Sunday, 17 January 2021

The Year in Movies – 2020

Like many, many things in 2020, this blog and any updates gave way to very different priorities, and not only did I watch fewer movies last year, but the way in which I watched them and the aspects that I paid most attention to and appreciated most also shifted, perhaps irreversibly. I found myself responding much more strongly to movies where the filmmakers took conspicuous and considerate care in imagining and conveying characters’ emotional lives, and to stories that seemed informed by lived experiences and hard-won knowledge.

Miranda July’s Kajillionaire (which could just as easily have been my Number 1 movie of the year), a movie about familial struggles, was born not only out of her prodigious imagination, but also out of her accumulating feelings of frustration, fury, discovery, joy, and a multitude of others that arise from her new experience of being a wife and a mother. Shirley was made by a consummate cinematic creator, Josephine Decker, who herself must have experienced some of the terrors and ecstasies of artistic creation before evoking them in the story of her protagonist, the real-life novelist Shirley Jackson.