(Updated: April 17, 2020) If you’re looking for some great European movies to stream online, here are some of the best choices available on Netflix and Amazon Prime:
1. Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) – Netflix
Director: Olivier Assayas
In Olivier Assayas’ superb showbiz drama, Kristen Stewart plays Valentine, the personal assistant to celebrated actress Maria (Juliette Binoche). The ageing actress is trying to come to terms with her changing position in the global celebrity culture. The film’s set-up might remind one of the classic drama All About Eve (1950). Nonetheless, this story centered on the complexities of female relationships shares a lot in common with Persona and MulhollandDrive. Above all, the complex, multi-layered relationship between Binoche and Stewart is thoroughly captivating. Stewart’s Val is a brilliantly written character, who quietly observes stardom from the periphery. She received the French Caesar Award for her role — the first non-French actress to win the award.
2. Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013) – Netflix
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
The French romantic film Blue Is the Warmest Color follows a young teenager through her journey into adulthood as she struggles with her sexual preferences. The movie paints a beautiful picture of lesbian romance and the underlying realities and strifes that people in all relationships have to follow while covering it with a homosexual tone. That’s the USP of the film. It does not force the theme nor does it make a case for it. It considers this love as a normal occurrence and builds upon it, using characters and not political agendas.
3. Happy as Lazzaro (2018) – Netflix
Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Alice Rohrwacher’s enigmatic magical-realist fable offers a unique take on social injustice and class division. Set in a pastoral haven of sharecropping Italian peasants, the titular character is a passive yet sanctified young man. He is witness to the timeless exploitation of landless poor by the powerful. Nevertheless, Rohrwacher comments on the ruthless practices of capitalism through an unconventional and a bit confounding temporal shift.
4. Personal Shopper (2016) – Netflix
Director: Olivier Assayas
Olivier Assayas’ strange and intriguing drama chronicles a grief-ridden young woman’s inner journey. American expat Maureen lives in Paris and works as a personal shopper for a wealthy socialite Kyra. She moves to a dilapidated mansion outside the city, hoping to make contact with her twin brother, who earlier died there. Things become more complicated, when Maureen receives text messages from a mysterious personality. One look at Kristen’s face — a face that brims with insecurity, fragility and sadness — and we know she is perfect as Maureen. Kristen Stewart marvelously carries this narrative full of repressed emotions with a very subtle physical performance. Similarly, Maureen completes Kristen’s wonderful transformation from being the star of the Twilight franchise to a respected indie actress.
5. God’s Own Country (2017) – Netflix
Director: Francis Lee
Francis Lee’s raw and heartfelt gay romantic drama is set on a ranch in northern England. Johnny, the sheep farmer, lives with his ailing father and reticent grandmother. His future in the farm looks bleak. Later, Johnny’s father hires Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant worker as the caretaker. Johnny initially resents Gheorghe. Gradually though, both find mutual love and happiness. The film is shot in the windy, picturesque landscape of the Moors, which adds to the characters’ emotional dynamics. The film also pays due homage to Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain.
6. I, Daniel Blake (2016) – Netflix
Director: Ken Loach
I can’t remember the last time a movie had me so effing pissed off, shaken up and in tears. Subjects about everyday people hold a great deal of attraction. It takes incredible courage to take on stories that are about struggles of ordinary people and yet crafted in an extraordinary engaging manner. For me, it’s one of the most underrated films of its times. (Milind Dhaimade)
7. Les Diaboliques (1955) – Amazon Prime
Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
The tangible sense of foreboding etched in French filmmaker H.G. Clouzot’s 1955 murder mystery is its greatest strength. Its visual construction and occasional scenes of terror are the pinnacle of cinematic suspense. The less learned about the plot, the more you’re likely to enjoy. Despite the contrived nature of the plot, Clouzot transforms it into a scarily believable scenario.
Note: This title is available outside of India.
8. LadyBird (2018) – Netflix
Director: Greta Gerwig
My favorite film of 2017, LadyBird is one of the most personal and authentic coming of age stories Hollywood has ever produced. The guilt, the shame, the freedom, the confidence, Greta Gerwig manages to accurately describe every aspect of this teenage girl, while giving us important life lessons on the way. Saoririse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf give two standout performances in this mother-daughter story making it extremely relatable irrespective of gender or race. Hilarious and heartleft at the same time, this tribute to adolescence is a brilliant watch that none of us should miss. (Yashvardhan Singh)
9. Cold War (2018) – Netflix
Director: Paweł Pawlikowski
Pawel Pawlikowski follows up his Oscar-winning Ida with a mesmerizing romantic drama, set in post-war Poland. It presents the story of an intense affair between a composer named Wiktor and his free-spirited, talented student Zula. Joanna Kulig is a revelation as the clever and conflicted Zula. Pawlikowski’s use of crisp black and white cinematography offers a visual feast for the eyes and senses. With every frame artfully composed, this tragic tale of repression and love casts a spell over the viewers.
There we are! These were some of the best European movies you can stream on Netflix and Amazon Prime right now. What did we miss? Share your favourite films in the comments below.