21 Captivating Movies That Prompt Great Discussions

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Films take the audience on journeys, delving into new stories and introducing viewers to riveting plots and storylines. Films broach multiple genres, including comedy, drama, and action, but one of the most compelling mediums to tell stories is through conversation.

And one unique thing about dialogue-heavy films is that they often present a lot of thought-provoking ideas, and that usually leads to some good conversation. In fact, there’s nothing like a good movie to prompt some great conversations with your friends, whether the movies are loaded with dialogue or not.

So with that in mind, here are ten films that either utilize dialogue throughout the majority of the runtime or are guaranteed to spark some thoughtful discussions with your friends. 

1. Women Talking (2022)

Photo Credit: Hear/Say Productions.

Women Talking, a nominee for best picture in the previous year, centers on a community of women living in a fictional 2010 setting, but with traditions that are reminiscent of the Mennonites. These women discover that the men in their colony exploit them while they are asleep, drugging and impregnating them. In response, the women unite and deliberate on their options, faced with the difficult decision of enduring the abuse or leaving behind the only home they have ever known to escape further harm.

2. Funny Games (2007)

Photo Credit: Filmfonds Wien.

This cinematic experience delves into the chilling story of a family getaway gone awry. Upon their arrival at a lakefront retreat, this family finds themselves confronted by two individuals with sinister intentions. The plot unfolds through unsettling conversations between the aggressors and the family they have targeted, ultimately leading to a riveting climax. The satire asks why we tend to watch violence instead of preventing it.

3. The Guilty (2018)

Photo Credit: Nordisk Film.

The original The Guilty is a 2018 Danish film following a phone call between a dispatcher and a woman in captivity. However, the phone call drops, and the dispatcher uses his office space and the technological tool to help solve the crime and free the kidnapped woman. But as the case develops, the dispatcher and the kidnapped woman both make confessions over the phone which will leave you questioning who’s right and wrong, and the nature of humanity.

4. Mass (2021)

Photo Credit: 7 Eccles Street.

Mass is a heart-wrenching film revolving around a school shooting. The parents of the school shooter and the parents of one of the victims exchange conversations about the event and their lives following the tragedy.  The whole film takes place in the church where the two couples are talking; through their grief, their anger, their accusations and outbursts, and finally their reconciliation. 

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5. Coherence (2013)

Photo Credit: Oscilloscope Laboratories.

This 2013 film examines all the possibilities within multiple realities and the realities within those realities, and so on and so forth. The perplexing movie starts with a dinner gathering involving a family and their past romantic partners, adding a layer of suspense to the storyline. After a comet triggers unforeseen incidents, the friends engage in a series of investigations to uncover the truth.

6. Pontypool (2008)

Photo Credit: Ponty Up Pictures.

Pontypool offers a revitalized take on a virus movie: a superspreader through the English language. The plot follows a disc jockey determined to save the community. He utilizes his radio studio and warns the public of the increased risk of the virus. 

7. The Invitation (2015)

Photo Credit: Gamechanger Films.

The Invitation is perfect for anyone who likes films about cults and/or dinner parties. The film opens with a straight couple arriving at a dinner party for the husband’s ex-wife. Strange, right? Correct. The directing in this film leads the viewer to question the hosts’ intentions and the guests’ safety. And all major plot points occur through conversation.  

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8. Malcolm and Marie (2021)

Photo Credit: Little Lamb.

Sam Levinson’s feature film received mixed reviews despite Euphoria, his Emmy-award-winning TV series gaining traction. Malcolm and Marie star Zendaya and John David Washington for a nearly two-hour argument between a couple navigating their wavering relationship. If you’re a fan of slow-paced noirs, this film is for you. 

9. My Dinner With Andre (1981)

Photo Credit: New Yorker Films.

The title of this movie explains the plot. Andre invites an old friend to dinner to speak of his experience traveling the world while the other party (Wallace) remains in New York and resorts to a life of mediocrity. But Wally insists that his familiarity with his surroundings has given him time to love them, to appreciate the smallest of things. The whole movie centers around their discussion between Andre’s larger-than-life adventures, and Wally’s increased appreciation for the daily details.

10. The Breakfast Club (1985)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

One of the 1980s’ most memorable movies, The Breakfast Club showcases five people who find themselves in detention and spend an afternoon together.

We have the jock, the nerd, the goth, the straight-A student, and the burnout, who all come together to understand their differences during a lengthy Saturday detention. In the 80s, kids didn’t have a swath of electronic devices to entertain themselves with, so they did what every other person in the 80s did. They talked.

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11. Dead Poets Society (1989)

Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

Dead Poets Society centers around a boys-only boarding school in the late 50’s, and their new teacher in their poetry class. The movie is mostly driven by the conversations between the boys, the boys and their fathers, and the boys and their teacher. But even more than the conversations within the movie, this one will spark conversations, especially among parents, teachers and teens about the importance of the arts, honesty, and pursuing the subjects that come most naturally to us.

12. Inception (2010)

Photo Credit: Syncopy.

The movie The Princess Bride has the phrase “Dream within a dream” in the actual dialogue, but Inception is actually about a dream within a dream (within a dream, within a dream, within another dream.) Yes, we were confused too. It’s a movie that definitely requires more than one watch, and at the end, it’ll definitely make you want to find some sort of tell, a way to know whether you’re dreaming or not.

13. Oppenheimer (2023)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

The controversy behind the man J. Robert Oppenheimer is the reason the movie itself was made, and this movie is sure to get you thinking, if not talking over all the details with your friends. Oppenheimer was one of the main leaders of the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic weapons which were used to end World War II. Oppenheimer was conflicted about his role and the future use of atomic weaponry, which eventually lead to his trail, which is where the movie begins.

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14. Banshees of Inisherin (2022)

Photo Credit: Searchlight Pictures.

This film is less conversation and more action, but it’ll definitely force you to consider the nature of friendship, and what reasons might be powerful enough to end a friendship, or even turn friends into enemies. What does it take to turn love into hatred? How can people who were once true friends now wish each other real evil? And does reconciliation have any power?

15. Black Swan (2010)

Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

In Black Swan, Nina (Natalie Portman) is cast in the ballet Swan Lake for the double role of white swan and black swan. But while Nina embodies Odette, the innocent white swan, perfectly, there’s something lacking in her performance of Odile, the black swan. But then a new dancer joins the company, and she embodies the black swan perfectly. Nina finds herself competing to keep her role portraying the black and white swans, and her attempt to become the black swan as she does the white leads her into madness.

16. Slacker (1990)

Photo Credit: Orion Classics.

This film is largely driven by conversation. It is set in Austin, Texas and follows one person after another as they simply go about their day. Each transition to a new character comes when two people join a conversation. As the conversation ends, the movie begins to follow the newer person into the next conversation, and the pattern repeats. This film is not only filled with conversation, but it’ll get you thinking and talking too.

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17. Diner (1982)

Photo Credit: MGM.

The Diner is a series of short scenes, strung together by the familiar characters and a loose narrative arc. Five friends; Modell, Eddie, Boogie, Fenwick, and Shrevie have a shared favorite diner, where they frequently meet up. Throughout the film they pull pranks, fall in love, scheme, confess, and commit a series of small betrayals and reconciliations. You’ll be left not only with several memorable conversations to ponder, but wondering what friendship should look like.

18. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Photo Credit: MGM.

This is another movie that plays out almost entirely in one small room.  12 Angry Men is the story of a jury who must determine if a young man is guilty or innocent of his accused crimes. The men face antagonism and frustration between each other, and also are forced to confront their own biases, and how quickly they were willing to put their own comfort above truth and justice.

19. Arrival (2016)

Photo Credit: Lava Bear Films.

This film doesn’t only have conversation in it, the premise of the film revolves around language itself. But uniquely, this language confers ability that human beings don’t have yet; a knowledge of what will happen in the future. But this knowledge is dangerous; it has consequences that might make it more painful than it’s worth. Arrival asks the question of to what lengths human beings will go for happiness, and what role communication plays on every level, from our personal lives to global conversations.

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20. The Imitation Game (2014)

Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company.

This is a World War II film that tells the story of Alan Turing, who designed a machine that could crack the messages that Germans were coding on the enigma machine. Despite his incredible intellect, Turing was irritable and hard to work with, and his work was nearly destroyed or disregarded several times. With the help of Clarke (Kiera Knightly), he managed to collaborate successfully with others. But once the war is over, Turing is left without a serious mission or the freedom to enjoy the lifestyle he wants, and his mental health deteriorates.

21. Hamilton (2020)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Hamilton, a a Broadway musical, came to film in 2020. It’s an incredible film, and it tells the story of Alexander Hamilton and his role in the Revolutionary War and the founding of America. It’s filled with the ideas that Hamilton himself championed, and his relationships with the other Founding Fathers. There’s a lot to discuss in this film, and we suspect you’re going to enjoy learning American history with the help of great music!

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Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

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