Zendaya attends the World Premiere of ‘Dune: Part Two’ in London.

The best movies of 2024 so far

Written by:
February 20, 2024
Updated on March 21, 2024
Gareth Cattermole // Getty Images

The best movies of 2024 so far

Only a few months into the year have passed, but 2024 is shaping up to be an exciting year in film if the following list is any indication.

As a result of the monthslong Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists strikes last year, industry experts, like those at Deadline, are expecting to see a huge drop in the number of major films set to premiere by the end of the year. Although last year saw 124 wide releases, 2024 expects to see just over 100, which will equate to a roughly $1 billion drop in domestic ticket sales.

That said, we'll still be getting a fair number of blockbusters over the course of the year, with titles like "Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga," "Deadpool & Wolverine," and "Gladiator 2" all hitting theaters this year. And those are just a taste of the movies expecting a theatrical release in 2024.

In the first three months of the year, however, we've already seen a number of truly wonderful films hit the big screen—stories that help audiences see the past and their lives just a little differently.

Stacker looked at Metacritic data on the best films of 2024 so far and ranked the top 15. Ordered by Metascore (with data collected on March 11, 2024), the films must have been released in the U.S. in 2024 and have at least seven reviews from critics in order to qualify for this list. IMDb user ratings were provided for popular reception context.

Read on to find some new titles to add to your queue and then come back throughout the year as the list, and this year in memorable cinema, grows exponentially.

Sidsel Siersted, Apolonia Sokol, and Lea Glob at Tribeca Festival.
1 / 15
Arturo Holmes // Getty Images for Tribeca Festival

#15. Apolonia, Apolonia

- Director: Lea Glob
- Metascore: 77
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Run time: 116 minutes

Shot over the course of 13 years, "Apolonia, Apolonia" is a documentary that follows a young Parisian woman as she attempts to find her place in the art world. Described by IndieWire as a "fun house-twisting, telephone-style portrait," the film isn't a straightforward watch, but in the deft hands of director Lea Glob, it's certainly a worthwhile one. In particular, its strengths, as described by outlets like Variety, include the way it considers ideas like individual creative principles, the system of patriarchal patronage, and the economic reality of being a bohemian in this day and age.

Jena Malone, Kristen Stewart, Rose Glass, Katy O'Brian and Anna Baryshnikov attend ‘Love Lies Bleeding’ premiere.
2 / 15
Emma McIntyre // Getty Images

#14. Love Lies Bleeding

- Director: Rose Glass
- Metascore: 78
- IMDb user rating: 6.6
- Run time: 104 minutes

Starring Kristen Stewart, Dave Franco, Jena Malone, and Ed Harris, "Love Lies Bleeding" was dubbed by The Atlantic as "a Coen Brothers thriller on steroids." In the romantic crime thriller, gym manager Lou (Stewart) falls for a bodybuilder named Jackie (Katy O'Brian in a breakthrough role). Their love is tested by various encounters with Lou's family, who have deep ties to crime. Despite its obvious neo-noir influences, The New York Times writes that the film manages to refresh many ideas from stellar films of the genre in ways that leave "behind old ugly ideas about women."

Mia McKenna-Bruce and Molly Manning Walker pose for press at Cannes.
3 / 15
Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

#13. How to Have Sex

- Director: Molly Manning Walker
- Metascore: 79
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Run time: 91 minutes

First premiering at the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard competition, "How to Have Sex" follows three young women as they embark on their first real adult vacation. RogerEbert.com called the movie, which is Molly Manning Walker's feature directorial debut, "a blisteringly real survey of female coming of age." The visuals here are arguably among the year's best, which is perhaps not all that surprising considering Walker's background as a cinematographer.

The Cast of ‘Dune: Part Two’ poses for press at the New York Premiere.
4 / 15
Dimitrios Kambouris // Getty Images

#12. Dune: Part Two

- Director: Denis Villeneuve
- Metascore: 79
- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- Run time: 166 minutes

The follow-up to the 2021 smash-hit adaptation of the Frank Herbert sci-fi novel, "Dune: Part Two" continues the story of Paul Atreides and the Fremen people as they wage war against the cruel House Harkonnen. The commercially successful film has a massive, all-star cast that includes actors like Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, and Josh Brolin. Critics, like those at Slate, have sung the movie's praises, celebrating everything from its complex, attention-grabbing plot to its jaw-dropping special effects to its cinematography and score.

Giancarlo Nasi, Chiara Giavarini, Felipe Gálvez Haberle, Mishel Guaña, Alfredo Castro and Benjamin Domenech at Toronto International Film Festival.
5 / 15
Mathew Tsang // Getty Images

#11. The Settlers

- Director: Felipe Gálvez Haberle
- Metascore: 80
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Run time: 97 minutes

Felipe Gálvez Haberle's feature directorial debut, "The Settlers," is a revisionist Western that follows three horsemen who find themselves mixed up in the South American land grab and the genocide of the Selk'nam people at the beginning of the 20th century.

Premiering at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, the film didn't get a widespread release until early this year, but critical reviews have been overwhelmingly positive since its debut. Writing for Observer, one critic called it "a brutal, chilling indictment of capitalist colonialism," while IndieWire wrote that "it's one of the most chilling art-Westerns to come along in some time, as provocative for its ideas, dialogue, and characterizations, as for the beauty of its empty landscapes."

Alex Schaad, Thomas Wodlanka, Maryam Zaree, Mala Emde and Dimitrij Schaad at premiere of ‘Auf meiner Haut’.
6 / 15
Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images

#10. Skin Deep

- Director: Alex Schaad
- Metascore: 81
- IMDb user rating: 6.2
- Run time: 103 minutes

"Skin Deep" is a philosophical relationship drama that follows a young couple who find themselves in a body-swapping situation during a visit to a mysterious island. The New York Times lauded the way the film handled deep questions that might arise in romantic relationships and broader society should body-swapping become an established, serious possibility. Written by brothers Alex and Dimitrij Schaad, the film first premiered at the 2022 Venice Film Festival and only made its way to the U.S. this year. It is also Alex's feature-length debut.

Seydou Sarr, Matteo Garrone, Moustapha Fall attend a photo call for "Io Capitano" at the Venice International Film Festival.
7 / 15
Alessandra Benedetti - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

#9. Io Capitano

- Director: Matteo Garrone
- Metascore: 81
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Run time: 121 minutes

Inspired by the real stories of migrants' journeys to Europe through Africa, "Io Capitano" tells the story of two young men who leave their native Dakar in search of a better life in Italy. Nominated for Best International Feature Film at this year's Oscars, the movie's cast comprises mostly unknown actors, which lends an even more raw and real tone to the story. Audiences should note that the film is a hard watch—heavy topics like abuse and slavery are tackled—but, as Observer notes, it's important in that it keeps the reality of this international crisis at the forefront of conversations.

Mouna Hawa receives the Best Actress Award for her role in 'Inshallah a Boy’.
8 / 15
PATRICK BAZ/Red Sea Film Festival/AFP via Getty Images

#8. Inshallah a Boy

- Director: Amjad Al Rasheed
- Metascore: 83
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Run time: 113 minutes

Wrestling with the devastating effects of Jordan's patriarchal inheritance laws, "Inshallah a Boy" is a thriller about a woman who pretends to be pregnant with a son in order to save herself and her young daughter. The film was the first Jordanian project to ever compete at Cannes, and what a stunning debut it was. The New York Times praised the performance of Mouna Hawa (a Palestinian actor), calling it "commanding," and Variety applauded Al Rasheed's prowess in casting a social-realist drama as a riveting escape thriller.

Alice Rohrwacher, Isabella Rossellini and Josh O'Connor pose for press at the New York Film Festival.
9 / 15
Theo Wargo // Getty Images for FLC

#7. La Chimera

- Director: Alice Rohrwacher
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Run time: 130 minutes

Set in the '80s, "La Chimera" follows a lovelorn archaeologist who unwittingly finds himself the head of a ragtag gang of grave robbers, stealing artifacts and passing them on to a mysterious buyer. The Guardian called it "uproarious and celebratory" noting that its tone, and the way it teems with life, is one of the best things about it. Meanwhile, Slant loves the way it wrestles with time and the effect it has on all of our lives.

Kleber Mendonça Filho and Dennis Lim attend the New York Film Festival ‘Pictures Of Ghosts’ panel.
10 / 15
Theo Wargo // Getty Images for FLC

#6. Pictures of Ghosts

- Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Run time: 93 minutes

In this documentary, filmmaker Kleber Mendonça Filho revisits his life in Brazil, recalling its glory days through the prism of the various cinemas he frequented as a child. The New York Times praised the film, which combines both new and archived footage, for the way it inspires a "rumination on life, death, family, movies, and those complicated, invariably haunted places we call home." Meanwhile, IndieWire loved the film best for its celebratory spirit, noting that Filho is able to give the film "a joyful rhythm, full of hope and wonder."

Deniz Celiloglu, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Merve Dizdar and Musab Ekici at Cannes.
11 / 15
Lionel Hahn // Getty Images

#5. About Dry Grasses

- Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Run time: 197 minutes

This Turkish-language drama follows a teacher who finds his future threatened after a female student alleges inappropriate contact. As is the case with many of Nuri Bilge Ceylan's projects, the movie is slow and sparse, with a strong emphasis placed on still photography. The New Yorker called it "nimble, alert, and alive," stressing that it "brims with a bitingly melancholy Chekhovian spirit," something that's sure to appeal to certain viewers.

Lila Aviles and Naima Senties at the ‘Totem’ premiere during the Berlinale International Film Festival.
12 / 15
Sebastian Reuter // Getty Images

#4. Totem

- Director: Lila Avilés
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Run time: 95 minutes

The National Board of Review named "Totem" one of the best international films of the year, which is as winning of an endorsement as one could hope to receive. The Mexican project follows a 7-year-old girl as she celebrates her father's birthday and struggles to come to terms with the fact that it will likely be his last. Variety called the movie "lifelike and lived-in" and commended filmmaker Lila Avilés' "generous, open-ended" style.

Radu Jude poses for press portrait at the Locarno Film Festival.
13 / 15
Alessandro Levati // Getty Images

#3. Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World

- Director: Radu Jude
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Run time: 163 minutes

In this black comedy, a production assistant is tasked with shooting a workplace safety video, only to find their plans upended when an interviewee makes a surprising statement. Completely unique in its form (it's a mix of new footage, edited excerpts of another 1981 film, "Angela merge mai departe," and the main character's TikTok videos), Variety called the movie a "dizzying, dazzling feat of social critique, an all-fronts-at-once attack on the zeitgeist, and a mischievous, often hilarious work of art about the artifice of work."

Pham Thien An poses with Anais Demoustier after he won the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
14 / 15

#2. Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell

- Director: Thien An Pham
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 6.7
- Run time: 179 minutes

Straddling the line between surrealism and realism, "Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell" follows a young Vietnamese man as he navigates the unexpected loss of a family member and grapples with larger questions of faith, god, and the afterlife. Director Thien An Pham's feature debut, the movie won the Camera d'Or (the award given to the best debut feature film) at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Outlets like IndieWire have gushed over the project's unique cinematic style (there are long, uninterrupted shots that run for up to 20 minutes at a time), which has already earned praise from critics internationally.

Bas Devos speaks on stage at the Berlinale International Film Festival.
15 / 15
Sebastian Reuter // Getty Images

#1. Here

- Director: Bas Devos
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Run time: 82 minutes

Dubbed "a celebration of connection" by The New York Times, Bas Devos' "Here" follows the lives of a Romanian construction worker and a Belgian-Chinese academic who studies moss. Their lives, which have almost no reason to intersect, inevitably do, in the most unusual of places in the city and out in nature. The quiet film is beautifully photographed and captures a sense of connection where "nothing much and everything happens—or could."

Data reporting by Luke Hicks. Story editing by Carren Jao. Copy editing by Tim Bruns. 

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