The 35 best French films of the decade (and where to stream them)

Best French films of the decade 2010-2019

Why 35? Because we just couldn't include less than these 35 masterpieces from the past 10 years, with some that will surely become cult classics. What should we remember from the past decade when we look at French cinema? That it started off with massive box-office hits that took over America like The Artist and The Intouchables and ended with much more personal films that still managed to touched many French and Americans like Faces Places (Visages, Villages)Les Misérables or BPM, Beats Per Minute (120 battements par minute). Here is our, obviously subjective, list of the best French movies from 2010 to 2019, and where to stream those 35 must-see French films.

35 - Guy (Alex Lutz, 2018)

Let's start this list with an oddball that didn't get the love it deserved. Guy is a has-been singer, still living off his once great career. A young man discovers he's the performer's illegitmate son and decides to meet him by pretending to film a documentary about Guy's career. An fun, melancholic, mockumentary pushing the boundaries of comedy and paying an hommage to living artists.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, Google Play

34 - Pupille (Jeanne Henry, 2018)

Riveting is the word than comes to mind when watching Jeanne Henry's story of the first few weeks of a baby given up for adoption. Realistic and powerful, the movie is anythig but sappy. This doesn't mean that you won't have misty eyes by the  end however.

33 - What's in a Name? (Le prénom, Alexandre De La Patellière, Matthieu Delaporte, 2012)

Expertly written and cleverly performed, Le Prénom is a typical French comedy that takes place in one living-room around a dinner table full of wine, relying on its dialogue and talented cast. Even though this particular recipe for a film is a common one, when done right, the results are magnificent and worth while.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime (free), Google play, Vudu, iTunes

32 - Sink or Swim (Le grand bain, Gilles Lellouche, 2018)

A bittersweet and tender feel-good movie well above its genre, and a must-see just for its impressive cast: Benoît Poelvoorde, Guillaume Canet, Mathieu Amalric, Leïla Bekhti and Philippe Katerine among others.
Watch it on YouTube Movies


31 - The Trouble with You (En liberté, Pierre Salvadori, 2018)

Well-known in France and America for Priceless with Audrey Tautou, Pierre Salvadori delivered his best film in 2018 - once again with the French actress from Amelie, here in a supporting role. Exuberant, outrageous, En liberté is about a widow discovering that her husband sent an innocent man to jail to cover-up his own crimes. The film is inspired by the work of Blake Edwards, creating a burlesque universe and can rely on two comedians that made a mark in the past decade of French cinéma : Adèle Haenel and Pio Marmai.

30 - Carlos (Olivier Assayas, 2010)

Ambitious, epic, action-packed, and meticulous, Carlos is all that and much more thanks to its gripping true story made of politics, blood and terror centered around the infamous terrorist Carlos. Forget the shorter version, and go for the two part five-hour film which, trust us, you'll find much more hypnotic than most 1h 30m features.
Watch it on Amazon Prime, or with  the IFC Films channel on Amazon


29 - Sorry Angel (Plaire, aimer et courir vite, Christophe Honoré, 2018)

Not as successful as Love Songs (Les Chansons d'Amour), Christophe Honoré's Sorry Angel is a vibrant and delicate drama about the courage of love, elevated by witty dialogue.
Watch it on Netflix, YouTube MoviesAmazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu

28 - The Past (Le Passé, 2013, Asghar Farhadi)

Another masterpiece from Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) and another powerful, intimate drama boasted by a thought-provoking story of secrets and lies.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play

27 - The New Girlfriend (Une nouvelle amie, François Ozon, 2014)

The last decade belongs to François Ozon, who directed 7 films (!), all so different yet all made with the distinctive touch of its director. Although not the most well-reviewed, the humorous, bold, suspensful, dark comedy The New Girlfriend is our personal favorite for its incredible opening scene and for the fabulous performances of Romain Duris, playing a widower who starts dressing in his dead wife's clothes and his intrigued wife's friend Anaïs Demoustier, who shares the secret with him and gets entangled in a messy situation.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime or with the Cohen Media Channel on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play


26 - Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu, Céline Sciamma, 2019)

A steamy period drama, visually splendid and brought to life by its two main actresses, Adèle Haenel and Noémie Merlant. It's coming out nationwide on Valentine's Day in America, so don't miss it!
Coming to U.S. theaters nationwide this Valentine's Day

25 - Les Misérables (Ladj Ly, 2019)

Shortlisted for the Oscar as we're writing these very words, Les Misérables is a tense, immersive experience in the projects of Paris, a part of France often absent from French cinema. With Ladj Ly's film, you'll find cinéma-vérité at its best.
In theaters starting from next week, then available with Amazon Prime. Check out the showtimes here (Baltimore, Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Portland...)

24 - In Bed with Victoria (Victoria, Justine Triet, 2016)

Not your typical rom-com, this French answer to Trainwreck is somewhere between a blockbuster screwball comedy and cinéma d'auteur. Virgine Efira shows us once again the great extent of her acting chops.
Watch it on Amazon Prime, Vudu

23 - Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuits, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, 2014)

Marion Cotillard delivers her best performance yet in this raw drama about a women trying to convince her colleagues to sacrifice their much-needed yearly bonuses to save her own job. Another compelling drama around working class by the Belgian brothers, two-time winners of the Palme d'Or.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, on Amazon Prime or with the IFC Films channel on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play


22 - My Golden Days (Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse, Arnaud Depleschin, 2015)

A vintage coming-of-age teen drama full of heartbreaks, laughs, betrayal, and love. Arnaud Depleschin's story-stelling talent shines once again in this melancholy film.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu


21 - Polisse (Maïwenn, 2011)

Gripping, brutal and above all, full of humanity, Polisse - which won the Jury Prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival - is another brilliant piece of cinema from Maïwenn. The ensemble cast is absolutely incredible, starting with Marino Foïs, Karine Viard and Joey Starr.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes

20 - My Life as a Zucchini (Ma vie de courgette, Claude Barras, 2016)

The only animated-film on our list isn’t really for very young children as it addresses some less than cheerful issues, but it’s funny and sweet enough to be liked by the whole family. Adorable and moving.
Available on Netflix, YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play


19 - Girlhood (Bandes de filles, Céline Sciamma, 2014)

Céline Sciamma (Water Lilies, Tomboy) has proven to be one of the best French screenwriters and directors of the past decade. In 2014, she freshened up the coming-of-age genre by giving it an overdue female-centric lens. A powerful film.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime or with the Strand Releasing channel on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play

18 - The Measure of a Man (La loi du marché, Stéphane Brizé, 2015)

With the personal story of one man (Vincent Lindon) fighting for his job and his identity, Stéphane Brizé talks about the situation of millions of workers facing a broken economical system and little by little losing faith in themselves and in others.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime

17 - 17 Girls (17 filles, Muriel Coulin, Delphine Coulin, 2011)

Loosely based on a true story that made the news in Massachusetts, 17 Girls focuses on a group of bored teenage girls who all make an irrevocable pact of getting pregnant together. A fascinating and honest look at adolescence, despair and innocence.
Watch it on Amazon Prime, iTunes

16 - BPM, Beats Per Minute (120 battements par minute, Robin Campillo, 2017)

The film masterfully captures a pivotal period in history, the AIDS epidemic in France. A beautiful movie about being alive and fighting for your life and the life of others. A movie both personal and universal.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play

15 - Custody (Jusqu’à la garde, Xavier Legrand, 2017)

Albeit not an easy watch, Custody takes a hard-hitting look at divorce and what it means for children. A gripping but difficult cinematic experience and an incredible debut feature for Xavier Legrand.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime (free), Vudu

14 - Raw (Grave, Julia Ducorneau, 2017)

The movie made the headlines in Cannes - American distributors fighting to get the US rights and to get the young director Julian Ducorneau to venture to Hollywood. Julia Ducournau's eerie tale of a vegetarian teenager who suddenly discovers an apetite for flesh will have you convinced that the French know scary in this coming-of-age story that turns bloody.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play

13 - The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011)

This black & white silent homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood became a worldwide success which had a happy ending at the Oscars, where the film won the award for Best Film. Sweet, poignant, poetic, beautifully acted by Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Béjo (and the dog!), The Artist became an instant classic of the decade.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play


12 - Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015)

Directed by the Franco-Turkish director Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Mustang (only in Turkisch language) is an enraging and sometimes uplifting drama about five free-spirited teenaged sisters imprisoned by their family and forced to marry much older men. Riveting.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime or with the Cohen Media channel on Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes

11 - Breathe (Respire, Mélanie Laurent, 2014)

Mélanie Laurent's Breathe begins as a coming-of-age story that evolves into a chilling psychological drama with unforeseen plot twists as the relationship between the two teenagers quickly becomes uncomfortable as one of them reveals herself as being both fragile and increasingly manipulative. Lou de Laâge and Joséphine Japy are both marvellous.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play

10 - My King (Mon roi, Maïwenn, 2015)

The second film from Maïwenn on our list. My King is a thought-provoking melodrama about a woman looking back at a destructive and suffocating relationship. Emmanuel Bercot rightfully won the award for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, TubiTV (Free)

9 - See You Up There (Au revoir là-haut, 2017)

Poetic, off the wall, moving, hilarious - Albert Dupontel's masterpiece about two survivors from the Great War is everything you want in a film and is undoubtedly one of the best French film in recent years.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play

8 - The Intouchables (Intouchables, Eric Toledano, Olivier Nakache, 2011)

One of the biggest box-office hits of all time for a French film (even in the U.S., despite mixed reviews), The Intouchables is not suprisingly already a cult film. An exhilarating story of culture clash, carried by the performances of Omar Sy and François Cluzet.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes

7 - Elle (Paul Verhoeven, 2016)

Isabelle Huppert gives, as usual, an outstanding performance in Paul Verhoeven's gripping and transgressive psychological thriller. A unique film that went on to win many prizes including Best Film at the César Awards and Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play

6 - Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2014)

A timely French-Mauritanian drama about a powerless village ruled by the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists. A beautiful and sometimes even funny love letter to Africa's fight against religious extremism.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime or with the Cohen Media channel on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu

5 - Rust and Bone (De rouille et d’os, Jacques Audiard, 2012)

A vibrant love story between a struggling single father helping a whale trainer recover her will to live following a terrible accident that leaves her confined to a wheelchair. It might not sound so appealing to you right now but make no mistake, no French drama was as gripping and raw as Rust and Bone, thanks in part to the mesmorizing performance of Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play


4 - Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)

Like with so many Michael Haneke film, Amour is a tough watch. The story of a couple in their 80's having their lasting love put to the test after the wife suffers a stroke is above all a beautiful piece of filmaking and acting (Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert). A tender yet difficult and realistic look at the final years, it's a profound film that took on an impressive amount of prizes, among them the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, the César award for Best Film and the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime

3 - Declaration of War (La guerre est déclarée, Valérie Donzelli, 2011)

A true and tragic love story about a couple who must face the ultimate test when they discover their new born child is very ill. Based on their own story, Jérémie Elkaïm and Valérie Donzelli wrote the shocking and heartbreaking tribulation of their lives as new parents, and turned it into a script that Donzelli directs and brings to fruition. The choice to play themselves adds a layer of revelation and storytelling that is so honest and raw, you feel that you know them personally by the time the credits roll.  Along a playful and eclectic soundtrack that accompanies beautiful closeups and cuts, the film isn't necessarily impactful because of the subject matter. What stays with you is the overwhelming sense of strength and positivity that the couple decides to accomplish together. An honest and touching film about love, and courage.
Watch it on YouTube Movies, Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes

2 - Faces, Places (Visages Villages, Agnès Varda, 2017)

The ultimate buddy movie. Agnès Varda and JR embraked together on a poignant photographic journey through rural France and gave us a film that will surely give you (back) faith in humanity. Faces, Places is a tribute to art, to France and to random encounters. Agnès Varda's career couldn't have ended on a better note with a film that is everything we always loved about her: fun, inspiring, charming, unexpected, and whimsical.
Watch it on Amazon Prime or with the Cohen Media channel on Amazon, Vudu

1 - Blue is the Warmest Color (La Vie d'Adèle, Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013)

Once the credits roll, you feel exhausted. By the rawness and intensity of the love-story between Adèle, the fragile 15-year old climbing to adulthood who suddently becomes fascinated and attracted by the girl with the blue hair, and Emma, the confident art student. Abdelattif Kechiche's controversial film is a tearjerkingly beautiful testament to young romance with all its highs, lows and violence. Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux who received the Palme d'Or with Abdellatif Kechiche give two impressive and comitted performances. One of the greatest love stories of the 21st century.
Watch it on Netflix, Sundance Now, Amazon Prime, Vudu


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