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Top Ten Movies from 2014 You Should Catch Up With on Streaming

Margaret here, reporting from the warmth of the family home. In between gift-exchanging and major cooking projects, I'm going to be trying to catch up on as many 2014 movies as possible. For those of us without much time to run to the multiplex, there are plenty of options among recent acquisitions on streaming services. While most of the showiest would-be awards contenders are either still in theaters or holding off on their DVD releases, there are plenty of buzzy (and possibly even soon to be Oscar-nominated) movies available for the couch-bound.

Honorable Mention: Slow-burn crime drama Night Moves (Peter Sarsgaard, Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning) and Baltimore dirt-biker documentary 12 O'Clock Boys, both on Amazon Prime; Mind-bending relationship dramedy The One I Love (Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass) and low-key Swanberg indie Happy Christmas (Anna Kendrick, TFE favorite Melanie Lynskey), both on Netflix Instant.


10. Stranger By The Lake (Netflix Instant) This French erotic thriller had critics raving at the beginning of the year, though it hasn't been in much of the end-of-year conversation.

9. Nymphomaniac, parts 1 and 2 (Netflix Instant) Lars von Trier's latest provocation, served in two parts, is not for the faint of heart but is for anyone who wants to see Uma Thurman rip a scene apart in part 1.

8. Enemy (Amazon Prime) Celebrate our Year of Gyllenhaal with double the Jake in his second collaboration with Prisoners director Denis Villeneuve. It's been called "what might happen if someone let Terrence Malick make a "Twilight Zone" episode, with a quick rewrite by David Cronenberg." 

7. Blue Ruin (Netflix Instant) This grim, ultra-budget indie thriller is up for the Independent Spirit's John Cassavetes Award, given to an outstanding picture made for under 500K. Come for the revenge story, stay for the unsettlingly realistic gore.


6. We Are The Best! (Netflix Instant) This early-80s-Stockholm-set dramedy about three middle-grade girls who form a punk band irrespective of actual musical gifts has been cropping up on many a top-ten list, and has been widely praised for its infectious joyful spirit.

5. Locke (Amazon Prime) A tense one-man show, this claustrophobic thriller hangs completely on a star turn from Tom Hardy, who's earned TFE raves and even has Brad Pitt stumping for him at industry screenings.

4. The Immigrant (Netflix Instant) The fact that the Weinsteins are giving this sweeping period the redheaded stepchild treatment and dropping it from their campaign slate shouldn't keep you from checking it out. You, too, can join in the mass internet grumble over its being overlooked at the Oscars for Best Actress, Best Score, and Best Cinematography prizes. (It may yet take home some Independent Spirit Awards!)

3. Snowpiercer (Netflix Instant) Critics have been all over the brutal, absurd, and entirely original dystopian action film. It's a dark horse for Supporting Actress with Tilda Swinton's bonkers performance, and full to the brim with memorable setpieces. Don't be a shoe; watch it!


2. Under the Skin (Amazon Prime) The atmospheric alien fever dream has a legion of ardent fans, and is the hip moviegoer's choice for a top-ten-list entry guaranteed not to repeat at the Oscars. Guaranteed to be among the most visually memorable movies you see all year.

1. Ida (Amazon Prime and Netflix Instant) This little movie has been an awards magnet, and may well make a smooth trip to the Best Foreign film Oscar come February. Since it's present on two major streaming services and clocks in at a mere 80 minutes, there's no excuse not to catch up with this starkly beautiful and poignant Polish drama. 

Which movies are you planning to catch up with from home? Have any additional streaming recommendations?

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Reader Comments (17)

Too bad I've already seen them all.

December 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIrvin

a family gathering around to watch Nymphomaniac and Stranger by the Lake after opening presents is my favorite imagery today. haha.

this is a reminder that i relaly need to watch Locke, Blue Ruin and We Are the Best still.

December 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

BLUE RUIN! Such a blast! Loved that movie.

December 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMoasey

In Locke, I couldn't get past the fact that Hardy's character is so obviously a few feet higher than the traffic in adjoining lanes. At least TRY to make it look like he's really driving, no?

December 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Great list!

As for other options, Netflix Instant also has Foreign Language submissions "What Now? Remind Me" and "Norte, End of History," as well as the shortlisted docs Virunga and Citizen Koch.

December 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I highly recommend " Under The Skin"

December 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Now there's really no excuse not to have seen Ida, is there? Ugh brb.

Stranger By The Lake is awesome, everyone needs to see that. Everything else in the top five, yes.

December 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

I'm trying to imagine pitching any of these to my family... But fortunately I'll have some travel time to catch up. Thanks for the list!

December 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

This was my plan for today, since I decided to stay home to recover from a crazy week doing The Nutcracker. Watched Stranger by the Lake (WOW), The One I Love (really good), and G.B.F. (super cute - a good palette cleanser). I could do one more but I'm not really in the mood for Ida or The Immigrant (the ones I haven't seen). Probably this weekend.

December 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

"The Immigrant" was so amazing! I bow down to your awesomness, Marion Cotillard!

"Ida" next! Thanks for these recommendations!

Loved "Stranger by the Lake" BTW! Saw that one way back.

December 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDev

WHOA I had no idea Ida was on Netflix--I was planning to see it next week in theaters and this will do a favor to my poor wallet, which has been withering helplessly in the wake of the Oscar onslaught.

December 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercaroline

WHOA I had no idea Ida was on Netflix--I was planning to see it next week in theaters and this will do a favor to my poor wallet, which has been withering helplessly in the wake of the Oscar onslaught.

December 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercaroline

I just watched Ida on Xmas eve....this movie really TAKES ITS TIME to unearth the characterisations and tell the story, at times really trying my patience when
I feel there's no need to linger on an object or scene beyond what's its required.
As far as Polish productions are concerned, I still prefer The Decalogue.

December 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJans

I saw Ida on Netflix and immediately regretted not having shelled out the cash to see it in the theater. It's really gorgeous. If you can see it on a big screen and have a few extra movie dollars, go see it.

December 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterzig

Jans -- this is the first time i've heard someone feel impatient with IDA which is so fast at 80 minutes and really zeroes in on the story / arcs. interesting reminder of to each their own.

zig -- agreed.

December 26, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Margaret -- thjanks to your reminder i watched WE ARE THE BEST last night. So delightful!

December 26, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Seen everything but "Ida".

Also, the complete 5.5 hour version of "Nymph()maniac" is available on Netflix Instant too.

January 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWill

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