The 10 Best A24 Films Released Until 2021, Ranked

In an age and time where some production houses have devalued films, as content is being churned out like fast foods, there remain some that still manage to maintain the quality of the art form and showcase a sense of respect from an artistic standpoint, while keeping in mind the commercial and business aspects. A24 has become synonymous with quality films that promise something unique and have given a platform to various emerging, original, and independent filmmaking voices. Their films have consisted of various genres and styles and, hence, cannot be compartmentalized or put into a small bracket. This list will include A24 films until the end of 2021, as some of the films released in the current year are yet to be made accessible. So, here are the Top 10 A24 Films.


10. Waves (2019)

After making a quite horrific and disturbing film with “It Comes At Night” (2017), the nascent filmmaker Trey Edward Shults shifts into a very tender subject matter. “Waves” (2019), on the other hand, is very warm and high on emotions, and starts off with a very adrenaline-rush kind of filmmaking with very flashy and stylized cinematography and edits, and later perfectly shifts its tonal quality to a more empathetic and compassionate lens. The film also gets hold of its characters’ psyches perfectly and plays impressively with various aspect ratios, which further showcase the space of its characters. The film has a very simple storyline, but its unique treatment makes all the major differences.

9. Climax (2018)

If one is familiar with Gaspar Noé’s films, then this film is probably among his best works. Noé brings his wild and mad vision into this film, which is a picture-perfect example of a psychedelic-fueled horror dance musical that is a sensory delight. This is the lovechild of Hollywood musical-dance numbers and the crazy mind of French filmmaker Gaspar Noé. The plot of “Climax” (2018) is quite simple: a celebratory party of a dance troupe goes haywire due to someone spiking their Sangria with LSD, and what follows is pure madness being showcased on the big screen. The film consists of some of the most excruciatingly difficult long takes and contains very challenging dance moves along with perfect blocking and camera movement that perfectly maintains the high intensity of the film throughout its runtime. It is definitely a unique venture, especially for those who have never been introduced to the world of Noé before.


8. The Green Knight (2021)

For the first time, filmmaker David Lowery comes up with a large-scale medieval fantasy epic that, even though made on quite a low budget, does not feel less than grand and visually marvelous. The credit primarily lies in its breathtaking execution, which perfectly imagines and builds a world that is enticing and also has a sense of mysticism, like a kind of forbidden fruit. The film is based on the folklore of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and is perfectly interpreted by Lowery in his own original and unique way. He painted the canvas with very broad strokes through gorgeous visuals and a soundtrack of equally brilliant music. Furthermore, the ensemble also adds to the brilliance of “The Green Knight” (2021), especially that of Dev Patel, who helms the titular role.

7. Hereditary (2018)

Ari Aster’s directorial debut marks one of the most horrifying and spine-chilling English language films that was released in this century. “Hereditary” (2018) perfectly creates an intense and terrifying atmosphere rather than relying on startling the viewers with cheap jump scares. The film sheds light on familial trauma, and that is one of the reasons that makes it much scarier and more disturbing; as for any individual, a core part of their existence is linked to their family, which often acts as a symbol of moral support, but the film perfectly hits on these grounds to sow the roots of its horror. Even though it is the debut film of Aster, the maturity he possesses as a filmmaker is remarkable, as is the brilliant performance by Toni Collette. Due to spoilers, some scenes could not be mentioned, but the film is something that one should explore.


6. The Lobster (2015)

The Lobster marks the emergence of the deliciously twisted mind of the Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos in English-language films. The film is one of the most unique and original films to come out recently, and it is very weird and dark while at the same time being poignant and heartwarming. The narrative revolves around a very dystopic and absurd world where a single person would be turned into an animal of their choice if they failed to find a partner within 45 days. Through “The Lobster” (2015), Lanthimos weaves a brilliant film that is very powerful and moving, also acting as brilliant satire fuelled by a very cold sense of humor that takes a dig at society’s obsession regarding couple-formation and also kind of talks about the freedom of the individual and raises very interesting questions.  

5. The Florida Project (2017)

It is among the most heart-warming and emotional films that have come out in the recent past. “The Florida Project” (2017) is directed by an underrated filmmaker, Sean Baken, whose portrayal of humanity shines above everything else in the film. The narrative of the film revolves primarily around the summertime of a six-year-old girl who lives with her unemployed mother and struggles to make ends meet. Baker’s lens portrays this through a unique lens and from the perspective of the child herself and consists of very tender, warm, and colorful visions of a very bleak life that are kind of dreamlike. The film is very empathetic towards its subjects, shows a different America, and acts as a critique of the American Dream and its capitalistic tendencies. Furthermore, the film also displays a very moving performance by Willem Dafoe, who even received his third acting nomination at the Oscars for this film.


4. Uncut Gems (2019)

After making an equally brilliant and impressive film, “Good Time” (2017), the director duo The Safdie Brothers shifted gears, making the most thrilling experience of recent times as far as English films go. This film revolves around a gambling addict and debt-ridden jeweler who bets all his fortune and focuses on this high-intensity fuelled journey. Adam Sandler, who portrays the lead character, is more than brilliant, and his performance is exceptionally energizing. He delivers his career best and showcases the kind of potential he possesses as an actor, as he is not so known for his acting chops. “Uncut Gems” (2019) in itself is a perfect example of what great filmmaking looks like and how it can induce an extremely intense and intimate film based on greed, addiction, and human follies.

3. First Reformed (2017)

“First Reformed” (2017) marks the comeback of veteran writer and director Paul Schrader, who had previously written masterful scripts for classics like “Taxi Driver” (1976) and “Raging Bull” (1980). This film is also another example of a masterpiece both in terms of writing and direction, and adding to that is the tremendous performance by Ethan Hawke, who plays the lead role of Pastor Ernst Toller. Furthermore, through this film, Schrader raises various questions that are of huge significance, especially during the current time, through his exploration of themes ranging from religion, losing one’s faith, and the commercialization of religion, along with its messaging regarding environmental issues pertaining to climate change. “First Reformed” (2017) tends to be a meditative piece of work that works at various levels, both as an engaging watch and also as a very relevant take on difficult subject matters.


2. The Lighthouse (2019)

Filmmaker Robert Eggers is definitely one of the most promising filmmakers of recent times, and “The Lighthouse” (2019) cements this reputation. First of all, the film is grand, almost operatic, yet very intimate and personal, and due to that, the horror elements feel more claustrophobic (especially due to a smart choice of going for a 4:3 aspect ratio) and terrifying. The film revolves around two characters who are in charge of a lighthouse stranded in the sea. The film is heavily dependent on the performances of the actors, and both of them, Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, deliver in that sphere and perfectly etch out one of the finest acting duos seen in recent times. Along with that remains the perfect visuals and soundscape, which are the core elements that make the viewers feel the isolation, craziness, and grandeur yet very lifeless and delve deeply into a very folklore style of horror.

1. Moonlight (2016)

This film is an impeccable coming-of-age drama revolving around its brilliantly written protagonist Chiron and following him through three separate chapters—childhood, the teenage years, and adulthood. The filmmaker Barry Jenkins looks at the prime character from a very intimate and personalized lens and perfectly brings out various themes of homosexuality, the lack of a patriarchal figure, and the male identity, too, in a very sensitive and subtle way. The film is further aided by a marvelous score by Nicholas Britell and the cinematography of James Laxton and perfectly combines colors such as blue and violet to give a very intimate yet isolating feel, and the turmoil in the character’s life is perfectly shown even without the use of any dialogue. Furthermore, “Moonlight” (2016) also won the Oscar for Best Film at the 89th Academy Awards.


Due to the wide range of great films present in A24’s repertoire, it becomes a highly difficult task to select just ten films, and that is also one of the reasons that the list avoided multiple films by the same director and chose only their best. With a production house like A24, it shows a ray of hope that seeks to promise the maintenance of quality work, which makes films a respected and reputed art form documenting the times and its people for generations to come. Here are some of the special mentions: “Ex Machina” (2014), “The Witch” (2015), “Good Time” (2017), “A Ghost Story” (2017), “Under the Silver Lake” (2018), “High Life” (2018), “Eighth Grade” (2018), “Midsommar” (2019), “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (2019), “The Farewell” (2019), “The Souvenir” (2019), “Minari” (2020), and “Red Rocket” (2021).

See more: Top 10 Indian Thrillers Of The Last Decade (2010-2019), Ranked

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Riddhadev Bandyopadhyay
Riddhadev Bandyopadhyay
Riddhadev has a major interest in watching various kinds of films, knowing about history, playing varied video games, and having a knack for politics. He is also a football fanatic. He is very opinionated but sometimes finds it difficult to express himself. Moreover, he has a piece of paper that people refer to as a degree in journalism and mass communication. At present, he is pursuing a Master's in Media Science while also trying out different activities to figure out which he does best.

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