible independent movies that may not have been given the same spotlight in other, less crazy years.


Here are five of the best films that the indie world had to offer over the past 12 months.


Summerland (31 July)


While far from a perfect movie, an impressive leading performance from Gemma Arterton carries this heartfelt period drama to decent heights. Following Arterton's Alice, an academic who involuntarily looks after an evacuee in the Second World War, this story delves into some interesting topics, including love, loss and the need to belong.


The relationship that develops between Alice and her new-found friend, Frank (Lucas Bond), is utterly delightful and - while hardly breaking any new ground - Summerland will offer enough enjoyable moments to keep you entertained.


Kajillionaire (25 September)

Credit: Focus Features

Perhaps one of the strangest and most eccentric indies of the year, Kajillionaire is a unique and intoxicating look at the importance of family, or lack thereof. Fronted by Evan Rachel Wood as Old Dolio (yep, the character's actual name), the daughter of two excruciatingly unsuccessful con artists, this beautifully crafted film is excellently shot and features fantastic performances from the entire cast.


While the movie's trailer may give the impression that this is more of a comedy, Kajillionaire is a surprisingly deep and introspective story - and features an excellently layered performance from Gina Rodriguez.


Uncorked (27 March)


Written and directed by Brooklyn Nine-Nine veteran Prentice Penny, this understated family drama packs a surprising punch. When Elijah (Mamoudou Athie) decides he wants to become a sommelier instead of taking over his father's restaurant, divisions form within the family - leaving Elijah to decide between his dream career and his father's legacy.


Many viewers may not expect the world of wine tasting to provide the most interesting setting for a film, but Uncorked manages to tell an incredibly engaging story within this unusual context. Athie shows off his impressive potential with a complex emotional performance, and Penny manages to weave in some genuienly hilarious moments into an otherwise very serious film.


Parasite (7 February)

Credit: Neon

After Bong Joon Ho's phenomenal success at the 2020 Academy Awards, there isn't much that hasn't yet been said about his recent masterpiece, Parasite. As a poor, out-of-luck family infiltrate the wealthy Park household, they must try to keep up their increasingly complicated games of exploitation and deceit as things go from slightly unnerving to completely insane.


Underpinning an exciting and unpredictable story with powerful messages on class and capitalism, Bong Joon Ho once again proves his unwavering ability to deliver impactful messages in an entertaining format. The cast is ridiculously good, too, and the fact these tremendously talented actors didn't pick up the same recognition as their director is bordering on criminal.


Portrait of a Lady on Fire (14 February)


Perhaps one of the most intricately crafted films of all time, director Céline Sciamma works absolute wonders with her passionate, intimate tale of forbidden romance in eighteenth century France. Portrait of a Lady on Fire will consume you from the opening scene and keep you hooked until the very painful final moments. The chemistry between Noémie Merlant's Marianne and Adèle Haenel's Héloïse is enchanting to watch, and few on-screen romances will have you more desperately rooting for a pair of characters than theirs.


From each careful brush stroke to every captivating sidewards glance, Sciamma puts together a flawless bit of filmmaking here. Much like the paintings crafted by Marianne, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is undoutbedly a work of art.

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