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The 10 Indie Films You Must See This May

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 3, 2012 at 12:51PM

May is about to offer quite the selection to movie-goers, with over 30 films listed on Indiewire's May calendar.
TWC "The Intouchables"

May is about to offer quite the selection to movie-goers, with over 30 films listed on Indiewire's May calendar.

As an extension of our recent summer movie preview, Indiewire is offering the first of four monthly summer "must-see" lists to make cinematic decision-making as easy as possible this summer.

From runaway teens to vibrators to Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, check out Indiewire's picks for your 10 best options, and then check out May's full calendar, as there are many worthy films that didn't end up making this list.

1. Moonrise Kingdom  (May 25)

Director: Wes Anderson
Distributor: Focus Features

Why is it a "Must See"? Wes Anderson! The director follows 2009's animated "Fantastic Mr. Fox" with both return to live action and to the youth-oriented narratives that made so many fall in love with his earlier work.

Set in the 1960s, "Moonrise Kingdom" follows a pair of 12-year-olds (newcomers Jared Hayward and Kara Gilman) who decide to run away into the wildnerness. Their move prompts a considerable search party in their honor made up of the rest of the film's amazing cast (Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand... though notably, not Owen Wilson for the first time in Anderson history). The film opens the Cannes Film Festival om May 16th, followed quickly by a release Stateside. It's surely the most anticipated films of the summer for Anderson fans, and probably a few Anderson skeptics as well.

Check out the film's trailer:

2. The Intouchables (May 25)

Directors: Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

Why is it a "Must See"? Already the second highest-grossing non-English language film ever (behind "The Passion of the Christ"), Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano's "The Intouchables" has been a remarkable sensation all of the world, grossing over $325 million. So what will that translate into when the film comes to America? Je ne sais pas. But it's easy to see why people have already taken to the film's feel-good inspirational story. It tells the development of the improbable friendship between Philippe, a rich quadriplegic, and Driss, a young offender of Senegalese descent, who is hired as his live-in caregiver. Sounds a little "Driving Monsieur Daisy," sure... But that hasn't stopped the rest of the world from embracing it.

Check out the film's trailer:

3. Hysteria (May 18)

Director: Tanya Wexler
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Why is it a "Must See"? A romantic comedy set around the invention of the vibrator, this Victorian-era film from director Tanya Wexler ("Finding North") definitely offers a premise unique to its studio rom-com comrades. With a cast led by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Felicity Jones and Rupert Everett, this historical sex romp is a lot of good, old-fashioned saucy fun.

Check out the film's trailer:

4. Where Do We Go Now? (May 11), 5. Elena (May 16) and 6. Polisse (May 18) and 7. Oslo, August 31st (May 25)

Directors: Nadine Labaki ("Where"), Andrey Zvyagintsev ("Elena"), Maïwenn ("Polisse"), Joachim Trier ("Oslo")
Distributors: Sony Pictures Classics ("Where"), Zeitgeist Films ("Elena"), Sundance Selects ("Polisse"), Strand Releasing ("Oslo")

Why is it a "Must See"? Cannes quadruple feature! While the 2012 Cannes Film Festival takes place over the pond, American audiences can check out some of the best films from last year's festival as Joachim Trier's "Oslo, August 31st," Andrey Zvyagintsev's "Elena," Nadine Labaki's "Where Do We Go Now" and Maïwenn's "Polisse" all hits US screen this May. Hailing from Lebanon, Russia, France and Norway, respectively.

Check out the films' trailers:

8. God Bless America (May 11)

Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
Distributor: Magnet Releasing

Why is it a "Must See"? Comedian-turned-director Bobcat Goldthwait follows up his "World's Greatest Dad" with another very dark comedy. In "God Bless America," he gives us Frank (Joel Murray), a jobless, loveless man who decides to give up on life, grab a gun and kill the folks who he considers the most repellent members of American society. And he's not doing it alone. He finds an unexpected accomplice in a 16-year-old girl who is similarly fed up with her world.

Check out the film's trailer:

9. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (May 4)

Director: John Madden
Distributor: Fox Searchlight

Why is it a "Must See"? Already a huge hit in its native UK, John Madden's "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" gives us two of the greatest living actresses -- Judi Dench and Maggie Smith -- together in one film. Based on the 2004 novel "These Foolish Things," the film finds Dench and Smith part of a group of British retirees (Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton and Tom Wilkinson are among the others) staying in an ancient retirement hotel in India. As extreme counterprogramming to "The Avengers" as it gets, "Exotic Marigold Hotel" is sure to be a charming alternative option.

Check out the film's trailer:

10. Virginia (May 18)

Director: Dustin Lance Black
Distributor: Entertainment One

Why is it a "Must See"? Nearly two years after it debuted to poor reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, Dustin Lance Black's directorial effort "Virginia" (formerly "What's Wrong With Virginia?") is finally hitting theaters. So despite that, why is it a must-see? The jury is still out, but Black has reportedly made some considerable re-edits to the film starring Jennifer Connelly as mentally unstable woman having an affair with a small-town sheriff (Ed Harris)

Check out the film's trailer, which reflects the new edit: