I consider myself to be a bit of a film nerd; I use that term lightly because I don’t study film and I haven’t seen as many classics as I should, but I have seen a lot of movies. So I thought that I would compile a list of my top recommendations of free movies for you to watch while you’re stuck in the house. Hopefully these will make your quarantine a little bit better!
This Oscar-winning A24 film directed by Barry Jenkins is sure to tug at your heartstrings. Moonlight has some of the best cinematography, acting, and directing I have seen in the last couple of years. If you missed this Best Picture winner when it came out, I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something sad but hopeful.
Another incredible Oscar winner, Alfonso Cuaron’s breathtaking film tells the story of a domestic worker’s life in Mexico. This movie is one of my favorites, and I’ve rewatched it countless times since it came out. It is a bit long, but every minute is beautiful and captivating.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
If you’ve never seen this classic horror thriller, you absolutely must. Even though the director Roman Polanski is problematic, this film is iconic and is a must see. Mia Farrow’s performance is incredible and it has a great twist ending.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
This movie is easily one of Quentin Tarantino’s best (and longest). The film takes place in a newly Nazi-occupied Paris, where a cinema owner and a group of American soldiers scheme to take down the regime.
The Lobster (2015)
Yorgos Lanthimos is a very unique director who makes incredibly strange films, and The Lobster may be one of his weirdest. In the film, if single people do not find a soulmate within an allotted amount of time they are turned into animals. This film is definitely the strangest on the list but is oddly touching in its themes of love and identity.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve watched this movie. It has some of the best writing and editing I’ve ever seen and the performances are absolutely hilarious. Edgar Wright perfectly makes fun of movies, video games, and comics while simultaneously telling a romantic but slightly pathetic story of self discovery.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
I just rewatched this movie last week and holy sh*t, it literally broke my heart. It was really interesting to watch it again after having gone through high school. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller all give amazing performances. This movie is definitely one you shouldn’t miss.
The Florida Project (2017)
Another A24 produced film, The Florida Project tells the story of a little girl living in a motel just outside of the happiest place on earth, Disney World. This movie is incredibly unique in its ability to portray life through the eyes of a child, and how they can be so deeply unaware of tragic aspects of their lives.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
This French film is definitely more for film nerds, but I think that its beautiful cinematography and gripping performances can be enjoyed by anyone. I watched this film last week after hearing praise about it online, and was absolutely blown away by it.
Sorry to Bother You (2018)
This is another quite weird film on this list. Boots Riley’s outrageous comedy covers Cassius Green’s rise to power and money in a telemarketing company by using ‘white voice’ on the phone. This movie has a quite odd twist ending that you’ll never expect coming.
This has honestly become one of my favorite films of all time and will probably be a classic forever. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut tells the story of two best friends who are determined to go to a party on their last night of high school. This movie has some of the most hilarious performances I’ve ever seen and will make you laugh all the way through.
You’ve definitely heard of Bong Joon Ho’s Best Picture winning film, and it’s finally on Hulu! I had almost no expectations going into this film but was incredibly excited to watch it because of all of the praise it received. Parasite absolutely blew my mind and is a definite must-see.
Vice tells the (enraging) story of the behind-the-scenes role of Dick Cheney during George Bush’s presidency. Christian Bale is absolutely unrecognizable in this film and gives an amazing performance portraying one of the most cold and calculating figures in American political history. This film is based on real events that occurred during the Bush presidency and sheds light on what happens behind closed doors in Washington.
Lady Bird (2017)
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve watched this movie (probably upwards of 20). Greta Gerwig’s screenplay is probably my favorite of all time. This film is so incredibly real and hilarious and heartbreaking all at the same time, and will definitely make you cry both from laughter and sadness. Saiorse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf give amazing performances and really portray the love-hate nature of mother/daughter relationships.
Another film I’ve seen probably a million times, Heathers practically invented many of the tropes we see in high school movies. This film is a satirical and dark take on the absolute torture that is high school, the lengths people will go to for popularity, and society’s detrimental romanticization of teen suicide.
Ari Aster’s horror film Hereditary is easily the scariest I’ve ever seen, and it’s more than just cheesy jump-scares and masked killers. This movie is incredibly complex and layered in its exploration of mental health, grief, and familial drama. Toni Colette gives one of the best performances of her career. If you can handle gore and are ready to get freaked out, definitely check it out.
Roman Holiday (1953)
This absolute classic starring Audrey Hepburn is a must see. Roman Holiday is a heartwarming film about a young princess who escapes her restricting lifestyle and explores Rome alongside Gregory Peck. If you’ve never seen this movie, you absolutely must!
There you have it! My top film recommendations on streaming services. Happy watching!