Mumblecore is one of those genres that’s difficult to put into words, but you know a mumblecore film when you see it. There generally isn’t a lot of action. The plot’s mainly driven by dialogue that has a naturalistic feeling. They are intimate stories focused on the small parts of existence most people wouldn’t pay a second thought to. While it may sound weird, the best mumblecore movies show you can do a lot with a little.
On this list, we’re celebrating the films that show independent cinema is still alive and well. There’s a healthy mix of mumblecore and post-mumblecore films here, and you should give as many of them a watch as you can to see how the genre has evolved. All you DIY filmmakers should take a cue from best mumblecore movies ever made.
Drinking Buddies is definitely a product of a more post-mumblecore direction with a cast of big-name actors. However, it retains its naturalistic tendencies in part because the cast actually drank a lot of beer throughout filming, according to Olivia Wilde.
The fact that they’re improvising dialogue while slurring a little bit through major scenes makes it feel all the more real. It certainly could have been a disaster, but when you have strong performers like Anna Kendrick and Jake Johnson, it all comes together wonderfully.
Good Mumblecore Films
List of Mumblecore Films
Mumblecore Films, Ranked
Before they gave audiences collective anxiety with Uncut Gems,
the Safdie Brothers delivered Daddy Longlegs. It’s a movie about a divorced father making the most of the two weeks he has his kids, which often leads to disastrous consequences. The Safdies based the script off of their own divorced father, which helps give the film a more intimate quality, lending itself naturally to the mumblecore aesthetic.
Great Mumblecore Films
5. Joshy (2016)
Writer/director Jeff Baena wrote a 20-page treatment for Joshy. The cast knew where each scene needed to go, but they were left to come up with the actual dialogue. A lot of comedic actors are in the cast, and they’re certainly funny, but what’s so intriguing is that the story itself is incredibly sad. In hindsight, the comedy functions as a mask of these guys who don’t want to address the elephant in the room and would rather just screw off for a weekend.
Ranking the Best Mumblecore Films
Loneliness and isolation are common themes in 21st century cinema. But few films have touched on those themes in such a unique way as Wendy and Lucy, a movie about a woman traveling to Alaska with her dog who gets stuck in a small Oregon town. It feels like everything is working against her in what should have been a simple quest, and thanks to Michelle Williams’ performance, you empathize immensely with her.
Top 3 Mumblecore Films
The Quintessential Mumblecore Movie
The Best Mumblecore Movie
Frances Ha takes the conventions of mumblecore and takes them to their fullest potential. You have a driftless character dealing with relatable conflicts like a romantic relationship that fizzles out for no real reason, a falling out with a best friend, and the struggle to get a dream job. But none of this ever feels aimless. The titular lead makes mistakes and finds solutions, and while she doesn’t figure everything out, we know she’ll be okay.
A brief history of mumblecore
All of these movies showcase the best of mumblecore. But if you need a primer on what exactly that entails, then make sure to check out our blog running down the definition of mumblecore films. You may be surprised to see how the genre has evolved over the years.