It would surprise you how many indie movies are on Netflix, but indie movies are great when you don't know what else to watch and you're looking for something that's different. Not all of them are diamonds in the rough, but when you find an interesting one, it's usually worth the time to watch it. The beauty of Netflix is being in the comfort of your own home and being able to turn off something that you're not enjoying.
What Is An Indie Movie?
Indie movies are passion projects; low-budget films that don't rely on flashy CGI or distribution from a major motion picture studio, or if they are getting distribution, they may only be receiving less than 50% of their budget from the studio. What makes indie movies great is their focus on the story and bringing the characters to life. It's not about selling a brand, like Marvel Studios films, or being the hit blockbuster romance of the summer. Indie movies are about real stories and highlighting universal truths. They've all got something we can relate to.
Top Indie Movies Of All Time
There's a lot of indie movies out there that transcended their status because they resonated with people. Movies like Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, and Garden State achieved timeless status from the masses, but so too did early indie films that became cult classics. From directors that would eventually rise to fame, cult classic indies like Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction or Peter Jackson's Dead Alive captured mass followings that boosted them into indie classic status.
The same applies to actors such as Jake Gyllenhaal in Donnie Darko. Indie movies are everywhere, but sometimes it takes a while to discover them. That's why we're here to help you find them.
Here are 10 indie movies you should watch right now.
The 10 Best Indie Movies You've Never Heard Of On Netflix
Run Time: 111 min, IMDb: 6.7
Tallulah, a Netflix original movie written and directed by Sian Heder, who also wrote and produced "Orange Is The New Black," is a complex story of a drifter (Ellen Page) who kidnaps a neglected child. She passes the child off as her daughter to her ex-boyfriend's mother (Allison Janney).
The context for the set up is unclear because the decisions made by the drifter don't make the best sense, but the interactions between Page and Janney are really what makes this movie worth watching. It's really the whole focus of the story, and they have a chemistry that can't be denied as they go through the laughs and pathos of this stunning film.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Run Time: 94 min, IMDb: 7.8/10
If you're a Wes Anderson film buff, you've probably already heard of Moonrise Kingdom, but it's too good to leave off the list. It's the story of two kids in love who run away causing their town to panic, but Sam and Suzy aren't just kids; they're precocious and hold pain in their hearts beyond their level of maturity, finding solace with each other as they create their own Eden on the beach. It's a story you won't want to miss as you watch adults lose control and children struggle to hold on to sanity.
Sunshine Cleaning (2008)
Run Time: 91 min | IMDb: 6.9/10
Amy Adams and Emily Blunt play sisters who run a maid service, Sunshine Cleaning, but it's not the usual sweep, mop, and dust; these girls clean crime scenes. It's a dark gory mess, but someone has to do it. However, the sisters aren't qualified and aren't actually good at their jobs. It's a living though, and these two are struggling to get by in a small town and trying to find themselves. If you don't mind some blood and guts, this is a pretty fun viewing experience.
Run Time: 90 min, IMDb: 7.3/10
Cube is like Saw before the jigsaw existed, but the beauty of Cube is the simplicity. Six strangers: a cop, a math whiz, a building designer, a doctor, an escape master, and a disabled man awaken to find themselves inside a giant cube that they must escape from. There are hidden traps and not everyone will make it out alive. Together, they must use their skills to help each other escape the cube. This is a low-budget horror, it's dark and gruesome and bloody. You're going to need a strong stomach for this one, so prepare accordingly before watching it.
The Babadook (2014)
Run Time: 93 min, IMDb: 6.8/10
Horror fans know The Babadook, a psychological horror about the struggles and frustrations of being a parent. When a mother, played by Essie Davis, loses her husband in a car accident on the way to give birth, she bears some mixed feelings for her child. Her son is 6 in the film and she both loves and resents him because of the accident; these fears manifesting in a strange and supernatural pop-up book called Mister Babadook that shows up on her son's shelf. The fear is present in the stylish and creepy shots of the film, but it's the acting that truly makes it real. You won't sleep after watching this one.
Buster's Mal Heart (2016)
Run time: 96 min, IMDB: 6.0/10
Starring Rami Malek from "Mr. Robot," this is a film about conspiracies, paranoia, and delusions. A drifter living in the mountains is on the run from the police and an event only known as The Inversion. He is haunted by a recurring dream in which he is lost at sea and suffers flashbacks to his former life as a family man. If your thing is conspiracies, this is the movie for you.
Super Dark Times (2017)
Run time: 100 min, IMDb: 6.6/10
Super Dark Times is the directorial debut of Kevin Philips. It portrays the atmospheric aesthetic of the 90s in the same way Stranger Things portrays the 80s. Teenagers Zach and Josh are best friends, but an accident in the woods causes another boy to get stabbed in the throat with a Katana. They hide the body and the sword, and the aftermath of the ordeal threatens to pull them apart.
Reminiscent of Stand By Me, this film is about the loss of innocence but with more jealousy, violence, and paranoia. It's a story about an adolescent obsession with danger and how that can spin wildly out of control and is a must watch for any nostalgic 90s kids.
To The Bone (2017)
Run time: 107 min, IMDb: 6.9/10
A fan of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" may recognize the name Marti Noxon as one of the head writers on that groundbreaking show. To The Bone is a film written and directed by Marti Noxon about her personal struggles with eating disorders. Starring Lily Collins, this film is about an anorexic young woman who has been in and out of treatment 5 times and is now in a communal house as part of an inpatient treatment facility that is overseen by an innovative doctor (Keanu Reeves).
It shows dangers of the disorder and the self-destructive tricks patients use, but it also has a dark humor and touching friendships that form when under duress. It's a beautiful film that portrays mental health and struggles people deal with daily.
Blue Valentine (2010)
Run Time: 112 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
A romantic drama, Blue Valentine is a non-linear love story about a couple falling apart. Starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, we see these two fall in love. Then addiction, failing careers, unhappiness, and dishonesty all collide to make the relationship become a train wreck of a story. All great love stories are like that, though, because they're the ones with the most passion. This great love story follows the couple that fights to make it work when they should have given up, all because they're blinded by love. If you're a sucker for tragic romances, this is the indie movie for you.
These indie movies each have a unique genre and story that will pull you in and won't let you go. If you're a film enthusiast looking for something interesting, check them out and you won't be disappointed.