The 50 Best European Movies To Come Out Recently

Updated January 2, 2022 • Staff

You can’t talk about cinema without talking about its place of origin: Europe. Throughout the twentieth century, even as wars raged across the continent, Europe was crowned The Other Hollywood, and it’s easy to see why. From German expressionism, with masterpieces like Metropolis (1927), through to Italian Neo-realism and the New Wave of the swinging sixties, the continent turned out some of the world’s most diverse and influential film movements.

While cash-cow Hollywood blockbusters have come to define the eras that followed, contemporary European productions remain a driving force of cinematic innovation in spite of their comparatively modest budgets. To bring this point home, we present 50 of the best European movies to come out in the past ten years.

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50.

Girl (2019)

Girl won four awards at the Cannes Film Festival last year and was nominated to 9 Magritte Awards. It was also Belgium’s entry to the Oscar for best foreign-language film. When a dance school accepts her, Lara has the opportunity to realize her dream and become a professional ballerina. The dancing takes a toll on her body, but her biggest obstacle is that she was born into the body of a boy. Girl illustrates the trans teenage experience with sensitivity, slowly and humanly making Lara’s anguish become the viewer’s. Based on a true story.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Alice de Broqueville, Angelo Tijssens, Arieh Worthalter, Chris Thys, Els Olaerts, Katelijne Damen, Lukas Dhont, Magali Elali, Nele Hardiman, Oliver Bodart, Steve Driesen, Tijmen Govaerts, Valentijn Dhaenens, Victor Polster
Director: Chad Faust, Lukas Dhont
Rating: N/A, R
49.

Tomorrow (2015)

When filmmaker and actress Mélanie Laurent (Breathe, Inglorious Basterds) was pregnant with her son, she learned about a study that predicted that climate change would cause human civilization to crumble by 2050. Like many soon-to-be parents, she worried about what it means to bring a child to a world where that’s a scientific forecast.

Instead of despairing, she chose to make this movie about solutions. She traveled the world with an activist friend documenting how human ingenuity is getting in the way of the situation worsening. The documentary goes to 10 countries to investigate solutions on five levels: agriculture (food), energy, economy, education, and democracy.

Genre: Documentary
Actor: Angela Merkel, Anthony Barnosky, Barack Obama, Cyril Dion, Mélanie Laurent, Olivier De Schutter
Director: Cyril Dion, Mélanie Laurent
Rating: G
48.

Sami Blood

This coming-of-age story starts in the present time, where Elle Marja, now a grandmother, reluctantly goes to her sister's funeral held by her old indigenous Sámi community in Northern Sweden. Understanding her reluctance requires going back to when Elle Marja was 14 and was preparing to go to boarding school with her little sister. These schools were racist establishments meant to integrate the Sámi children into Swedish culture and language, while at the same time limiting their prospects of seeking further education. Elle Marja and her sister chose to respond to this discrimination in two completely different ways that this movie explores without judgment. The central performance of the young girl is incredible.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Ánne Biret Somby, Maj-Doris Rimpi, Olle Sarri
Director: Amanda Kernell
47.

Two Days, One Night (2014)

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.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Alain Eloy, Batiste Sornin, Catherine Salée, Christelle Cornil, Fabrizio Rongione, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Marinne, Myriem Akeddiou, Olivier Gourmet, Pili Groyne, Simon Caudry, Yohan Zimmer
Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
Rating: PG-13
46.

Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)

The film for which Kristen Stewart became the first American actress to win the César Award. The Twilight star turned indie prodigy plays next to another award favorite, Juliette Binoche, as her assistant. When rehearsing for the play that launched her career many years earlier, Binoche's character, Maria, blurs the line between fiction and reality, her old age and her assistant's young demeanor, and the romance story portrayed in the play and her own life. The movie itself is stylized as a play, adding another interesting layer of artistic creativity to the complex plot line. A film for film lovers.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Aljoscha Stadelmann, Angela Winkler, Brady Corbet, Chloë Grace Moretz, Claire Tran, Hanns Zischler, Johnny Flynn, Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Nora von Waldstätten, Nora Waldstätten, Steffen Mennekes
Director: Olivier Assayas
Rating: R
45.

On My Skin (2018)

This Netflix production is based on a case that rocked public opinion in Italy. Stefano Cucchi was arrested for a minor drug charge and died five days later from police brutality. The movie takes its time to expose what Cucchi went through, which might lead some viewers to find On My Skin slow, and rightfully so. Thinking about the issues at hand here, it’s easy to understand why the director made that choice. In fact, Italians’ complex relationship with the Carabinieri, a division of the Italian army that carries out domestic policing, is delicate to explain and requires meticulous unveiling. Nominated to nine David di Donatello Awards (the equivalent of the Academy Awards in Italy), of which it won three.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Alessandro Borghi, Alessio De Persio, Dora Romano, Elodie Treccani, Federico Tocci, Gaetano Aronica, Italo Amerighi, Jasmine Trinca, Massimiliano Tortora, Mauro Conte, Max Tortora, Milvia Marigliano, Paolo D Bovani, Rodolfo Bigotti, Walter Nestola
Director: Alessio Cremonini
Rating: TV-MA
44.

Frank (2014)

A really weird and also heartwarming movie about Frank, the leader and singer/songwriter of a crazy band. He really grows on you with his big head. If you like movies with that funky edge (like Scott Pilgrim) this is especially something for you! Either way and regardless of your preferences, you'll find Frank to be a sweet, sincere, likable and clever comedy.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery
Actor: Alex Knight, Bruce McIntosh, Carla Azar, Chris McHallem, Domhnall Gleeson, François Civil, François Civil, Katie Anne Mitchell, Kevin Wiggins, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mark Huberman, Matthew Page, Michael Fassbender, Moira Brooker, Morse Bicknell, Paul Butterworth, Phil Kingston, Scoot McNairy, Tess Harper, Travis Hammer
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Rating: R
43.

Trollhunter (2010)

Filmed as a “found footage” of a Norwegian college film crew investigating local poachers, this movie really surprised me. To be fair, I didn’t really know what to expect. But I definitely didn’t expect to like this movie as much as I did. The pacing is on point. The suspense hits you at just the right times. There are a few drops of humour trickled throughout to keep a smile on your face. And that’s how my face stayed when the credits rolled.

Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Actor: André Øvredal, Anton Yelchin, Eirik Bech, Glenn Erland Tosterud, Hans Morten Hansen, Inge Erik Henjesand, Johanna Mørck, Johanna Mørck, Kelsey Grammer, Knut Nærum, Lexi Medrano, Otto Jespersen, Robert Stoltenberg, Tomas Alf Larsen, Torunn Lødemel Stokkeland, Urmila Berg-Domaas
Director: André Øvredal, André Øvredal
Rating: PG-13
42.

My Name Is Emily (2017)

Emily (Evanna Lynch), a strange, unique girl does not receive the long awaited letter from her father on her birthday. Sick of worrying, she decides to break away from home to visit him in the psychiatric institution where he stays. The plan requires the help of Arden (George Webster), a boy from school who is ready to drop everything and accompany her on a journey that quickly becomes as adventurous as it is heartfelt. In this film, director Simon Fitzmaurice take will take you on a trip through the beautiful Irish landscape to find nothing else but simple and true love.

Genre: Drama, Romance
Actor: Barry McGovern, Cathy Belton, Declan Conlon, Deirdre Mullins, Evanna Lynch, George Webster, Martin McCann, Michael Smiley, Stella McCusker
Director: Simon Fitzmaurice
Rating: Not Rated
41.

And Breathe Normally (2018)

Iceland is a country of vast lands but limited population - only about 300,000 people can call themselves Icelandic. On the other hand, 8 million people have connecting flights through Iceland every year. 

In this setting of mass movement, a single mother dealing with poverty is offered a chance to turn things around - a job as a border agent. One of her first days, she comes across an asylum seeker on a connecting flight from Guinea Bissau to Canada, trying to cross with a fake passport. 

Their stories don’t only intertwine as border agent and asylum seeker, but as two mothers. And Breathe Normally is about struggling with poverty both in Europe and coming from a place like Guinea Bissau. It’s a beautiful, plot-heavy statement on the importance of solidarity and of seeing the human behind the country of origin or race. 

Genre: Drama
Actor: Ísold Uggadóttir, Babetida Sadjo, Bragi Arnason, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, Patrik Nökkvi Pétursson, Patrik Nökkvi Pétursson, Sveinn Geirsson, Þorsteinn Bachmann
Director: Isold Uggadottir
Rating: TV-14

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