Netflix Canada boasts an impressive roster of foreign language films. But you already knew that (right?).
I watch French films to keep up my grasp on the language, which having left Montreal at age 14 I try with some success to maintain at an 8th-grade level. I love French films for their originality (compared to Hollywood’s endless stream of sequels and reboots) and startling array of strong leading ladies. To follow is my list of what I consider to be Netflix’s best, all of which feature English subtitles. In no particular order:
- Romantics Anonymous (2010)
Watch two incredibly awkward people who share a passion for chocolate fall in love. Sounds like every relationship ever to me.
“The tale of two pathologically shy chocolate makers who are meant for each other but are too afraid to connect is a mug of warm cocoa with marshmallow topping that produces a comfy feel-good glow.”- Stephen Holden, New York Times
2. The Intouchables (2012)
A runaway hit both in France and abroad, this film will leave you with all the feels and warm-fuzzies.
“In this sentimental feel-good saga of an ultra-wealthy quadriplegic and the petty criminal who becomes his caretaker, the chemistry between the two lead actors goes a considerable way toward elevating the broad-strokes culture clash. That’s crucial to a film that is, in essence, a love story.” Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times
3. The Snows of Kilimajaro (2011)
As one critic on Rotten Tomatoes put it, “Contains no traces of Hemingway whatsoever. Good.” A subtly brilliant movie that reveals the inner complexities of a seemingly cut-and-dry decision, demanding that the viewer challenge their own values in asking themselves, how would I have reacted in this situation?
“This socialist-friendly film examines the dilemma a former union rep faces when he is robbed by an ex-coworker… He and his wife must decide whether arresting the unemployed Christophe is the right thing to do, especially when they learn that he supports two abandoned younger brothers.”- Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter
4. The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles (2014)
Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, a strong female cast makes this smart film shine.
“Two sisters are living very different lives and have nothing in common. Joséphine is a dowdy historian whose husband takes off to Kenya to breed crocodiles with his mistress and his wife’s money. Left struggling to raise two teenagers, Joséphine’s life could not be more different to her beautiful sister, Iris, who is rich, idle and bored. After becoming trapped in a lie of her own telling, Iris turns to her estranged sister and convinces her to write a historical romance novel. Iris will take the credit, while Joséphine will take the money. What could go wrong?”- Alliance French Film Festival website
5. Paris Follies
A shepherdess falls for an attractive younger man and follows him to Paris. While there, she falls for an attractive older man. Her husband Xavier follows her to Paris, hoping to save their marriage.
“Brigitte leaves her husband for a weekend affair in Paris. Far from a lavender fantasy full of late middle aged romantic clichés, the resulting film is rich in meaning and unexpected emotional insights.”- Jason Di Rosso, MovieTime, ABC Radio National
6. Amour (2012)
If you’re not crying for two hours straight at this unflinchingly beautiful, intimate, and heartbreaking portrait of love at the end of life, you are a heartless monster.
“Amour will, I believe, take its place alongside the greatest films about the confrontation of ageing and death.” -Philip French, The Guardian
7. Amelie (2001)
Classic movie, classic soundtrack.
“You see it, and later when you think about it, you smile.”- Roger Ebert