Amy Smith gives a rundown of some of the top movies of last year that may have slipped under your radar. Some absolute gems on this list…
We’re approaching the end of 2021, but we’re going back in time a couple of years. With hundreds of films released on a yearly basis, we are guaranteed to let a few slip under the cracks and miss some of the best content released in the year. I’ve found ten films in particular that I fell in love with in 2019 that all either made less than $100 million at the box office or were not promoted or advertised well. You may have seen or heard of a few of them, but here are ten films that I loved that you should tick off your “to see” list.
1. Blinded by the Light
I had to put this film in my top spot not only because it only just scraped its budget back, only making $18 million worldwide, but this film was in my top ten of 2019. I fell in love with this film in the summer for giving me a feel-good film with a lot of heart and also packing a lot of emotion into it as well. This is a film that I tried to get everyone I knew to see, and I will continue to do so for years to come.
2. Tell Me Who I am
Tell Me Who I Am is a Netflix documentary piece on the incredible tale of twin brothers and the tough situation that they found themselves in. I had not seen this advertised at all and only found out about it from a family member who showed me, but this is a haunting film that presents a very tough moral dilemma. Many documentary/Netflix fans I have spoken to since have never even heard of this film, but they are left immediately intrigued just from me explaining the plot to them. It is a very hard watch, but a thought-provoking one as well.
3. I Lost My Body
Netflix’s entry for Best Animated Feature is a French 2D animation piece that is partly narrative and partly experimental, and yet drawn together in a beautiful way. I found myself drawn to the story and the emotion of the film, and yet it was naturally overshadowed by the likes of Frozen II and Toy Story 4. If you have been hesitant to press play on this piece, do it now. It’s only roughly 80 minutes long and it flows for that entire sequence.
When I was looking for films to watch on Netflix at one point, many people on Twitter suggested that I check out Paddleton. I had, once again, not seen this advertised at all but thought it would be worth checking out. This is a simple yet engaging story that touches on hard themes but also heart-warming ones like friendship. Mark Duplass has done so much for Netflix, from this to Evil Genius, and he is great to watch on screen together with Ray Romano (who can be seen in Netflix’s The Irishman). This is a touching story that more people need to check out.
5. Wild Rose
I would not be a proper Scottish film fan if I didn’t give a shout-out to one film from my country, and easily the best from Scotland this year came from Jessie Buckley in Wild Rose. She is a star, whether in acting in projects such as this and Chernobyl, to the incredible vocals she has in this. They just missed out on being nominated for Best Song at the Oscars. Please check out Wild Rose at any point you can, you will not regret it.
6. Always Be My Maybe
Netflix had a bunch of hidden gems in their movie line-up in 2019, but this might be my favourite of the lot. I had not even heard about this film until I saw other people talk about the trailer, and the sad thing is that many of them were only talking about the huge cameo that is in the film. This film is more than just a fun cameo, it is a wonderfully written and performed film by all of the cast and has a charming message alongside it.
If there is one film that had the least amount of promotion possible, it may have been Crawl. The marketing team did not send critics to any preview screenings so reviews were limited, there were very few trailers for the film and it just seemed to come and go very quickly. This is a shame because this was my second-favourite horror of 2019. For a campy creature horror, this nails the tone perfectly and the suspense is held for the entirety of the film.
8. Ready Or Not
I had not even heard of Ready or Not until it was released in the US and it was getting great word of mouth. The advertising campaign looked fun, but was lacking as there was little promotion at all for this film. This a fun horror that unfortunately came out way too late in the UK, missing the summer release schedule. Samara Weaving steals the show here and she alone is worth the price of the film, either in the cinema or on DVD.
9. Queen And Slim
Only released in the later part of 2019 in the US and the start of 2020 in the UK, Queen and Slim is a film that tells the story of racism in America and the justice system. This is an emotionally powerful film that unfortunately was not getting the Oscar push, and therefore has been left unseen by many at this busy time of the year. For a first-time debut by both actress Jodie Turner-Smith and director Melina Matsoukas, this is excellent work from both of them and I cannot wait to see what they, as well as Daniel Kaluuya, do in the future.
10. Fighting With My Family
When people think of the success of Florence Pugh in 2019, they usually go straight for Midsommar and Little Women. However, I consider the best film from her in 2019 was this lesser-known hit directed by Stephen Merchant and co-starring Lena Hadley and Dwayne Johnson. This is a film that surprised even me, who was going in with average expectations for a WWE film. This film understands that a chunk of the audience, like myself, will not understand the rules and set-up of WWE and gives them time to learn the rules and not have the entire focus be on the wrestling aspect of the film. This is an entertaining film and the first place in 2019 that Florence Pugh showed her acting chops.
What do you think of my rundown? Have I missed any of your favourites? Let me know in the comments.