The 50 Best European Movies To Come Out Recently

The 50 Best European Movies To Come Out Recently

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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.

40. Official Secrets (2019)

best

8.0

Country

China, Switzerland, UK

Director

Gavin Hood

Actors

Adam Bakri, Andrew Marr, Angus Wright, Brett Allen

Moods

Instructive, Suspenseful, True-story-based

Keira Knightley stars in this incredible true story of an Iraq War whistleblower who remains relatively little-known in the U.S. Katharine Gun was working for the communications office for the British government when she received a memo in the months leading to the war that showed that the U.S. requested illegal wiretapping assistance from the U.K. on U.N. diplomats. In a heroic act, she chooses to share this memo, hoping that it would stop her government (then led by Tony Blair) from going to war. Spoiler alert: didn’t happen, but this decision, which first seemed like a personal sacrifice, has severe implications on her family as the government finds out that she was behind the leak. A compelling political mystery of a case that deserves much more attention than it once got.

39. The Young Offenders (2016)

8.0

Country

Ireland, United Kingdom

Director

Peter Foott

Actors

Alex Murphy, Chris Walley, Ciaran Bermingham, Dominic MacHale

Moods

Funny, No-brainer, Quirky

The Young Offenders is a comedy about two Irish teenagers who go on a 160km bicycle trip to salvage 7 million euros worth of lost cocaine. As they sit on a hill overlooking their city, they imagine what they would do with that money. The answer is building a house that has lava lamps, “big gold walls”, Spanish girls, and an English butler to wake them up every morning with the phrase “what’s happenin’?”. You get the vibe. It’s is a silly movie, although the premise is actually based on a real-life event where cocaine from a capsized smuggling boat washed up on the Irish coast. The Young Offenders wears its heart on its sleeve. It’s a sweet funny movie, half slapstick and half plot, which sports an infinity of highly quotable one-liners.

38. Handsome Devil (2016)

best

8.0

Country

Ireland

Director

John Butler

Actors

Amy Huberman, Andrew Scott, Ardal O'Hanlon, Ardal O'Hanlon

Moods

Easy, Feel-Good, Slice-of-Life

I can’t get a song out of my head from this movie: the 1985 UK hit Desire As from Prefab Sprout.

It plays when the two main characters, a sensitive kid who’s bullied by his school for not liking rugby, and the school’s rugby star; talk over the “Berlin Wall” that separates their dorm room.

The song echoes “It’s perfect as it stands, so why then crush it in your perfect hands?”. These two seemingly incompatible personalities form a friendship that comes under threat from their school’s traditional authority, especially as one of them is revealed to be gay. 

It might seem like a tough premise, but Handsome Devil is actually a comedy. It’s a sweet and easy coming-of-age comedy.

37. Borg vs. McEnroe (2017)

best

8.0

Country

Denmark, Finland, Sweden

Director

Janus Metz, Janus Metz Pedersen

Actors

Anders Berg, Bjorn Granath, Bob Boudreaux, Colin Stinton

Moods

Inspiring, True-story-based, Uplifting

Shia Laboeuf and Stellan Skarsgård star in this true story about one of the greatest tennis matches in history: the 1980 Wimbledon final. The movie dissects what drives both competitors (one played by Laboeuf and the other by Sverrir Gudnason). Their personalities, considered opposites, are studied through their paths and how they got into tennis. All this leads to that one match, in this beautiful story of dealing with competition and fear of failure. Don’t stop watching when the credits roll, read what they say!

36. Burn Burn Burn (2015)

best

8.0

Country

UK, United Kingdom

Director

Chanya Button, Female director

Actors

Alice Lowe, Alison Steadman, Chloe Pirrie, Eleanor Matsuura

Moods

Funny, Grown-up Comedy, Touching

A razor-sharp script and beautiful scenery make this one of the best road movies in recent memory.

When their cynical best friend dies, Seph and Alex embark on a journey to scatter his ashes over four spots he wants to go back to. Tupperware of ashes in the glove-box, they start their big adventure.

Burn Burn Burn, an expression their friend quotes from Kerouac, is a chance for the two friends to escape their hectic city life and to discover themselves. It’s a beautiful movie.

35. Contratiempo (2016)

best

8.0

Country

Spain

Director

Oriol Paulo

Actors

Ana Wagener, Annick Weerts, Barbara Lennie, Betsy Túrnez

Moods

Action-packed, Suspenseful, Thrilling

This movie is like thriller-candy. It is full of twists, it is very atmospheric, and in nicely predictable fashion it will deliver that excitement rush we (most of us) love. Accused of murder, a wealthy entrepreneur hires the best witness preparation expert he can find. They have three hours before the trial to come up with the most solid, plausible defence. But ?, a new witness surfaces. Don’t expect anything overly original, but expect to be entertained.

34. King of Devil’s Island (2011)

best

8.0

Country

France, Norway, Poland

Director

Marius Holst

Actors

Benjamin Helstad, Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Frank-Thomas Andersen, Kimmo Rajala

Moods

Action-packed, Dark, True-story-based

This gorgeous Scandinavian movie is based on a true story and stars the ever-reliable Stellan Skarsgard.

He plays the governor of a strict youth correctional facility in Norway in 1915. The arrival of a feared kid kickstarts events that are very famous in Norway but little-known elsewhere: an uprising within the facility that will eventually require the army to get involved. A strong movie with stellar (Stellan) performances.

33. Another Year (2010)

best

8.0

Country

UK, United Kingdom

Director

Mike Leigh

Actors

Badi Uzzaman, Ben Roberts, David Bradley, Edna Doré

Moods

Feel-Good, Heart-warming, Romantic

This is a very nice movie about a lovely older couple named Tom and Gerri. It follows their lives for an entire year, as they work at their jobs, invite friends over for dinner, and work in their garden. They live modest but fulfilling lives, and they seem mostly happy and very much in love, a rarity in the movies. This probably sounds horribly boring to most people, but since Mike Leigh is the director, the film is instead a touching and realistic portrayal of love and how people spend their time together. We should all be so lucky as to live a life as charmed as the central couple in this film.

32. Like Crazy (2011)

best

8.0

Country

UK, United States of America

Director

Drake Doremus

Actors

Alex Kingston, Amanda Carlin, Anton Yelchin, Ben York Jones

Moods

Depressing, Dramatic, Raw

See, low budget films do work! Like Crazy schools other romantic films on what they should all be: cute and sweet but also frustrating and nerve-wracking. Felicity Jones is absolutely fantastic here, she stars as a British girl who falls in love with an American, Jacob, while in college. On a whim, she overstays her visa to be with him, and then return to England to face the consequences. The intimacy this film explores really distinguishes it from others and makes for an authentic experience, as it is based on its writer/director’s own 8-year long-distance relationship. A great option if you’re in the mood for the type of suspense that pulls at your heartstrings.

 

31. Broken (2013)

best

8.0

Country

UK, United Kingdom

Director

Rufus Norris

Actors

Alicia Woodhouse, Bill Milner, Charlie Booty, Cillian Murphy

Moods

Character-driven, Thrilling, Warm

Remember the name Rufus Norris. “Broken” is his directorial debut and he handles it like a seasoned pro. Also keep an eye out in the future for its young star, Eloise Laurence, who shows all the natural ability of a young Natalie Portman or Jodie Foster. Laurence plays “Skunk”, a twelve year old trying to make sense of life – and whose task isn’t made any easier by her own family’s internal struggles, or the other families living in the peaceful-looking cul-de-sac where much of the action takes place. We’re informed from the get-go that some sort of tragedy will befall the girl, but we don’t know what shape it will take, or what the outcome of it will be. The tension builds from there, with a little relief along the way, thanks to her often-amusing performance as she witnesses the confusing actions of her elders. Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy are also in good form, both of whom seem happy to complement Laurence’s presence rather than try to upstage her. “Broken” is equal parts cute, frightening, and brutally tense. It’s well worth checking out.

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