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The Best Foreign-Language Films of 2015, According to the Criticwire Network

The Best Foreign-Language Films of 2015, According to the Criticwire Network

Throughout the year, members of Indiewire’s Criticwire Network — comprised of nearly 500 critics from around the world — have been adding their grades and reviews to our database of film pages. Below is a collection of documentaries that have been released in theaters (or on widely available streaming sites) during that time that have a) received 10 or more reviews and b) maintained a grade average of “B+” or higher. Averages and totals are subject to change, but we’ll update the list with new additions as notable titles make their way onto theaters or VOD screens across the country. 

This is just one of our running list of the best-reviewed films of the year. For more of the top titles of 2015, be sure to peruse our collections of the best documentaries and the best overall films. Every time we update any of these lists, we gather the analysis of the overall changes and additions at the Criticwire blog.

The Best Foreign-Language Films of 2015, According to the Criticwire Network
(last updated: December 31st)

1. Timbuktu
A- / 59 reviews
dir. Abderrahmane Sissako

2. Wild Tales
A- / 55 reviews
dir. Damián Szifrón

3. The Tribe
A- / 46 reviews
dir. Myroslav Slaboshpytsky

4. Phoenix
A- / 45 reviews
dir. Christian Petzold

4. Son of Saul
A- / 45 reviews
dir. László Nemes

6. The Assassin
A- / 42 reviews
dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien

7. A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
A- / 34 reviews
dir. Roy Andersson

8. Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
A- / 28 reviews
dir. Ronit & Shlomi Elkabetz

9. About Elly
A- / 27 reviews
dir. Asghar Farhadi

10. Hard to Be a God
A- / 23 reviews
dir. Aleksei German

11. Blind
A- / 20 reviews
dir. Eskil Vogt

11. Taxi
A- / 20 reviews
dir. Jafar Panahi

11. Victoria
A- / 20 reviews
dir. Sebastian Schipper

14. Güeros
A- / 19 reviews
dir. Alonso Ruizpalacios

14. Horse Money
A- / 19 reviews
dir. Pedro Costa

14. The Second Mother
A- / 19 reviews
dir. Anna Muylaert

17. Arabian Nights
A- / 18 reviews
dir. Miguel Gomes

18. Breathe
A- / 16 reviews
dir. Mélanie Laurent

19. Li’l Quinquin
A- / 13 reviews
dir. Bruno Dumont

19. Of Horses and Men
A- / 13 reviews
dir. Benedikt Erlingsson

21. Court
A- / 10 reviews
dir. Chaitanya Tamhane

22. Mommy
B+ / 61 reviews
dir. Xavier Dolan

23. The Duke of Burgundy
B+ / 37 reviews
dir. Peter Strickland

24. Girlhood
B+ / 36 reviews
dir. Céline Sciamma

25. Eden
B+ / 34 reviews
dir. Mia Hansen-Løve

26. Jauja
B+ / 32 reviews
dir. Lisandro Alonso

27. Saint Laurent
B+ / 28 reviews
dir. Bertrand Bonello

28. Tom at the Farm
B+ / 27 reviews
dir. Xavier Dolan

29. The Wonders
B+ / 24 reviews
dir. Alice Rohrwacher

30. Mustang
B+ / 21 reviews
dir. Deniz Gamze Ergüven

31. Amour Fou
B+ / 20 reviews
dir. Jessica Hausner

31. Beloved Sisters
B+ / 20 reviews
dir. Dominik Graf

33. La Sapienza
B+ / 18 reviews
dir. Eugène Green

34. Human Capital
B+ / 15 reviews
dir. Paolo Virzi

34. The Kindergarten Teacher
B+ / 15 reviews
dir. Nadav Lapid

34. Stations of the Cross
B+ / 15 reviews
dir. Dietrich Brüggemann

37. When Marnie Was There
B+ / 14 reviews
dir. Hiromasa Yonebayashi

38. Labyrinth of Lies
B+ / 12 reviews
dir. Giulio Ricciarelli

38. A Wolf at the Door
B+ / 12 reviews
dir. Fernando Coimbra

40. 10,000 KM
B+ / 11 reviews
dir. Carlos Marques-Marcet

40. Love at First Fight
B+ / 11 reviews
dir. Thomas Cailley

40. The New Girlfriend
B+ / 11 reviews
dir. François Ozon

43. 1001 Grams
B+ / 10 reviews
dir. Bent Hamer

43. The Princess of France
B+ / 10 reviews
dir. Matías Piñeiro

43. When Evening Falls on Bucharest, or Metabolism
B+ / 10 reviews
dir. Corneliu Porumboiu

For a similar overview of the best international titles from past years, we also gathered lists for 2013 and 2014.

READ MORE: The Best-Reviewed Indies of 2015, So Far

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Where’s Grandma’s Day?! Saw it in Germany Film Festival in Cottbus, think it’s polish. Also Fedors Reise Durch Moskau am ende des 21 was my discovery, russian movie!

Donald Clarke

Erm… How is The Duke of Burgundy, a film wholly in English, a foreign-language film?


The Duke of Burgundy is English language


hi, thanks for your really wonderful list.Just wanted to say link of the movie VICTORIA is false. when we open Victoria, comes Taxi.



Joe S

Just checked the Critiwire ratings. WINTER SLEEP should have been listed as #4 on this chart based on the chart’s formula. TANGERINES and MUSTANG might have gotten on if more reviews had be given out.

Joe S

Seems like this list came out too early. I’m sure THE WONDERS hasn’t been seen by enough critics yet since it only opened in L.A today and still has to play much of the country – same with MUSTANG which has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating with Top Critics). And, wither WINTER SLEEP and TANGERINES? They also opened in L.A. this year, but seem to be sloughed off as a 2014 movies even though their release dates were virtually the same as TIMBUKTU. WILD TALES actually WAS released in L.A in 2014 – so the cutoff date for inclusion on this ‘survey’ seems arbitrary. That said, ABOUT ELLY, PHOENIX, GETT and HUMAN CAPITOL among others are very worthy entries.


Where is Ixcanul?


Does the reissue of Luchino Visconti’s masterful ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS count? Got my vote as the best, hands down. You


No El Club or Mustang???


I love seeing The Duke of Burgundy on any list – It’s my favourite film of the year – but that is an English-language movie.


goodnight mommy?


More people need to review COURT!

Junior Schutt

I agree !!! Pigeon, Jauja, Second MOther, Phoneix..all on my Best 2015 List. + ARABIAN NIGHTS

Si Edwards

I wholeheartedly agree that ‘The Duke of Burgundy’ should rank highly on many lists, but foreign language films was not one I’d envisaged, seeing as it’s in English.


If this is 2015 release in the US, Id vote for Ida being the best film of the year. Wolf Totem is also a deep and important film.


Could Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy possibly be an English language film?


2015? Some of these films are even before 2010. About Elly was made in 2009 !! Critics need to wake up!


Winter Sleep


and the club?


Love at First Fight is one of my favorites. I see it has a B rating so it just missed the cut. Good film, though.


*Tu dors Nicole: dir. Stéphane Lafleur


What about Kumiko ?!?

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