Best French Films Streaming on Netflix Right Now

When I first wrote this post, I had a hard time narrowing down the list to 20 films. There were SO many great French films available either to stream or through good old fashioned DVDs. Well, that landscape has changed drastically in a few years ūüėČ But if you are looking for a quick escape to France without leaving the comfort of your couch, here is a (short) list of some French films I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find streaming on¬†Netflix.¬†

 

Le Fabuleux Destin d’Am√©lie Poulain ~ What can I say about this delightful whimsical film that hasn’t been said before? The French don’t do feel good films very well so Amelie definitely stands out with its romanticized version of Paris, quirky characters and happy ending. Previously, its director Jean-Pierre Jeunet had impressed critics worldwide with another film, the surreal and morbid comedy¬† Delicatessen, which you can also stream on Netflix right now.Le fabuleux destin d'amelie poulain

Bande de Filles ~ I had a hard time watching this movie which is probably the polar opposite of Amelie for its grim realism. Girlhood is the coming of age story of Marieme, a young black adolescent, who is struggling in school, dealing with an abusive brother and helps take care of her younger sisters while her mother cleans offices for a living. She befriends a group of 3 girls¬† and eventually evolves from a shy adolescent to a confident young woman, though she starts to push the limits of what she can do a little bit too far… It’s a grim film, but it’s fascinating.¬†¬†

Blue is the Warmest Color/La vie d’Ad√®le ~ There was a lot of drama surrounding this film. In awarding it the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Steven Spielberg and his jury also added the two main actresses to the director in the distinction. That’s not typical, and speaks to the amazing performances of¬†L√©a Seydoux and Ad√®le Exarchopoulos, as well as to the controversial methods of director Abdellatif Kechiche. Blue is another coming of age tale but this time its high school age protagonist falls in love in a slightly older woman, an artist with blue hair. Over the course of 179 minutes (the film is quite long!) she discovers desire, finds herself then loses herself and ultimately grows into adulthood. Warning: the film is long and the sex scenes are drawn out at times, and very graphic. This isn’t an early date movie or something you watch with your parents or children.

Blue is the warmest color

 

 

Bienvenue a Marly-Gomont ~¬†‚ÄúThe African Doctor‚ÄĚ is a quirky movie with a good sense of humor, a positive message and a lot of heart. It’s based on the real life experience of rapper Kamini, whose father Seyolo Zantoko, the only African graduate from his French medical school, turns down a position back in his home country to become the local physician in a small, rural French village.¬†¬†He is optimistically determined to give his children opportunities they wouldn’t have back where he grew up and blind to the struggles his family face in trying to integrate into the tight-knit, all white community.¬†

 

Gad Gone Wild ~ Unfortunately, none of Gad Elmaleh’s films (like Le Valet) are available on Netflix anymore… but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy watching the funnyman on Netflix. While not technically a film,¬†you can catch Gad in¬†Gad Gone Wild¬†, a special comedy routine that was recorded¬†in Montreal.
Chef’s Table, France ~ Not technically a film either, but an awesome collection of 4 food-focused documentaries that make a statement on the current state of French cooking by profiling chefs Alain Passard (Arpege), Michel Troisgros (Maison Troisgros), Adeline Grattard (Yam’Tcha) and Alexandre Couillon (La Marine).¬†
 

Les Bleus ~ Hailed as one of the best sports documentary on Netflix, Les Bleus looks¬†at French politics and society through the prism of the national football team. In particular, the documentary charts 20 turbulent years of the French national side, from the “bleu-blanc-beurre” team that united a country after winning the 1998 world cup to flopping completely in the subsequent World Cup and its more recent¬†resurgence of under Laurent Blanc¬†and Didier Deschamps. More than a documentary on football, it’s really about French society, hitting on issues of class, race and nationality. So add it to your queue!

 

There you have it! A pretty short list of French films that you should watch on Netflix. Where id all the movies go? Le sad. 

{This post is based on an original list first published on 12/27/2011 and was most recently updated on October 30 2017.}

L√©a Seydoux Graces Vanity Fair’s Annual Hollywood Issue Cover

Vanity Fair’s annual Hollywood issue is out and getting a lot of praise for being one of its most diverse. Shot by Annie Leibovitz, the cover features a diverse group of A-listers. Some like George Clooney and Julia Roberts are Hollywood veterans, others are up-and-comers. I was particularly surprised to see fellow Frenchie L√©a Seydoux in the bottom right corner, though I barely recognized her at first.

Vanity Fair's 2014 Hollywood Issue, Lea Seydoux, Vanity Fair

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts, Idris Elba, George Clooney, Michael B. Jordan, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong’o, Naomie Harris, Brie Larson, Chadwick Boseman, Margot Robbie, Lea Seydoux

 

Currently known for her part (and blue hair) in Blue is the Warmest Color (la Vie d’Adele), mademoiselle Seydoux has been a feature of French cinema since 2006. She’s actually kind of French cinema royalty since her grandfather is the president of Path√©, one of the oldest film production company in the world, and her great uncle is the president of Gaumont, the first and oldest continuously operating film company in the world. She starred in a number of American productions, including Tarentino’s Inglorious Basterds and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. She’s currently nominated for a¬†BAFTA’s EE Rising Star Award, along with fellow Vanity Fair Hollywood issue cover girl Lupita Nyong’o. Whether she wins the BAFTA or not, I think we can agree¬†L√©a Seydoux is one of France’s most compelling young talents right now, and it’s great to see Vanity Fair recognize that.