20 Best New Movies to Rent

20 Best New Movies to Rent

April 10, 2024

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Gone are the days of browsing VHS copies on your nearest Blockbuster. Today, if you want a good watch, your best bet is to subscribe to a streaming platform or rent a movie online. The former is the more common option (and if you’re still on the lookout for the best service, we got you covered here), but the latter is preferable if your goal is to stay on top of the latest releases. Whether that’s a Hollywood hit, a festival front-runner, or the latest indie darling, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for on VOD rental platforms like Amazon, iTunes, and Vudu.

There are many to choose from for sure, but below, we list the very best new movies to rent and enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

11. Girl Picture (2022)

best

8.5

Country

Finland

Director

Alli Haapasalo, Female director

Actors

Aamu Milonoff, Amos Brotherus, Bruno Baer, Cécile Orblin

Moods

Character-driven, Emotional, Lovely

Understandably, Mimmi, Rönkkö, and Emma, the teenage girls who lead this Finnish coming-of-age drama, are bursting with emotional urgency. On the cusp of adulthood, they plunge into house parties and romantic affairs in the hope that exploring love, sex, and adventure leads them closer to being self-aware adults. 

Of course, that’s a lifelong process, but they don’t need to know that just yet. For now, they’re explosive and ecstatic and awkward and angry. They’re at a point in their lives where falling head over heels is still an endearingly fresh experience and not a frustratingly repeated mistake. 

The film is intense in this way, but it’s leavened by a beautiful naturalism that’s seen in the young cast’s performances, the setting’s soft lighting, and the camera’s boxy ratio and grainy finish, the latter of which recall a disposable camera capturing the indiscriminate moments shared between teens. Girl Picture is an intimate and authentic portrait of girlhood—see it if you can.

12. One Fine Morning (2022)

best

8.5

Country

France, Germany, United Kingdom

Director

Female director, Mia Hansen-Løve

Actors

Elsa Guedj, Fejria Deliba, Léa Seydoux, Masha Kondakova

Moods

Emotional, Raw, Tear-jerker

French director Mia Hansen-Løve is a master at gently capturing the full bittersweetness of life, and that’s no more evident than in One Fine Morning. Léa Seydoux gives a quietly powerful performance as Sandra, a mother-of-one who is grappling with the slow, devastating decline of her philosophy professor father at the hands of a neurodegenerative disease. As she deals with the crushing trauma of watching her father deteriorate — and the logistical stress of getting him the care he needs — life grants her an oasis through a chance meeting with an old acquaintance (Clément, played by Melvil Poupaud). Despite Clément being married, the two are hurled into a passionate romance, one that re-ignites something in Sandra she thought she’d lost forever.

What’s so remarkable about One Fine Morning is its gentle empathy: Hansen-Løve appreciates that, in the context of Sandra’s life, her affair with Clément is something life-affirming and vital, worthy of sensitive consideration rather than easy judgment or melodrama. What’s more, One Fine Morning extends that thoughtful attention to the other people around Sandra, with digressions that recognize the fullness and complexity of their lives, too. This is a film that overflows with compassion and curiosity for everyone in its frame, and one that has a contagiously heart-expanding effect on its audiences. 

13. Fire of Love (2022)

best

8.4

Country

Canada, United States of America

Director

Female director, Sara Dosa

Actors

Alka Balbir, Guillaume Tremblay, Katia Krafft, Maurice Krafft

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Inspiring, Lovely

Fire of Love is a documentary that follows Maurice and Katia Krafft, a scientist couple who’ve dedicated their entire professional lives to studying (and marveling at) volcanoes. The two met at university and have been inseparable ever since, chasing explosions around the world until their death at the Mount Unzen eruption in 1991. 

The fiery passion the title refers to is as much about Maurice and Katia as it is about their dedication to volcanoes. Like any love story, it tracks how they were first wonderstruck by the formation and how that awe shaped their lives and led them to each other, as well as how they came to discover hard truths about it and dealt with the heartbreak that soon followed. 

Combining the breathtaking footage the couple left behind with lovely writing and artful animation, director Sara Dosa creates a moving documentary about passion, adventure, and the world itself. 

14. Falcon Lake (2022)

best

8.4

Country

Canada, France

Director

Charlotte Le Bon, Female director

Actors

Anthony Therrien, Arthur Igual, Éléonore Loiselle, Jacob Whiteduck-Lavoie

Moods

Emotional, Raw

The gorgeous grain of Falcon Lake’s lush 16mm cinematography instantly gives it an air of nostalgia, as if the movie is an intimate reflection on a precious formative summer. That effect is confirmed over the film’s runtime: it takes place from the perspective of Bastien (Joseph Engel), a 13-year-old French boy whose family is being hosted at a Quebec lake cabin by their friend and her 16-year-old daughter Chloe (Sara Montpetit). The woodland setting could be idyllic or eerie, a duality brought explicitly to the fore by Chloe, whose interests lean towards the macabre.

It’s not long before Bastien becomes smitten with the assured older girl, and it’s their dynamic that gives Falcon Lake its profoundly captivating effect. Though the movie’s gothic undertones do give it a troubling air of tension, the way they come to the surface in its ending feels a little inharmonious to the delicate human drama that the teens have built up until then. Both actors turn in performances so extraordinarily nuanced and naturalistic that Falcon Lake doesn’t need that twist — it already stands as a deeply affecting coming-of-age portrait, one in which tenderness and betrayal are raw new pleasures and pains to be discovered.

15. Moonage Daydream (2022)

best

8.3

Country

Germany, United States of America

Director

Brett Morgen

Actors

Bing Crosby, Catherine Deneuve, Charlie Chaplin, David Bowie

Moods

Mind-blowing, Original

Forget everything you know about the music biopic. One-on-one interviews, chronological storytelling, silent moments with the subjects—Moonage Daydream isn’t that kind of movie. Just as David Bowie isn’t your typical pop star, this documentary about him, directed by Brett Morgen, forgoes the usual beats for something extraordinary and fun.

Moonage Daydream is a concert, a light show, and a masterclass in collage editing. It’s a feast for the senses, a fantastic neon fever dream that paints a picture of Bowie in his own words, drawn from archival footage, interviews, and concerts past.

16. Women Talking (2022)

best

8.3

Country

Canada, United States of America

Director

Female director, Sarah Polley

Actors

August Winter, Ben Whishaw, Caroline Gillis, Claire Foy

Moods

A-list actors, Discussion-sparking, Dramatic

Not much happens in Women Talking, but what it lacks in action it more than makes up for in message. As the wronged women of an insular Christian colony decide whether they should leave or stay in their community, valuable points on each side are raised and debated fiercely. Are the men at fault or is there a bigger problem at hand? Is it sacrilegious to refuse forgiveness? Will leaving really solve anything? 

The women of this ultraconservative and anti-modern community may not know how to read or write, but years of toiling away on land, family, and faith have made them wise beyond their years, which makes their discussion all the more captivating and powerful. Relevant themes, coupled with director Sarah Polley’s poetic shots and the cast’s all-around stellar performances, make Women Talking a uniquely compelling and timeless watch.

17. Godland (2022)

best

8.3

Country

Denmark, France, Iceland

Director

Hlynur Palmason

Actors

Elliott Crosset Hove, Ída Mekkín Hlynsdóttir, Ingvar E. Sigurðsson, Jacob Ulrik Lohmann

Moods

Challenging, Dark, Intense

On the one hand, Godland is a film about nature’s unforgiving beauty. Like the photographs the priest Lucas (Elliott Crosset Hove) takes, these quietly superb scenes speak for themselves. The Earth moves in mysterious and harsh ways, and we are but mere specks, organic matter to be folded in and absorbed, in the grand scheme of things. It would’ve worked with just this message alone, but Godland also treads on political ground. Through Lucas, who is Danish, and his travel guide Ragnar (Ingvar Sigurdsson), who is Icelandic, we sense a palpable tension that electrifies the film with a colonial strain. There are layers to their deep aversion (and dependence) on one another, and director Hlynur Pálmason does well to pair this with imagery that is just complex, profound, and packed with meaning.

18. Other People’s Children (2022)

best

8.3

Country

France

Director

Female director, Rebecca Zlotowski

Actors

Anne Berest, Antonia Buresi, Callie Ferreira-Goncalves, Chiara Mastroianni

Moods

Character-driven, Emotional, Funny

Other People’s Children wrestles with some very tricky life experiences: bonding with a partner’s child in the agonizing knowledge that that attachment is entirely contingent on the fate of your romantic relationship; being a woman of a certain age and wanting a child but becoming keenly aware of the ticking of your body clock. For all the sharp points of pain the movie zones in on, though, there is remarkable cheerfulness in it, too. Writer-director Rebecca Zlotowski captures a wide spectrum of mood here, fusing lighthearted laughs and swooning romance with bitter disappointments and grief in a way that feels organic to life itself. The buoyant moments don’t undermine the sincere, intelligent consideration given to Rachel’s (Virginie Efira) perspective as a woman navigating a situation for which there are no real rules, and vice versa — because the film considers her as a whole from the outset. Neither reducing Rachel to her childlessness nor ignoring its emotional impact on her, this is a deeply empathetic movie that never questions the completeness of its protagonist’s life.

19. Murina (2022)

best

8.3

Country

Brazil, Croatia, Slovenia

Director

Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, Female director

Actors

Cliff Curtis, Danica Curcic, Goran Grgić, Gracija Filipović

Moods

Character-driven, Gripping, Intense

A young woman’s coming-of-age threatens to topple the uneasy hierarchy of her family in this striking debut from Croatian director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović. The trigger for Julija’s (Gracija Filipović) angsty rebellion is the arrival of her parents’ enigmatic wealthy friend, Javi (Cliff Curtis), whom her controlling father Ante (Leon Lučev) is hoping to squeeze a juicy investment out of. Part of hot-headed Ante’s strategy involves playing on Javi’s still-simmering feelings for Ante’s wife Nela (Danica Čurčić) — a dicey game to play when you have a temper like his. It’s also a very manipulative one, and the film lives in the atmosphere of claustrophobia that comes with being a woman in Ante’s life. Though her mother seems resigned to acceptance, Julija yearns for liberation, and it’s her burgeoning awareness of her own power as a woman that fires this drive for freedom. With its stunning Adriatic setting and haunting underwater sequences — the family are keen spearfishers — Murina is a film of natural beauty and human ugliness, a slow burn of a psychological drama that uses volatile teenage emotions as its incendiary fuel.

20. Leonor Will Never Die (2022)

best

8.2

Country

Philippines, United States of America

Director

Female director, Martika Ramirez Escobar

Actors

Anthony Falcon, Bong Cabrera, Martika Ramirez Escobar, Miguel Almendras

Moods

Mind-blowing, Original, Thought-provoking

At times looking and sounding like a real Filipino action film from 50 years ago, while painstakingly edited to juggle storylines across several realities, Leonor Will Never Die is worth seeing for its originality and ambition alone. Among so many other films that function as sanitized “love letters to cinema,” this one bears the distinction of still feeling charmingly scrappy and improvised even with how meticulously it’s crafted. It doesn’t simply pine for a bygone era of movies, but it actively explores what purpose movies serve to us as individuals and as communities. Where it arrives with regard to healing and acceptance and bringing people together feels entirely earned, even if it might not always be easy to understand.

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