10 Essential A24 Films Every Film Buff Should Watch!
After a record-breaking number of victories at this past Sunday’s SAG Awards event, A24 is the hot studio of the moment. Coming from more humble, indie roots to now producing blockbusters of the year, here is a roundup of the essential films the studio has created thus far — with surely many more to come!
1. Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022)
As A24’s top-grossing and most popular film, everyone should knowEverything Everywhere All at Once, directed byDaniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. While a multiverse ensemble action flick, its core is philosophical — it perfectly balances absurd comedy with resonant themes regarding identity and the meaning of life. For her stunning performance as a disgruntled Laundromat owner who must save the universe, Michelle Yeoh has become the first Asian woman since the 1930s to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actress category. The film has already won two Golden Globes, four SAG awards, and five Critic’s Choice Awards; it is also nominated for a total of 11 Oscars, which is easy to see why with its snappy editing, amazing fight scenes, and notable wardrobe. Everything Everywhere All At Once is the fan favorite of A24, and of this year’s awards season. Stream it now on Showtime.
2. The Last Black Man In San Francisco (2019)
A Sundance darling, The Last Black Man In San Francisco is directorJoe Talbot’s 2019 debut which began as a teenage idea between Talbot and the film’s star, Jimmie Fails. Going from a Kickstarter-funded short film to full-length release by a powerhouse like A24, it is clear that the film was made with the passion and attentiveness of its creators. Beautiful and emotional, The Last Black Man In San Francisco displays the changes in a gentrifying city with a powerful personal voice. The gorgeous cinematography is notable, as is its intimate, strong acting. Available for rent on Prime Video and YouTube.
3. Lady Bird(2017)
Yes, a younger Timothée Chalamet is, in fact, in Lady Bird — as are Saoirse Ronan andBeanie Feldstein. The 2017 film is another debut, written and directed by Greta Gerwig, who would later go on to direct an extremely popular Little Womenadaptation and the upcoming, much-hyped Barbie live-action movie. Lady Bird as her first film is a discussion of what it means to grow up and find yourself, while also grappling with peer relationships and financial hardship. The relationship between Lady Bird and her mother is honest and relatable; the story is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always truthful to life. A gem of the coming-of-age genre, Lady Bird is a must-watch for young people trying to find their place in the world. Stream now on Paramount+.
4. The Farewell(2019)
Lulu Wang’s 2019 indie film — with a low $3 million budget — was a breakout success of the festival season which would go on to earn over seven times its budget in box office earnings. WithAwkwafina in the lead role, The Farewellis a dramedy about family, and the ideological clashes between first-generation and second-generation immigrants. It highlights the warm relationship of a grandmother with her granddaughter in the face of death and a big secret, based on a complicated personal story of the director. The Farewell is poignant, sentimental yet melancholy, a masterwork of Lulu Wang. Available to rent on Prime Video, YouTube, and Apple TV.
Ari Aster, in his directorial debut, sealed his position among cult horror and would continue to do so with later A24 filmMidsommar. Hereditary is what really put A24 on the map in the mainstream limelight, and was, at the time of its 2018 release, their highest-grossing film to-date. While A24 has a history of producing intriguing and unique horror,Hereditary twists horror genre conventions in shocking ways. The real winner of the film comes, though, in Toni Collette’s performance as a grieving mother; she goes through depression and anger in ways which are frightening, brutal, and utterly believable. Stream now on HBO Max.
6. Green Room(2015)
2015 filmGreen Room may have been a box office flop, but it retains its position in early A24 lore as one of the most terrifying horror films of all time. With palpable tension and sickening gore,Green Room is a psychological thriller which is not for the faint of heart. It features Patrick Stewart as the blood-curdling leader of a white nationalist group, a performance which is compelling and eerie. With a punk-rock soundtrack and the tensest escape mission maybe ever, Green Room deserves more attention in A24’s legacy of twisted, knockout horror. Stream now to HBO Max.
Moonlight is a Barry Jenkins masterpiece, and remarkable in that it is the first LGBTQ+ film with an all-Black cast. It is the tender coming-of-age story of a young black man dissecting his relationship with masculinity, Blackness, and his own sexuality. Winning the Oscar for the Best Picture in 2017, Moonlight presents an extraordinary and compelling voice which is equal parts sad and hopeful. Every shot in the film is composed like a painting — the color grading is particularly notable in how it translates variances in mood and time. While a slower burn, Moonlight is a story that makes the audience hold its breath. It is cinema as art in the highest form. Stream now on Showtime.
While another Ari Aster movie, and yes, another in the horror genre, any list for A24 would be incomplete without Midsommar, in whichFlorence Pugh was the breakout star. Released in 2019, Midsommar is a cult — literally — movie which takes place in rural Sweden. It grapples with grief and the aging/dying process with a rawness and uncommon existential fear. Even with the vivid performance of Pugh, the best part of Midsommar may be in its visuals. As a folk horror piece, the film makes full use of the beauty of the Swedish countryside, and the gorgeous, vibrant scenes serve to emphasize the true terror below the mask of loveliness. Midsommar is intense, shocking, and never boring. Stream now on Showtime.
9. A Ghost Story(2017)
This is one of the more hidden gems of A24, but despite its shoe-string $100,000 budget, it raked in almost $2 million at the box office. It is a powerful and broad epic of the cycle of life, seen through the perspective of a rudimentary ghost played by Ben Affleck, though he is never fully seen. There’s grief, loss, and rebirth, as the key figure remains stuck in one spot with time moving faster and faster through eternity. It’s an oddball, arthouse type of movie, but it has beautiful performances, particularly by Rooney Mara at the start. The film is slow, then fast, and calls into question the viewers’ perception of time and existence in a thought-provoking way. Its dominant mood is perfectly melancholic. Stream now on Showtime.
10. Uncut Gems(2019)
Funny guyAdam Sandler may be the star of this film, but don’t let it fool you -- this is a ridiculously suspenseful drama. With other roles played by Julia Fox,Idina Menzel, and a feature by The Weeknd, the star power is high on this one. It’s a high-stakes gambling movie which sees the fast collapse of a guy whose life is already on the decline. Although difficult to watch due to the stressful nature of the central conflict, Uncut Gems pushes tension to its limits and gives a dark take on the human condition. The movie’s fast pace, groundbreaking performances, and overall edgy mood are what make Uncut Gems another crucial A24 pick. Stream now on Showtime.
Tune into the Oscars on March 12th to see how Everything Everywhere All At Once performs, and let us know what your favorite A24 film is!