10 Great Recent Movies You Might Have Missed

6. Sorry to Bother You (2018)


Boots Riley’s satirical, absurdist and dark comedy film has made a big impact on audiences. The film is about a telemarketer who uses his “white voice” in order to climb the corporate ladder. Sorry to Bother you has a strong anti-capitalist message, and some audiences have reacted so passionately to this that they have cheered aloud in screenings.

The film has a slightly surreal quality; it is set in an alternate reality of present day Oakland and at times Sorry to Bother You is so bizarre and preposterous that it actually threatens to alienate the audience. But in spite of this, Sorry to Bother You’s originality and concept are refreshing and worthy of recognition. With Sorry to Bother You, Boots Riley has identified himself as a fresh and important filmmaking voice.

The film also boasts a great central performance by Lakeith Stanfield, who arguably puts in his greatest film performance yet as Cassius Green. With this combination of great performances and great directing, Sorry to Bother You is more than worthy of your time. And its clever social and political message and observations is just another thing that gives Sorry to Bother You a sharp edge in a sometimes blunt film landscape.


7. The Rider (2017)

Written, produced and directed by Chloe Zhao, The Rider is a western drama film which follows a young cowboy who is forced to search for a new purpose after a riding accident leaves him unable to compete on the rodeo circuit. The film stars real life rider Brady Jandreau and is loosely based on Jandreau’s own real life story.

The film plays almost like a documentary, as the audience is like a fly on the wall as they watch the character’s struggles and his coming to terms with his new life. Jandreau’s performance is one of the film’s biggest appeals. It is incredibly nuanced and natural, his real life experiences shining through but not feeling amateuristic.

Jandreau’s performance is complimented further by gorgeous cinematography and the The Rider’s overall poetic and elusive quality. The Rider has been hailed as “subtle, elemental, and powerfully beautiful” and “luminous and one of the year’s best.”

Although the film was criminally underseen at theatres, it has been called “the American-indie story of the year.” And it has certainly been critically acclaimed and highly praised by critics. The Rider is another hot contender for an Academy Award nomination.


8. First Reformed (2017)


Paul Schrader’s story of a priest who is grappling with mounting despair and a crisis of faith has been the subject of Oscar buzz ever since its release. In particular, Ethan Hawke has been tipped to pick up a nomination for Best actor for his role as Reverend Ernst Toller.

In a film landscape filled with sequels, blockbusters and adaptations, Schrader’s film feels so far removed from all of that. It’s bleak, it’s slow, and it’s hard going at times. And yet, there is something about First Reformed that feels so important. Religion and faith are not often approached this way in film – that is from the perspective of someone who is deeply involved in religion but also deeply flawed.

A massive part of First Reformed’s appeal is Hawke’s central performance. He manages to portray so many emotions even when he is not saying much at all. And even when he is behaving less than admirably, he still manages to evoke sympathy or at least empathy. Another big pull of the film is the visuals. First Reformed is set in a bleak landscape, devoid of any bright colours, and yet it is very aesthetically appealing.

First Reformed probably won’t make you feel good, but it will certainly give you something to discuss. In particular, the ending packs a punch and is one of the most thought-provoking endings of any recent film.


9. On Chesil Beach (2017)

On Chesil Beach is the directorial debut of Dominic Cooke and is based on Ian McEwan’s 2007 novel of the same name. McEwan also wrote the screenplay. On Chesil Beach is a romantic drama, but it unique in that it explores a subject not often seen in romance films – that is the expectations of sex between a newly married couple in the sixties. For Florence and Edward, the failure of their initial sexual experience will go on to have lifelong consequences for both of them.

On Chesil Beach manages to perfectly capture the feel of the era and of the ups and downs that come with first love. The progression of Florence and Edward’s relationship from dating to their marriage night plays out richly on the screen, and both leads are perfect in their roles. No other film has presented such an in depth and detailed look at first love and what it means to be a virgin on your marital night.

On Chesil Beach does it in an understated, yet deeply touching and earnest way. This is bolstered by brilliant performances from Saoirse Ronan as Florence and Billy Howle as Edward, and great direction from Cooke.

On Chesil Beach was released quietly into theatres with minimal fanfare, but it is certainly a film worthy of recognition. Although there are no big action sequences or edge of seat moments, there is something about On Chesil Beach that is incredibly watchable and engaging.


10. Madeline’s Madeline (2018)

Madeline’s Madeline (2018)

Not many films nowadays can be described as experimental cinema, and yet that is exactly what Madeline’s Madeline is. Described as “an ambitious meta-exploration of identity through performance, a dizzying plunge into the imaginary psyche of a fictitious young actress, and an unnervingly form of penance by its director Josephine Decker,” Madeline’s Madeline is about a theatre director who becomes concerned by the young star of her new show, who appears to be taking her role to a whole new level.

Madeline’s Madeline is a divisive film. At times it is deliberately off-putting and hard to watch and at other times it is just strange and alienating. However throughout the film, it is held firmly together by an astonishing and breath-taking performance from Helena Howard in her big screen debut. If nothing else, Madeline’s Madeline will be an important film based on the discovery of this brilliant new talent.

As well as Howard’s amazing debut, Madeline’s Madeline uses its technical aspects to great effect. The sound design is frenzied and adds to the feeling of unease for the audience. And the camera work further impacts this, the camera is constantly moving, never staying too still. Overall this gives for a highly unique viewing experience.