The 50 best films of 2021 in the UK: 50-41 | Film

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50

Promising Young Woman

Deathly dark satire of gender politics from writer-director Emerald Fennell, with Carey Mulligan at her ice-cold best as a scheming sociopath in a fearless unpicking of entitlement and victimhood. Read the full review.

49

Boiling Point

Dizzying single-take drama featuring a potent lead performance from Stephen Graham as a chef enduring a nightmarish evening. Read the full review.

48

Natural Light

Dark horse … non-professional actor Ferenc Szabó in Dénes Nagy’s debut feature Natural Light. Photograph: Tamás Dobos

Documentary director Dénes Nagy explores how conflict erodes loyalty, morality and human consciousness in his award-winning first feature about Hungarian troops occupying Ukraine during the second world war. Read the full review.

47

Last Night in Soho

Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy and Matt Smith star in Edgar Wright’s horror-thriller that takes a trip to the sleazy heart of London’s past and toxic 60s glitz. Read the full review.

46

Titane

Eyes on the prize ... Garance Marillier in Julia Ducournau’s Palme d’Or winner Titane.
Eyes on the prize … Garance Marillier in Julia Ducournau’s Palme d’Or winner Titane. Photograph: Kazak Productions / Frakas Productions/Alamy

Julia Ducournau’s follow-up to her smart 2016 debut, Raw, is a freaky Cronenbergian body-horror that facetiously explores identity with yucky flair. Read the full review.

45

State Funeral

The eerie last rites of Stalin’s Soviet Union are enacted as massed mourners hail the dictator’s flower-clad body in a film that gives long-lost footage, assembled by In the Fog director Sergei Loznitsa, a new and unnerving lease of life. Read the full review.

44

Shiva Baby

A bit awks ... Rachel Sennott in black comedy Shiva Baby.
A bit awks … Rachel Sennott in black comedy Shiva Baby. Photograph: Organic Publicity

Writer-director Emma Seligman’s debut about a young woman running into her sugar daddy at a family event is an amusing, transparently personal piece, a black comedy festival of excruciating embarrassment. Read the full review.

43

C’mon C’mon

Written and directed by Thumbsucker’s Mike Mills, this coming-of-age heartwarmer, shot in classy monochrome and starring Joaquin Phoenix, oozes prestige as it tackles weighty themes. Read the full review.

42

Martin Eden

Italian job ... Luca Marinelli in a reboot of the Jack London novel.
Italian job … Luca Marinelli in a reboot of the Jack London novel. Photograph: New Wave Films

Excellent Italian adaptation of Jack London’s 1909 thrilling tale, which follows the ascent of a proletarian novelist to popular success that proves a bitter disappointment. Read the full review.

41

Black Bear

Aubrey Plaza hits a career high in an ingenious meta-movie in which social tensions spiral towards disaster before a cryptic rug-pull in this strange comedy gem. Read the full review.

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