20 Best Recent Indie Films: The realm of indie films is a treasure trove of unique and captivating stories, often offering a refreshing departure from mainstream cinema. From heartfelt dramas to thought-provoking comedies, recent years have witnessed a plethora of remarkable indie films that have captivated audiences and garnered critical acclaim. These films bring together talented directors, exceptional casts, and powerful narratives to create cinematic experiences that leave a lasting impression. From the heartwarming journey of self-discovery in “The Peanut Butter Falcon” to the soulful exploration of dreams in “Wild Rose,” these indie gems have shone a light on the boundless creativity and storytelling prowess of independent cinema. Enjoy these Indie Films.
1. “The Farewell” (2019)
Director: Lulu Wang
Cast: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin
“The Farewell” is a heartfelt comedy-drama about a Chinese-American woman who returns to China to say goodbye to her terminally ill grandmother, while the family keeps the diagnosis a secret. Directed by Lulu Wang, the film received critical acclaim for its poignant exploration of cultural identity, family dynamics, and the universal themes of love and loss.
2. “Eighth Grade” (2018)
Director: Bo Burnham
Cast: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson
“Eighth Grade” is a coming-of-age film directed by Bo Burnham, which follows the life of an introverted teenage girl navigating the challenges of middle school. The film received widespread acclaim for its authentic portrayal of adolescence, capturing the anxieties, awkwardness, and hopes of its young protagonist. Elsie Fisher’s performance was highly praised, as was Burnham’s sensitive direction.
3. “Parasite” (2019)
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong
“Parasite” made history as the first South Korean film to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and subsequently went on to win the Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, the film is a gripping social satire that explores the class divide through the story of two families – one wealthy and one poor. It received universal acclaim for its sharp writing, exceptional performances, and thought-provoking commentary on society.
4. “The Florida Project” (2017)
Director: Sean Baker
Cast: Brooklynn Prince, Willem Dafoe, Bria Vinaite
Directed by Sean Baker, “The Florida Project” tells the story of a young girl and her adventures in a budget motel on the outskirts of Disney World. The film received widespread acclaim for its honest portrayal of childhood innocence in the face of poverty and garnered praise for the remarkable performances, particularly from young Brooklynn Prince. Willem Dafoe’s supporting role also earned critical acclaim.
5. “Sorry to Bother You” (2018)
Director: Boots Riley
Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer
“Sorry to Bother You” is a surrealist dark comedy directed by Boots Riley. The film follows a black telemarketer who discovers a magical key to success, leading him into a twisted world of corporate greed. The film received critical acclaim for its audacious storytelling, sharp social commentary, and standout performances. Lakeith Stanfield’s lead performance and the film’s bold approach were highly praised by critics.
6. “The Souvenir” (2019)
Director: Joanna Hogg
Cast: Honor Swinton Byrne, Tom Burke, Tilda Swinton
Directed by Joanna Hogg, “The Souvenir” is a semi-autobiographical film that explores the tumultuous relationship between a film student and a troubled older man. The film received widespread critical acclaim for its intimate storytelling, delicate performances, and nuanced character development. Honor Swinton Byrne’s breakthrough performance and Hogg’s sensitive direction were highly praised.
7. “The Peanut Butter Falcon” (2019)
Directors: Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Zack Gottsagen
“The Peanut Butter Falcon” is an adventure comedy-drama that follows a young man with Down syndrome who escapes from a care facility and embarks on a journey to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional wrestler. The film received critical acclaim for its heartwarming story, charismatic performances, and the chemistry between Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen. It was praised for its positive representation of individuals with disabilities and its uplifting message.
8. “Wild Rose” (2018)
Director: Tom Harper
Cast: Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo
Directed by Tom Harper, “Wild Rose” is a musical drama that tells the story of a young Scottish woman with dreams of becoming a country music star while balancing her responsibilities as a mother. The film received positive reviews for its authentic performances, particularly from Jessie Buckley, and its blend of heartfelt storytelling and catchy music. “Wild Rose” was praised for its exploration of dreams, ambition, and the power of pursuing one’s passion.
9. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017)
Director: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell
Directed by Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a dark comedy-drama about a grieving mother who takes matters into her own hands to find her daughter’s killer. The film received critical acclaim for its sharp writing, powerful performances, and a compelling exploration of themes like justice and redemption. Frances McDormand’s performance and the film’s dark humor resonated with audiences and garnered widespread acclaim.
10. “First Reformed” (2017)
Director: Paul Schrader
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer
“First Reformed” is a thought-provoking drama directed by Paul Schrader. The film follows a troubled priest who grapples with his faith and confronts existential questions when he becomes involved with a pregnant parishioner. It received critical acclaim for its powerful performances, profound themes, and Schrader’s meticulous direction. Ethan Hawke’s lead performance was highly praised.
11. “The Lighthouse” (2019)
Director: Robert Eggers
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe
“The Lighthouse” is a psychological horror film directed by Robert Eggers. Set in the late 19th century, it follows two lighthouse keepers who descend into madness while isolated on a remote island. The film received critical acclaim for its atmospheric cinematography, mesmerizing performances by Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, and its unique blend of psychological tension and dark humor.
12. “Leave No Trace” (2018)
Director: Debra Granik
Cast: Ben Foster, Thomasin McKenzie
Directed by Debra Granik, “Leave No Trace” tells the story of a father and daughter who live off the grid in the forests of Oregon. Their tranquil life is disrupted when they are forced to re-enter society. The film received widespread acclaim for its poignant exploration of family, nature, and societal norms. Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie delivered exceptional performances, and Granik’s sensitive direction was praised.
13. “A Ghost Story” (2017)
Director: David Lowery
Cast: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara
“A Ghost Story” is a contemplative supernatural drama directed by David Lowery. The film follows a ghost who remains in his house to observe the lives of its subsequent inhabitants. Known for its minimalist approach, the film received critical acclaim for its poetic storytelling, poignant meditations on life and time, and the powerful performances of Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara.
14. “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (2020)
Director: Eliza Hittman
Cast: Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder
Directed by Eliza Hittman, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” is a drama that follows a teenage girl who travels to New York City with her cousin to seek an abortion. The film received critical acclaim for its sensitive and honest portrayal of reproductive rights, as well as the exceptional performances of Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder. It was praised for its empathetic storytelling and Hittman’s intimate direction.
15 .”The Rider” (2017)
Director: Chloé Zhao
Cast: Brady Jandreau, Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau
Directed by Chloé Zhao, “The Rider” is a drama based on the true story of a young cowboy who faces the challenges of identity and purpose after a near-fatal rodeo accident. The film received widespread acclaim for its authenticity, breathtaking cinematography, and the remarkable performances of its non-professional cast. Zhao’s direction was praised for its sensitivity and capturing the essence of the American West.
16. “First Cow” (2019)
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Cast: John Magaro, Orion Lee
Directed by Kelly Reichardt, “First Cow” is a historical drama set in the early 19th century. It follows a skilled cook and a Chinese immigrant who start a business baking “oily cakes” in the Oregon Territory. The film received critical acclaim for its quiet and introspective storytelling, immersive period setting, and the performances of John Magaro and Orion Lee. Reichardt’s patient direction and exploration of friendship and capitalism resonated with audiences and critics.
17. “Columbus” (2017)
Cast: John Cho, Haley Lu Richardson
“Columbus” is a drama directed by Kogonada, which centers around a Korean-born man and a young architecture enthusiast who form a deep connection while exploring the modernist architecture of Columbus, Indiana. The film received praise for its visually striking cinematography, understated performances by John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson, and its exploration of personal connections and existential questions within the backdrop of architecture.
18. “Minari” (2020)
Director: Lee Isaac Chung
Cast: Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Alan Kim
Directed by Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari” is a semi-autobiographical drama that follows a Korean-American family’s pursuit of the American Dream as they start a farm in rural Arkansas during the 1980s. The film received widespread critical acclaim for its heartfelt storytelling, exquisite performances, and sensitive exploration of immigrant experiences, family dynamics, and cultural identity. “Minari” was praised for its universal themes and the authenticity of its cast.
19. “Promising Young Woman” (2020)
Director: Emerald Fennell
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie
“Promising Young Woman” is a dark comedy-drama directed by Emerald Fennell. The film follows a woman seeking vengeance against those involved in an incident from her past. It received critical acclaim for its bold and provocative storytelling, Carey Mulligan’s compelling performance, and Fennell’s sharp direction. The film was lauded for its exploration of consent, gender dynamics, and societal expectations.
20. “Sound of Metal” (2019)
Director: Darius Marder
Cast: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci
Directed by Darius Marder, “Sound of Metal” is a drama that portrays the journey of a heavy metal drummer who begins to lose his hearing and grapples with his new reality. The film received critical acclaim for its immersive sound design, Riz Ahmed’s transformative performance, and its empathetic exploration of identity, acceptance, and the deaf community. Marder’s direction and the film’s emotional depth resonated with audiences and critics alike.
As we explore the diverse world of recent indie films, we are reminded of the beauty and power of storytelling in its purest form. Each film mentioned showcases the artistic vision and talent of independent filmmakers. These indie films have touched the hearts of audiences and critics alike, sparking conversations, and leaving a lasting impact. As we continue to embrace and celebrate the world of indie cinema, we eagerly anticipate the future releases that will bring forth new stories, perspectives, and experiences to ignite our passion for film. We hope you enjoyed our list of the best recently released Indie Films.