10 Best Neon Movies to Watch Right Now

Updated November 24, 2022 • Staff

Production studio and distributor Neon is currently on a roll. Founded in 2017, it's the name behind international and award-winning hits such as Parasite, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, The Worst Person in the World, and more recently, Triangle of Sadness. Thanks to its smart and risqué attitude toward cinema, Neon has quickly risen the ranks to become a direct competitor to A24, the studio that blazed a trail for indies in our Marvel-dominated era and gained a cult-like following as a result of its efforts. Given that Neon is set to follow the same path (or perhaps go even further), we thought of gathering the best Neon films you can watch right now. See for yourself what this "filmmakers' haven," as actress Jessica Chastain calls the studio, has in store for you.

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10.

Gunda (2020)

Gunda offers an empathetic look at the lives of farm animals with its minimalist approach to the nature doc. Director Victor Kossakosvsky films without a sentimental score or voice-over narration, and shoots in a sparse yet striking black and white. This decision gives the film an intimacy often missing from more traditional modes. 

We watch a sow named Gunda, her piglets, and a few other animals through their daily routines. Long natural sequences allow the viewer to sink into the zen of the animals’ natural rhythms. The result is an astounding and bittersweet film that hints at the brutalities of factory farming without ever stepping foot in a slaughterhouse.

Our staff rating: 7.6/10
Genre: Documentary, Drama
Director: Viktor Kossakovsky

Free Watching Options:

Watch Gunda (2020) on Hulu for free
9.

Three Identical Strangers (2018)

This is a documentary with a dark underbelly. When Bobby Shafran goes on his first day at college, everyone seems to recognize him. The person they're actually recognizing is his twin brother, as the two were separated at birth by an adoption agency. A third brother surfaces to make the story even crazier, but things take a darker turn when questions arise about why they were separated as toddlers and to what end. If it wasn't a documentary, this story would be an unusual science fiction on the themes of identity and nature vs. nurture.

Our staff rating: 7.7/10
Genre: Documentary
Actor: David Kellman, Ellen Cervone, Howard Schneider, Lawrence Wright, Michael Domnitz, Robert Shafran, Tim Wardle
Director: Tim Wardle
Rating: PG-13

Free Watching Options:

Watch Three Identical Strangers (2018) on Hulu for free
8.

The Painter and the Thief (2020)

The Painter and the Thief opens with a great hook: an artist tracks down and confronts the man who stole her painting. In a surprising turn, the two become close and develop an intimacy that deepens when she begins to paint the troubled man.

Yet, director Benjamin Ree pushes past where other documentarians would have been content to stop, and instead begins to deconstruct the very narrative we’ve followed up till now. At its core, this is a film about the way we tell stories about ourselves and others, and how often people don’t fit into the neat categories we set out for them.

Our staff rating: 7.8/10
Genre: Documentary, Drama
Actor: Karl-Bertil Nordland
Director: Benjamin Ree

Free Watching Options:

Watch The Painter and the Thief (2020) on Hulu for free
7.

Palm Springs (2020)

Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti (Modern Love, Black Mirror), and J.K. Simmons star in this easy but original rom-com that takes place in a wedding time loop. Nyles (Samberg) finds himself living the same day over and over again, so he gives in to the monotony and the fact that there is no way to escape it. 

When he is about to hook up with one of the guests, Sarah (Milioti), he is attacked by a mysterious character. The routine of his time-loop is broken. 

Palm Springs is often surreal and philosophical, which are not adjectives usually used to describe rom-coms. It offers just enough twists to be original without jeopardizing the things that make it a good rom-com.

Our staff rating: 7.9/10
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction
Actor: Andy Samberg, Brian Duffy, Camila Mendes, Chris Pang, Conner O'Malley, Cristin Milioti, Dale Dickey, David Hutchison, Erin Flannery, J.K. Simmons, Jacqueline Obradors, Jena Friedman, June Squibb, Lilli Birdsell, Mark Kubr, Meredith Hagner, Michelle Johnston, Peter Gallagher, Rocky Bonifield, Tongayi Chirisa, Tyler Hoechlin
Director: Max Barbakow
Rating: R

Free Watching Options:

Watch Palm Springs (2020) on Hulu for free
6.

Borg vs. McEnroe (2017)

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!

Our staff rating: 8/10
Genre: Drama, History
Actor: Anders Berg, Bjorn Granath, Bob Boudreaux, Colin Stinton, Dag Malmberg, David Bamber, Ian Blackman, Iva Šindelková, Jackson Gann, James Sobol Kelly, Jane Perry, Janis Ahern, Leo Borg, Marcus Mossberg, Mats Blomgren, Robert Emms, Roy McCrerey, Scott Arthur, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård, Sverrir Gudnason, Thomas Hedengran, Tuva Novotny, Wille Glyt, Zuzana Geislerová
Director: Janus Metz, Janus Metz Pedersen
Rating: R
5.

Apollo 11 (2019)

What makes Apollo 11 stand out is its sharp minimalist approach, allowing the archival footage of the mission to the moon to speak for itself. It’s stunning to think that at one point or another we had collectively seen a bulk of the footage in this film, and yet somehow let it lay dormant until the moon landing had been reduced to black and white stills in our collective imaginations. Not only does this film reinvigorate the moon landing with the power that it once held, but it does so in a way that is more thrilling than anything the Marvel CGI wizards could muster. The vibrant score adds a layer of ferocious tension, while the breakneck pace gives the feel of a rollercoaster ride. If there is any fault to find here, it is most definitely with the film’s MAGA style yearning for a time and place that never existed. Spare us the teary-eyed patriotism and the clips of Nixon, a disgraceful criminal, and vile racist, yammering on about the world becoming one. Nevertheless, this is a fantastic example of why most biopics should just be documentaries and why the fanatical fear of spoilers is a tad silly. Spoiler alert: they land on the moon.

Our staff rating: 8/10
Genre: Documentary, History
Actor: Buzz Aldrin, Deke Slayton, Gene Kranz, Jim Lovell, John F. Kennedy, Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong, Todd Douglas Miller, Walter Cronkite
Director: Todd Douglas Miller
Rating: G

Free Watching Options:

Watch Apollo 11 (2019) on Hulu for free
4.

Monos (2019)

This crazy adventure thriller was Colombia's nomination for the 2020 Oscars. "Monos" translates to monkeys, the nom de guerre of a group of teenagers holding an American hostage in an isolated bunker. Other than the occasional visit from their supervisor, they're left to their devices, forming relationships, smoking weed, drinking, and eating psychedelic mushrooms. One day, on top of the hostage, they're also trusted with a milk cow, named Shakira. A party goes wrong and one of the Monos accidentally kills Shakira, triggering a series of events that sends them deep into the jungle, and deep into despair. 

Monos is not an action movie, it's more of a character study. It was loosely based on The Lord of the Flies.

Our staff rating: 8/10
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Thriller, War
Actor: Deibi Rueda, Jorge Román, Julián Giraldo, Julián Giraldo, Julianne Nicholson, Karen Quintero, Laura Castrillón, Moisés Arias, Moises Arias, Paul Cubides, Sneider Castro, Sofía Buenaventura, Sofia Buenaventura, Wilson Salazar
Director: Alejandro Landes
Rating: R

Free Watching Options:

Watch Monos (2019) on Hulu for free
3.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

This unique romance is set during a time when a man would be sent the painting of the woman he was to marry before the wedding could take place. Héloïse, secluded with her mother and a maid on a remote island, doesn't approve of her upcoming wedding and refuses to be painted. Her mother sends for a new painter, Marianne, to try to paint her without her noticing. Marianne has to take on this near-impossible task when she starts having feelings for Héloïse. This makes for a riveting romance where Marianne has to choose between her heart and her art while keeping a huge secret from her love interest.

Our staff rating: 8.2/10
Genre: Drama, History, Romance
Actor: Adèle Haenel, Armande Boulanger, Christel Baras, Clément Bouyssou, Guy Delamarche, Luàna Bajrami, Michèle Clément, Noémie Merlant, Valeria Golino
Director: Céline Sciamma
Rating: R

Free Watching Options:

Watch Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) on Hulu for free
2.

Flee (2021)

When Amin sits down for a tell-all interview about his troubling past, his memories come to life in vivid animation. Sometimes they are sweet and intimate, like when he recounts his time as a playful boy in a much freer Afghanistan. But often, they’re marred by the unbelievable horrors of refugee life. Now a successful academic and soon-to-be husband, Amin discovers the inescapability of his status and identity, the reality of which continues to threaten his safety to this day.

Relevant and vital, Flee sheds some much-needed light on an often-overlooked phenomenon. More than just displaying factoids and numbers, it relays the specific unease and constant vigilance that comes with fleeing one’s home. But as Amin’s story, it is also richly detailed and wonderfully personal; for all its harsh exposés, the film leaves enough room for Amin’s stirring realizations about love, identity, and sexuality.

Our staff rating: 8.5/10
Genre: Animation, Documentary
Actor: Behrouz Bigdeli, Belal Faiz, Daniel Karimyar, Fardin Mijdzadeh, Jean-Pierre Pernaut, Rashid Aitouganov, Tormod Ringnes
Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Rating: PG-13

Free Watching Options:

Watch Flee (2021) on Hulu for free
1.

The Worst Person in the World (2021)

The film opens with Julie in her early twenties, longing to pursue a career in medical school. But after briefly testing the waters, she switches over to psychology, only to drop completely out of school and transform her hobby of photography into a professional career. This indecisiveness carries over in most aspects of her life, including and especially in romance, where impulse and desire drive her to run after what she believes to be love. The movie follows Julie as she navigates adulthood in modern Oslo—at once a specific yet universally relatable story about the growing pains of growing up.

With The Worst Person in the World, Joachim Trier scores again with another life-changing Norwegian drama about longing, love, grief, and finding your place in the world. His films can be quite sad but amidst all the drama, moments of happiness and hope are scattered throughout, as it is in real life.

Our staff rating: 9.5/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Actor: Anders Danielsen Lie, Anna Dworak, Hans Olav Brenner, Herbert Nordrum, Ine Jansen, Maria Grazia Di Meo, Marianne Krogh, Renate Reinsve, Ruby Dagnall, Sofia Schandy Bloch, Thea Stabell, Vidar Sandem
Director: Joachim Trier

Free Watching Options:

Watch The Worst Person in the World (2021) on Hulu for free

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