Top 10 Movie Musicals of the 2020s (So Far), According to Rotten Tomatoes


A desire for live theater pushed pent up artistic energy into other mediums. For nearly a quarter of the decade, the 2020s have offered audiences a wealth of musical films. With some that can already be considered instant classics, the Rotten Tomatoes aggregate has compiled a catalog of musicals that have received the most praise.

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As fans await upcoming releases like Jon M. Chu’s adaptation of Bad and Baz Luhrmann’s extravagant biopic, Elvis, music lovers have many acclaimed movies to sate their theatrical pursuits. According to the Tomatometer, these are the most critically-approved musical films of the 2020s so far.

ten Everyone is talking about Jamie (80%)

Based on a play adapted from a documentary, Everybody’s talking about Jamie is a cautionary tale of an ambitious teenager’s plans to go out, again, embracing his passion for drag. Original show director Jonathan Butterell returns to bring cinematic flair to music and lyrics by Tom McRae and Dan Gillespie Sells.

Butterell impresses with daydream sequences that explode with fierce liveliness, especially in a fashion-inspired runway fantasy set in the corridors of an English high school. Max Harwood (in her film debut) and Sarah Lancashire are irresistible together as the eponymous protag and her supportive single mother, respectively, providing a refreshing child-parent relationship rarely seen in LGBTQIA+ films. Plus, no tale of coming out and coming of age would be complete without a scene-stealing mentor, played fabulously by Richard E. Grant.

9 Cyrano (86%)

cyrano ending explained

“Panache” is a word that the poet Edmond Rostand remarkably popularized in the English language with its use in his play Cyrano de Bergerac. Director Joe Wright’s musical update heeds Rostand’s thematic prose, with flamboyant sets and costumes and a lead performance that’s equally confident despite the character’s plague of insecurities.

While Cyrano boasts a high RT score, the consensus for the film is quick to point out its irregularities. Peter Dinklage and Haley Bennett have such a strong on-screen rapport with dialogue so wordy that the musical numbers seem almost unnecessary. Plus, there’s a jarring tonal shift towards the final act as the film cuts across a snowy battlefield. However, that leads to his strongest number, “Wherever I Fall,” which was nearly cut from production had Wright not interfered with the editing according to CinemaBlend.


8 Live (87%)

Gabi and Vivo

Long live may seem light compared to other Lin-Manuel Miranda-related projects, but it has enough soul to make up for its shortcomings. Miranda lends her hip-hop infused style to the music as well as her voice to the eponymous kinkajou.

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Vivid and engaging for all ages, this feature film from Sony Pictures Animation carries both pace and a deep message as characters with unresolved grief find resolution through music. Its story is catalyzed by a friendship between a legendary singer and a deceased songwriter performed respectively by Gloria Estefan and Juan de Marcos González, both Cuban musicians who lend authenticity to its cultural background. Even though the sound is familiar, Long live resonates with contagious vitality, and catchy bangers like “My Own Drum” are likely to be played on repeat.

7 Tick, tick… Boom! (87%)

Jonathan Larson plays piano in Tick Tick Boom.

Lin-Manuel Miranda is no stranger to the adversities that come with directing a play, and his passion for directing shines through in his directorial debut, Tick, tick boom! Given that Miranda starred as the biographical subject, Jonathan Larson, in a production of the original musical, her adaptation exudes a zest for the late icon who was responsible for the Broadway phenomenon, To rent.

Besides Miranda’s talent for direction, the film is driven by a tour de force performance from Andrew Garfield that led to him receiving a Golden Globe for Best Actor and an Oscar nomination. Despite little musical training, Garfield embodies Larson’s aspiration and open-mindedness, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when the film reaches its emotional conclusion. Notably, of all the movies on this list, Tick, tick… Boom! has the most positive audiences with a score of 96%.

6 Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (89%)

jingle jangle

Timeless toys, regardless of their concept date, will continue to entertain if put together with care. Yes jingle jangle sometimes feels fuzzy with overly familiar tropes, director David E. Talbert, the author of Almost Christmasenjoy the festivities.

Most impressive is the production value, with lavish sets, colorful costumes, and a hybrid of stop-motion and CGI animation that encapsulates the Christmas aesthetic with jaw-dropping grandeur. jingle jangle juggles a lot of genres in terms of songwriting, drawing inspiration from classical and gospel music while incorporating R&B and hip-hop dance, and manages to make it work. Speaking of which, John Legend’s “Make it Work” has all the gears and cogs in place to become a new favorite on the holiday playlist.

5 Canto (91%)

A family photo of Encanto.

Embrace Colombian culture, from its representation to its representation of the community, Encanto refreshingly explores new ground for Disney. Although familiar elements such as personified animals and enchanted household items are present, the central conflict is surprisingly more complex than the standard villain subplot.

Disney’s 60th animated feature proves, once again, that the hero’s journey can be told without a sinister antagonist driving the argument, choosing to tackle dysfunction, evoking true resonance. The thought-provoking journey is enriched by the creative talents of none other than Lin-Manuel Miranda, who received an Oscar nomination for his song “Dos Oruguitas.” Additionally, the soundtrack continues to top the charts as “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” has consistently held No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

4 West Side History (92%)

West Side Story Ariana DeBose Steven Spielberg

West Side Story (1961) is widely considered a classic, and while a remake seems unnecessary, Steven Spielberg’s love of source material and pure cinema makes his adaptation one of the best movies of 2021. Amazingly, it recreates the magic of the original, retains Rita Moreno’s sheen, and even enhances its dated facets.

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Spielberg shows his love for the craft in beautifully shot sets with expertly choreographed numbers. A playing ensemble cast, including the magnetic Arian DeBose, makes songs like “America” ​​feel fresh and relevant again. The execution is so arresting that it’s easy to be charmed into forgetting the darker turns taken in the final act, an illusion deftly played through the techniques of flawless filmmaking.

3 Beautiful (94%)

Always from Belle (2021) with Belle and the dragon.

Visionary creator Mamoru Hosoda syncs viewers into his VR world with inspired vision The beauty and the Beast who, like the titular heroine, eventually finds a voice. Combining the timeless fairy tale elements of Leprince de Beaumont’s abridged tale with the futuristic concepts found in Hosoda’s own summer warsthe result is a visually inventive and, often, cerebral exploration of identity.

Hosoda’s story centers on a shy teenager, Suzu, who rediscovers her love and talent for singing in the guise of her virtual avatar, Belle. As Suzu rises to fame within the metaverse, her alluring “J-pop” voice attracts the attention of a bestial avatar known as “The Dragon”. Let’s say that a montage sequence mimics an iconic dance, Beautiful diverges from the Disney classic and delves into deeper themes of domestic violence and the escapism that technology offers.

2 In the heights (94%)

Dancing in the street in the heights

Lin-Manuel Miranda wouldn’t appear on this list as often if not for the Tony Award-winning musical responsible for its smash hit, In the Heights. Vigilant of the diverse occupants of Upper Manhattan, Miranda’s dynamic soundtrack, fusing hip-hop, merengue, salsa and samba, smoothly translates to the big screen.

Cinematographer Alice Brooks captures the immigrant neighborhood and the big dreams that occupy it with anamorphic panoramic shots. It feels epic in scale and, at once, intimate and personal with strong performances from Anthony Ramos, Nina Rosario and Olga Merediz. Director Jon M. Chu elevates this love letter to Washington Heights with crisp, kinetic cinema that brings the streets of New York to life.

1 Hamilton (98%)

Hamilton Schuyler Sisters

Lin-Miranda Manuel is undoubtedly a key figure in musical cinema of this decade. Yes, hamilton premiered on stage in 2015, but a filmed version of the Broadway production was released on Disney+ in 2020, expanding its accessibility to reach new fans. Composed of most of the original actors, the audience was able to experience the show, in all its glory, either for the first time or from a new angle.

Director Thomas Kali used multiple cameras to capture footage from two separate performances. Editing the performances into a single cinematic production using angles, transitions, close-ups and proximity emphasizes the acting without sacrificing the uniqueness of the theater. To quote FilmWeek reviewer Christy Lemire, watching Hamilton from the comfort of home is “better than the best seat in the house.”

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