With all the options to sift through on Netflix, knowing what’s worth watching can be tricky. So I’m here to help! Lately, I’ve been binging French films in an effort to pick up the language through “movie immersion.” While I’m not as fluent as I’d hoped to be by now, I have officially discovered the best French films on Netflix. And that’s gotta count for something.
So without further ado, here are 12 magnifique flicks you should absolutely add to your watch list, in non particuliere ordre.
After debuting at Cannes and proving a major success in Hollywood, The Artist was dubbed an instant classic.
Now that Michel Hazanavicius’s mostly silent masterpiece calls Netflix its streaming home, the five-time Oscar-winning movie’s popularity only continues to grow.
Starring Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Béjo, this ode to the silent movie era is all at once modern, retro, romantic, devastating, and delightful. In a word: magical.
You won’t find a supernatural drama like this one anywhere else. Luckily, you don’t need to be fluent in French to be completely awestruck by how visually striking it is.
With that said, the social commentary throughout this deeply haunting and complex film makes the subtitles crucial.
Written and directed by Mati Diop, this suspenseful and sensual story revolves around young women left behind in Senegal. While there’s really no way I could ever properly sum it up, Atlantics is an intimate and otherworldly tale of migration, grief, and being ghosted.
In the mood for something decadent? Even if you just want to stare at a period piece with incredible production value, I’d highly recommend this romantic dramedy about one widow’s grand plans for revenge.
Directed by Emmanuel Mouret, spring is in bloom, swoon-worthy 18th-century costumes are everywhere, and aristocratic gossip fills the air. Overall, Lady J is an incredibly indulgent two hours that will leave you surprisingly satisfied.
Directed by Olivier Marchal, this 2017 French crime film starring Benoit Magimel and Gerard Depardieu is based on an infamous true story.
The Carbon Connection scandal is often considered the most lucrative crime in French modern history. Between 2008 and 2009, billions of euros were being siphoned from France and various other EU countries by a highly skilled network of gangsters.
Ultimately, Carbon may not be a totally accurate depiction of how it all went down, but it’s chock-full of intrigue and great acting.
“A shrewd teenager and her wisecracking best friend plan to get rich or die trying by following in the footsteps of a flashy female drug dealer.” That’s how Netflix describes the plot for Divines.
In Houda Benyamina’s directorial debut, we’re given a raw coming-of-age story and a playful thriller woven into one. And while I wouldn’t call it a feminist film, it’s 100% about girl power.
This Claude Lelouch film was met with mixed reviews due to its cheesiness, but sometimes a little cheese atop a whole lotta love is just what we need. Oui?
The World Is Yours
Looking for a funny crime caper about quirky criminals unsure of what they’re doing? Look no further.
Colorful, silly, and pleasantly chaotic, The World Is Yours follows a Paris drug dealer with dreams of owning his own ice cream shop/exporting business. If you’re in the mood for a high-energy and outlandish comedy-action movie with a touch of sweetness, this one’s for you.
I Lost My Body
“Romance, mystery, and adventure intertwine as a young man falls in love and a severed hand scours Paris for its owner in this mesmerizing animated film.” Okay, Netflix, I’m hooked!
Among its many rave reviews, The Wrap called it “a life-affirming work of graphic poetry” and Variety dubbed it “a rare cinematic experience” where every second “feels like a discovery.”
Honestly, I still don’t fully know what to make of I Lost My Body but by the end, I was ready to do it again. If you’re looking for a uniquely moving animated film, I’d highly recommend giving this perplexing, sweet-natured, and thoroughly twisted journey a chance.
And yes, the aforementioned severed hand looks just like Thing from The Addam’s Family.
A must-see for sci-fi fans, this survival thriller from Alexandre Aja is impossible to look away from, both for its eerily subtle effects and gripping story.
Starring Mélanie Laurent, Oxygen tells the chilling tale of a woman who inexplicably wakes up in a cryogenic pod. Unaware of how she got there, she begins to question her sanity. There are a few notable plot holes, but overall, it’s a well-done suspense-fest and the acting is top-notch.
Blue Is The Warmest Color
You’re probably familiar with Blue Is The Warmest Color by now. After all, it was one of the most globally talked about films of 2013.
After receiving a standing ovation at Cannes, it ranked #1 in the Cannes Critics Poll. In recent years, the praise continues coming in–but not without criticism, too.
Rated NC-17 in the U.S., this modern love story is not for everyone. However, for those feeling a daringly honest depiction of self-discovery and sexual awakenings, this emotionally absorbing movie is an absolute must-see.
Funan is an outstanding work of animation in which the endlessly stunning visuals and mounting horrors of the situation are inseparably intertwined.
Voiced by Bérénice Bejo, Louis Garrel, and Colette Kieffer, this piercing glimpse into one family’s most harrowing battles, the painful historical events of the Khmer Rouge revolution, and the lasting effects of war will pull on every heartstring you’ve got.
The African Doctor
Of all the movies mentioned here, I’d suggest putting The African Doctor near the tippity top of your list.
Inspired by a true story, a doctor uproots his family from the Congo, starts a medical practice in a quaint French village, struggles to find acceptance, and ultimately perseveres.
This insightful story about culture shock puts a charming and lighthearted spin on the absurdity of ignorance while magnifying how openness can bring out the better in humanity. And it’s family-friendly, too!