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A24 is an independent production company that has become a cult favorite for the new generation of filmmakers and moviegoers. The content that they produce is not your normal blockbuster or rom-com. Instead, they take risks on the unexpected and the underrepresented. Some of their bigger films like Lady Bird and Moonlight have gone on to become Oscar nominees and winners. Everyone and their mother has probably seen those, but they have so many thoughtful and amazing films that are wholly underrated. Here are my top five.

20th Century Women

Set in 1970s Southern California, Mike Mills’ 2016 dramedy centers around 15-year-old Jamie Fields. It’s not a coming-of-age film in the traditional sense, but rather a poignant snapshot of his environment and the women around him. From his single mother, Dorothea (Annette Bening), to one of his family’s boarders, Abbie (Greta Gerwig), to his best friend, Julie (Elle Fanning), he witnesses the struggles of a woman at every stage of life. By slowly moving the camera towards and away from the action, the film evokes a longing for the past. It is a beautiful tale of womanhood. But overall, it is a tribute to motherhood—one that deserves to be watched time and time again. Available on Netflix.

The Bling Ring

This film is based on the true story of the Bling Ring, a group of Calabasas teenagers who burglarized several celebrity homes including those of Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr, Megan Fox, and Lindsay Lohan. In this satirical crime film, director Sofia Coppola shifts the focus from Hollywood to the everyday teens who obsess over them. However, they don’t really care about who you are, but rather what you have. One of the ringleaders, Nicki Moore (Emma Watson), delivers the iconic line: “I wanna rob.” Oblivious to the moral and illegal limplications, Coppola aesthetically depicts how disconnected these teenagers are to reality. Available on Netflix.

Laggies

This quirky take on the traditional rom-com stars a young Keira Knightley who befriends an even younger Chloë Grace Moretz. Megan (Knightly) finds herself ten years after high school graduation with no career or romantic prospects. After fleeing from her best friend’s wedding, she stumbles upon a group of teenagers that her irresponsible, childlike self relates to much more. She becomes the surrogate big sister to one of those teenagers Annika (Moretz), who has been trying to fill the female void left by her mother. What follows is a journey towards independence as both girls find themselves looking for a responsible parent figure in their lives. Available on Netflix.

The Vanishing of Sidney Hall

Now that everyone is finally recognizing the original White Boy of the Month, Logan Lerman, this film is a must-see. While it doesn’t have the best reviews, this quiet mystery had me hanging on the edge of my seat in the best way. Lerman delivers an entirely underrated performance as Sidney Hall, a young novelist who hasn’t been seen nor heard from in five years. The story is depicted in a non-linear narrative as we see our protagonist in three different stages of his life—all played by Lerman. From his relationship with his abusive mother Velouria (Michelle Monaghan) to his first love Melody (Elle Fanning), the story shows all of the ups and downs, all of the rights and the wrongs, and his own path towards redemption. Available on Amazon Prime.

Never Goin’ Back

Written and directed by Augustine Frizzell in her directorial debut, Never Goin’ Back follows best friends and roommates Angela (Maia Mitchell) and Jessie (Camila Morrone) who are your run-of-the-mill high school dropouts/stoners variety. In a role typically taken on by men (Harold and Kumar, Pineapple Express), it is refreshing to see women take the forefront in a stoner comedy. Rather than pay rent, the two young women spend their money on a beach trip to Galveston, spending the journey there figuring out ways to replace it. This charming tale of friendship is silly and raunchy and everything in-between. Available on Amazon Prime.

While there are only five mentioned in this list, A24 has so many more inspiring films to their name. A couple more that have garnered a bit more traction, but are still underrated by the mainstream moviegoer are The Florida Project (Netflix), The Lobster (Netflix), and The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Amazon Prime).

As we’re all staying home for the next couple weeks or months, add these films to your watchlist!

 

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Sannah is a freshman at BU studying Film + TV in the College of Communication. Most of her writing is inspired by her interests in film, fashion, and activism. Other than that, you can find her working at coffee shops, watching (and rewatching) random films, and quoting Taylor Swift lyrics.
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