The 40 Best Movies on Kanopy Right Now

Kanopy is a platform that allows you to stream movies for free with your library card or university login. It’s just like making a trip to the library to borrow DVDs, except without the trip or the DVD part – just the watching.

Kanopy, like your library, is full of classics. That’s a great thing if you’re into older movies, but if you’re looking for quality recent titles you have a lot of digging to do. The goal of this list is to gather the excellent recent movies available on Kanopy in one place. 40 of them.

All of these movies, like everything else on agoodmovietowatch, are highly-rated by viewers and acclaimed by critics.

Copenhagen (2014)

Though it starts off somewhat slow, I was delightfully surprised at how much I loved this movie. A 28-year-old man ventures through Europe with a buddy, ending in Copenhagen, where he hopes to contact the last of his family. There he enlists a local girl to help him. An interesting relationship unfolds as they take a captivating journey through Copenhagen in search of William’s grandfather. The tag line of the movie is “When the girl of your dreams is half your age, it’s time to grow up” and William really does have to grow up when he’s faced with his own personal tumult.
The girl is played by Frederikke Dahl Hansen, who gives an exceptional natural performance, which adds even more to the abundance of charm in this film.

Genre: Drama, Romance
Actor: Baard Owe, Christian Brandt, Frederikke Dahl Hansen, Gethin Anthony, Martin Hestbæk, Mille Dinesen, Olivia Grant, Sebastian Armesto, Tamzin Merchant
Director: Mark Raso
Rating: Not Rated, Unrated
I Capture the Castle (2003)

Set in the 1930’s English Countryside, the story of the eccentric Mortmain family is told from the daughter Cassandra’s point of view. Her father, a once acclaimed and famous writer has written nothing in years, leading the family into bankruptcy. Themes such as first love and financial troubles are explored from Cassandra’s comic and intelligent point of view. A classic and a must-see.

Genre: Drama, Romance
Actor: Bill Nighy, David Bamber, Helena Little, Henry Cavill, Henry Thomas, James Faulkner, Marc Blucas, Romola Garai, Rose Byrne, Sarah Woodward, Sinead Cusack, Tara Fitzgerald
Director: Tim Fywell
Rating: R
Ida (2013)

Ida, the 2015 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, is a stark black & white drama set in the early 60’s about a young Polish nun-to-be and her bawdy Aunt Wanda searching for the truth behind her family’s demise at the hands of the Nazis. What initially comes off as a painfully slow sleep-inducer pretty quickly evolves into a touching and lively contrast between the two lead characters; one virtuous and pure, the other boorish and hedonistic. Their journey is equal parts amusing, insightful and heartbreaking, with Ida’s personal exploration of self playing out as a remarkably humanistic affair. The cinematography by Lukasz Za and Ryszard Lenczewski is particularly striking, each shot a work of art in it’s own right. Logging in at just 82 minutes, the entire story whizzes by in a flash. The kind of film that will stay with you long after you’ve watched it.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Adam Szyszkowski, Agata Kulesza, Agata Trzebuchowska, Dawid Ogrodnik, Dorota Kuduk, Halina Skoczynska, Jerzy Trela, Joanna Kulig
Director: Paweł Pawlikowski
Rating: PG-13
Grass (2019)

If you like movies without plot, you’ll love Korean master Hong Sang-soo’s work in Grass. Sang-soo likes to write the script for his characters and not the other way around: he hires actors, then writes a script that would fit them every morning of the shoot.

The result is a personal movie that feels improvised and experimental, despite being quite simple: it’s about a small café and a woman who observes the interactions of the guests.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Ahn Jae-hong, B-Real, Damian Marley, Gi Ju-bong, Jung Jin-young, Kim Min-hee, Kim Myeong-su, Kim Sae-byuk, Lee Yoo-young, Seo Young-hua, Seo Young-hwa, Snoop Dogg, Steven Hager
Director: Fab 5 Freddy, Hong Sang-soo
Rating: N/A
The Story of Luke (2013)

This original comedy-drama is about a young man on the autism spectrum called Luke. Propelled by a scandalous grandpa with no filters, Luke decides that what he needs in his life is to lose his virginity.

His dysfunctional family setting, which includes a mother who left him and a neurotic step-mother, makes his search more difficult but more also pressing. Luke decides he first has to get a job, and with a world that doesn’t expect much from him, his unbreakable determination is a joy to watch.

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Jayne Eastwood, Lou Taylor Pucci, Pam Hyatt
Director: Alonso Mayo
Rating: Not Rated
I Dream in Another Language (2017)

An indigenous language is dying, and the last two people who speak it have not spoken to each other in 50 years. In this calm drama from Mexico, linguists are sent to try to get them to talk so they can document the language. 

The story goes that two men have stopped talking because they fell in love with the same woman, so there is a romance wrapped neatly within the linguistic story. What truly steals the show, however, is the breathtaking nature in which it’s all set – the stunning region of Chiapas.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Eligio Meléndez, Fernando Álvarez Rebeil, José Manuel Poncelis
Director: Ernesto Contreras
Rating: Unrated
Girlhood

An electrifying portrayal of a girl growing up in a poor Paris suburb. This coming-of-age story follows Marieme, a girl struggling in high-school who learns that she will be rerouted out of academia and onto a track where she will learn a trade. Frustrated by the news and fearful of an abusive elder brother, she finds solace in a gang of girls from her neighborhood. Initially she decides against joining them but does so at the prospect of pursuing a crush. Her new friends take her into the center of Paris and to a more violent and crime-driven lifestyle. An undeniably grim movie, Girlhood compensates with an amazing character study – themes of identity and adolescent need for belonging are at the center of a type of a story that rarely ever gets any attention.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Assa Sylla, Cyril Mendy, Djibril Gueye, Idrissa Diabaté, Karidja Touré, Lindsay Karamoh, Marietou Toure, Simina Soumaré
Director: Céline Sciamma
Rating: Unrated
Bronson (2009)

From the director of Drive comes Bronson, the true story of a man who was sentenced to seven years in prison but ends up spending three decades in solitary confinement. Tom Hardy is phenomenal in this dark comedy. His character is so likable and you quickly feel sorry for what he is going through. No one can help him no matter how much he asks for it. Bronson has class, great acting, hilarious comedy, and a true story backing it up. There is nothing not to love about this film.

Genre: Drama
Actor: Kelly Adams, Luing Andrews, Tom Hardy
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Rating: R
We Are the Best! (2013)

We Are the Best! is one movie that may be overlooked largely by viewers, though it perfectly captures counterculture, and relates to the misfit young and old. The movie is an adaptation of Moodysson’s wife Coco’s graphic novel “Never Goodnight”. Set in Stockholm, Sweden in 1982, Klara (Mira Grosin) and her best friend Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) are junior high teenage girls who believe in their heart that punk rock is alive and well. With both of their home lives not so pleasant, the girls spend their time at the local youth center while taking up the time slot in the band room to get revenge on the local metal band. That’s when they find themselves starting a punk band without even knowing how to play an instrument. We Are the Best! is a fun and deeply sincere exploration of adventure, friendship, love, and betrayal in adolescence.

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Johan Liljemark, Lena Carlsson, Liv LeMoyne, Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin
Director: Lukas Moodysson
Rating: Not Rated

This Danish movie is about a failed 38-year-old bodybuilder who lives with his mom and has never left Denmark. In an expected move, and while telling his mom he’s going to Germany, he travels to Thailand in hopes of finding love.

It might at first seem like a disastrous storyline (of sex tourism), but that part of the movie is almost accidental. Teddy Bear is actually a sweet and likable story of a man who wants to break away from his domineering mother, and a journey of someone who starts growing up later in life.

Genre: Drama, Romance
Actor: Elsebeth Steentoft, Kim Kold, Lamaiporn Sangmanee Hougaard
Director: Mads Matthiesen
Rating: Not Rated

A quick recap

Split by genre of this selection on agoodmovietowatch.com
Comedy
14
Drama
88
Documentary
Romance
4
Average score
81.5%
from our staff
Average score
81.4%
from our users
There are
49
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