Underrated indie movies I love

  1. In A World....
    This used to be my go to Netflix rec, I'm so sad they took it off streaming. SUCH a lovely, charming feminist movie. The rare movie set in the entertainment industry that totally works, because it's set in such a niche area (voiceover work). Lake Bell is amazing, the supporting ensemble is great (Demetri Martin, Michaela Watkins, Rob Corddry, Tig Notaro, Ken Marino). The romantic subplot also hits a refreshingly sweet tone.
  2. Welcome to Me
    I saw this twice in theaters, and I'd been hardcore looking forward to it since seeing the trailer....it's rare these days to hear premises that genuinely feel unique and fresh, and this one definitely got my attention. Kristen Wiig is one of my favorite actresses, and this is just a fearless performance from her.
  3. Obvious Child
    Maybe I'm playing fast and loose with "underrated", because this generated a lot of buzz, but still. Everyone should see it. Such a sweet, funny and honest movie. It's buzz kinda got boiled down to "the abortion comedy", but it's so much more than that: it's about feeling lost at a time when you're supposed to be growing up...and it's also one of my favorite indie movie romances.
  4. Away We Go
    Always been one of my favorites. Maya Rudolph is lovely and warm and accessible, John Krasinski is sweetly charming, and the relationship between their characters feels very real and grounded in a way that's always stuck out to me. Also that Alexi Murdoch soundtrack is perfect.
  5. The Invitation
    My current Netflix streaming rec. A great psychological thriller that makes amazing use of the 'contained environment' trope. So great in the way it creates tension, and very smart in the way it anticipates and plays with audience expectation.
  6. Afternoon Delight
    Written and directed by Jill Soloway in the pre-Transparent days, and worth seeing for Kathryn Hahn's performance alone. Powerhouse, Oscar worthy.
  7. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
    Another movie where I adore the originality of the premise. I love this script, and the Keira Knightley/Steve Carell pairing ends up being surprisingly sweet.
  8. Appropriate Behavior
    Written/directed/starring Desiree Akhavan, a Persian bisexual, about a Persian bisexual struggling for her place in the world. In a way, it's a familiar "adrift twenty something" indie film, but the voice and perspective is so specific and authentic that it feels like something special.
  9. Your Sister's Sister
    A really small scale story with three characters who feel and talk like very real, complicated people. I love the performances here, and the kind of emotional claustrophobia that starts to set in.
  10. Don't Think Twice
    This movie is so new I don't know if I can call it underrated, but I feel like it got a very limited release and I think everyone should be able to see it. Written and directed by Mike Birbiglia (who's also part of the great ensemble) this movie is about an improv troupe (so VERY relevant to my interests), so of course it's very funny, but it also packs some unexpected gut punches, and they land HARD thanks in large part to how genuine and lived in the friendships feel.
  11. Rachel Getting Married
    This movie is physically painful and uncomfortably real. For some reason I read the script before I actually saw the movie, and the writing of the dialogue is incredible...but then Anne Hathaway takes it to a whole new level. Unreal.
  12. The Way Way Back
    This was written by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who won an Oscar for adapting The Descendants, but honestly this is a much better movie. It's a great coming of age film with one of the most believable Awkward Teens I've ever seen in a movie. Great adult ensemble, too (Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Maya Rudolph, Allison Janney, and especially Sam Rockwell at his most charismatic and scene stealing)
  13. Young Adult
    I think the thing I love most about this movie is that it's got an ACTUAL unlikable female character who doesn't even learn anything over the course of the film. I (controversially) hate the movie Juno, but this brought me back to Diablo Cody.
  14. Unexpected
    Sweetly earnest little movie I spontaneously watched one night on Netflix and thoroughly enjoyed. Great performances from the leads, felt very slice of life.
  15. Life Partners
    Easy and enjoyable watch, uncomfortably relatable regarding best friendships and how the way they change is inevitable and unfair all at once. I think about that "nothing changed for you, it only changed for me" scene CONSTANTLY.
  16. Hateship Loveship
    This movie was adapted from a short story, and I think sometimes the smallness of the story shows as a slight weakness...but fuck, Kristen Wiig completely disappears into this performance, and it's so quiet and aching in a really specific way. Which brings us to....
  17. The Skeleton Twins
    Putting it last because I don't know if it's really underrated (especially on the Internet) but it's one of my favorite indies ever, and completely rips my guts out. This list makes it very obvious I love Wiig in Indie Movie mode...I also want more of that from Hader. All the bonus points in the world if they do another movie together.