13 Shows and Movies We Loved in 2021

A digital collage over a green background of two weary figures in green tracksuits, Tina Turner smiling at the camera, and a young mother carrying her daughter on her shoulders.

Lee Jung-jae as Seong Gi-hun and HoYeon Jung as Kang Sae-byeok in Squid Game, Tina Turner in Tina, Margaret Qualley as Alex and Rylea Nevaeh Whittet as Maddy in Maid. (Photo credits: Youngkyu Park/Netflix; Dave Hogan/Courtesy of Getty/HBO; Ricardo Hubbs/Netflix)

Looking back on a year of screen sensations, we compiled some of the shows and movies that our Bitch writers loved watching this year, from the unexpected buzz around Squid Game’s horrifying meditation on the problem of debt in South Korea to the catharsis of Mayday’s feminist revenge.
 
Read about the shows and movies we hated watching this year here.
{ United Artists Releasing, Universal Pictures }
Release Date: November 24, 2021

“This story is not about the downfall of magnificent men, it’s about the tragedy of a woman who flew too close to the sun.”
-Vanessa Willoughby

(Photo credit: Fabio Lovino / MGM)

{ IDW Entertainment, Dynamic Television, Cineflix Rights }
Release Date: April 8, 2021
“I’d been raised on Westerns, but Wynonna Earp was different: Instead of celebrating hypermasculine cowboys who terrorize Indigenous people and abuse women, Emily Andras’s genre dramedy made a complicated woman the ‘chosen one,’ the unlikely hero tasked with saving her town from the evil that’s descended upon it.” -Evette Dionne

(Photo credit: Michelle Faye / Wynonna Earp Productions, Inc. / SYFY)
{ Neon, Topic Studios, STXfilms }
Release Date: November 5, 2021

“By exhuming Dynasty Di from her saintly casket, Larraín and Stewart have done the world a great favor, and have given us at last a Diana every bit as batshit as any of the inbred remnants of House Saxe-Coburg-Gotha––but a little easier to root for.” -Grace Lavery

(Photo: Courtesy of NEON)

{ Magnolia Pictures }
Release Date: October 1, 2021

Mayday gives audiences the actual violent revenge they expected from a film like Promising Young Woman.“ -Ren Jender

(Photo credit: Tjaša Kalkan / Magnolia Pictures)

{ Netflix }
Release Date: September 17, 2021
Squid Game represents the razor-thin edge of the “choices” that marginalized communities are forced to navigate in a world that isn’t built for them to succeed (and in many ways is relentlessly hostile toward them).” -Jennifer Chang

(Photo credit: Youngkyu Park/Netflix)
{ A24 }
Release Date: February 12, 2021
Minari captures the full spectrum of a family’s experience as they attempt to lay down roots—both literally and figuratively. Minari’s sensitivity comes as a relief to viewers, myself included, who were braced for the familiar beats of immigrant trauma: abject racism, domestic violence, patriarchy.” -Hannah Bae

(Photo credit: David Bornfriend/A24)
{ Netflix }
Release Date: October 1, 2021

“At its core, Maid is about how cycles of abuse keep people—especially women—in poverty as society protects abusers, making it even more difficult for survivors to heal and flourish.” -Alaina Leary

(Photo credit: Ricardo Hubbs / Netflix)

{ FX / Hulu, Red Arrow Studios International }
Release Date: February 5, 2021

Framing Britney Spears is a clear indictment of society’s stigmatization of mental illness.” -Vanessa Willoughby

(Photo credit: Hulu)

{ CBC Television }
Release Date: November 9, 2021
“On the surface, Sort Of could be read as any one of a number of urban millennial dramas that have been released in recent years, but it is actually a literal queering of this particular trope that delves more deeply into the lives of millennials and the communities they build for themselves.” -s.e. smith

(Photo credit: HBO)
Ad for Hand in Hand: Domestic Employers Network
{ HBO, Altitude Film Distribution }
Release Date: March 27, 2021
“While Tina isn’t a revelation or a surprise, it’s absolutely a closure—the resolution to a decades-long paradox in which a survivor shared her story in order to get free of it and instead became pinned under the weight of the parts she most wanted to shake loose.” -Andi Zeisler

(Photo credit: Dave Hogan/Courtesy of Getty/HBO)
{ Netflix }
Release Date: February 19, 2021

“A cinematic primal scream, there’s a visceral catharsis in watching even the most unreal version come to life. There’s therapy to be found in these films, where the lesson is not so much that ‘fear gets you beat,’ as Marla warns, but that it feels good to be a bitch and take what you want sometimes. After all, men have been doing it for centuries.” -Sadaf Ahsan

(Photo credit: Seacia Pavao/Netflix)

{ WarnerMedia Direct }
Release Date: January 14, 2021

Search Party is the funniest show that you’re probably not watching.” -Marina Watanabe and Andi Zeisler

(Photo credit: Jax Media/HBO Max)

{ Searchlight Pictures }
Release Date: February 19, 2021

“The nomads of Nomadland aren’t parroting what they think van-dwelling life looks like; they’re coming from the world of nomad-living rather than simply peering into it. I have no hesitation in saying that Nomadland is one of the very best films of the year: McDormand is a powerhouse and is effortlessly settled in her character’s skin.” -Alison Lanier

(Photo courtesy of Searchlight Pictures)

 

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