Top Underrated Films Available on Hulu
With the quarantine seemingly having no definitive end, it looks like I’ll be glued to my TV with a snack in my lap for the foreseeable future. During this time, I’ve grown to appreciate streaming services even more than I already had before. One that really stood out was Hulu – especially because they had two of my favorite films of 2019, Parasite and Portrait of a Lady on Fire, recently added and available to stream.
Going through their list of movies, I noticed a lot of underrated/under appreciated films. I personally define an underrated film as one that flew under the radar, it might have been received well by critics, but the general moviegoing audience isn’t even aware of its existence. I know a lot of people are in the same position I am (having way more free time than they’re used to) so if you need some fresh stories to check out, below is a list of some of my favorite underrated films available on Hulu!
Check out the list below:
Booksmart (dir. Olivia Wilde)
Rarely do we ever get a chance to experience a coming-of-age teen comedy through the POV of young women, and Olivia Wilde brought us a genuinely hilarious film that really nails the teen into adulthood transition. Two academic overachievers, Amy and Molly, realize they missed out on important moments in their high school years because they were too focused on their future. Right before graduation, they decide to cram the four years of memories they missed out on all into one night. The ensemble of high schoolers are perfect, each of them embodying people we all knew (or maybe were). As witty and intelligent as it is, Booksmart shines with the nuanced heart and compassion it delivers. Having that at it’s core is what truly makes it special. By the end, you’ll wish you were friends with Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein in real life.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (dir. Celine Sciamma)
A profound period piece about love and art, Celine Sciamma’s romantic drama glimmers with pure authenticity. Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is commissioned to secretly paint the portrait of Heloise (Adèle Haenel), a woman reluctant to be married. As they spend time together, their companionship and intimacy grows into something life-altering for the both of them. Every single frame is like a painting- the visual poetry is elevated by the wonderful performances from Merlant and Haenel, who exhibit such genuine chemistry. I was ecstatic to hear that Hulu was adding Portrait of a Lady on Fire to their service as it was easily one of my favorite films of 2019 and not enough eyes caught it in theaters! If you’re looking to watch a beautiful love story, I highly recommend checking this one out if you’re ready to be DEEP in your feelings.
Little Woods (dir. Nia DaCosta)
This is a spectacular writing and directing debut from Nia DaCosta (who’s helming the next Candyman set to release later this year)! Little Woods stars Tessa Thompson and Lily James as two estranged sisters brought together by tough circumstances after their mother’s passing, going to extreme lengths to resolve the conflicts in their lives. It’s a quietly intense thriller, in thanks to DaCosta’s screenplay/direction, with great performances by both Thompson and James. If you’re in the mood for something grim, this is the movie to watch.
Luce (dir. Julius Onah)
Luce is a pretty recent release, but it was entirely slept on so I had to add it to the list! This film tells the story of a teen who was adopted from a war torn country by white parents, became a model student, and is beloved by his town and peers. The facade of the golden child crumbles as his teacher calls his parents for a meeting to break the news that he wrote an extremely disturbing essay for an assignment, raising the question of who he truly is. Set in Virginia, the town itself is haunting. Every single character made me feel uneasy in their own way, and I loved it. The film is incredibly smart and raises many questions, with complex themes and racially-charged ideas presented to the audience to have to unravel themselves. The ensemble includes talents such as Octavia Spencer, Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, and a surprisingly menacing performance from Kelvin Harrison Jr. If you want to watch something extremely thought-provoking, this Julius Onah film is a must see.
Skeleton Twins (dir. Craig Johnson)
This is an excellent transition to film from SNL veterans Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. They play twins, and after an event causes the estranged siblings to reconnect after years, they evaluate their lives and how they ended up in their current situations. It’s an introspective look into adulthood and familial relationships that is so sweet and genuine, even the dark humor is still charming (mostly due to Wiig and Hader’s comedic timing). It can be heavy and bleak at times, but I’d recommend it for anyone who enjoys family dramedies. The 2014 film had a limited release and slipped through the moviegoing audience’s hands, but I really think it’s a quiet gem.
Ingrid Goes West (dir. Matt Spicer)
This 2017 film contains a relevant premise paired with witty dialogue and smart humor that makes it stand out from other comedies in the last decade. Aubrey Plaza plays Ingrid, who is obsessed with the idea of Instagram-fame and latches onto influencer Taylor, played by Elizabeth Olsen. She sneaks her way into the oblivious Taylor’s life, quickly becoming her friend. It also has a great supporting role from O’Shea Jackson Jr. This film is truly something special, the exaggerated reality really had me deep in reflection about our generation’s relationship with the internet and social media. If this quarantine has you feeling existential about all of that (like I have been) give this film a watch to have all of your nightmares affirmed!
Little Monsters (dir. Abe Forsythe)
This movie is the definition of underrated! Three adults: a musician, teacher, and television personality fall into a situation that forces them to protect a group of children from a zombie outbreak. With a premise that is outlandish, everyone involved pulls this off with such style. Writer/director Abe Forsythe truly captures the innocence of adolescence in the real world, grounding this premise to create a story that is wholesome, funny, and genuinely enjoyable. Lupita Nyong’o stars as the teacher, giving us a very charming performance in the horror/comedy. Josh Gad is absolutely hilarious, completely nailing his line delivery. Even if you think the zombie trope is tired, I can assure you that you’ve never seen anything quite like this before.