Deadwood: The Movie (HBO)

(Photo by HBO)

The Best TV Movies of 2019 (So Far)

Identifying a “TV movie” is more difficult than ever. The Television Academy put new rules into place this year that would prevent titles like Black Mirror from entering episodes under 75 minutes into the “Television Movie” Emmy category. The title’s 61-minute “San Junipero” won the 2017 award in the category. (On the flip side, shorts now must be at least 2 minutes long.)

So, when we’re compiling a list of “Certified Fresh TV Movies,” we’re faced with making choices like whether or not individual episodes of an anthology film series like Black Mirror should be listed in such a way that they are eligible for Certified Fresh designation as the title’s one-off “Bandersnatch” is.

Fortunately/unfortunately, the individual episodes for season 5 don’t meet the scores required for consideration anyway.


Read also: “The Best Black Mirror Episodes to the Worst, Ranked”


We pulled together a list of TV and streaming film titles that do meet the eligibility criteria to be Certified Fresh, which is a minimum of 40 reviews (higher than the 20 needed for TV seasons) with at least five reviews from “Top Critics.” We also took into consideration whether a title’s primary release was in theaters or on broadcast, cable, or streaming. So limited releases that saw only festival screenings or had very small theatrical time and number of theaters, but then was available broadly on a streaming service, were included as well.

Read on to find out which titles in this very exclusive category came out on top for 2019.

#14

The Perfection (2018)
71%

#14
Adjusted Score: 75549%
Critics Consensus: Led by a pair of compelling performances, The Perfection is a smart, gripping thriller that barbs its wild twists with cutting wit.
Synopsis: A troubled musical prodigy and a new star pupil embark down a sinister path.... [More]
Directed By: Richard Shepard

#13
Adjusted Score: 79287%
Critics Consensus: The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot just about lives up to the wild promise of its title, due in no small part to Sam Elliott's world-weary work in the title role.
Synopsis: Decades after ending World War II by assassinating Adolf Hitler in an undercover operation, unsung American hero Calvin Barr is... [More]
Directed By: Robert D. Krzykowski

#12
Adjusted Score: 80374%
Critics Consensus: Taut and unpredictable, The Standoff at Sparrow Creek should satisfy suspense fans in the mood for a well-told story topped with a generous helping of violence.
Synopsis: After a mass shooting at a police funeral, reclusive ex-cop Gannon finds himself unwittingly forced out of retirement when he... [More]
Directed By: Henry Dunham

#11
Adjusted Score: 81036%
Critics Consensus: Alex Gibey's The Inventor declines to outright condemn the actions by Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, but instead provides a comprehensive overview of the scandal that allows viewers to mull over its implications towards the broader Silicon Valley.
Synopsis: With a new invention that promised to revolutionize blood testing, Elizabeth Holmes became the world's youngest self-made billionaire, heralded as... [More]
Directed By: Alex Gibney

#10

Brexit (2019)
80%

#10
Adjusted Score: 82639%
Critics Consensus: With acerbic wit and a mesmerizingly eccentric performance from Benedict Cumberbatch, Brexit energetically renders recent history with unflinching poise.
Synopsis: A strategist begins a campaign to convince British voters to leave the European Union.... [More]
Directed By: Toby Haynes

#9

Someone Great (2019)
83%

#9
Adjusted Score: 85508%
Critics Consensus: What Someone Great lacks in originality it makes up for in relatability and charm, thanks in large part to the undeniable chemistry between its talented leads.
Synopsis: Dumped by her long-term boyfriend, a music journalist recruits her two best friends for one last outrageous adventure in New... [More]

#8

Girl (2018)
84%

#8
Adjusted Score: 86102%
Critics Consensus: Girl uses one aspiring dancer's story as the framework for a poignant drama that approaches its difficult themes with fittingly alluring grace.
Synopsis: Lara, a 15-year-old girl who was born in a boy's body, is committed to becoming a professional ballerina.... [More]
Directed By: Lukas Dhont

#7
Adjusted Score: 89301%
Critics Consensus: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind earns its predictably uplifting arc through strong performances and impressive work from debuting director Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Synopsis: A 13-year-old boy is thrown out of the school he loves when his family can no longer afford the fees.... [More]
Directed By: Chiwetel Ejiofor

#6

Plus One (2019)
88%

#6
Adjusted Score: 90234%
Critics Consensus: Plus One reinvigorates the rom-com with an entertaining outing elevated by well-matched leads and a story that embraces and transcends genre clichés.
Synopsis: Longtime single friends agree to be each other's plus one at every wedding they are invited to.... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Chan, Andrew Rhymer

#5

Fyre (2019)
93%

#5
Adjusted Score: 97287%
Critics Consensus: Fyre smolders with agonizing tension when a party in paradise goes awry, but this slickly assembled documentary reserves its greatest horror for damning observations about the dangers of wealth.
Synopsis: The history of the Fyre Music Festival, from its creation through its unraveling.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Chris Smith

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 94550%
Critics Consensus: Carried by the infectious charms of Ali Wong and Randall Park, Always Be My Maybe takes familiar rom-com beats and cleverly layers in smart social commentary to find its own sweet groove.
Synopsis: Childhood sweethearts have a falling out and don't speak for 15 years. They reconnect as adults when Sasha runs into... [More]
Directed By: Nahnatchka Khan

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 93713%
Critics Consensus: See You Yesterday marries a novel sci-fi premise with urgent social relevance and forges something excitedly new from the union -- providing an impressive showcase for star Eden Duncan-Smith and debut writer-director Stefon Bristol.
Synopsis: Two teenage science prodigies spend every spare minute working on their latest homemade invention: backpacks that enable time travel. When... [More]
Directed By: Stefon Bristol

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 101822%
Critics Consensus: A triumphant coda to a beloved series, Deadwood: The Movie will satisfy fans longing for a little f---ing closure.
Synopsis: Saloon owner Al Swearengen clashes with Sheriff Seth Bullock as the residents of Deadwood celebrate South Dakota's statehood in 1889.... [More]
Directed By: Daniel Minahan

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 105078%
Critics Consensus: A galvanizing glimpse behind the scenes of a pivotal election, Knock Down the House should prove engrossing for viewers of all political persuasions.
Synopsis: A young bartender in the Bronx, a coal miner's daughter in West Virginia, a grieving mother in Nevada, and a... [More]
Directed By: Rachel Lears

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