10 Most Underrated A24 Dramas, Ranked


A24 is more than just a successful production studio. The entertainment company has created a brand that allows young, passionate filmmakers to let loose with their creative ideas. It has also become something of a guarantee among audiences, ensuring them they will get their money’s worth with an often daring and poignant effort. An A24 film often reaches a much larger crowd than most independent films ever receive.

The studio may have started as a “niche” company that adhered only to the interest of cinephiles, but A24 films like Uncut Gems, The Whale, Moonlight, and Everything Everywhere All At Once have had mainstream success. Such is A24’s success that many of its offerings have been ignored, slipping through the cracks even among its own library. These ten A24 dramas remain largely underrated, a shame because they are among the studio’s most solid and worthwhile efforts.

10 ‘Gloria Bell’ (2018)

Director: Sebastián Lelio

Image via A24

Gloria Bell is a refreshingly positive look at middle-aged romance. Interestingly, the film is actually a remake of the 2013 Chilean romantic drama Gloria, which followed a middle-aged woman trying to re-energize herself with the passion of youth. Director Sebastián Lelio chose to remake his own film, casting Julianne Moore as the titular character and John Turturro as her new boyfriend. Moore is rarely given credit for how funny she can be, and Gloria Bell offers a mature look at aging. While Gloria wants the life she once had, she realizes that growing older comes with some surprising benefits.

While Gloria Bell may have been easy to dismiss as another straightforward romantic comedy, the film does a remarkable job of exploring the complexities of growing older. It acknowledges that while youthfulness has its benefits, there’s value in growing older and becoming more reflective. Critics loved Gloria Bell, but audiences couldn’t have been less interested, perhaps because A24 movies seldom have strong enough marketing campaigns and rely on word-of-mouth.

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9 ‘The Inspection’ (2022)

Director: Elegance Bratton

Jeremy Pope as Ellis French standing in line and looking straight ahead in The Inspection.
Image via A24

The Inspection takes the “boot camp” sequence that is a part of so many classic war films and extends it to 90 minutes. While war films like Hacksaw Ridge and Full Metal Jacket feature sequences involving characters in boot camp, The Inspection is set entirely within the confines of the training regime. The film follows the recruit Ellis French (Jeremy Pope), who struggles to show confidence in his identity as he faces homophobic slurs from both his superior officers and fellow trainees.

It’s admittedly clumsy at some points, making for a somewhat frustrating viewing experience. However, The Inspection remains a remarkable depiction of bravery in the face of hatred with sharp critiques about the nature of military service. While Pope’s performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination, the film itself deserved more attention for its nuanced depiction of patriotism and message of acceptance.

Watch on Showtime

8 ‘While We’re Young’ (2015)

Director: Noah Baumbach

Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, and Adam Driver Josh, Cornelia, and Jamie inside a car with other friends in While We're Young
Image via A24

While We’re Young is just another reminder that Noah Baumbach can make even the most cringe-inducing family interactions seem absolutely hilarious. The film follows a middle-aged couple (Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts) as they grow interested in the habits of a younger couple (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) that move in next door to them. Baumbach is remarkably balanced in depicting the benefits that come with both youth and maturity. Both couples realize that there’s never an ideal age to find success, and that they must do the best to live at the moment.

Although it’s not necessarily heralded as one of Baumbach’s best films, While We’re Young does a great job of making its story relatable to multiple generations of viewers. The film empathizes with both couples and manages to show how their respective experiences color their perspectives. It’s not as funny or clever as Frances Ha or as heartbreaking or insightful as Marriage Story, but While We’re Young is a worthwhile entry in Baumbach’s canon.

While Were Young

Release Date
April 3, 2015



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7 ‘The Humans’ (2021)

Director: Stephen Karam

Erin Blake standing at the head of the table while his family looks at him in The Humans.
Image via A24

Anyone who has ever had anxiety about a family gathering during Thanksgiving dinner will relate to The Humans. Based on the acclaimed stage play of the same name, The Humans follows the aging couple Erik (Richard Jenkins) and Deirdre Blake (Jayne Houdyshell) as they visit their daughter Brigid (Beanie Feldstein) and her boyfriend Richard (Steven Yeun) in their new apartment. Secrets from Erik’s past emerge as the family’s seemingly pleasant holiday tradition turns into a debate over life and its futility.

Adapting a stage play to the screen is no easy task, as stage productions purposefully emphasize performances over inherently cinematic qualities. However, Karam is able to insert visual cues and recurring motifs that are unique to the cinematic medium. While it was released on Showtime, The Humans is just as worthy of theatrical distribution as anything else that A24 has produced.

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6 ‘Mississippi Grind’ (2015)

Directors: Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden

Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds as Gerry and Curtis celebrating at a blackjack table in Mississippi Grind
Image via A24

Mississippi Grind is a classic two-hander that features some of the best work in Ben Manedelsohn and Ryan Reynolds’ careers. The film follows the serial gambler Gerry (Mendelsohn), who joins forces with the card shark Curtis (Reynolds) to hit a series of gambling matches in order to pay off his debts. The two men seem to have completely different problems; Gerry is on a losing streak, but Curtis can’t stop winning. The banter between Gerry and Curtis is lively, but Mississippi Grind moves into more emotional territory once the two men begin to reset their priorities.

Mississippi Grind may seem like a straightforward road trip movie, but it reveals itself to be a tender study of what “victory” really means. Both Reynolds and Baumbach deliver sensitive depictions of masculinity that stand out compared to the rest of their work. While few viewers may have been able to see Mississippi Grind in its intended format because of its simultaneous release on VOD services, the film warrants attention for its modernization of a classic formula.

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5 ‘A Most Violent Year’ (2014)

Director: J.C. Chandor

Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain as Abel and Anna Morales sitting on a couch talking in A Most Violent Year.
Image via A24

A Most Violent Year is an emotional crime drama that feels inspired by the great mob movies of the 1980s. The film explores one year in the marriage of the proud business owner Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) and his ambitious wife Anna (Jessica Chastain). Abel runs a trucking company targeted by hijackers, making Anna question whether his nonviolent approach is appropriate, given the severity of the situation.

Director J.C. Chandor examines the characters’ conflicting views and how their moral differences affect both their business and marriage. A Most Violent Year is certainly a throwback to classical crime movies, but that doesn’t mean that the film itself feels antiquated. Chandor is able to use Abel and Annas’ marriage to analyze the inability to reduce violence in America’s cities. A Most Violent Year is among Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain’s most underrated movies, a truly underseen and underappreciated film that deserves more attention.

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4 ‘Causeway’ (2022)

Director: Lila Neugebauer

Jennifer Larence as Lynsey looking outside her window in Causeway.
Image via Apple TV+

Jennifer Lawrence had a fairly unparalleled “movie star run” in the early 2010s, only to step back from the industry for a few years. Lawrence came back with the 2022 drama Causeway and ended up delivering the most mature performance of her career thus far. The small-scale independent drama stars Lawrence as the former U.S. soldier Lynsey, who is adjusting to her life back home from the front. Brian Tyree Henry earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Lynsey’s new friend, James Aucoin, who is also recovering from tragedy.

Causeway stands out amidst other films about post-traumatic stress disorder because of its lack of flashbacks, showing that Lynsey is not defined by her past and has the ability to move forward. While Causeway was largely overlooked by awards pundits outside of Henry’s performance, the nuanced direction from filmmaker Lila Neugebauer deserves just as much praise.

Watch on Apple TV+

3 ‘Locke’ (2014)

Director: Steven Knight

Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke looking worried while driving a car in 'Locke'
Image via A24

Locke is a showcase for just how captivating Tom Hardy can be on screen. Hardy stars as Ivan Locke, a construction manager who learns a shocking truth about a woman that he’s involved with on a ride home from work. Director Steven Knight contains the events of the film in Locke’s car, focusing solely on the phone calls that the titular character makes during the most stressful ride home of his life. It’s a testament to Hardy’s brilliance that he is able to turn a series of conversations into an electrifying thrill ride.

The notion of refusing to leave the confines of a car for the entire running time could have easily felt like a gimmick, but Locke uses this framing device as a means of immersing the audience in its story and dialogue. It’s a shame that Locke is so underseen because it has some of Hardy’s finest on-screen moments. It might occasionally feel frustrating and claustrophobic, but that might be the point.


Release Date
April 10, 2014



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2 ‘Lean on Pete’ (2017)

Director: Andrew Haigh

Chloë Sevigny and Charlie Plummer as Bonnie and Charley walking and talking in Lean on Pete
Image via A24

Andrew Haigh has always shown a great ability to focus on the outsiders of society who feel that they don’t have a place. Lean on Pete explores the experiences of the poor teenager Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer), who takes a new job caring for a racehorse named “Lean on Pete.” Charley, who has always struggled to relate to his father, Ray (Travis Fimmel), forms a friendship with Lean on Pete that inspires him to take an unexpected journey.

While the premise itself seems saccharine, it’s one that Haigh treats with emotional realism. Lean on Pete is understated and lacks sensationalism; Haigh avoids making generalizations about his characters and refuses to paint any of them as entirely heroic or villainous. The slow, meditative style makes Lean on Pete a hard sell but also one of A24’s most refreshingly mature entries.

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1 ‘The End of the Tour’ (2015)

Director: James Ponsoldt

Jason Segel as David Foster smiling at someone off-camera in the film The End of the Tour
Image via A24

The End of the Tour isn’t just a film about a famous writer; it’s a movie about the struggles that all writers experience. The film explores the last days of the beloved author David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) as he goes on a promotional tour for his latest work. Wallace is joined by the Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg), who finds that the writer he’s admired is far more emotionally closed off than he anticipated. The two men share a series of profound, thought-provoking conversations about what success really means.

Although Lipsky and Wallace share conversations about both fiction and journalism, the film explores the truths that are relevant to all writers, regardless of what their area of focus is. The End of the Tour stands out as an underrated biopic that subverts the genre’s tropes; it’s not flashy and does not future larger-than-life, “transformative” performances. Instead, it treats its protagonists as fully fleshed-out characters and not just historical figures.

the end of the tour

Release Date
July 31, 2015



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NEXT: 20 Films That Give Off A24 Vibes, But Aren’t Actually A24


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