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by Paula Bernstein, Peter Knegt, Eric Kohn, Nigel M. Smith and Alison Willmore
January 9, 2014 12:44 PM
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The 50 Indie Films Indiewire Wants to See in 2014

"Love is Strange."

"Love is Strange"
Director: Ira Sachs
Cast: Alfred Molina, John Lithgow
Distributor: None as of yet
Release Date: Debuts at this month’s Sundance Film Festival

Why It Might Be a Must-See: Two years after winning raves for his "Keep The Lights On," Ira Sachs is back with another gay love story, though this doesn't sound quite as brutal as the semi-autobiographical "Lights." "Love Is Strange" stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as Ben and George, who after 39 years together decided to take advantage of the new marriage laws and tie the knot in New York City. On the return from their honeymoon, and on account of their vows, Ben gets fired from his longtime job as a choir director for a co-ed Catholic school. Suddenly, with no real savings to count on, the couple finds that they can’t afford the rent on their small Chelsea apartment. The film looks like an age demographic not often served in LGBT cinema (or in any cinema, really) and we're very curious to see where Sachs takes us after keeping those lights on two years ago.

"The Lobster"
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman, Lea Seydoux, Jason Clarke
Distributor: None as of yet
Release Date: TBD

Why It Might Be a Must See: Acclaimed Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos ("Dogtooth") starts shooting his English language debut this March, and we couldn't be more excited. With a cast including Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman, Lea Seydoux and Jason Clarke, the film is set in a dystopian near future and focuses on a group of single men and women who are brought to a creepy hotel and instructed to find a life partner within 45 days. If they don't? Well, then they are transformed into animals and released into the woods. If that isn't a plot that has you running to cinemas whenever the film ends up getting released, then we don't know what would be.

"The Lunchbox"
Director: Ritesh Batra
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Release Date: February

Why It Might Be a Must-See: Ritesh Batra’s Mumbai-set drama revolves around a housewife (Nimrat Kaur) who tries to resurrect her failing marriage through her kitchen, only to find that her husband’s special lunch has inadvertently been given to his co-worker. This setup leads her to start a lunchbox-based correspondence with the other man, a lonely man looking back on his life whose solace comes in the form of an equally downtrodden soul. A hit on the 2013 festival circuit, "The Lunchbox" plays Sundance this January before hitting in theaters in February.

Marcia Gay Harden and Emma Stone in 'Magic in the Moonlight'

"Magic in the Moonlight"
Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: July

Why It Might Be a Must-See: Even Woody Allen’s detractors can’t deny that he’s been on something of a roll lately: "Midnight in Paris" and "Blue Jasmine" were both box office hits and critically acclaimed testimonies to the vitality of his filmmaking voice as he barrels through his late seventies. With "Magic in the Moonlight," Allen returns to France for a romantic comedy featuring the usual parade of old and young talent eager to work with the director: Emma Stone, Colin Firth, Hamish Linklater, Jacki Weaver and Erica Leerhsen. As usual, plot details are vague, though early reports suggest the story unfolds over two decades. Allen’s last few projects have been especially introspective, so we’re excited to see if he continues that trend.

"Maps to the Stars"
Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Olivia Williams, Carrie Fisher
Distributor: eOne US
Release Date: TBD

Why It Might Be a Must-See: A near certainty for Cannes 2014, David Cronenberg's follow up to his divisive "Cosmopolis" once again teams the director with Robert Pattinson, this time alongside a dreamy ensemble including Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Olivia Williams and Carrie Fisher. Said to be a "vicious look at a twisted Hollywood dynasty" and a takedown of the industry altogether, "Maps" sure sounds juicy. It's already been rated by the MPAA (and given an "R," which is clearly no surprise given Cronenberg's history), so it must be just a matter of waiting for the Croisette (unless it's a surprise addition to Berlin, which is not an impossibility).


  • Anish Panicker | April 20, 2014 4:01 AMReply

    Nice list of movies, definitely all deserves their places.. I am looking forward to 'The Raid 2 - Berandal', which I think haven't released in India.

  • Lesley | March 28, 2014 1:03 PMReply

    I know this is an old article but LORD where are the editors at Indiewire? SO many grammatical errors, misspellings, half-sentences, etc. Some of the photos are captioned and some are not. Did anyone read this before it was posted? I find so many errors in Indiewire articles these days.

    Also, I agree with the people saying that these films do not reflect true 'indies.' It's essentially a list of the biggest-name films that played at Sundance this year. There were some truly beautiful actual INDIE films that played the fest this year, but they're nowhere to be found in a list dominated by Keira Knightley, Wes Anderson, and the like.

  • FESTIVAL GOER | February 19, 2014 7:41 AMReply

    Sand Castles should be on this list.

  • Ray | February 18, 2014 7:50 PMReply

    These are not indie by any stretch.

  • Joe H. | February 18, 2014 2:43 PMReply

    Where's Under the Skin??? Did I miss something??

  • Nic | February 18, 2014 10:43 AMReply

    You have to laugh, and read no further, when the first film featured on your 50 'Indie' films is from Fox Searchlight!!

  • John | January 29, 2014 11:18 AMReply

    "Red State" was neither a critical nor a commercial failure. Certainly not the latter. A divisive film yes, which is to be expected from a divisive filmmaker, but in no sense was it a failure commercially, they four walled the f*ck out of the little picture and were out of the red in a matter of weeks. Do your goddamn research.

  • Bern | January 12, 2014 1:26 AMReply

    It's "Gonzalez", not "Gonzales"

  • Brian | January 11, 2014 12:47 PMReply

    Why Don't You Play in Hell - It won the Midnight Madness prize at Toronto. R100 No GENRE FILMS AT ALL. BORGMAN?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

  • Um | January 12, 2014 12:48 PM

    Grand Piano -- genre film. Just sayin'.

  • Randy The Ram | January 10, 2014 4:39 PMReply

    whatever happened to the MONA LISA remake ?

    mickey rourke and eva green dot com/watch?v=4bRJ0yyVb_o

  • james | January 10, 2014 10:45 AMReply

    Agree with several of the above posters... WE NEED A NEW TERM for truly "Indie" films. There was a time when Sundance and "Indie" meant something.

    Now it's been co-opted as a marketing term for anything "edgy."

    But more importantly - people need to open their eyes to the fact that "Indies" have become Hollywoods equivalent to shipping manufacturing jobs overseas. Studios once took risks on interesting films, now they ship those same scripts off to producers (often with a loose promise of some minor financing or distribution help) who can make them for 10% of what the studio could make them for. Then they buy them on the other end at a deep discount.

    Fox can't ask the Key Set PA to work for tuppence and sleep on someone's couch but I (as an "Indie" Producer) can and in the long run it saves Fox a ton.

    Not only all of this - but REAL "Indies" need to have the spotlight back. They're dying on the vine without the attention they once had. Remember Indiewire??? You used to cover them back in the day.

  • Long Distance | January 11, 2014 2:34 PM

    This could not be more accurate. Great post James! There needs to be a new category to differentiate.

  • Derek | January 10, 2014 7:19 AMReply

    I hate spelling words wrong - "film" is films

  • Derek | January 10, 2014 7:17 AMReply

    You forgot Wedding Palace. Now there are a gang of films on here that I want to see, some I've seen, but you left this indie romantic comedy off the list, maybe you didn't know about it. But that's cool, we can't know about everything, like I didn't know about many of the film on this list that I will now see. But here's Wedding Palace, a film I co-produced & edited:

    Official Movie Trailer:
    Watch the Movie: iTunes US -
    iTunes Canada -

  • JonOhm | January 10, 2014 6:19 AMReply

    1. Coherence:
    2. LFO:
    3. R100:
    4. Proxy:
    5. OXV: The Manual:

  • Bam | January 10, 2014 2:36 AMReply


  • NewYorker | January 9, 2014 9:54 PMReply

    20 indie films im looking forward to see in 2014 are
    1-The Cobbler(with Adam Sandler, Dustin Hoffman & Melonie Diaz)
    3-Jamie Marks Is Dead(with Liv Tyler, Judy Greer & Cameron Monaghan)
    5-The Voices(with Ryan Reynolds & Anna Kendricks)
    6-Men, Women and children(with Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson & J.K. Simmons)
    7-Grand Budapest Hotel
    9-Back In The Day(with Michael Rosenbaum & Nick Swardson)
    10-Grace Of Monaco
    11-Veronica Mars
    12-Imagine(a film with Al Pacino, Jennifer Garner & Josh Peck)
    13-Devil's Knot(with Colin Firth & Reese Witherspoon)
    14-The Angriest Man in Brooklyn(with Mila Kunis, Robin Williams & James Earl Jones)
    15-White Bird In a Blizzard
    16-Punk's Dead: SLC Punk 2(the sequel to SLC Punk)
    18-St. Vincent(with Bill Murray & Melissa McCarthy)
    19-Life After Beth(with Aubrey Plaza, Dane Dehaan & John C. Reilly)
    20-Welcome To Me(with Kristen Wiig & Wil Ferrel)

  • Mr Blonde | January 10, 2014 4:42 PM


    10-grace of Monaco

    some bad news buddy :(

    http://www.hollywoodreporter dot com/news/grace-monaco-director-bashes-harvey-649447

  • Ronnie D. | January 9, 2014 4:56 PMReply

    Oh, saw The Congress, and it was absolutely fantastic and entirely captivating throughout.

  • Ronnie D. | January 9, 2014 4:51 PMReply

    Indiewire, please define "indie". How is a film released by the Weinstein Brothers and directed by well established director Tim Burton considered an indie film?

  • James McD | January 9, 2014 5:07 PM

    Big Eyes is being made for just $10 million. It might be a "big indie," but it still qualifies.

  • 1974 | January 9, 2014 2:02 PMReply

    hmmm, how about Miss Julie? You have little faith in it?

  • Marian | February 19, 2014 2:38 AM

    Yes! I want to see Liv Ullman's Miss Julie! And Ana Lily Amirpour's A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. And Sophie Hyde's 52 Tuesdays. etc. etc. I'm *shocked* that there are so few (three? four?) women-directed films on your list when even I know of these good ones. Please find more. And I WISH I had the option to see your lists on a single page...

  • guest1490 | January 9, 2014 7:57 PM

    Yes!! What about Miss Julie? it's directed by Liv Ullmann and it has Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton playing the main roles, it's a definitely a must see in 2014!

  • Iz | January 9, 2014 1:42 PMReply

    Far From the Madding Crowd is at Fox Searchlight

  • Nenrota | January 9, 2014 1:29 PMReply

    Whatever happened to Inherent Vice, I wonder.

  • Nenrota | January 9, 2014 1:51 PM

    Then I guess the definition of indie is open to debate when you have works released by companies such as Focus Features, TWC etc, which IMHO qualify as studios.

  • Nigel | January 9, 2014 1:36 PM

    A studio release (Warner Bros.). This is a list of the 50 indies.