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How to Stream the Most Acclaimed Movies of 2020

Person holding a remote control while streaming movies
Marroun said

Like everything in 2020, new movie releases were seriously disrupted by the pandemic. But just because many cinemas were closed doesn̵

7;t mean that great movies in a variety of formats weren’t released all year round.

With the end of 2020, almost all of the year’s most acclaimed movies will be available to watch at home. Here’s how to stream the top-rated movies of 2020, according to review aggregation site Metacritic.

Lovers Rock

Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen (12 years slave) released five feature films under the Small ax banner, all targeting a West Indian immigrant community in London from the 1960s to the 1980s. However, all five received near-universal acclaim Lovers Rock has emerged as the clear favorite, with its tranquil, music-infused romance about a couple (played by Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn and Micheal Ward) meeting at a house party and spending a memorable evening together.

Lovers Rock streams on Amazon Prime ($ 119 per year after a 30-day free trial).


This ultimate documentary disappointment describes the corruption and neglect endemic to the Romanian healthcare system and the government agencies that oversee it. A scandal spawned from deaths in a horrific nightclub fire involves multiple aspects of hospital management and government surveillance, and the film takes a you-are-there approach to observe this nightmarish situation step by step.

Collective is available for digital rental ($ 6.99 +) at Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and other retailers.

American utopia

More than 30 years after the release of Talking Heads’ Stop being sensiblewidely regarded as the greatest concert film of all time, former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne returns with another critically acclaimed concert film. Director Spike Lee documented Byrne’s most recent Broadway show, combining music from Byrne’s career with Byrne’s observations about life. It’s all presented on a changing, wraparound stage that Lee captures with his roaming cameras.

American utopia streams on HBO Max ($ 14.99 per month).


Director Garrett Bradley follows activist Fox Rich in this documentary about Rich’s tireless efforts for her husband, who is serving a 60-year sentence for robbery. Drawing on images Rich has taken over many years, the film is a combination of personal storytelling and advocacy-making, focusing on one family’s struggle to be reunited while also taking the deep. injustice in the American prison system as a whole is demonstrated.

Time streams on Amazon Prime ($ 119 per year after a 30-day free trial).


The greatest Broadway sensation of the past two decades reached a whole new audience thanks to this film, which captures performances from the musical’s original cast, including playwright / composer Lin-Manuel Miranda. Original director Thomas Kail filmed three shows at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Broadway in 2016, plus additional footage filmed without a live audience.

The dynamic musical about the early American politician Alexander Hamilton reinterprets American history through the lens of hip-hop, with actors of color playing every major role.

Hamilton streams on Disney + ($ 6.99 per month or $ 69.99 per year after a seven-day free trial).


Steve McQueen’s second Small ax movies to make the list, Mangrove is probably the collection’s most conventional historical drama, telling the true story of nine black activists who were arrested in a protest outside the Mangrove restaurant and tried in 1971 for inciting a riot.

The first half of the film immerses the viewer in the vibrant culture surrounding the Mangrove, while the second half is a thrilling courtroom drama that highlights the deep (and persistent) racial inequalities in the British legal system.

Mangrove streams on Amazon Prime ($ 119 per year after a 30-day free trial).

First cow

Kelly Reichardt’s US frontier drama follows two unlikely friends (played by John Magaro and Orion Lee) as they start a makeshift business selling ‘oily cakes’ to pioneers hungry for any kind of food with real taste and flair. Reichardt’s slow, methodical approach provides ample time for the central friendship to develop while steadily building tension over the mysterious theft of milk from the only Oregon cow owned by a wealthy Englishman (Toby Jones).

First cow streams on Showtime ($ 8.99 per month after a 30-day free trial) and is available for digital purchase ($ 7.99 +) and rental ($ 3.99 +) from Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu and other outlets.

Dick Johnson is dead

Filmmaker Kirsten Johnson puts her own father in the spotlight in this highly personal documentary, in which the younger Johnson confronts her father’s mortality (he has been diagnosed with dementia) by conceiving and executing absurd scenarios for his possible death. The elder Johnson, a retired psychiatrist, playfully takes part in his daughter’s elaborate fantasies, serving as an emotionally cathartic coping mechanism for both father and child (and by extension, the audience).

Dick Johnson is dead streams on Netflix ($ 8.99 + per month).

City Hall

Frederick Wiseman has been making straightforward, unadorned documentaries about American institutions since 1967, his latest being a four and a half hour documentary about the Boston city government. By accurately depicting the inner workings of the bureaucracy, Wiseman gives his audience a glimpse into how congregations function on a daily basis, from long, monotonous meetings to passionate discussions in public commentary.

City Hall streams for free through January 19, 2021 on the PBS website and is available in virtual theatrical release ($ 12) through Eventive.

Ma Rainey’s black bottom

The late Chadwick Boseman gives his final appearance in this music-focused drama based on August Wilson’s play. The film takes place over the course of a single day in 1927, when famed blues singer (and ornery diva) Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) records a few songs with her band. Boseman plays an ambitious trumpet player who clashes with Ma, in a showcase for two powerful performances that serves as a ruminant about pride and regret.

Ma Rainey’s black bottom streams on Netflix ($ 8.99 + per month).

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