Memorable Films of 2021


Although we’ve been living through tough and devastating times, 2021 was a truly amazing year for movies. It delivered some remarkable (and in some cases, game-changing) films, and there are so many to choose from.

2021 was a delightful year for animated films. Its biggest animated wonder was the Netflix sci-fi comedy, The Mitchells vs. The Machines, which centers on a dysfunctional family trying to survive a robot apocalypse. The Summit of the Gods, Raya and the Last Dragon, and Encanto were also critical successes.

It was also a wonderful year for films that celebrated diversity. One was the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, In the Heights, which centers on life in a Latinx neighborhood in the Washington Heights community in New York City. There was also the acclaimed documentary, Summer of Soul, which was about African American people coming together for a music festival in the late 1960s. The sports biopic, King Richard, also portrayed African Americans realistically. One of the best superhero films of the year, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, portrayed Chinese and Chinese American culture beautifully.

2021 was also a marvelous year for strong female character in film, as well as musicals like West Side Story and epics like Spider-Man: No Way Home.

This year, my JobPath supporter, Gretchen Zufall, made a huge breakthrough with her first feature film, The Charmed Life of Fig Dauphine. It’s about a New Orleans child fortune teller who goes on a journey with her teen sidekick to solve the mystery of her oblivious birth father. Fig Dauphine was accepted at the Manhattan Film Festival.

The best film of 2021, in my opinion, was Zeno Mountain Farm’s first feature-length motion picture, Best Summer Ever. This high school musical represents everything that’s great about Zeno, as it raises the bar for diversity. Full disclosure: I’ve been going to Zeno since 2010. I was also honored to play a supporting role in this film.

Best Summer Ever was a New York Times Critic’s Pick and accepted at film festivals across the country. It delivered a unique and compelling romance and was a love letter to classic teen musicals. Best Summer Ever was the first feature film in which 50% of its cast and crew had disabilities, which proved that Zeno was just getting warmed up.

My colleagues from the 14th Street Y, including volunteer Jacob Ross, have been discussing their favorite films of the year.

Jacob Ross

My favorite films of the year are Best Summer Ever, Sing 2, and King Richard.

Yenny Eng

My favorite movies are all the Marvel sequence, starting with Captain America, because they have adventure, are funny, about family, romantic, and they’re definitely heroes.

Jaci Hirschfeld

My favorite movie of 2021 was The Green Knight, starring Dev Patel as Sir Gawain, nephew of King Arthur and a Knight of the Round Table. It was a stunningly beautiful movie that takes you on a breathtaking adventure through this Arthurian legend. The story is rather unexpected and worth seeing!

Cory Michael Herman

My favorite movie of the year was Tick, Tick…Boom!.

Julie Gayer Kris

I like the movie Soul. Even though it is not a movie, my husband and I watched the entire series of The Sopranos and loved it!

ShaoMei Zhang

Encanto! Loved the movie, and my personal favorite song was “Surface Pressure.”

Which 2021 movies are your favorites?