30 Best Anti-Capitalist Movies to Watch

30 Best Anti-Capitalist Movies to Watch

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The anti-capitalist movement has been swelling in recent years, especially as more workers realize their worth in an economy that continually denies it to them. The sentiment is so strong now that it’s manifested itself in mainstream media—a phenomenon that arguably reached its peak with the knockout win of Parasite in the 2020 Academy Awards. 

There’s been an outpouring of sharp class-conscious content since then, and we’ve gathered the greatest of them in this list. Some are bleak, some are funny, but all are rousing in their social commentaries. Read on to see the best anti-capitalist movies you can watch right now online. 

30. Office Space (1999)

7.3

Country

United States of America

Director

Mike Judge

Actors

Ajay Naidu, Alexandra Wentworth, Charissa Allen, David Herman

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Grown-up Comedy, Quirky

Before “burnout,” “bullshit jobs,” and “quiet quitting” became part of our everyday lexicon, there was a film in the ‘90s that prophesied the rise of these workplace problems. Office Space follows three co-workers who, having had enough of their dreary low-paying jobs, fight back against their company via an embezzlement scheme. 

Office Space makes the most out of its indie budget as it mostly takes place in the cramped quarters of a company, effectively bottling us into the cubicled windowless world of the characters. But the real beauty of the film is in the details, from its quick zingers and thoughtful takes on the essence of work down to its elaborate “planning to plan” scheme in the background and the employees’ forced politeness singing happy birthday to their boss. Modern viewers will notice that Office Space sits right in between the dystopian thriller Severance and the beloved sitcom The Office—a dark comedy that highlights the necessity of humanity in everyday work. 

29. Microhabitat (2017)

7.4

Country

South Korea

Director

Female director, Jeon Go-woon

Actors

Ahn Jae-hong, Cho Soo-hyang, Choi Deok-moon, Esom

Moods

Character-driven, Depressing, Dramatic

Miso may be living day to day on her meager earnings as a cleaner, but she is decidedly content. She insists that all she needs to get by are cigarettes, whiskey, and time with her boyfriend, so when a spike in rent and prices invites her to reassess her priorities, she doesn’t budge. Instead of forgoing these luxuries, she gives up her tiny place and couch surfs with her old bandmates. What follows is a reunion of sorts, where darkly humorous epiphanies are had on both ends about adulthood, responsibilities, and what it really means to be happy in an increasingly indifferent, profit-oriented world.  

Microhabitat treads on very grave themes, and the images it conjures can be unsettling. But it is also surprisingly light on its feet, displaying sharp satire and sweet empathy for its unyielding protagonist. Miso is portrayed with a smartness and softness that evades rational judgment, and this endearment makes the story, especially the ending, all the more painfulul, poignant, and impactful.

28. Bacurau (2019)

7.4

Country

Brazil, Brazil France, France

Director

Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho

Actors

Alli Willow, Antonio Saboia, Bárbara Colen, Buda Lira

Moods

Dark, Mind-blowing, Weird

This incredibly creative and unique movie is set in a fictional small town in the Brazilian Backcountry. It has a realistic first half but things quickly get crazy.

Even in that realistic half, you can clearly tell that something is off about the town of Bacurau. An accident involving a truck carrying coffins turns into an impromptu coffin shop. A dam was built to divert water from people. The village doctor seems to be the least sane person in the village. It’s all wrong.

Bacurau is funny, it’s politically charged, it’s thrilling, and it’s sweet, all at once. It’s that one in a thousand weird movies that actually works, and will inevitably become a classic.

27. The Selfish Giant (2013)

7.5

Country

UK, United Kingdom

Director

Clio Barnard, Female director

Actors

Conner Chapman, Elliott Tittensor, Ian Burfield, Lorraine Ashbourne

Moods

Dark, Depressing, Touching

A Ken Loach type of vibe drives The Selfish Giant  to be an interesting mix between anger,  desperation, and the beauty and humor often found in tough circumstances (think I, Daniel Blake but with kids as main characters). This sort of contemporary fable tells the story of two friends who skip school and hustle for work from a local scrap-dealer.  As they get more and more involved with him and his entourage, the grim realities of what once seemed a way out start to cast a shadow over their lives. The script is based on a short story by Oscar Wilde, it’s a beautiful, ultimately sad portrayal of the British underclass.

26. Caché (2005)

7.5

Country

Austria, France, Germany

Director

Michael Haneke

Actors

Aissa Maiga, Annie Girardot, Bernard Le Coq, Caroline Baehr

Moods

Intense, Suspenseful, Thrilling

Beginning with a great opening shot of townhouse on a side street in Paris, only ti discovers that the shot is actually from a video sent to Anne and Georges Laurent (Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil). The married couple who live in that house have no idea who sent the video. More videos appear and events unfold. I can’t say much more about this film without ruining it, it’s definitely one of those films better enjoyed if you go into it not knowing a lot. Directed by Michael Haneke who won the Cannes Best Director Award for it.

25. First Cow (2020)

7.7

Country

United States of America

Director

Female director, Kelly Reichardt

Actors

Alia Shawkat, Dylan Smith, Eric Martin Reid, Ewen Bremner

Moods

Heart-warming, Quirky, Slow

Two misfits, an immigrant and a traveling cook, team up to start an unlikely enterprise in this slow but captivating drama. The story, set in 19th century Pacific Northwest, evolves around the arrival of the first cow to that part of the world. This presents a unique opportunity that the two main characters try to benefit from. 

First Cow is a mix between a Western and a modern-day plot-less indie drama.  It has likable characters, stunning scenery, and a fascinating look into how social outcasts lived back then.

24. Two Days, One Night (2014)

7.7

Country

Belgium, France, Italy

Director

Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Actors

Alain Eloy, Baptiste Sornin, Batiste Sornin, Catherine Salée

Moods

Character-driven, Original, Touching

This movie originally caught my eye for all the attention it got at the Cannes festival, but I assure you, all of the hype is more than warranted. Two Days, One Night takes you on an emotional journey with Sandra, recovering from depression and ready to get back to work, when she discovers that her co-workers, having to choose between receiving a bonus and Sandra keeping her job, hold her fate in their hands. And thus, barely convinced herself and with her husband as her only support, she sets out on an unlikely mission to convince the people to vote against the bonus so that she still has a salary.

This movie will strike a chord for anyone who has encountered depression or even simply tried to understand the abstract concept that it is. Marion Cotillard flawlessly portrays through Sandra the desperate struggle of having to put up a fight despite the utter hopelessness that she finds herself drowning in. At strife with herself, watching her try even though every cell in her body has given up, is gut-wrenching and awe-inspiring at the same time. Before long Sandra’s fight on the lay-off and on her own hopelessness seem to blur together. Whether she wins, is what keeps you hooked to the very end.

23. Under the Shadow (2016)

7.8

Country

Iran, Jordan, Qatar

Director

Babak Anvari

Actors

Arash Marandi, Avin Manshadi, Babak Anvari, Behi Djanati Atai

Moods

Intense, Suspenseful

Horror movies have always been creepier to me when they play on our fear of the “unknown” rather than gore. Under The Shadow does exactly that. The story is based around the relationship of a woman, Shideh, and her daughter, Dorsa, under the backdrop of the Iran-Iraq war. As widespread bombings shake the ground beneath their feet, the two grapple with a more insidious evil that is faceless and traceless, coming and going only with the wind. The movie’s dread-effect plays strongly on feelings of isolation and helplessness. The scares are slow and it’s obvious the director takes great care in making every single second count and in raising the unpredictableness of the action. Like the bombs, the audience never knows when or how the next apparition will materialize. The former is always on the edge of fear, wondering what is no doubt there, but is yet to be shown on the frame. In terms of significance, Under The Shadow features too many symbolisms to count and will most likely resonate with each person differently. But one thing remains relatively unarguable: this is a wonderful movie.

22. Nobody Knows (Dare Mo Shiranai) (2004)

7.8

Country

Japan

Director

Hirokazu Kore-eda, Hirokazu Koreeda

Actors

Ayu Kitaura, Hanae Kan, Hiei Kimura, Kazuyoshi Kushida

Moods

Slow, Tear-jerker, Touching

A very touching film about Japanese children who are abandoned by their mother in their apartment and left on their own. It’s movie that perfectly encapsulates the world of kids and its alignment with this story is both heartbreaking and joyful. Their innocence will make you smile from ear to ear until moments come where you will shed tears. This is a film everyone should have watched, it breaks my heart how little-known it is.

21. High Hopes (1988)

7.9

Country

United Kingdom

Director

Mike Leigh

Actors

David Bamber, Edna Doré, Heather Tobias, Jason Watkins

Moods

Dramatic, Slice-of-Life, Sunday

Mike Leigh’s films have always touched on class politics, but seldom as directly as in this lowkey portrait of Thatcher-era London. Cyril and Shirley are a sweet working-class couple at a crossroads in their relationship. Their lifestyle is contrasted with Cyril’s sister and her husband who exist in a more comfortable middle-class setting, and then paralleled again with an upper-class couple living next door from Cyril’s mother. 

Even at this early stage of his career Leigh gracefully entwines these stories to create a moving and coherent narrative. ‘High Hopes’ as a title might be largely sarcastic, but the film is full-hearted and occasionally even optimistic as it strides its snarky way through the grim facades of 80s London.

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