Best New Movies

Top 20 Films of 2021

It was a strange year for film, with cinemas around Ireland closed or at least at reduced capacity for the majority of the year. This meant many films suffered long delays from their intended release date, while many others didn’t get a cinema release at all. Regardless, it’s difficult to argue that this caused any reduction in quality, as it was an impressive year of new releases.

– 20. (Joint) Riders of Justice – Anders Thomas Jensen’s tale really deserved a mention for its many twists and turns. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot of fun. See it before the American remake ruins it forever!

– 20. (Joint) NomadlandDirector Chloé Zhao proved that she is an impressive director in films that don’t involve superpowers in this Oscar winner.

Available to watch on Disney+

19. Limbo – This tale of the average daily life of Asylum Seekers stuck on a remote Scottish island won many plaudits. It was released in July of this year.

Available to watch on Mubi. 

18. Dune – This is one of the films that tempted many back to the big screen and it certainly was at its best when viewed as the director intended. It was essentially half a film, as the ending is a little abrupt but its visual style was hugely impressive.

17. Petite Maman – Director Céline Sciamma won many hearts with her previous release Portrait of a Lady on Fire. This release was a twisted fairy tale that lasted long in the mind of the audience.

16. The Card Counter  – Paul Schrader’s latest release was another gem and Oscar Isaac should get an Oscar nomination for his performance in this revenge thriller.

15. SpencerDirector Pablo Larraín returned after Jackie with a tale of another iconic woman with Diana Spencer and a weekend spent with her inlaws in the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

13. AzorDirector Andreas Fontana’s tale of a private banker from Geneva, that travels to Argentina in the midst of a dictatorship to replace his partner.

Available on Mubi

12. The Souvenir Part II – The only sequel on the list, but it’s a fairly unusual one. The Souvenir was Joanna Hogg’s release from 2019 set in England in the 1980s and this is what happened next to Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne).

11. Dinner in AmericaA film that received very little attention, but this indie gem is just about perfect! It tells the story of a punk rocker and a young woman obsessed with his band.

10. Apples This film is set during a pandemic! Perfect timing really. It’s the story of a man who isn’t sure of his place in the world. It marks out director Christos Nikou as one to watch.  

Available on Mubi

9. Supernova – A sweet and sad love story that was hard to ignore. The performance by the two main actors raised it to a higher level.

8. Promising Young Woman –  Emerald Fennell’s tale of a young damaged woman taking her revenge against the world!

7. Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) – Another lost gem which reminded me of Amazing Grace from a few years ago. The footage was uncovered by Questlove who turned it into this fine spectacle.

Available on Disney+

6. The NestDirector Sean Durkin returned with this alternate tale of greed in the 80s.

5. The French Dispatch – This film was overlooked by many as it’s not Wes Anderson’s finest work but still taken on its own merit, it is impressive. A collection of short stories based around a magazine, which allows for a multitude of ideas and styles.

4. The Sound of Metal – Darius Marder’s story of a drummer who is slowly going deaf. That ending will resonate with you for days!

Available to watch on Amazon Prime

3. The Power of the Dog – While Top of the Lake was enjoyable, this proved that the big screen is what Jane Campion does best.

Available to watch on Netflix

2. Another Round – It’s another fine creation from the combination of Thomas Vinterberg and Mads Mikkelsen. A story that explores our relationship with alcohol in a unique fashion.

1. First Cow – In case you’re wondering, this was released on the 28th of May 2021 although many saw it much, much earlier! It’s directed by Kelly Reichardt (Wendy & Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff, Night Moves) and it’s probably her finest work to date. It’s a film that needs to be seen on a big screen (no messing on your phone), so do the best you can do. It’s slow, intense and quite beautiful.

Available to watch on Mubi. 


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