Top 20 A24 Movies Everyone Must Watch At Least Once

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A24 has become one of the biggest names in film production in recent years, churning out some of the industry’s top blockbusters. From Hereditary to Moonlight to Everything Everywhere All at Once, let’s take a look at some of the best A24 movies of all time. Each movie was judged according to Rotten Tomatoes score, Oscars contention, financial performance, and overall audience reception.

1. Lady Bird (2017)

Photo Credit: A24.

Lady Bird follows Saoirse Ronan as a high school senior struggling to navigate high school and her tumultuous relationship with her mother, played by Laurie Metcalf. Directed by Greta Gerwig, the movie was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. Lady Bird is currently the highest-rated A24 film on Rotten Tomatoes, with a score of 99%.

2. Eighth Grade (2018)

Photo Credit: A24.

Directed by Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade depicts an anxious teenage girl trying to get through her last week of middle school. A semi-autobiographical depiction of his childhood, Burnham’s goal in making the film was to shed light on youth mental health and examine the grueling effects of social media on teenagers today, particularly among teenage girls. Eighth Grade was included on the National Board of Review’s and the American Film Institute’s list of top 10 movies of 2018.

3. Moonlight (2016)

Photo Credit: A24.

Moonlight is a coming-of-age drama that focuses on the upbringing of a man named Chiron as he grapples with his identity as a young African American man in America. The movie chronicles Chiron’s life from childhood to early adulthood. In 2016, Moonlight won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

4. Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

Photo Credit: A24.

Everything Everywhere All at Once follows a Chinese immigrant family who becomes swept up in an interdimensional adventure as a rupture between universes unravels reality as they know it. Exploring themes of existentialism, generational trauma, and self-identity, the film dares to explore the meaning of life when there might not actually be any meaning at all. According to Screenrant, “Everything Everywhere All at Once suggests that what makes life meaningful is the recognition that because there is no inherent meaning, all things and moments are equally meaningful.” (Lealos et al., 2023). The film won seven awards at the 95th Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

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5. The Florida Project (2017)

Photo Credit: A24.

“The Florida Project follows 6-year-old Moonee and her two best friends as they spend the summer forging their adventures, all while Moonee’s struggling mother and a kindhearted motel manager attempt to protect the kids from the harsh realities that surround them.” (Rotten Tomatoes, 2017). Set against the backdrop of the happiest place on Earth, the film depicts lives plagued by poverty juxtaposed against those of many well-to-do vacationing families. The Florida Project was the code name for Walt Disney World during its early planning stages, which is where the name of the film is derived. The movie features the first on-screen performances from many of the cast, making the movie’s feat all the more marvelous.

6. Past Lives (2023)

Photo Credit: A24.

Past Lives follows two childhood friends who lose touch when one moves from South Korea to America over 24 years. The film chronicles the relationship between the friends as they reconnect in adulthood. One critic describes the film, “In this extraordinary film, the Korean concept of inyeon is used to lead viewers into believing that Nora and Hae-sung are destined to be together – if not in this lifetime, then in the future.” (Rotten Tomatoes, 2024). The film was nominated for Best Picture and Best Screenplay at the 96th Academy Awards. Past Lives was the debut film of writer-director Celine Song.

7. Aftersun (2022)

Photo Credit: A24.

Charlotte Wells’s directorial debut, Aftersun, follows Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio as a father and daughter on vacation at a resort in Turkey. Through its nonlinear structure, the film is told through the eyes of both 11-year-old and adult Sophie. Much of the drama brews as she tries to come to terms with what she failed to recognize about her father through the lens of childhood innocence. In March 2023, Aftersun won the award for Best First Feature at the 38th Independent Spirit Awards.

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8. Room (2015)

Photo Credit: A24.

Starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, Room chronicles the lives of a mother and son, who have been held captive for over seven years, finally gaining their freedom. At only five years old, the young boy was born in captivity and has never known the outside world. Variety described the film as “A fresh and honest look at PTSD and the general wonderment of the world from a child’s perspective.” (Davis, 2022). Both Larson and Tremblay were praised for their performances in the movie.

9. First Reformed (2017)

Photo Credit: A24.

First Reformed follows a minister – played by Ethan Hawke – at a small congregation in upstate New York who struggles to deal with issues of tragedy and self-identity. Entertainment Weekly describes the film as “grappling with questions of existential despair and faith in the face of environmental disaster.” (Rife, 2023). First Reformed currently has a score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.

10. Hereditary (2018)

Photo Credit: A24.

Hereditary focuses on the Graham family as they unravel the sinister secrets plaguing their ancestry. Starring Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, and Gabriel Byrne, the film primarily follows the demonic forces haunting the family after their matriarch’s ill-timed death. Due to its devoted horror fan following, Hereditary has become a cult classic in recent years.

11. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2021)

Photo Credit: A24.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On follows Marcel, a lovable mollusk shell, as he attempts to reunite with his long-lost family. The critical consensus describes the film as “Poignant, profound, and utterly heartwarming, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is animated entertainment with real heart” (Rotten Tomatoes, 2022). The movie was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards.

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12. Midsommar (2019)

Photo Credit: A24.

Directed by Ari Aster, Midsommar follows a couple who travel to Sweden to visit the famed midsummer festival. While there, things quickly become increasingly peculiar as the couple finds themselves thrown into the chaos of a cult. Critics consensus of Midsommar states, “Ambitious, impressively crafted, and above all unsettling, Midsommar further proves writer-director Ari Aster is a horror auteur to be reckoned with” (Midsommar, 2019).

13. Minari (2020)

Photo Credit: A24.

Minari portrays a Korean-American family moving to a farm in Arkansas to pursue their version of the American dream. The film scored 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, with one critic stating, “While it’s a specific story about one Korean American family, it also is a universal tale about everyone who has dreamed for a better future.” (Kim, 2021).

14. The Eternal Daughter (2022)

Photo Credit: A24.

Starring Tilda Swinton and Carly-Sophia Davies, The Eternal Daughter follows a mother-daughter relationship as the pair returns to their former family home, where a mysterious spirit haunts the premises. The film, which deals with themes of grief and loss, examines the duo’s relationship as both try to understand who the other person really is.

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15. The Zone of Interest (2023)

Photo Credit: A24.

The Zone of Interest follows the life of an Auschwitz commander and his wife. The title is derived from the term “zone of interest,” which refers to the location of the family home next to a concentration camp. The movie won the Oscar for Best International Feature at the 96th Academy Awards.

16. The Iron Claw (2023)

Photo Credit: A24.

Starring Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, and Lily James, The Iron Claw is a biopic about the lives of the Von Erich brothers, the famous wrestling duo from the 1980s. The movie depicts themes of unconditional love, grief, self-harm, and, of course, the world of pro wrestling. On Rotten Tomatoes, The Iron Claw has a 89% score.

17. Obvious Child (2014)

Photo Credit: A24.

Obvious Child focuses on a woman – played by Jenny Slate – who accidentally becomes pregnant after a one-night stand. The film shows her character grappling with whether or not to have the baby, all while she attempts to juggle her burgeoning stand-up comedy career. According to one critic, “The film also dares to broach the topic of abortion in a way that feels realistic, tender, and compassionate.” (Rosenberg et al., 2024). Obvious Child is a refreshing look at the uncertainties of being in your twenties, the power of choice, and the arguments both for and against motherhood.

18. The Farewell (2019)

Photo Credit: A24.

The Farewell follows a Chinese family that discovers their matriarch only has a few weeks to live. They decide to schedule a wedding so they can all say their farewells before she passes; the only caveat is that the matriarch is to remain unaware of her impending death. The Farewell has a score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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19. Earth Mama (2023)

Photo Credit: A24.

Earth Mama focuses on a pregnant single mother who relies on her community to determine the fate of her family. In 2023, the film was ranked on the Top Ten Independent Films list by the National Review Board.

20. First Cow (2019)

Photo Credit: A24.

First Cow follows the lives of two fur traders who attempt to steal a wealthy landowner’s prized dairy cow to become rich. The film has a score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and is ranked on both Esquire and Variety’s lists of the top A24 movies (Davis, 2022; Rosenberg et al., 2024).

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