Best Musical & Music Movies 2021

2021 saw the movie musical rebound in a big way, and while some Broadway faves fell flat (sorry, Evan Hansen), others strutted their way into our hearts. We had a murderer’s row of mellifluous movie muses that had us falling in love with motion pictures again and singing along after the final curtain call. Topping the list this year as he did last year with Hamilton was Lin Manuel Miranda, whose John M. Chu-directed musical In The Heights beat out Billie Eilish, Steven Spielberg, and… Miranda himself, who made his feature directorial debut with tick, tick…Boom!.

The order reflects Tomatometer scores (as of December 31, 2021) after adjustment from our ranking formula, which compensates for variation in the number of reviews when comparing movies or TV shows.

#1

In the Heights (2021)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 114028%
Critics Consensus: Lights up for In the Heights, a joyous celebration of heritage and community fueled by dazzling direction and singalong songs.
Synopsis: The creator of "Hamilton" and the director of "Crazy Rich Asians" invite you to the event of the summer, where... [More]
Directed By: Jon M. Chu

#2

West Side Story (2021)
91%

#2
Adjusted Score: 111922%
Critics Consensus: Steven Spielberg's West Side Story presents a new look at the classic musical that lives up to its beloved forebear -- and in some respects might even surpass it.
Synopsis: Love at first sight strikes when young Tony spots Maria at a high school dance in 1957 New York City.... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#3
Adjusted Score: 100886%
Critics Consensus: Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry offers an enlightening -- and sometimes uncomfortable -- look behind the scenes of a young star's ascension.
Synopsis: "Billie Eilish: The World's A Little Blurry" tells the true coming-of-age story of the singer-songwriter and her rise to global... [More]
Starring: Billie Eilish
Directed By: R.J. Cutler

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 98291%
Critics Consensus: tick, tick... BOOM! makes musical magic out of a story focused on the creative process -- an impressive feat for debuting director Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Synopsis: Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his feature directorial debut with tick, tick...BOOM!, an adaptation of the... [More]
Directed By: Lin-Manuel Miranda

#5
Adjusted Score: 84651%
Critics Consensus: It may not be as effervescent as its title character, but Everybody's Talking About Jamie remains an infectiously enjoyable musical with an uplifting message.
Synopsis: Inspired by true events, Everybody's Talking About Jamie follows Jamie New (Max Harwood), a teenager from Sheffield, who dreams of... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Butterell

#6

Annette (2021)
71%

#6
Adjusted Score: 84912%
Critics Consensus: Annette's experimental approach to its emotional extremes marks an ambitious, if not peculiar, return for director Leos Carax.
Synopsis: Los Angeles, today. Henry (Adam Driver) is a stand-up comedian with a fierce sense of humor who falls in love... [More]
Directed By: Leos Carax

#7

Respect (2021)
68%

#7
Adjusted Score: 77084%
Critics Consensus: This standard-issue biopic falls shy of its subject's transcendent brilliance, but Jennifer Hudson's starring performance absolutely commands Respect.
Synopsis: Following the rise of Aretha Franklin's career -- from a child singing in her father's church choir to her international... [More]
Directed By: Liesl Tommy

#8

The Nowhere Inn (2020)
69%

#8
Adjusted Score: 69975%
Critics Consensus: The Nowhere Inn may be a clever concept in search of substance, but the results are often oddly appealing.
Synopsis: From real-life friends Annie Clark (a.k.a. GRAMMY award-winning recording and touring artist St. Vincent) and Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia, Sleater-Kinney) comes... [More]
Directed By: Bill Benz

#9

Cinderella (2021)
42%

#9
Adjusted Score: 48748%
Critics Consensus: This singalong-worthy Cinderella sprinkles some modern fairy dust on the oft-told tale, but flat performances and clunky dialogue make watching often feel like a chore.
Synopsis: Cinderella is a musically-driven bold new take on the traditional story you grew up with. Our heroine (Camila Cabello) is... [More]
Directed By: Kay Cannon

#10

Dear Evan Hansen (2021)
28%

#10
Adjusted Score: 42974%
Critics Consensus: Dear Evan Hansen does a fair job of capturing the emotion of its source material, but it's undermined by questionable casting and a story that's hard to swallow.
Synopsis: The breathtaking, generation-defining Broadway phenomenon becomes a soaring cinematic event as Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Ben Platt reprises... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Chbosky

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