The 100 Must-Watch Movies You Haven’t Yet Seen

Far too often, cinematic masterpieces get overlooked –– and it’s us cinema lovers who suffer the loss. While some can’t seem to draw crowds upon their box office release, others simply don’t get the critical attention they merit. Whatever the reason, the result is that the streaming landscape is overflowing with hidden treasures that deserve to be unearthed, enjoyed, and duly celebrated. From political thrillers to quirky romances and everything in between, we’ve rounded up the top 100 underrated movies that are on their way to becoming cult classics. 

Fences (2016)

There is a chance we will be known as the generation that perfected mixing the two mediums of movie and theater. Think Hateful 8, Horace & Pete, Wild Tales, and Fences! A movie not only packed with Broadway talent, it's also based on a Pulitzer-winning play by August Wilson. The play element is both strong and visible, the movie is dialogue packed, and takes place almost exclusively in the characters' house, not to mention most of the events happen within the span of a few days. The movie element comes through beautiful aesthetics and rich scenery, as well as some of Hollywood's best talent: Denzel Washington (who is also the director) and Viola Davis. They had both actually won Tony Awards for their performances reviving the play back in 2010. Denzel is a black garbage collector who was once a promising baseball player and a victim of racial discrimination. His psyche is as rich as it is determined and he is used to taking out his deep-rooted feelings of anger on his loved ones. His wife (Davis), his son, and his friends are the targets of this hurt and anger, but they also have a lot to deal with on their own. A beautiful if maybe slow play-movie. Do not watch it expecting "things to happen", but watch it to be mesmerized by the acting, the writing, and the underlying tensions it addresses. 

(Bilal Zouheir)
Genre: Drama
Actor: Denzel Washington, Jovan Adepo, Lesley Boone, Mykelti Williamson, Russell Hornsby, Saniyya Sidney, Stephen Henderson, Viola Davis
Director: Denzel Washington
Rating: PG-13
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A Fantastic Woman (2017)

As heartbroken as you will be after watching this movie, you will feel nothing but triumph in the main actor's debut role. This movie has very little hope to offer the viewer, except the small amount felt every time the main character, Marina, gets up again to fight another day. This film depicts grief in such a profound and personal way within a character who must remain relatively silent and alone most of the movie. You will quickly know why the film is called "A Fantastic Woman".

(Daniel Reyes)
Genre: Drama
Actor: Alejandro Goic, Aline Kuppenheim, Amparo Noguera, Antonia Zegers, Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco, Nestor Cantillana, Nicolas Saavedra
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Rating: 15, R
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Giant Little Ones (2018)

An insightful and thoughtful Canadian coming-of-age drama, Giant Little Ones is about two seventeen-year-old best friends whose relationship changes after an incident one night. Spanning a quick 90 minutes, it manages to tell its story quickly and honestly, as it touches on themes of sexual identity not only for the teenagers but for their parents as well. And it has a great message about tolerance. It's a lovely and wholesome movie. 

(Bilal Zouheir)
Genre: Drama
Actor: Carson MacCormac, Cory Lee, Darren Mann, Josh Wiggins, Kiana Madeira, Kyle MacLachlan, Maria Bello, Niamh Wilson, Olivia Scriven, Peter Outerbridge, Stephanie Moore, Taylor Hickson
Director: Keith Behrman
Rating: R
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You may have heard about this 2019 critic-favorite from clips like this one of a kid running to flee the movie theater during a screening. “little billy ran the f**k out the door”, the caption reads.

 

You will want to do the same. Recovering from losing her sister and her parents in a single incident, a young girl goes on a trip to Sweden to observe a ritual within a bizarre commune that occurs every 90 years. This cult’s idea of death and their traditions intersect with the girl’s grief to create unthinkable monstrosities.

 

Note: while some readers praise the movie for its depiction of anxiety, I highly recommend against watching Midsommar if you suffer from panic attacks.

(Bilal Zouheir)
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Actor: Archie Madekwe, Austin R. Grant, Björn Andrésen, Ellora Torchia, Florence Pugh, Henrik Norlen, Isabelle Grill, Jack Reynor, Julia Ragnarsson, Liv Mjönes, Louise Peterhoff, Vilhelm Blomgren, Vilmos Kolba, Will Poulter, William Jackson Harper
Director: Ari Aster
Rating: R
Go to Cineplex Canada
The Lighthouse (2019)

Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are the only two actors starring in this eccentric movie, and they deliver such grand performances that it feels like another actor would have been one too many.

They star as lighthouse keepers in the 19th century, left on an island to interact only with each other and their rock. It's a fascinating premise of how these men, left on their own, deal with boredom, loneliness, and being annoyed with one another.

Incredible performances, an interesting aspect ratio, and perhaps excessive weirdness, make this movie unforgettable.

(Bilal Zouheir)
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
Actor: Kyla Nicolle, Logan Hawkes, Robert Pattinson, Shaun Clarke, Valeriia Karamän, Valeriia Karamän, Valeriia Karaman, Willem Dafoe
Director: Robert Eggers
Rating: R
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The Guard (2011)

The Guard played by Brendan Gleeson is a new character in cinema that appeals to the funny bone inside all of us. A character like this can make any movie lovable. It also features Don Cheadle playing an FBI agent who is in town to solve a crime under Gleeson's jurisdiction. An overall great movie with great writing. Please note, for those who have a hard time understanding different accents, subtitles are advised.

(Abtein Foghi)
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Actor: Brendan Gleeson, David Wilmot, Dominique McElligott, Don Cheadle, Fionnula Flanagan, John Patrick Beirne, Katarina Čas, Liam Cunningham, Liam O'Conghaile, Mark Strong, Paraic Nialand, Ronan Collins, Rory Keenan, Sarah Greene, Wale Ojo
Director: John Michael McDonagh
Rating: R
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Snowpiercer (2014)

Snowpiercer is an under-the-rader post-apocalyptic thriller that offers the grittiness that many times only Asian cinema may achieve. South Korean director Joon-ho Bong forces audiences to forget that Chris Evans was ever a Marvel superhero, as he leads a revolt of his fellow “low-class” citizens against the self-appointed gentry in a train that contains all remaining members of the planet. With immersive environments and a layered script, this film melds together social commentary and moral discourse in a visually arresting and vastly entertaining package.

(Akshay Goyal)
Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery, Science Fiction
Actor: Adnan Haskovic, Alison Pill, Chris Evans, Clark Middleton, Ed Harris, Ewen Bremner, Go Ah-sung, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Kenny Doughty, Ko A-sung, Luke Pasqualino, Marcanthonee Reis, Octavia Spencer, Song Kang-ho, Steve Park, Tilda Swinton, Tómas Lemarquis, Vlad Ivanov
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Rating: R
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Dope (2015)

At the same time a fun, crazy, and meaningful movie about Malcom and his friends, high school teenagers and proud geeks who suddenly find themselves immersed in the underground LA drug scene. It's a 2015 Superbad meets Boyz in the Hood. But in its essence it mostly resembles another beautiful film, Juno, in the way it evolves around a character played perfectly who you get to know, agree and disagree with, and ultimately learn from and relate to. Above all it's an outright enjoyable film, a smart one too, with a great soundtrack to boot.

(Bilal Zouheir)
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Actor: A$AP Rocky, Amin Joseph, Ashton Moio, Blake Anderson, Bruce Beatty, Chanel Iman, De'Aundre Bonds, Forest Whitaker, Keith Stanfield, Kiersey Clemons, Kimberly Elise, Lakeith Stanfield, Mimi Michaels, Quincy Brown, Rakim Mayers, Rick Famuyiwa, Rick Fox, Roger Guenveur Smith, Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Zoe Kravitz
Director: Rick Famuyiwa
Rating: R
Go to Cineplex Canada
The Grand Seduction (2013)

The Grand Seduction, a remake of 2003 French-Canadian film La Grande Séduction (2003), is a lighthearted comedy about the residents of the small fishing village of Tickle Head, Newfoudland attempting to convince a young doctor to become its long-term caregiver in order to secure a contract for a new petrochemical facility. Desperate to guide the town out of its impoverished conditions and lack of employment opportunities, the citizens band together to pull ever bit out of deceit and chicanery out of their hats (in often laugh-out-loud fashion) in order to sway the young doctor Paul (Taylor Kitsch) into believing that Tickle Head is where he belongs. It’s a lighthearted and funny story, despite undeniably familiar shades of The Shipping News, Doc Hollywood and Funny Farm. Brendan Gleeson is particularly good as the new mayor of town and Paul’s head “seducer”. He gives the film that extra bit of humanity and wry humor that lifts it above the familiar plot points and into “notable recommendation” territory.

(Bilal Zouheir)
Genre: Comedy
Actor: Brendan Gleeson, Cathy Jones, Gordon Pinsent, Liane Balaban, Margaret Killingbeck, Mark Critch, Mary Walsh, Matt Watts, Michael Therriault, Percy Hynes White, Peter Keleghan, Taylor Kitsch
Director: Don McKellar
Rating: PG-13
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Toni Erdmann (2016)

Good movies usually aren't lengthy movies, unless we're talking about cases like Toni Erdmann. It's a supremely smart German-Austrian comedy that depicts the story of a Father-Daughter tandem in light of life’s weirdest, most inconvenient moments. Deciding to visit his daughter on a whim after his dog dies, Winfried (Peter Simonischek)—a man known for his outrageous pranks and many a disguise—flies to Bucharest. Ines (Sandra Huller), the daughter, buzzing with work to the brim in a very challenging job, to say the least, isn’t impressed. This leads to even more uncomfortable encounters as the estranged father poses as the title character, life coach to the disapproving daughter’s boss. On top of being a shrewdly observed and relevant movie, the brilliant writing by Maren Ade crafts something thoroughly enjoyable and heartfelt here, highlighting the importance of family bond in an oddly sweet way, and criticizing modern-day work ethic and the toll its taking on us. The beginning is a bit slow, but if you're a bit patient you will be surprised how much this movie will reward you.

(Christina Hale)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Actor: Hadewych Minis, Hans Löw, Ingrid Bisu, Irene Rindje, Lucy Russell, Manuela Ciucur, Michael Wittenborn, Peter Simonischek, Ruth Reinecke, Sandra Hüller, Thomas Loibl, Trystan Putter, Valentin Popescu, Victoria Cocias, Vlad Ivanov
Director: Maren Ade
Rating: R
Go to Cineplex Canada

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