This Thought-Provoking Movie Genre Will Change Your Life in One Night

Updated 05/06/19
Best foreign films on Netflix
@_hollyt

To some, foreign films conjure up images of pretentious moviegoers, but we're big fans, so we've compiled a list of films we think will inspire almost anyone to queue up a feature with subtitles. No matter your taste in movies—whether you're a fan of laugh-out-loud comedies, harrowing coming-of-age stories, or epic romances—you'll want to add one of these foreign films to your watch list stat.

Spanning a thought-provoking film about two women navigating their culture's complex traditions to a romantic movie centered around two strangers who are reunited by chance on a plane 10 years after meeting on a train, these are hands down the best foreign films on Netflix right now. Trust us—you're actually going to want to stay in tonight and stream a movie with subtitles after scrolling through this list.

Girlhood

Girlhood

The Country: France

The Language: French

The Premise: In this coming-of-age film, a teenage girl navigates life in a rough Paris neighborhood. Desperate to get away from her abusive family and forge her own identity, Marieme befriends a group of girls who seem to have it figured all out. As Marieme gets drawn deeper into the antics of the all-girl gang, director Céline Sciamma immerses you in life in the projects for a young Parisian woman.

Watch It Now: Girlhood

Us and Them

Us and Them

The Country: China

The Language: Mandarin

The Premise: Two strangers who met on a train 10 years ago reunite by chance when they wind up sitting next to each other on a plane. Directed by Rene Liu, this decade-spanning love story will pull on your heartstrings. If you're looking for a heart-warming romance to watch, add Us and Them to your Netflix queue stat.

Watch It Now: Us and Them

Sand Storm

Sand Storm

The Country: Israel, Germany, France

The Language: Arabic

The Premise: Set in a Bedouin village in southern Israel, Sand Storm tells the story of two women, a mother and a daughter, who are forced to confront the complex traditions that define their lives. In the end, they must learn to see the world from the other's perspective in order to survive. If you're looking to broaden your view of the world, add this hidden gem to your watch list.

Watch It Now: Sand Storm 

Sunday’s Illness

Sunday’s Illness

The Country: Spain

The Language: Spanish, French

The Premise: In this thought-provoking film directed by Ramón Salazar, a middle-aged adult woman reunites with her mother after being abandoned by her 35 years ago. Can 10 short days bring the estranged mother and daughter closer together? Or will it only drive them farther apart after the daughter's true motives for pursuing the reunion are revealed?

Watch It Now: Sunday's Illness

Y Tu Mamá También

Y Tú Mama También

The Country: Mexico

The Language: Spanish

The Premise: Two teenage boys embark on a cross-country road trip with an unexpected passenger—a gorgeous older woman. While Y Tu Mamá También is undeniably fun and sexy, director Alfonso Cuarón's film is more than just a summer flick. As the boys make their way from city to city, they're forced to confront the complexities of male friendship in this coming-of-age film.

Watch It Now: Y Tú Mama También

Palm Trees in the Snow

Palm Trees in the Snow

The Country: Spain

The Language: Spanish, Kriolu, and Aragonese

The Premise: Told in flashbacks, this romantic Spanish drama follows a young woman as she travels from Spain to her family's tropical plantation in Guinea and uncovers a shocking secret. Set in late-20th century Guinea and early-21st century Spain, this film is as visually stunning as it is thought-provoking.

Watch It Now: Palm Trees in the Snow

My Golden Days

My Golden Days

The Country: France

The Language: French

The Premise: A middle-aged man looks back on the golden days of his life, paying particular attention to memories of a lost love. If you're a fan of Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise series starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, this romantic, nostalgia-inducing film belongs in your Netflix queue. Trust us—you'll want to stay in and watch it tonight.

Watch It Now: My Golden Days

Mustang

Mustang

The Country: Turkey

The Language: Turkish

The Premise: After being spotted innocently having fun with boys on the beach, five young, orphaned sisters are kept under close watch by their conservative guardians who are busy securing arranged marriages for them. It's worth noting that critics have compared director Deniz Gamze Ergüven's debut film's focus on rebellious teens to The Virgin Suicides, making it a must-watch for Sofia Coppola fans.

Watch It Now: Mustang

Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate

The Country: Mexico

The Language: Spanish and English

The Premise: When tradition prevents a woman from marrying the man she loves, she turns to cooking as an outlet for her overflowing emotions. Trust us, this classic film belongs in every romantic's Netflix queue. Prepare to cue up the closed captions.

Watch It Now: Like Water for Chocolate

Clouds of Sils Maria

Clouds of Sils Maria

The Country: France, Germany, Switzerland

The Language: English

The Premise: In this Olivier Assayas film, Kristen Stewart is cast as the personal assistant to an insecure movie star (Juliette Binoche) who's reprising the role that launched her career 20 years earlier. When the pair head to the Swiss Alps to escape the industry and practice running lines, they're forced to confront their complex relationship.

Watch It Now: Clouds of Sils Maria

To Each Her Own

To Each Her Own

The Country: France

The Language: French

The Premise: No one is more surprised than Simone when, in the midst of coming out as a lesbian to her conservative Jewish family, she discovers that she's attracted to a man. As you'd expect, tension-filled hilarity ensues. This French film, directed by Myriam Aziza, expertly infuses a bit of comedy into a heartwarming, eye-opening plot.  

Watch It Now: To Each, Her Own

Blue Is the Warmest Color

Blue Is the Warmest Color

The Country: France

The Language: French

The Premise: Abdellatif Kechiche's provocative film focuses its sights on first love—and all the passion and devastation that come with it. While a three-hour runtime may seem a bit daunting, it's worth setting aside the time to watch this intimate character portrait.

Watch It Now: Blue Is the Warmest Color

Aquarius

Aquarius

The Country: Brazil

The Language: Portuguese

The Premise: A 65-year-old widow vows to live in her seaside apartment until she dies after her landlord reveals a plan to sell all the units to a developer who has other plans for the property. The standoff spurs bittersweet memories that reveal why she's so reluctant to leave the building.

Watch It Now: Aquarius 

This story was originally published on January 26, 2018, and has since been updated.

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