The Best Movies of 2019

  • Publish Date: January 6, 2020
  • Comments: ↓ 1 user comment

Parasite is the best-reviewed movie of 2019—probably *

Image
2019 96 Parasite
2018 96 Roma
2017 94 Faces Places
2016 99 Moonlight
2015 96 Carol
2014 100 Boyhood
Highest-Scoring Movies by Year
(Minimum 7 Reviews)

For the third consecutive year, a foreign-language film has landed the highest Metascore. The best-reviewed film released in 2019, Parasite comes from South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer, Okja) and tells an increasingly twisted tale that traces the growing connection between two families from different socioeconomic classes.

The rare foreign-language film to become a major box office hit, Parasite first came to the public's attention when it won the biggest prize at Cannes (the Palme d'Or) in May. Numerous other awards and honors have followed, and the film has been a staple on year-end top 10 lists. Could an Oscar best picture trophy be next? There's still one major obstacle: No foreign-language film has ever won that top Oscar—not even Roma, last year's best-reviewed film.

* Oh, about that asterisk: At the moment, Parasite is just a tiny fraction of a point ahead of the year's #2 film, Portrait of a Lady on Fire. The latter has screened briefly for awards-qualifying purposes, but won't really reach theaters until February, at which time it will likely receive additional reviews. If those reviews are uniformly excellent, they could elevate Portrait into the #1 position.

Those two films aside, 2019 actually saw a decline in the number of spectacularly reviewed films compared to recent years. After four consecutive years in which the number of films scoring 90 or higher reached double digits, there were just six such films in 2019:

Total number of films scoring at least 90, by year

We tracked 552 films released during 2019 that received at least seven reviews from our panel of top professional critics. A total of 308 of those films scored 61 or higher, indicating that they were positively reviewed. That 55.8% approval rate also marks a decline compared to 2018's film slate, in which 58% of films received positive reviews. There were also fewer films in 2019 receiving a Metascore of 81 or higher (the cutoff we use to indicate "universal acclaim" from reviewers) than in the previous year.

The year's best films

Below are 2019's highest-scoring overall films regardless of genre, followed by separate lists of the year's best movies in a variety of categories.

Highest-Scoring Movies Released in 2019

movie still 
Movie Score Watch Now
1Parasite96  
2Portrait of a Lady on Fire95  
3The Irishman94 Watch on Netflix 
4Marriage Story93 Watch on Netflix 
5The Souvenir92 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon PrimeBuy From iTunes 
6Little Women91  
7Uncut Gems89  
8For Sama89  
9The Farewell89 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
10Long Day's Journey Into Night89 Buy From iTunes 
1163 Up88  
12Pain and Glory88  
13Apollo 1188 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunesWatch on Hulu 
14The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open87 Watch on Netflix 
15Genèse (Genesis)87  
16Cunningham87  
17Diane86 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
18An Elephant Sitting Still86 Buy From iTunes 
19Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese86 Watch on Netflix 
20One Cut of the Dead86 Buy From iTunes 
21Black Mother86 Buy From iTunes 
22The Wild Pear Tree86 Buy From iTunes 
23American Factory86 Watch on Netflix 
24Honeyland86 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
25Birds of Passage85 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
26Atlantics85 Watch on Netflix 
27Varda by Agnès85  
28Ash Is Purest White85 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
29One Child Nation85 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
30The Ground Beneath My Feet85 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
31End of the Century84  
32Booksmart84 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunesWatch on Hulu 
33Synonyms84  
34Midnight Family84  
35Toy Story 484 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
36The Cave84  
37In My Room84  
38The Last Black Man in San Francisco83 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon PrimeBuy From iTunes 
39Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood83 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
40Roll Red Roll83 Watch on Netflix 
41The Lighthouse83 Buy From iTunes 
42Rosie83 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
43Carmine Street Guitars82  
44Wrestle82 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
45Relaxer82 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
46Transit82 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon PrimeBuy From iTunes 
47Maiden82 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
48Invisible Life82  
49Knives Out82  
50Angels Are Made of Light82  


For this and all tables in this article, only movies with seven or more reviews and released in at least one theater (or on a streaming service) in the United States between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019 were considered. Re-releases of older films are excluded. The Metascore is a weighted average of scores from top professional critics, on a scale from 0 (bad) to 100 (good). Although scores have been rounded to the nearest whole number, movies are ranked prior to rounding. All scores in this article are from January 5, 2020.

Best 2019 Films in Selected Genres

movie still 
2019's Best Documentaries
1For Sama89  
263 Up88  
3Apollo 1188 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunesWatch on Hulu 
4Cunningham87  
5Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese86 Watch on Netflix 
6Black Mother86 Buy From iTunes 
7American Factory86 Watch on Netflix 
8Honeyland86 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
9Varda by Agnès85  
10One Child Nation85 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon Prime 
11Midnight Family84  
12The Cave84  
13Roll Red Roll83 Watch on Netflix 
14Carmine Street Guitars82  
15Wrestle82 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
16Maiden82 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
17Angels Are Made of Light82  
18The Edge of Democracy81 Watch on Netflix 
19The Proposal80 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
20Western Stars80 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
21Knock Down the House80 Watch on Netflix 
22Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles80 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
23Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound80  
24Aquarela80 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
25David Crosby: Remember My Name80 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
movie still 
2019's Best Foreign-Language Films (Live-action narrative films only)
1Parasite96  
2Portrait of a Lady on Fire95  
3The Farewell89 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
4Long Day's Journey Into Night89 Buy From iTunes 
5Pain and Glory88  
6Genèse (Genesis)87  
7An Elephant Sitting Still86 Buy From iTunes 
8One Cut of the Dead86 Buy From iTunes 
9The Wild Pear Tree86 Buy From iTunes 
10Birds of Passage85 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
11Atlantics85 Watch on Netflix 
12Ash Is Purest White85 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
13The Ground Beneath My Feet85 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
14End of the Century84  
15Synonyms84  
16In My Room84  
17Transit82 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon PrimeBuy From iTunes 
18Invisible Life82  
19I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians81  
20Shadow81 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunesWatch on Netflix 
21Woman at War81 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunesWatch on Hulu 
22The Chambermaid81 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
23Too Late to Die Young80 Buy From iTunes 
24All Is Well80 Watch on Netflix 
25Working Woman79 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
movie still 
2019's Best Animated Films
1Toy Story 484 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
2I Lost My Body81 Watch on Netflix 
3Funan79 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
4Promare77  
5Ruben Brandt, Collector75 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
6Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles75 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
7How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World71 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunesWatch on Hulu 
8Missing Link68 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunesWatch on Hulu 
9The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part65 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
10Frozen II64  
movie still 
2019's Best Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Superhero Films (English-language, live action)
1Ad Astra80 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
2Avengers: Endgame78 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
3High Life77 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon PrimeBuy From iTunes 
4See You Yesterday74 Watch on Netflix 
5Shazam!71 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
6 Spider-Man: Far From Home69 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
7The Kid Who Would Be King66 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
8Fast Color64 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon PrimeBuy From iTunesWatch on Hulu 
9Captain Marvel64 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
10I Am Mother64 Watch on Netflix 
movie still 
2019's Best Horror Films and Supernatural Thrillers
1One Cut of the Dead86 Buy From iTunes 
2The Lighthouse83 Buy From iTunes 
3In Fabric81 Buy From iTunes 
4Us81 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
5Tigers Are Not Afraid76 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
6Midsommar72 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
7Knife + Heart69 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunes 
8The Changeover69 Buy From Amazon Instant Video 
9Depraved69 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoBuy From iTunesWatch on Hulu 
10Climax67 Buy From Amazon Instant VideoWatch on Amazon PrimeBuy From iTunes 

What are your favorites?

What are your selections for the best and worst movies of the past year? Let us know in the comments section below.

If you are looking for even more of 2019's best films, be sure to check out our compilation of nearly 300 film critic top 10 lists as well as our 2019 Film Awards Scorecard. We are also tracking critics' picks for the best movies of the just-completed decade.

And, for the opposite of good, we also have a list of 2019's absolute worst movies.

Comments (1)

  • MarcDoyle  

    Glad to see Maiden on the big board.....

New in Metacritic Reports

  1. What to Watch Now on Prime Video Image
    Published: January 17, 2020
  2. What to Watch Now on Hulu Image
    Published: January 16, 2020
  3. Make Your 2020 Oscar Predictions! Image
    Published: January 15, 2020
  4. 2020 Oscar Nominations Image
    Published: January 13, 2020
  5. Metacritic Users Pick the Best of 2019 (and the Decade) Image
    Published: January 9, 2020
  6. The Best Movies of 2019 Image
    Published: January 6, 2020
  7. January 2020
    DVD/Blu-ray Release Calendar: January 2020 Image
    Published: January 1, 2020
  8. 11 Films to See in January Image
    Published: December 30, 2019

What Our Users Are Talking About

  1. /feature/nominees-for-92nd-academy-awards-2020-oscars Image
    2020 Oscar Nominations
    January 13, 2020 - 3 comments
    1. MarcDoyle : No Maiden for Best Doc? I'm assuming they just didn't see it. My best movie of the year.... Read »
    2. LatinCritic13 : Man The Academy sucked for snubbing out Celine Sciamma's A Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Adam Sandler for Uncut... Read »
    3. kayhamed : I don't go with actors/actresses nominees. Robert De Niro, Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are snubbed, for real. Read »
  2. /feature/user-poll-results-best-of-2019 Image
    Metacritic Users Pick the Best of 2019 (and the Decade)
    January 9, 2020 - 10 comments
    1. prashu : Happy to see that To Pimp A Butterfly was ranked #1 but why is The Americans ranked so low? It's the best show of the... Read »
    2. Poochingus : This collection of lists makes my little vagoo quiver with delight. Read »
    3. Salvadonche : Blue_Velvet : it's just your opinion dude, personally I'm what we could call a "gamer" and I've played a **** ton of... Read »
  3. /feature/best-movies-released-in-2019 Image
    The Best Movies of 2019
    January 6, 2020 - 1 comment
    1. MarcDoyle : Glad to see Maiden on the big board..... Read »
  4. /feature/best-video-games-of-2019 Image
    The Best Videogames of 2019
    January 3, 2020 - 1 comment
    1. ItsAllOgre5 : How come this year doesn't show the average score breakdown for all the platforms? Read »
  5. /feature/best-movies-of-the-decade-2010s Image
    Best Movies of the Decade (2010-19)
    November 18, 2019 - 16 comments
    1. dima_11 : Film Comment? TIFF Cinematheque? Read »
  6. /feature/hulu-best-new-movies-and-shows Image
    What to Watch Now on Hulu
    January 16, 2020 - 1 comment
    1. thecleverfoo1 : Is there a reason there isn't a sort function to this list? I feel it would improve it's usefulness greatly. Read »