30 Best Foreign Movies on Netflix Right Now

30 Best Foreign Movies on Netflix Right Now

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“Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,” as Parasite director Bong Joon-ho is now famous for saying.

Here are our curated recommendations for the best non-English-language movies streaming on Netflix. Like all lists on agoodmovietowatch, this one is updated every month to remove expiring movies and add new ones, so make sure you bookmark it!

Happy watching. 

And if you’re here because you’re looking for a fun way to learn other languages, check out doesnottranslate.com, a database of words that don’t directly translate to other languages.

30. Violet Evergarden: The Movie (2020)

7.0

Country

d, Japan

Director

Taichi Ishidate

Actors

Aya Endo, Aya Saito, Ayako Kawasumi, Daichi Endo

Moods

Character-driven, Depressing, Dramatic

Based on the 13-episode series of the same name, Violet Evergarden tells the story of Violet, a scribe commissioned to write letters at a time when telephones and computers had yet to exist. Shell-shocked from her time in the war, Violet is exceptionally stoic, except when she remembers Gilbert, her military superior and sometime lover. His parting words were “I love you,” and through her letters, Violet has been examining the meaning of the phrase since then. 

Fans of the series will have no trouble following the events of the film, but if you’re going in cold without any prior exposure to the franchise, it might take a while for you to adjust to its world. More an amalgamation of multiple cultures than a reflection of just one, the imaginary Leidenschaftlich is filled with Japanese-speaking citizens, in modern-day-influenced clothes, with architecture and vistas that could fit right in 1800s Western Europe. Against this backdrop, Violet attempts to restart her life as a writer. Living often doesn’t feel easy, especially when PTSD comes in the form of shocks and painful flashbacks, but loving, as she finds out, might be even harder. A tale of self-forgiveness and forging on, despite all odds, Violet Evergarden is a moving ode to life and love at a time of war. 

29. Classmates Minus (2021)

7.1

Country

Taiwan

Director

Huang Hsin-Yao

Actors

Ada Pan, Chen Yi-wen, Chen Yiwen, Cheng Jen-shuo

Moods

Character-driven, Grown-up Comedy, Original

It’s slower and stranger than most comedies you may be used to, but there’s still lots of heart to be found in the way Classmates Minus follows the lapsed hopes and wishes of its core characters. Beneath all its stereotypically male yearnings for control and romantic wish fulfillment, there are potent ideas here about how a tired economy and jaded political culture can turn those in their middle age into completely different people. Writer/director Huang Hsin-yao provides narration for his own film, but rather than being distracting or conceited, his words add a level of needed sympathy to everything we see on screen.

28. Just Another Love Story (2007)

7.1

Country

Denmark

Director

Ole Bornedal

Actors

Anders W. Berthelsen, Bent Mejding, Charlotte Fich, Dejan Cukic

Moods

Action-packed, Dark, Intense

This Danish thriller is about a man who gets into a car accident with a woman and, upon visiting her at the hospital, gets mistaken for her boyfriend by her wealthy family.

The man in question is Jonas, a family guy with two cheerful children who is also going through a text-book case of mid-life crisis. So when he realizes that Julia lost her memory and that she shows interest in him, he steps into the role of her boyfriend.

Things escalate very quickly, both as Julia starts to get some of her memory back and her actual boyfriend arrives. If you like Scandinavian noirs like Headhunters, you will love this.

27. Eternal Summer (2006)

7.2

Country

Sweden, Taiwan

Director

Leste Chen

Actors

Joseph Chang, Kate Yeung, Ray Chang

Moods

Character-driven, Depressing, Dramatic

Though Eternal Summer isn’t able to fully engage with its queer characters—maybe due to its being released in the mid-2000s—it still makes for a more interesting character study than you’d expect. This romance between three school friends has more on its mind than simply pitting two romantic pairings against each other. Unrequited feelings, unspoken secrets, and identities that are constantly in flux make Eternal Summer compelling just for the way these people try to dance around one another’s emotions. And since it’s shot in the muted colors of early digital filmmaking, this is a love story that becomes all the more melancholic just in the way it looks.

26. The African Doctor

7.2

Country

Belgium, France

Director

Julien Rambaldi

Actors

Aissa Maiga, Bayron Lebli, Bernard Eylenbosch, Bwanga Pilipili

Moods

Feel-Good, Funny, Grown-up Comedy

In this French movie based on a true story, a med-school graduate from Congo is offered a job as the doctor to the president of Zaire. He refuses and chooses instead to move to a small town in France in hopes of getting French citizenship and securing a better future for his children.

The story, which starts in 1975, is set in a village where people had never seen a Black person. To that, Seyolo, the doctor, says: “so what? Now they will.”

The culture clash is both villagers-to-new-arrivals and the other way. Seyolo tells his family that he was hired in a village “north of Paris”, but all they hear is “Paris”, only to be shocked by the state of the rainy and muddy countryside village.

25. Omar (2013)

7.2

Country

Palestine, Palestinian Territory

Director

Hany Abu-Assad

Actors

Adam Bakri, Adi Krayem, Doraid Liddawi, Eyad Hourani

Moods

Raw, Thought-provoking, Thrilling

Ask yourself how many Palestinian movies you have seen before. You will want to give this smart and twisty Academy Award nominee by Golden Globe winning director Hany Abu-Assad a chance to change your answer. Omar, a Palestinian baker, climbs the West Bank Wall to see his lover, Nadia, whom he wants to marry. When Israeli soldiers catch and humiliate him, he gets implicated in the shooting of an Israeli soldier, and eventually gets arrested and faces an extremely lengthy sentence. Later, his captors’ motives and his own get tangled up in politics, friendship, trust, and love. Omar is a highly realistic, compelling crime drama you don’t want to miss.

24. Dear Ex (2018)

7.4

Country

Taiwan

Director

Chih-Yen Hsu, Female director

Actors

Ai-Lun Kao, Clover Kao, Danny Liang, Fang Wan

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Dramatic, Emotional

Dear Ex is a family drama that explores LGBT+ issues in contemporary Taiwan. As much as it is a movie about how people cope with loss, it’s a powerful, heartwarming, and intimate portrait of the relationship between Jay and Song Zhengyuan and all the obstacles they face.

While the themes of Dear Ex are heavy, the director makes the viewing experience easier for the audience thanks to humorous and witty dialogue. Meanwhile, the history between Jay and Song Zhengyuan’s relationship unfolds in a very beautiful, almost poetic way, and by the end of the movie, we understand that everyone gets their own kind of forgiveness. The way the characters effortlessly show that love is something beyond genders is admirable, and it is great to see how everyone gets their own kind of forgiveness whether it’s from themselves or from others by the end of the movie.

23. A Cop Movie (2021)

7.5

Country

Mexico

Director

Alonso Ruizpalacios

Actors

Leonardo Alonso, Mónica Del Carmen, Raúl Briones

Moods

Challenging, Character-driven, Discussion-sparking

In the Mexican film A Cop Movie, director Alonso Ruizpalacios mixes fact and fiction, documentary and narrative, to tell the tale of Teresa and Montoya, two police officers whose dreams are dashed by the corruption of their trade and who, eventually, find love and comfort in each other.

Ruizpalacios takes thrilling risks in structuring this genre-bending story—cutting stories into parts, jumping back and forth between the harrowingly real and captivatingly non-real. For all the experimental maneuvers he makes, however, the through-line is always Teresa and Montoya: particularly, their love for each other and for an institution that should have, in an ideal world, supported them and the people they vowed to protect. 

To its credit, instead of merely humanizing the controversial police force, A Cop Movie adds some much-needed nuance to the big picture. At the end of the day, they’re no different than any other underpaid laborers working desperately to make end meets. A Cop Movie doesn’t gloss over the fact that the police, like so many other workers, are stuck in a rotten system that’s long overdue for a major overhauling. 

22. Happy as Lazzaro (2018)

7.5

Country

France, Germany, Italy

Director

Alice Rohrwacher, Female director

Actors

Adriano Tardiolo, Agnese Graziani, Alba Rohrwacher, Alice Rohrwacher

Moods

Lovely, Quirky, Warm

Set in 1970s Italian countryside, this is a quirky movie that’s full of plot twists.

Lazzaro is a dedicated worker at a tobacco estate. His village has been indebted to a marquise and like everyone else, he works without a wage and in arduous conditions.

Lazzaro strikes a friendship with the son of the marquise, who, in an act of rebellion against his mother, decides to fake his own kidnapping. The two form an unlikely friendship in a story that mixes magical realism with social commentary.

21. A Fortunate Man (2018)

7.5

Country

Denmark

Director

Bille August

Actors

Anders Hove, Benjamin Kitter, Bille August, Carsten Kressner

Moods

Slow

This is a gorgeous Danish period drama that’s based on a famous story and book in Denmark called Lykke-Per (or Lucky Per) by Nobel Prize-winning author Henrik Pontoppidan.

Per, the son of an overbearing catholic priest, leaves his family house in the country side to seek a new life in Copenhagen. His passion about engineering was at the time contrary with the Christian faith, but manages to introduce him to the capital’s elite, and a chance at social ascension.

Lykke-Per and A Fortunate Man are about nature versus nurture. Per’s passion about engineering and renewable energy (back in the 1920s) is set against his need to emancipate and the pride that was instilled in him by his upbringing.

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