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1. Le Mystère Henri Pick (2019)
English Title: The Mystery of Henri Pick
IMDb: 6.7 / 10
In a library dedicated to rejected manuscripts, a young editor discovers a fascinating book that immediately becomes a bestseller after being published. However, the literary critic Jean-Michel Rouche can’t believe that the masterpiece was – supposedly – written by a pizzeria owner who died two years earlier, and he thus embarks on a mission to discover who the author really is.
2. La Délicatesse (2011)
English Title: Delicacy
Genre: Romantic Dramedy
IMDb: 6.6 / 10
After tragically losing the love of her life in a car accident, Nathalie buries herself in her work, losing all joy and taste for life. Until the day she suddenly kisses Markus, a random Swedish colleague from work.
3. Ensemble, C’est Tout (2007)
English Title: Hunting and Gathering
Genre: Romantic Drama
IMDb: 6.8 / 10
This is the story of three young people from very different family and social backgrounds who somehow meet and start living together as flat mates.
The movie is mostly focused on the evolution of these relationships rather than a particular storyline and may thus seem a little boring and slow-paced.
4. La Tête en Friche (2010)
English Title: My Afternoons With Margueritte
IMDb: 7.2 / 10
This is the sweet story of Germain, a simple and mostly illiterate man who meets an elderly woman from the upper-class in a park. She will spark in him the desire to read and help him along the journey.
5. La Promesse de l’Aube (2017)
English Title: Promise at Dawn
Genre: Biographical Drama
IMDb: 7.2 / 10
This is the unbelievable story of Romain Gary, a French Jew of Polish origins whose mother has such big dreams for him that he ends up fulfilling all of them – out of love for her. It’s worth reading his bio on Wikipedia after watching the movie that is based on his autobiography with the same name.
(Warning: Unfortunately, the movie contains a few very graphic nude scenes.)
6. Loin des Hommes (2014)
English Title: Far From Men
Genre: Drama, War, Western
IMDb: 7.2 / 10
An Algerian teacher of French origins is entrusted with the task to bring a prisoner – a farmer charged with the murder of his cousin – to the next town in order to be judged and put to death. The journey on foot through the desert filled with rebels is not without danger.
If you enjoy old western movies, you will like this one.
7. L’Écume des Jours (2013)
English Title: Mood Indigo
Genre: Dramedy, Fantasy
IMDb: 6.5 / 10
This book has become a classic. I even had to read it in high school. I didn’t like it because it’s very surrealist and the end is depressing (spoiler alert). But I’m telling you this because unless you watch the movie with the proper mindset and “lenses” the story was intended to be read / watched with, you might find it too bizarre to enjoy. Consider this movie a piece of fiction mixed with surrealist art.
I particularly enjoyed the cast thrown together for this movie: Omar Sy, Gad Elmaleh, Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris.
8. Un Sac de Billes (2017)
English Title: A Bag of Marbles
Genre: Biographical & Historical Drama
IMDb: 7.3 / 10
This movie is based on a biography. A Jewish family in Paris flees the German-occupied city separately with the plan to meet again in the South of France that is still free.
The story retraces the flight of the two youngest brothers without their parents and older brothers and how they survive the dangers of the trip.
9. La Confession (2016)
English Title: The Confession
Genre: Drama, War, Forbidden Romance
IMDb: 6.6 / 10
A new priest, Léon Morin, comes to a small provincial town in France during World War II. Barny, a young atheist woman who believes in communism and whose husband is a prisoner of war in Germany, works in a post office to provide for herself and her young daughter. Exasperated by the town ladies’ swooning talk about the new priest, she finally decides to meet him in the confessional in order to provoke him and his beliefs.
10. La Gloire de mon Père (1990)
English Title: My Father’s Glory
Genre: Biographical Drama, Adventure
IMDb: 7.6 / 10
A classic by Marcel Pagnol, a famous French writer of the early 20th century. The movies are based on his autobiographical books where he retraces his childhood holidays in the South of France. (Heavy Southern French accent included!)
The movie has a sequel called “Le Château de ma mère”. Perhaps not as fun and lighthearted as the first but still worth watching. Both movies are very child-friendly and can be watched as a family.