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40 Best Movies & Shows Released in 2020

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This groundbreaking documentary follows the USA Olympics sexual abuse case that made headlines in 2015. Through interviews with Olympians, their families, and investigative reporters, it’s also a documentary on the overall culture of abuse in gymnastics: sexual, physical, and emotional.In one scene from the 1996 Olympics, gold medalist Kerri Strug has to run, vault, and land - all with a severe foot injury that was covered up by her coaches. She does this twice, limping between attempts and crawling off the mat on the second, crying. Meanwhile, her family, her coaches, the spectators - the World - is celebrating.When she’s carried off, it’s Larry Nassar, the pedophile at the center of the documentary, who carries her.Athlete A is groundbreaking exactly because it illustrates that the problem is not only with one doctor, or the 54 coaches who were also found guilty of sexual abuse, or the morally bankrupt leadership of USA Gymastics; it’s also about what went so wrong with society to see the abuse of young girls as cause for celebration.

8.4

Mobeen, Nate, and Eight are three friends from Birmingham. Mobeen, the head of the group, takes care of his sister in the absence of his parents and tries to be a good Muslim and citizen while escaping his past as a drug dealer. In the first episode, a transaction to buy a laptop results in three SWAT teams being called on Mobeen and his friends.A lot of Man like Mobeen is silly, laugh-out-loud comedy. But as its creator wanted, it also gets serious very quickly. Themes of teenage knife crime (in the second season), the rise of right-wing sentiment, and a problematic relationship with the police are constantly being brought up without ever feeling forced.

8.2

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“They called me uppity. Uppity n*****. And I loved it”. That’s how this excellent documentary, about the first professional black racing driver Willy T. Ribbs, starts. It summarizes the strong personality of a champion who excelled in tracks that were filled with confederate flags.The documentary explains the details of the difficulties that Ribbs went through in the 70s and 80s, but also the people who supported him and recognized his talent. It’s by no way a sad movie, on the contrary, even when Ribbs is talking about people spitting wherever he walks or about the death threats escalating, his unharmed determination is at the center of the story.This is an inspiring documentary about a character who never got his worth in the history books. I was full of shivers by the first half-hour mark.

8.2

Arabella is a Twitter-famous writer from London who has one night to submit a draft for her second book. She gives herself an hour break during that night to go out for drinks with a close friend. When she gets back she realizes that much more than an hour had passed, that she had blacked-out, and that she has bruises all over her body.Like the excellent Chewing Gum, I May Destroy You is a Michaela Coel one-woman show: she is the showrunner, the writer, co-director, and leading actress. And whatever Coel makes, she makes it personal and without compromises. I May Destroy you is based on her experience being sexually assaulted while making Chewing Gum.To make sure she told this story right, she turned down a $1 million deal from Netflix over creative ownership.

8.1

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On their drive back from a Tinder date that was only average, a couple are pulled over by a racist police officer. Things escalate unexpectedly and the couple, one of whom is a lawyer aware of the corruptedness of the system, start a life on the run together. This thrilling set-up mixing social commentary and romance is a movie that's actually many movies in one. And almost as if to cut in-between the different tonalities, there are so many quiet and beautiful shots of the couple: silent, still or dancing - these moments are true cinematic magic. 

8.1

This mini-series by Alex Garland (28 Days Later writer and Ex Machina director) is about a tech company like Google that has a building that only select developers (devs) work in. Sergei is one of the lucky ones that get the call but he disappears after his first day. His girlfriend, who works for the same company, tries to find out what happened to him, first by uncovering well-kept dark secrets about that building. If you liked Mr. Robot or Ex Machina, you will love this. And a surprise bonus: Nick Offerman plays the CEO of the company, in a great serious role.

8.0

This wonderful Italian epic made by HBO was a huge hit in Italy but remains little-known elsewhere. It's based on four famous books that tell the coming-of-age story of two brilliant girls who grow up in a poor suburb on Naples in the 1950s. It also has scenes from the current time where one of them mysteriously disappears. Amazing production value, acting, and story make this show so easy to get hooked to.

8.0

This documentary from Ken Burns is a selection of stories from prisoners enrolled in a competitive college program. Many of the prisoners are in maximum-security facilities, some for serious crimes.Seeing their difficult imprisonment conditions, the struggles they come from, and yet their incredible determination to excel in their education - it’s all such a humbling and emotional affair.

8.0

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Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti (Modern Love, Black Mirror), and J.K. Simmons star in this easy but original rom-com that takes place in a wedding time loop. Nyles (Samberg) finds himself living the same day over and over again, so he gives in to the monotony and the fact that there is no way to escape it. When he is about to hook up with one of the guests, Sarah (Milioti), he is attacked by a mysterious character. The routine of his time-loop is broken. Palm Springs is often surreal and philosophical, which are not adjectives usually used to describe rom-coms. It offers just enough twists to be original without jeopardizing the things that make it a good rom-com.

7.9

This comedy is about a girl whose family moves to the U.S. on September 2001. She grows up to excel academically but, as she asks from the shrine in her room on her first day of sophomore year, she has yet to be cool. “I want to be invited to a party with hard drugs,” she prays, “not to do them, but just to say: no cocaine for me, thanks. I’m good.”The show is narrated by tennis legend John McEnroe who was known for his explosive temper (played recently by Shia Laboeuf in Borg vs McEnroe). It’s a genius arc because Devi is a “hothead”, exactly like McEnroe. Instead of recoiling, Devi keeps boiling over, making for a fresh and original high-school comedy.

7.8