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The Ten Most Underrated A24 Movies

This list was carefully constructed for fellow cinephiles and A24 worshippers.

The famous A24 logo. Credit: A24

A24 films are known for their independent stories and the company has served as a platform for many passion projects of individuals with various backgrounds. While A24 stems away from the classic Hollywood standards, it has grown to become a big brand in the film industry and is well respected among many viewers and filmmakers.

The company is constantly coming out with new films consisting of famous actors and directors with massive budgets that go past the stereotypical indie film. Some unique A24 films that deserved better recognition have gone under the radar on people’s watchlists. It is finally time to give credit where credit is due! The garnering of attention for these films is not only to benefit the creators but also to introduce fans to more amazing pictures to study. A collective of opinions from other sources alongside a cinematic study from a film student, helped create this list.

1.) ‘Beau is Afraid’ (2023)

A man is sitting in a chair looking confused, bleeding from his head. He is in a vacation resort. He is unhappy, and his name is Beau.
Beau is sitting in a memory of his childhood. Credit: A24.

Beau is Afraid, directed by Ari Aster, is a very complex story to summarize and its meaning can be interpreted differently. The plot revolves around Beau, a middle-aged man, who dreads visiting his mother for unknown reasons which don’t become clear until the end. The entire film however, has flashbacks to his childhood to let the us know that his mother has resulted in his trauma, resulting in his unstable mental state. While the task of visiting his mother starts out simple enough, an outside force or event manages to complicate his every step. This film is like a rollercoaster of different experiences and emotions, therefore making it so thrilling and exhilarating to watch.

If you know anything about A24 then you must be aware of the success of Ari Aster’s films Hereditary and Midsommar. His unique eye for telling stories of complex familial relationships is something that the film explores. Beau’s unusual and sinister relationship with his mother takes over his life and the anxiety he suffers from everyday traps him from making his own decisions. His absent father figure haunts him as his mother feeds him the warning of never becoming intimate with a woman, for it will result in the same doom as his father, which ends in death. However, all is not as it seems as the end of the film exposes the truth about his mother’s role in his life.

Warning before proceeding: Spoilers are ahead.

Why should you watch this film?

What makes this film so underrated is the quality of production that encapsulates the plot, the wonderful acting of Joaquin Phoenix as Beau, as well as stars like Patti LuPone, Nathan Lane, Amy Ryan, Parker Posey, and Stephen McKinley Henderson, and the unique storytelling style.

The cinematography in this film is not too complex as most shots follow Beau as he runs or escapes from a new disaster. There are plenty of still wide shots, medium shots, and closeups. There is, however, a good use of zoom ins and outs, and pans allowing for the dangerous characters to come at Beau, helping the viewer to follow the progression of events.

The color palette, although not strict, has a good use of symbolism for its mood of the minute. In the beginning of the film when Beau lives by himself, the set design and color palette is stale, showing how he is lifeless by himself. When Grace and Roger takes care of him, the strangers who hit him with their car, the colors in the bedroom become more colorful and the paint scene seems even more significant.

In-depth

Toni, the daughter of Grace and Roger, drinks paint to commit suicide and the bright blue color takes away from the gruesome nature of it, distracting the viewer from the actual horror. When Beau lives in the play, the cartoonish design that progresses has beautiful uses of color, depicting a very traditional story, like the life that Beau hopes to have. When Beau makes it to his mother’s house, her costume is very dark and seductive, wearing a black dress with a red lip, representing her nature and the odd attachment she has to Beau’s sexuality. The house itself supports that through the neutral colors and dark atmosphere.

The metaphoric use of storytelling works very well with the eerie performances of all the actors. The viewer can to interpret the meaning of the story in various ways. It could be that the entire film was a dream of Beau, as his anxiety in anticipation of seeing his mother took over. Or that the penis parasite that is in the attic, that is the ‘father’ is just a metaphor for the resentment that the mother has for the father leaving after becoming pregnant; she tortures Beau by feeding him the idea that his testicles are a danger and can never reach climax or it will result in his death. You can rationalize this bizarre story in many ways and it is an interesting commentary on child and parent relationships.

2.) ‘Under the Skin’ (2013)

A woman is sitting in a fur coat looking out the front of the car as the reflection of a man passes the right window of her driver's side.
The ‘female’ is sitting in the van, waiting for her next prey. Credit: A24.

Under the Skin, directed by Jonathan Glazer, also director of The Zone of Interest is a visual poetry that drags eeriness until an abrupt ending. This film’s unsettling music replaces a lot of the usual expected amount of dialogue, which consists of a beating sound as the base followed by strings. The plot centers on an alien entity that poses as an attractive woman, picking up men in her van, and then luring them to her place, which is a void the victims can’t escape. The film is very sensual and slow-paced, entrapping the audience into her world. A 2000 novel of the same name, written by Michel Faber, based the film.

Warning before proceeding: Spoilers are ahead.

Why should you watch this film?

The film starts slow-paced like the film 2001: Space Odyssey; there is this beginning of human life feel to it, as the transformation of this alien into looking human tame place. Some of the scares come from the fact that the alien is practicing speaking English and sounding out the words. Again, the use of complex sound becomes a massive storyteller in the film. The ending explains why the alien disguised as a female. Gender and sex in addition to the human experience, are notable themes in the film. The visual poetry and audio help tell this.

A beautiful woman is bound to be harmless, right? Not this time. She easily feeds them into her void by engaging with her prey and giving them hope for sex; some assume the victims go back to the planet she originates from.

Gender roles are reversed in what would usually be expected of a stalker in a van looking for prey to bring back home. This can be a society test to see how they would react to a female predator. However, there is also the test of what gives humans life. The alien explores intimacy with another human which ends abruptly as she doesn’t know how her genitals work. Throughout the entire film, there are shots where the male victim’s genitals are visibly exposed, which can be a commentary on how male genitals are less taboo than females’ and therefore are more represented in sexual acts.

In-depth

Since the story is told primarily through visuals, the small details translate the emotions well. Some beautiful moments included the moment when a teardrop ran down the female victim’s face, showing the life leaving her body. She was killed for her clothes, which shows the lack of empathy shown towards sex workers. The ending scene was emotional as the alien was staring back at her human skin before being killed by the man who tried to rape her. The symbolism in this is dark as it could also allude to how assault victims lose parts of their identity due to the trauma.

There was a beautiful use of color and light as the reds, blacks, and blues all contrasted well against each other and contained their meaning behind it. A lot of the scenes happened at night, yet the contrast between the colors helped keep it interesting to the eye. The shots in the void were very aesthetically pleasing and the same as the shots of the woods. At times it felt like the film was a documentary based on the wide shots taken of the civilians. It helped with the suspension of disbelief since the story is science fiction.

The exploration of humanity is shown well in the second portion of the film where she tries to eat food but fails as she has never eaten before, or when the man on the bus asks if she needs help and she grows emotional. She also learns what fear is at the end when she escapes into the woods and sleeps in the cabin, only to be awakened by a man assaulting her.

The film is very beautiful, yet unsettling and I suggest watching it for the cumulative experience of sounds, visuals, and realistic themes served through a supernatural lens.

3.) ‘Marcel the Shell with Shoes On’ (2021)

A shell with one eye is sitting on a map with a pencil and a thumbtack on the surface.
Marcel the Shell is looking for his family. Credit: A24.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, directed by Dean Fleischer Camp, was nominated for an Oscar in 2023 for Best Animated Feature. The story is centered on Marcel, a shell, who is on a mission to find his family with the help of the Airbnb guest who is staying in the house where Marcel resides. The guest makes a documentary/video of Marcel, which makes Marcel famous.

The film is shot like a documentary and follows Marcel and his Nana Connie. The film is an emotional and beautiful film on what it means to be family and it captures the simplicity and joys of life through a unique character. The story of Marcel started as a series of short films directed by Camp, starring Jenny Slate as Marcel, and a decade later was made as a feature film. The collaboration between Slate and Camp continued this story in many forms as early on, Marcel’s story was also told in a children’s book.

Warning before proceeding: Spoilers are ahead.

Why should you watch this film?

The labor-intensive process of stop-motion animation is an art to be valued and appreciated in modern cinema. Many animated films are pushed aside as not being real cinema, even with their wonderful quality of production and recognition by the Academy. This film has fallen victim to this stereotype of categorizing animated films apart from cinema.

The plot of the film and characterization of Marcel and Nona is unique in the fact that animation is combined with mockumentary. The characters speak like humans, showing their emotions through the careful manipulation of the stop motion art and the powerful voice acting of Jenny Slate and Isabella Rossellini (Connie). The comedic timing of the script is genius as the dialogue seems to be natural, yet constructed in a way where it feels light-hearted and carefree through its improvised style. It carefully explains the emotional plot of a young boy being completely isolated from his grandmother, Nana Connie, who suffers from dementia.

In-depth

The cinematography is significant to its style as it manages to do plenty of zoom-ins and outs giving that on-the-go, unscripted, observational documentary aspect. It manages to also do the interviewing portions, where the name of the interviewee is stated on the screen answering questions. However, during moments like flashbacks and fights between the couple, who lived in the house, the camera’s point of view is from Marcel’s end, telling the story from a different perspective. The film doesn’t overdo the comedy portion, allowing for stylistic choices to represent emotion and drama properly.

The editing sells the comedy and humor by resembling YouTube vlogs and therefore paying homage to the portion of the plot where Marcel’s videos are posted by the Airbnb guy, who is the director playing himself. The editing manages to keep the interest of the audience by constantly changing the type of shot, setting, and movement. It is an upbeat rollercoaster that can be enjoyed by a large audience.

Another noticeable element of the film is the aesthetic. It consists of a lighter almost pastel color palette. This adds to the mood and atmosphere that is established by Marcel’s energetic and bubbly mood. It contains the world well and makes the audience want to join in on the journey. The amount of sunlight and greenery is refreshing to the audience and adds a down-to-earth quality that is instilled in Marcel.

The music is calming and serene, and during moments of panic and distress, the genre goes to chaotic classical music that stays within the realm of mood that was created previously. The film has clear motives about what it wants the audience to feel and it is an adventure that you will thoroughly enjoy, and perhaps shed a tear.

4.) ‘C’mon C’mon’ (2021)

A man an his nephew are strolling around in a parade, the screen is black and white.
Johnny and his nephew Jesse are strolling around in a parade, bonding. Credit: A24.

C’mon C’mon, directed by Mike Mills also director of 20th Century Women (another A24 film), is about Johnny, a radio journalist, who travels and interviews kids about their views on the world. He falls responsible temporarily for his nephew, who has a knack for asking grown-up questions. As they embark on the journey, their relationship grows strong as Jesse tries to heal from the absence of his father due to mental illness.

This film is an exploration of the meanings of life, the complexity of emotions, what is socially acceptable, coping mechanisms, and “what’s normal?” The film is a standout amongst A24 films as it doesn’t necessarily push on uniqueness and quirkiness to achieve the quality of art that is worth examining and analyzing. The story was wonderfully told through its realistic dialogue and the connections between the characters that don’t feel manufactured. The journey is enjoyable and when it ends, you only hope to imagine what Johnny and Jesse explore in the future.

Warning before proceeding: Spoilers are ahead.

Why should you watch this film?

One noticeable aspect of the film is its black-and-white aesthetic that is fluid throughout the entire film, it makes the film feel more solemn, which makes sense for the topics discussed between Johnny and Jesse. Yet their mannerisms and mood cut down on the material discussed and make it feel looser and free. At times the acting of Joaquin Phoenix (Johnny) and Woody Norman (Jesse) is so vibrant and a “slice of life” that the films become colorful and as a watcher, you forget that the film is black and white. That is not to say that black and white, isn’t visually stunning. The color palette allows for the plot and acting to shine through while adding a class on top.

The pacing of the film allows for life to take place without dragging on too long. The cinematography is smoother and more resilient which matches the type of film C’mon C’mon falls into. The blocking of the actors is what makes arguments and conversations so interesting to watch. The beautiful environments and wide shots of the city make it feel like you are traveling alongside them.

In-depth

The characterization of the film is one of its major strengths as the characters are fully-rounded and complex. There were plenty of flashbacks on how Johnny and his sister Viv, played by Gaby Hoffmann, constantly fought about the best way to take care of their mother passed away from cancer. This disagreement further continued over Jesse’s well-being, and how much Viv would allow him to explore with Johnny. Johnny’s belief in the make-believe scenarios that Jesse made to cope, was not supported as much as by his mother. These elements added depth to the trio and made them more humane characters to bond with on screen.

The typical music expected to play in most scenes is replaced by nuggets of wisdom being spoken related to the theme of life that is expressed in the film. It is like a podcast at times, where you listen to two people bond and express thoughts over interesting thoughts with layers of depth. The music that does play is a beautiful, larger-than-life soundtrack that makes you think about the sky and what goes on above it.

Overall, the film is a wonderful commentary on the relationships that we gain through life and how we cope when we lose them. It teaches us why we need to find what makes us happy or reconnect with the youth in us and around us. The characters mention that people should pay attention to what’s going on around them, have empathy, have morals, and try to make the best out of the future. These are all solid values.

5.) ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ (2017)

A doctor is treating a young man, they are in close contact with each other almost bowing their heads. The doctor is checking the young man's heart.
Steven, the cardiovascular surgeon, is checking Martin’s heart as Martin claimed he was worried. Credit: A24.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos who also directed Poor Things, The Lobster, and The Favourite, derives its theme from the Greek Myth of the sacred deer of Artemis being murdered by King Agamemnon, who in return has to kill his daughter Iphigenia to make things right. The concept applies to this story where Steven, a cardiovascular surgeon, was in charge of the operation on Martin’s father. His father ends up passing away and since then, has been guilt-tripping a relationship with Steven, that resembles the father and son relationship that Martin had taken away from him. The film is deeply disturbing and constantly causes you to question the mental state of the characters as they descend into madness. The madness happens quietly which makes the film frustrating and addicting to watch.

Warning before proceeding: Spoilers are ahead.

Why should you watch this film?

This film can feel bizarre, especially without the context of the Greek Myth. Nothing can dilute what is experienced when watching the family tear each other apart. All rules that are established between parent and child relationships are destroyed because of Martin’s curse. Martin poisons the family into growing ill in stages of progression, and the illnesses in Steven’s family don’t stop until Steven willingly kills one of his family members.

The film is filmed in a slow-burning manner, with a dystopian feeling to it. Everything that happens in the film is quite realistic yet the characters’ reactions to each others’ unusual behavior and suffering are minimal. It is a stylistic choice of the director that can be seen in his other films. Many tend to say his films are weird, and this can be supported by the other A24 film, The Lobster.

In-depth

The orchestral music supports the dramatic stakes that Martin has set for Steven. Due to the outbursts that Steven had towards his family, it became hard to empathize with him. The game of switching sides takes place as even the family of Steven tends to support Martin at times. A lot of the relationships are blurred as most things are said through body language and facial expressions. There are many stages of emotions and eventually, it seems like the family members accept their possible fate. The game of Russian Roulette takes place and the youngest boy is sacrificed. The end is left unexplained as the family sits in the diner and looks at Martin with blank expressions, signaling that they are even now.

The film has many wonderful performances from Colin Farrell, Barry Keoghan, and Nicole Kidman. They keep the engagement as we go on this journey of what is next. The film builds character, and the suspension is built through the acting and the cinematography. There are so many extremely wide shots that pause and move with the movement of the characters amongst a crowd. There is also a zoom-out shot that progresses as the song the daughter Kim sings progresses. Many movements were unnoticed movement in the cinematography adding the illusion of passage of time. It made the urgency of their sickness that much more urgent and anxious to watch.

The film is a slow burner that makes you question values and morals, and what is just and fair. Revenge and justice might make sense on a base level. An eye for an eye makes sense, but when applied to a scenario it might change. What is fair?

6.) ‘Minari’ (2020)

A family man is looking out into the fields as his family is behind him. The kids are playing in the fields and the wife by the car.
Jacob is standing in the land that he plans to make home with his family. Credit: A24.

Minari, directed by Lee Isaac Chung, is about a Korean family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of the American dream. The film manages to cover themes of immigration, marriage, generational gaps, financial struggles, cultural adjustments, and the longing for home. The mix of Korean and English manages to tell this story on many levels; this allows for the true immigrant experience to be showcased in a poetic and tranquil representation that will have you feel all the emotions.

This film takes a journey that not everyone might be familiar with, but can certainly empathize with. As films show the human condition, struggling to call a new place home is a common fight for survival that all humans fight for. The character Jacob struggles with his ideals for reaching his goals perfectly and growing his crops. Monica struggles with accepting the new situation. David and Anne, the kids, have a completely different perspective as they have a closer connection to American culture.

Warning before proceeding: Spoilers are ahead.

Why should you watch this film?

The hauntingly sad but beautiful soundtrack follows the film and makes it fuller. As the characters undergo stressful and boundary-pushing obstacles, this beautiful score overtops the film telling the story in a way that neither language can express. Alongside the music, the beautiful aesthetic of nature combined with the playful energy and enthusiasm of the kids is a delightful take on the joys of family amongst the hardships. The raw and powerful acting of Steven Yeun (Jacob), Youn Yuh-jung (Soonja), and Han Ye-ri (Monica).

In-depth

Soonja’s nature contrasts with David’s as they are the oldest and youngest in the family. The miscommunication between them at times is clear, yet the care that both of them express is clear. David’s fear of running because of his heart condition was a consistent obstacle that he was afraid to fight. However, he ran for his grandmother, Soonja, and this simple gesture is a good example of why this film is so magnificent. The little sacrifices that the family makes for each other are explored as Jacob constantly sacrifices his marriage with Monica for the chance of a good life on the farm.

The theme of nurture is a major plot point as Jacob is working hard at growing the farm and Sonja plants the Minari seeds. Monica’s form of nurture is in the kids. Anne nurtures David, while he nurtures Soonja. The cycle is shown through the intimate cinematography that perfectly captures the nuances of human features and captures the light beautifully on the tasks at hand.

The symbolism of the minari, the plant, explains the film well. Minari is a major plant in Korea used for foods due to its flavor and nutrition. It is also able to grow in harsh conditions to due its resilience and adaptability. This represents the film well in terms of a family that nourishes itself and that can withstand a drastic move and adapt to a completely new culture and lifestyle. It takes massive strength to do so.

7.) ‘Men’ (2022)

A creepy man with deformed skin is staring through the envelope slot of a door.
One of the men in the the countryside that stalks Harper has returned to terrorize her. Credit: A24

Men was directed by Alex Garland who also directed Ex Machina, Civil War, 28 Days Later, and Annihilation. The film centers on Harper, a woman who visits the countryside to get some solitude after the tragic death of her husband. The film starts slightly innocent, yet the flashbacks to Harper’s death hint that the film won’t be as peaceful as initially depicted.

Throughout the film, Harper is stalked by a man from the woods and soon, the unwanted attention comes from all the men in the town. The film explores toxic masculinity and sexism in a very extreme way. It will keep you feeling off guard, and soon no one can be trusted. The film stars Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear as the main leads. Their performances in this grotesque film went unnoticed, and therefore are extremely underrated.

Warning before proceeding: Spoilers are ahead.

Why should you watch this film?

This film has a beautiful color palette and creates a calming aura, that is contrasted with the gruesomeness between the characters. The acting of Rory Kinnear, as multiple characters is phenomenal and he truly managed to hide the fact that he was the face behind all the men. The constant state of suspense as you await for the men to return to Harper’s place keeps you on alert. The film manages to keep your intrigue until the very end where the horrific things occur.

In-depth

The bodily transfigurations at the end are certainly not difficult to forget, as throughout the whole film you had waited for the men to reconvene together. It is not certain how the men transformed themselves into each other, which is why the use of the same actor could just be a symbol of how toxic masculinity inhabits different people. It is exemplified in the owner of the home, the vicar, the naked man, the little boy, the policemen, the bartender, etc. This is also representative of the idea that society was built by men for men, excluding women entirely. Women are seen as secondary and only serve to entertain the civilians.

Another notable moment, was when the vicar blamed Harper for her husband’s death. Harper and her husband had gotten into arguments over Harper’s decision to divorce him. Not long after, he either committed suicide or accidentally fell off of the railing of the floor above their apartment, trying to get back into the apartment. Her husband was mentally unstable and it took a toll on her. The vicar blamed Harper for kicking him out and pushing him over the edge, even though he had hit Harper.

The plot of the film is its major highlight amongst its use of symbolism to tell its theme. In the end, when all the male characters give birth to each other, it can be rationalized, that the bad behavior of men is created by the ones that come before them. In the end, they emerge as her husband and Harper talks to him. The men terrorizing her could also be a sign of guilt. Either way, the gruesome body horror is something worth seeing.

8.) ‘Under the Silver Lake’ (2018)

A woman who has come out of the pool hangs at the edge of the pool peeking out a smile. She is blonde and has red lipstick.
Sarah asks Sam to join her for a midnight swim. Credit: A24

Under the Silver Lake was directed by David Robert Mitchell who also directed It Follows. The film centers on Sam, a 33-year-old guy who spends his time lying to his mother about going to work, but instead uses binoculars to spy on the topless old neighbor. He smokes cigarettes and has meaningless sex, and seems to only be interested in cryptic messages and conspiracies on the news.

Things change when a beautiful young woman, is playing in his apartment complex’s pool and he grows this obsession with her that warrants him to look for her when she goes missing. The film is trippy and you feel like you are solving a puzzle alongside a crackhead. However, it is entertaining and fills the hole in your heart that was yearning for a neo-noir black comedy.

Warning before proceeding: Spoilers are ahead.

Why should you watch this film?

The film is a mind-bending puzzle, as you go on the journey with Sam to find Sarah amidst the Hollywood conspiracies and cults that try to dissuade from the mission. The engaging performance of Andrew Garfield (Sam) makes us hate him but also root for him. The boundary-pushing moments of sex and violence give a shock at times and eventually, you begin to question whether this was real or if Sam was high the entire time.

There is this idea of glamorous old Hollywood the entire time with plenty of references and clues to pop culture. In the moment where the songwriter talks to Sam about how he is responsible for every song that Sam’s parents and him have listened to and made as part of their lives, one of the themes is explored.

In-depth

There is the theme of richer people playing with the lives of the working class and treating them as puppets. What he says seems to take free will as something made up by common folk to live their lives happily. The masterminds behind it are in control of everything you consume and nothing was made out of pure art or love. People are just a pawn in the songwriter’s scheme. In the end, we find out that Sarah had faked her death and joined a cult that would make her a wife, be buried in a tomb, and ascend to a higher plane of existence.

The film is very visually pleasing as it tours different locations in Los Angeles, California, such as The Last Bookstore, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Bronson Caves, Griffith Park, Standard Hotel, Silver Lake Reservoir, etc. It has a colorful palette and plenty of aesthetic shots, paying homage to the Hollywood film look. Many of the supporting characters wear wild outfits to match the idea of everyone’s sanity being a little of what is commonly normal outside of that California area.

The cinematography supports the loopy sensation as many fish-eye shots are giving an ultra-wide perspective of the parties. The music of the film sounds similar to the old Hollywood films, primarily those of thriller and horror. It suits the theme very well and it locks in the image it is going for. Overall, the film is a trippy adventure on the commentary of pop culture and cults.

9.) ‘The Florida Project’ (2017)

An older man is sitting crouched in front of a little girl, but both are looking behind the mans back at something. They both look serious.
Bobby Hicks is trying to reassure Moonee that she is okay, despite DCF workers showing up. Credit: A24.

The Florida Project, directed by Sean Baker, is about Moonee, a 6-year-old who lives in a motel near Disney World and spends her days playing with her friends, being taken care of by her mother Halley, who is an exotic dancer, and Bobby, the motel manager. The film is a heartfelt film that explores the lifestyle of individuals who live in poverty, specifically the lives of those outside one of the biggest theme parks worldwide.

The film manages to explore of the young children in these parts cope with such an environment. The constant imagination of young Moonee and her friends is beautiful and reminiscent of what it was like to truly be a child. The natural and child-like dialogue between them doesn’t force certain characteristics or speech mannerisms. The film is heartbreaking but realistic, as many actors are first-time actors, who know or come from these parts. Many of the supporting characters and extras were actual residents.

Warning before proceeding: Spoilers are ahead.

Why should you watch this film?

The imagination and playful adventure of the children remind us of how we were once children. Many kids who grow up in harsh conditions, find ways to normalize their situation. The film is so close to a reality in our society, that it almost resembles a documentary. It manages to fill the main role in art, which is to mirror society.

The film has a clear aesthetic which comes with Disney World architecture. There is color pastel buildings and giant, over-the-top, cartoonish designs on restaurants, gift shops, ice cream stands, etc. It also is supported by the overall characterization of the children and the adults. However, some of the aesthetic comes from realism which is supported by the lack of music playing over the film. The sounds come from the busy streets, the crowds of people, the TVs, and the helicopters overhead.

In-depth

There are plenty of shots of the sun going down and the characters walking by the road. Many of the shots show how things quickly change from one minute to the next. As things get more chaotic, the camera gets shaky. This helps instill how some moments are too out of the norm, even for this lifestyle. This world introduces itself to us and we quickly learn what is fine and what isn’t.

The characters establish a clear line of respect, as Halley knows not to push Bobby too much. However, he clearly has a sense of care or even favoritism to the family. The kids know not to disrespect their parents, and same thing goes for Halley and her friend Ashley. While the families are unconventional, some things remain universal. This helps the audience relate to their circumstances.

The film deserved respect for its heart and soul. Many moments are upsetting to watch as the kids are present for most of the disturbing things. However, it is important to acknowledge these people’s lives. The characters are iconic and fun. The film teaches a lesson on family, respect, coping mechanisms, and making the best of what you have.

10.) ‘The Whale’ (2022)

A man looks concerned and sickly.
Charlie is suffering miserably in his apartment. Credit: A24

The Whale was directed by Darren Aronofsky, based on the play written by Samuel D. Hunter. Aronofsky is also the director of Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream, Mother!, Noah, and Pi.  The film is about Charlie who has become morbidly obese due to his inability to cope with his lover’s suicide. As his health has deteriorated, he reaches out to his teenage daughter Ellie for the last time after abandoning her. He hopes to make things right and help her find happiness before he dies.

The film is heartbreaking as it covers the struggles of an eating disorder, the guilt of one’s past, and resentfulness. Charlie undergoes many battles with himself and with Ellie and the entire film occurs in his apartment. The film is a wonderful work of art. It puts you on an emotional journey of finding compassion for flawed characters.

Warning before proceeding: Spoilers are ahead.

Why should you watch this film?

The film has raw and heartbreaking performances from Brendan Frasier (Charlie), Sadie Sink (Ellie), and Hong Chau (Liz). It feels like a revolution in their careers. Brendan returned to this career and won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Sadie Sink explored levels she hadn’t before as a child star, and Hong Chau brought soul to the film.

The score builds a beautiful aura, through musical notes, which capture the unspoken feelings. The film goes through many dark subjects such as suicide, religious abuse, and homophobia. Charlie’s grief for his lover’s suicide, rooted from shame, is an important subject . The music tells the complex emotions and struggles.

The cinematography is beautiful; Charlie’s memories at the beach contrasts with the lack of light in the apartment. The close-ups and zoom-ins help with recognizing the emotions. Many of the binge-eating sequences use these methods to make the audience dread the actions even more. Most people aren’t horrified by overeating to the extent of a bloody horror film. Yet, the use of music and cinematography successfully creates this emotion.

In-depth

There is an overall color palette of darker colors and lots of brown. This emphasizes the depression that lurks in the apartment. When the door opened, the light came through and reminded us how it was a jail inside of Charlie’s mind. Having only one setting, shows Charlie’s chain to it both physically and mentally.

The film is wonderful and a tearjerker. Another good representation of art is that it reflects issues in our society for the people suffering. A lot of films lack this element of relatability which takes away from its long-lasting effect. This film leaves a mark and teaches us how guilt can morph into addictive habits that kill us. Ellie and Liz suffer when watching Charlie fight for his life. The journey is hard but the film is something to experience.

Final Takeaway

A24 films have fresh plots, interesting characterization, outstanding performances, and high-quality production. While some are widely known, others remain underrated. This list was a glance over a few of those that deserve better applause from cinema lovers!

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Written By

I am a Cinema and Creative Technology major at Virginia Tech University going into my second year. I am very excited to write entertainment articles about upcoming films and news revolving the industry!

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. J

    June 4, 2024 at 6:31 pm

    Love the commentary

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Here are seven LGBTQ+ films you may have overlooked for your viewing pleasure.

TV & Film

It’s Such A Beautiful Day from experimental animation director Don Hertzfeldt is one of the most impactful and impressive films I have ever seen....

Entertainment

Six of the greatest hits to add to your summer list: Twin Peaks, The O.C., Bridgerton, Sex and The City, The Bear, and Gravity...

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