10 Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

Adapted from Judy Blume’s classic tween novel from the 70s, Kelly Fremon Craig’s long-awaited follow-up to The Edge of Seventeen (2016) is a heartfelt, poignant tale of the highs and lows of early adolescence. Abby Ryder Fortson gives a masterful performance as Margaret, a precocious 11-year-old caught between two cities, two religions and, above all, two senses of herself; the person she is and the person she wants to become. Feelgood, but never frothy, it’s a film that wears its intelligence lightly, but remains brazenly unafraid to tackle those aspects of growing up that have too often been treated with squeamishness by mainstream cinema. Read the full review.

Where to watch: Currently showing exclusively in cinemas

9 One Fine Morning

The latest from director Mia Hansen-Løve (Things to Come, Bergman Island) is a slight, but crushingly authentic family drama, starring the inimitable Léa Seydoux. The actress casts aside the flashy aesthetics of her Bond girl persona for a gorgeously understated performance as a single mother, navigating a life of competing priorities; providing for her young daughter, engaging in a rocky affair with a now-married old flame and caring for her ailing father. Set against the backdrop of sun-soaked Parisian locales, it’s a wonderful testament to love in all its forms. Read the full review.

Where to watch: Streaming on MUBI from 16 June

8 Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On via A24 (YouTube)

Dean Fleischer Camp’s animated mockumentary is certainly the oddest film, at least on paper, to make this list – but it also might just be the loveliest. Jenny Slate is the titular Marcel, a little mollusc with little shoes… and a very big heart. Come for the absurdist humour (who knew a bagel could make such a good mattress?) and stay for the profound musings on loss, love, life and everything in between.

Where to watch: Currently available to rent or buy on a number of VOD platforms.

7 EO

Taking Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar as something of a textual touchstone, this largely silent film from veteran Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski follows life from the perspective of EO, who should rightly take the crown from The Banshees of Inisherin’s Jenny as everyone’s new favourite on-screen donkey. If the eyes are said to be the window to the soul, then EO’s doleful gaze offers us a mirror to the world, observing both humanity’s unique capacity for kindness… and our troubling tendency to use and abuse the world around us, and the creatures who inhabit it, to our own ends. Inventively shot and accompanied by a thrilling experimental score, this is a must-see.

Where to watch: Currently streaming on BFI Player

6 Saint Omer

Saint Omer via Rotten Tomatoes Indie (YouTube)

A scintillating courtroom drama from French director Alice Diop, Saint Omer tells the story of a young novelist who finds herself embroiled in more ways than one in the trial of a woman accused of murdering her own child. Spellbinding in its stillness, it’s a film that burrows slowly under your skin and refuses to dislodge itself until long after the credits stop rolling.

Where to watch: Currently streaming on MUBI

5 Rye Lane

A Sundance favourite, this debut feature from director Raine Allen-Miller is a vibrant, hilarious romcom that casts aside the restrictions of its genre’s past to celebrate young love and contemporary London in all its mad multicultural glory. You’ll never listen to Salt-N-Pepa’s ‘Shoop’ in quite the same way. Read the full review.

Where to watch: Currently streaming on Disney Plus

4 Tár

It might have left the Oscars empty-handed, but Todd Field’s Tár is still one of the best films of the year so far. Cate Blanchett commands the screen as an imperious, award-winning conductor whose perfect world starts to fall apart after she is accused of professional misconduct. Field relishes in testing his audience’s patience – but go in willing to dance to the film’s strange rhythm, and you won’t be disappointed. Read the full review.

Where to watch: Currently available to rent or buy on a number of VOD platforms.

3 Return to Seoul

Return to Seoul via Sony Pictures Classics (YouTube)

Though it perhaps fell under a lot of people’s radars, there’s a quiet majesty to Davy Chou’s cross-cultural story of a young French woman who returns to her birth country of Korea in search of reunification with her estranged parents. It’s a film that crawls along like a snake, coiling and uncoiling itself, as if to tease you at any given moment that it’s about to become something entirely different than what you thought it was – but equally remains grounded by a handful of isolated moments, all softly played and some nothing short of shattering.

Where to watch: Currently showing exclusively in cinemas

2 Enys Men

Just missing out on the top spot is the sophomore effort from Mark Jenkin, the story of a wildlife volunteer living on an uninhabited island off the Cornish coast, whose painstakingly routine life starts to descend into surrealist madness. The director takes the grainy analogue texture and windswept setting of his acclaimed debut Bait (2019), and imbues that canvas with a striking colour palette and carefully-placed elements of psychological and supernatural horror. A eulogy of sorts to the ghosts of shared cultural traumas, past, present and yet to come? A nightmarish vision of a maltreated Mother Nature biting back? It’s hard to say for sure – but much easier to say that, just two films into his career, Jenkin is without a doubt one of the most formally exciting artists on the British filmmaking scene. Read the full review.

Where to watch: Currently streaming on BFI Player

1 All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed via Neon (YouTube)

My pick for the best film of the year so far is Laura Poitras’s intricately woven documentary exploring the life and work of photographer, artist and activist, Nan Goldin. The film intersperses episodes of Goldin’s past as a central figure of the LGBTQ+ subculture in 1980s New York with accounts of her contemporary campaign against the Sackler family, the owners of two pharmaceutical companies widely considered as personally responsible for the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States. Poitras is a master of her craft and her film a formidable celebration of art as activism, as compulsion, and as survival.

Where to watch: Currently streaming on BBC iPlayer