Florence Pugh is plunged into a terrifying pagan bacchanal in a magnificent folk-horror tale from Hereditary director Ari Aster. Read the full review.
Sorry We Missed You
A delivery driver and his care assistant wife are ground down by the gig economy in Ken Loach’s ferocious attack on Britain’s zero-hours society. Read the full review.
Our second Apocalypse Now nod in this list is Alejandro Landes’s deeply mad thriller about a wild cult of teenage bandits who have rituals, guns and a hostage – but no Colonel Kurtz. Read the full review.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Melissa McCarthy reaches new career heights with her performance as hard-drinking literary forger Lee Israel opposite an uber-waspish Richard E Grant in this acid delight. Read the full review.
J-Lo delivers a standout turn in this snappy caper about a gang of strippers who scam Wall Street bankers. Read the full review.
An outsider with unusual gifts descends on a small community in Ali Abbasi’s exploration of cultural otherness; a Nordic noir that also features cinema’s weirdest sex scene. Read the full review.
One of the most extraordinary documentaries of recent years, this story of a baby in war-torn Syria, begun while her mother was still pregnant, is impossibly moving, upsetting and uplifting. Read the full review.
Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is a riotous blast; a funny, filthy, female Superbad that’s also extremely smart and strangely sensitive. Read the full review.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Barry Jenkins’s sumptuous adaptation of the James Baldwin novel is an emotionally overwhelming hymn to the power of love and the burn of injustice. Read the full review.
A taut and elegant adaptation of Anna Seghers’s 1944 novel, this unfortunately topical tale of stolen identities, refugees and riot police is deeply and enduringly disturbing. Read the full review.
Ash Is Purest White
Jia Zhangke’s melancholy epic stars Zhao Tao as a resilient gangster’s moll burning with misguided love in a shape-shifting China. Read the full review.
Laia Costa and Josh O’Connor get the tissues wringing in Harry Wootliff’s impressive debut about a couple whose relationship is tested by infertility. Read the full review.
All Is True
Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench gave us a poignant insight into William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway’s later life turmoil in this delicate biopic written by Ben Elton. Read the full review.
Kasi Lemmons’s belated but remarkable slavery biopic features Indiana Jones-style derring-do and a barnstorming central turn from Cynthia Erivo. Read the full review.
An immensely tender and precarious documentary following three Mexican brothers as they juggle their work with the care of their 93-year-old grandmother. Read the full review.
Nadine Labaki’s powerful drama sees a Beirut child sue his parents for giving birth to him – before ending up on the street caring for a stranger’s baby. Read the full review.
One Cut of the Dead
Noises Off meets George Romero in this lively and genre-revitalising metafictional horror show by Shin’ichirô Ueda. Read the full review.
Set in an unearthly department store, Peter Strickland’s bizarre ghost story sees Marianne Jean-Baptiste battling a frock from another dimension. Read the full review.
Kantemir Balagov deploys shock tactics to weigh the horrors of peace against the trauma of war in 1945 Leningrad in this extraordinary movie. Read the full review.
The Good Liar
Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren are delicious foils in Bill Condon’s expertly paced and twisty story about an elderly conman who may have met his match. Read the full review.
The film Paolo Sorrentino was born to direct and Toni Servillo born to star in didn’t quite live up to that billing, but this Silvio Berlusconi biopic is still a masterly and fascinating take. Read the full review.
This sly and subtle debut from Bo Burnham boasts an astonishingly good performance from Elsie Fisher as a shy teenager struggling with growing up in the internet age. Read the full review.
Rian Johnson takes a breather from Star Wars to revisit his Brick roots with this wickedly entertaining Agatha Christie homage featuring a star-packed cast. Read the full review.
Had Aretha Franklin approved of Sydney Pollack’s transcendent 1972 documentary, it doubtless would have shown up on our list closer to the time it was shot. Still, better late than never. Read the full review.
Birds of Passage
The cost of the Colombian drugs trade to its indigenous people is uncovered in Ciro Guerra’s poetic and shocking drama. Read the full review.
László Nemes follows Son of Saul with a cryptic and hyper-stylish study of the fracturing Austro-Hungarian empire on the eve of the first world war. Read the full review.
After Amy and Senna, Asif Kapadia tackles someone still alive in this gripping study of football, euphoria and catastrophe. Read the full review.
A front-row seat for the moon landings? Few could resist this astonishing documentary featuring previously unseen footage, released for the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s lunar walk. Read the full review.
This hypnotic take on tourists – and second home owners – ruining Cornwall launched Mark Jenkin onto the homegrown cinema scene with immense wit and monochrome style. Read the full review.
Samuel Maoz’s fierce nightmare vision of Israel, where loss and pain are randomly distributed, offers an urgent and witty picture of futility. Read the full review.
Ray & Liz
Richard Billingham mined his own family for this bleak debut, capturing the claustrophobic loneliness of a couple cut off from everyone, including each other. Read the full review.
Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out was a less obvious slam-dunk, but still an immensely skilful doppelganger satire with a gobstopping central turn from Lupita Nyong’o. Read the full review.
Kinky and invigorating, Keira Knightley and Dominic West make a fascinating married couple in this biopic – released last January – of the much-wronged French novelist. Read the full review.
Dolemite Is My Name
Eddie Murphy’s glorious return is the richly entertaining tale of cult 70s blaxploitation star Rudy Ray Moore’s rise from nightclub standup to the movies. Read the full review.
Benjamín Naishtat’s satire, set before the coup that installed a military junta in Argentina, is an enraging – and informative – parable of iniquity about the fate of the disappeared. Read the full review.
Brad Pitt goes intergalactic in search of long-lost dad Tommy Lee Jones in James Gray’s thrilling Freudian mashup of Apocalypse Now and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Read the full review.
Mati Diop’s supernatural debut forces young Senegalese lovers to choose between love, duty and servitude, then adds a surreal twist. Read the full review.
Jennifer Kent follows up The Babadook with some real-life monsters: the men who ran Tasmania’s penal colonies in the 1820s – one of whom gets some grisly, if just, comeuppance in this gothic thriller. Read the full review.
Is it cinema? Or is it soulless bobbins that’s degrading the fabric of art and society as we know it? Debate still rages; both sides can point to the Russo brothers’ quasi-finale as evidence for their cause. Read the full review.
Rolling Thunder Revue
Two legends collaborate and a truckload collide in Martin Scorsese’s epic, freewheeling documentary unspooling on Bob Dylan’s 1975 tourbus. Read the full review.