My Favorite French Films

A grab bag of my personal favorite French films, some more light-hearted and some more serious. The common theme: I'd watch any of these a second time. (Click on the List Detail view for mini-reviews of each movie.)

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  • My Father's Glory

    My Father's Glory 1990


    One of the most warm, winsome portrays of childhood and family ever, in any movie. The scenes of the hills of Provence are lovely, too.

  • My Mother's Castle

    My Mother's Castle 1990


    Sequel to La Gloire de Mon Pere. Further amusing vignettes of this charming family, interspersed with a more heavy theme. The first movie is like sunrise, and this one, is glorious as sunset.

  • Welcome to the Sticks

    Welcome to the Sticks 2008


    Hilarious. Not sure if you need to understand French for this to be funny. It's a classic fish-out-of-the-water story; clash between country bumpkins and the city folks.

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  • Blame It on Fidel!

    Blame It on Fidel! 2006


    Petulant child actress + 1960's Paris + socialism versus bourgeois + sweet, authentic scenes of family and childhood.

  • Au revoir les enfants

    Au revoir les enfants 1987


    A movie that changed my life. Made me see the world can be a very dark place despite love, despite camaraderie, despite all that is good. A deep film, so beautifully directed and filmed.

  • Tell No One

    Tell No One 2006


    One of my favorite French films ever. Tense, a little weird (but not too weird) and an underlying current of love/faithfulness.

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  • Persepolis

    Persepolis 2007


    One of the best animated films of all-time, along with a strikingly original story and a wonderful young girl as the protagonist.

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  • Paris, je t'aime

    Paris, je t'aime 2006


    Several short clips about Paris, Parisians. Maybe not a classic but well-worth watching.

  • The Women on the 6th Floor

    The Women on the 6th Floor 2010


    Lively story of a stockbroker whose routines get shaken up by interaction with the foreign domestic servants. It's mostly fun and sweet, and does serve up a little class/economic commentary in the relationships between the wealthy and their household workers.

  • I've Loved You So Long

    I've Loved You So Long 2008


    A little slower-paced and contemplative than some of these other French films, but a worthy, poignant celebration of second chances and the love of family. How does one restart life? What kind of love does it take to bring someone back from hell?

  • The Beat That My Heart Skipped

    The Beat That My Heart Skipped 2005


    An odd, modern, jittery movie that feels tense and disjointed like the life of the main character, who wants to leave a dubious lifestyle behind and begin again as a pianist.

  • Priceless

    Priceless 2006


    Fun, mostly light-hearted caper about a lowly hotel worker and a opportunistic lady. Not timeless cinema but a well-made French romantic comedy.

  • Mr. Lazhar

    Mr. Lazhar 2011


    Surprisingly sweet and serious film about an Algerian immigrant who steps in as a substitute at a French-Canadian elementary school.

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  • My Best Friend

    My Best Friend 2006


    One of the sweetest, most genuine French films I've seen recently. A funeral with few mourners sets an egotistical businessman on the hunt for a best friend.

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