2021: A Year in Movies

Check out some of the best movie releases of 2021

Graphic by Emmi Wu ’23

It’s evident that 2021 has been a year filled with tragedy and sadness for everyone around the world. However, with tragedy comes cinematic masterpieces. We all know that a movie has accomplished its main goal when you walk out of the theaters feeling something you’ve never felt before.

In the controversial film released this past year, Lamb, director Valdimir Jóhannsson highlights the hardships of raising a child—well, in this case, a creature. The story begins with a rural Icelandic couple, Maria and Ingvar, on Christmas Eve who discover an abnormal creature living in their own sheep barn: a human baby with a lamb’s head. The couple makes their initial choice to nurse the young female (who is later named as “Ada”) in their home. Suddenly, there is a noticeable shift in the couple’s attitude, as they have discovered their life purpose. While the story may at first be perceived as sweet and heartwarming, the drama soon turns sinister. Although Maria sheds her love on the child, her motherly instincts of protecting Ada from nature becomes increasingly disturbing. As the story progresses, the ominous events result in an unsettling battle between nature and humans. Although the psychological drama was not liked by all, it managed to earn an 84 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. In addition to this, the film was honored at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, winning the Un Certain Regard – Prize of Originality award and nominated for the Cámera d’Or (Golden Camera Award). Although the film’s suffocating tone may not appeal to everyone, it is truly a work of art that takes disturbing to an entirely different level.

As mentioned before, with tragedy, comes a masterpiece. The tragic death of Princess Diana, impacted everyone internationally. In the film Spencer, Kristen Stewart plays Diana as she battles with her mental health issues while staying with the royal family at the Sandrigham estate in Norfolk. We see Diana struggling with her Bulimia and her joyless marriage with Prince Charles. In certain moments, Diana has disturbing dreams of self-destructive activities, including self-harm and suicide. Diana’s grip on reality soon becomes blurry as the tension within the royal family becomes increasingly worse, thus resulting in Diana’s reckless behavior. The independent film earned various accolades and nominations, including the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival. Kristen Stewart’s raw performance will certainly leave a lasting impression on everyone who watches this acclaimed film.

Lastly, the number one film that emphasizes betrayal, passion, and tragedy (especially in the manufacturing industries) is the film, House of Gucci. The Academy Award and Grammy winning artist, Lady Gaga plays the demanding and ambitious Patrizia Reggiani, who finds her way into the well-known Gucci family after marrying Maurizio Gucci (played by Adam Driver). The film explores Regiani navigating the family’s legacy, which results in a downward spiral of revenge, betrayal, and death. In addition to Gaga and Driver starring in the film, the film also features Oscar-winning actors Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and Jared Leto. The story’s use of violence and intensity truly completes the infamous saying: “Money is the root of all evil.” It should be expected for Lady Gaga to earn another Academy Award nominee for her shocking and heinous execution of the real life Patrizia Regiani.

These three controversial films prove that art in cinema affects others in their own ways.  Whether it’s triggering tears or generating laughter, these films certainly leave a lasting impression on the audience. 


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