The most exciting movies of 2020 – dramas | Sunday Observer

The most exciting movies of 2020 – dramas

5 January, 2020

Paul Thomas Anderson announces his new film, Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci play a long-term couple and Tom Hanks maximises his awards chances with three releases


Tom Hanks stars in – and, more intriguingly, scripts – this Second World War gangbuster about a naval commander crossing the Atlantic pursued by a fleet of U-boats. The film’s release has been pushed back more than a year already, but that’s presumably to maximise Hanks’s awards chances for this and the Mister Rogers biopic, A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood. Elizabeth Shue plays his wife; Stephen Graham co-stars.

News of the World

Except that Hanks also has this coming up. Six months separate the scheduled releases, but this looks, in many ways, the more obvious silverware shoo-in.

Hanks plays Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a travelling newspaper reader who must take an orphaned girl (newcomer Helena Zengel) across the country to live with her remaining living relatives in the aftermath of the US civil war. A fictional period cross-generational road movie isn’t obvious Paul Greengrass fodder, which makes this all the more appealing.


Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci play a long-term couple touring the north of England in an RV in Harry Macqueen’s second film following his 2014 debut Hinterland. Tucci’s character has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s two years prior to the action, so we’re stockpiling tissues for this one. James Dreyfus makes a welcome return to the screen in the supporting cast.

Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson project

This likely won’t be ready in time, as it only shoots this spring, but at a push you could be looking at a Christmas 2020 premiere for Paul Thomas Anderson’s first film since The Phantom Thread. No cast has yet been attached, but we’re getting big Boogie Nights energy from the premise, about a high school student, who is also a successful child actor, in 1970s San Fernando Valley.

The Souvenir: Part 2

The relationship of Julie (Honour Swinton Byrne) and her ghastly, charming lover (Tom Burke) is over. What happens next in the life of Joanna Hogg’s alter ego? And will Tilda Swinton play herself (she knew Hogg at the time, in the early 80s) as well as Julie’s mum? The Souvenir was one of 2019’s cinematic highlights; this looks set to repeat the trick in 2020.


Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus star as a couple whose marriage falters after a misstep on his part during their family skiing holiday. Anyone who has seen Force Majeure, on which this is based, might be slightly alarmed by the prospect of Ferrell in that key scene, but this is still a tempting prospect. Jesse Armstrong has co-scripted alongside directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (the men behind the underrated The Way Way Back, also about a nightmarish vacation).

The Father

Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman make repeat Oscar bids as an ailing patriarch felled by dementia and his struggling daughter in the big-screen transfer for Florian Zeller’s multi-award-winning play. Four very capable hands in front of the camera; the only alarm bell is that Zeller also directs, in his cinematic debut.

Four Good Days

Colman’s shock runner-up at last year’s Oscars, Glenn Close, stars in this gruelling drama about a daughter (Mila Kunis) helping her mother through substance abuse recovery. Rodrigo Garcia (Albert Nobbs) directs.

Make Up

Claire Oakley’s buzzy, low-budget debut is set on a remote Cornish holiday park; a young woman develops a dangerous obsession after suspecting her boyfriend has been unfaithful.

The Last Thing He Wanted

Mudbound director Dee Rees tackles the Joan Didion memoir about a Washington Post reporter (Anne Hathaway) who quits her job to care for her father (Willem Dafoe) and inherits his position as an arms dealer for the US government in Central America. Ben Affleck co-stars.


Sarah Gavron’s docudrama set on a London estate has already earned rave reviews from Toronto and London film festivals; it finally winds up getting a release in April.


Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut (he also wrote and stars in the film) is about a conservative father (Lance Henriksen) who moves from his rural farm to live with his gay son (Mortensen) and his family in LA. Laura Linney co-stars and David Cronenberg plays a proctologist, naturally.


The Iron Lady and Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd takes two of the stars of the Donmar’s all-female Shakespeare trilogy she helped direct – Harriet Walter and Clare Dunne – and puts them in the story of a young mother who escapes her abusive boyfriend and takes on a broken housing system.