There have been a lot of great indie movies released in the past two years. To help you out, I curated a list of five movies that I really enjoyed. These five movies didn’t attain commercial success, but commercial success is not always an indicator of quality. If you give these movies a chance, I’m sure you won’t regret it.
These are my top five indie movies from the past two years, in chronological order.
Release Date: October 2015
The Lobster is set in an absurd world with a premise that single people are sent to a hotel in order to find a suitable match in a span of 45 days, or else they get turned into an animal of their choice. David (Colin Farrell) just learned that his wife is leaving him for another man. Newly single, he gets sent to the hotel to find a new partner. As a resident of the hotel, he gets acquainted with different women, each with a certain quirk.
The Lobster markets itself as a black comedy, and it surely is a prototypical example of the genre. The characters in the movie are emotionless and monotonic, whereas the scenarios that they find themselves in are absurd, and so the contrast between these two facets oftentimes lead to laugh-out-loud moments.
The movie is roughly split into two parts; the first set inside the hotel, wherein David mingles with various single ladies and tries to find a connection with one of them. The second is set out in the woods, where the loners thrive. These loners are former hotel residents who reject matrimony and so escaped from the hotel.
I recommend The Lobster to those who want to LOL and say WTF at the same time.
The Final Girls
Release Date: October 2015
The Final Girls is a horror-comedy, albeit more comedy than horror. It’s a meta-horror film, similar to The Cabin in the Woods, and so it subverts typical horror tropes and turn them on their heads.
Max Cartwright (Taissa Farmiga) is invited to a screening of Camp Bloodbath, a 1980s cult horror flick headlined by her mother Amanda (Malin Akerman). Max initially hesitates since her mother died three years ago in a car accident, but nonetheless agrees to the proposal. While inside the theater, a fire breaks out, so Max and her friends try to exit the cinema by ripping a hole through the screen. This sends them to the world of Camp Bloodbath, and allows Max to have a face-to-face encounter with Nancy, the character her mom plays in the movie. They must find a way to get back to the real world and fend themselves from the serial killer Billy.
The Final Girls is a fun movie to watch. It spoofs the typical final girl movie and succeeds in doing it. Apart from the light-heartedness, the movie has a very deep emotional core due to the mother-daughter relationship of Max and Nancy/Amanda.
The movie has a very satisfying climax, one which could probably bring you tears. Apart from that, it is also interesting to see how Max and her friends act once they realize that they could actually die while inside the movie.
I recommend The Final Girls to those who want to laugh and cry in equal measure.
Release Date: May 2016
Elle got some share of the spotlight by winning the Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes, as well as the Best Actress in a Drama for the lead Isabelle Huppert.
The indie movie has a lot of storylines that are intertwined, all of which involve the titular Michelle (Isabelle Huppert), one way or another. The main storyline involves the assault and rape of Michelle in her own home by a masked man, and her subsequent attempt to unmask the rapist and seek revenge.
Elle is a very weird movie – the actions of the characters are unpredictable and what you think will happen doesn’t really happen. That’s the great thing about Elle – you don’t know what to expect.
Saying anything more would spoil the movie. All I can say is that the storylines converge neatly by the end of the movie. The movie is a character study of Michelle – how she reacts to situations, and how she deals with these. Isabelle Huppert is a star.
I suggest that you watch Elle if you’re interested in revenge flicks with a twist.
Release Date: July 2016
Closet Monster is a drama film about a sexually confused teen, Oscar Madly (Connor Jessup), in the process of applying to art school in New York. The movie deals with Oscar’s estranged relationship with his divorced father, Peter, and Oscar’s developing feelings toward his workmate Wilder.
Oscar’s isolation from the world is highlighted in the movie, particularly from his always-drunk, homophobic, and controlling father, who nonetheless still loves him. Oscar usually talks to his pet hamster for comfort, which was given to him as a gift when his parents filed for divorce.
Closet Monster is an engaging look at the life of a closeted LGBT teen. Oscar’s sexual urges are inhibited by a homophobic crime he witnessed as a child, prompting him to be confused of his adolescent feelings. Connor Jessup is amazing in the role as Oscar; his portrayal of Oscar’s transition from meek to rebellious during the movie is engaging.
I recommend Closet Monster to everyone who’s curious about the internal conflicts of an LGBT teen.
The Love Witch
Release Date: November 2016
The Love Witch’s cinematography is breathtaking. It invokes the feel of 1960s cinema from the way it was shot to the demeanor and costumes of the characters. The movie is worth watching for this alone.
The movie focuses on a beautiful, young witch named Elaine. Elaine just recently moved to California after the death of her husband Jerry. As the titular love witch, Elaine uses love magic to make men fall in love with her. The movie deals with the various men that she has affairs with, and how her magic brings unexpected and disastrous results.
To be honest, the story is a bit shallow. However, the main draw of this indie movie is its cinematography, and it more than makes up for the story. Watching the movie transports you to a different time and place. It surely is an experience you do not want to miss.
Obviously, the movie deserves a lot more recognition for what it is able to accomplish.
I recommend The Love Witch to those who want to be transported to the 60s.