Since the days of the Lumière Brothers, France has been the homeland of film. In France, more people go to watch movies than in any other country in Europe. French films were formerly recognized for their artists. In Europe today, French film is the exception, especially French films on Netflix.
France has the most screens, produces the most films, and sells the most tickets in Europe. One iconic place is the Grand Guignol Theatre. Bertrand Tavernier’s ‘A Journey Through French Cinema’ would be the ideal selection for a French film introduction.
France: The Home of Cinema
France is the birthplace of Cinema. France developed cinema, and the country remains a powerhouse for the seventh art to this day. French directors have long mastered the art of entertaining.
From French love tales and French comedy to family pictures, creative directors frequently manage to balance serious and enjoyable films. Creating light and humorous moments in emotionally charged plays is a great skill, and French movies have mastered it.
Directors and actresses from migrant backgrounds have been increasingly becoming popular in French cinema in recent years. There is the French language, which sounds so romantic, lovely, and all-around enticing, hence the accent and those words are magical.
The City of Lights and Cinema
Paris, the city of lights and love, is another option. It is perhaps the most romantic city in the world. And picturesque French rural villages like Provence are well worth a visit. Indeed, France has that something about it.
Even though you might have never been there, you can still visit it by watching French films on Netflix. Thanks to stunning locations, excellent details, and that distinct French sense, French cinema never fails to capture the essence of the nation.
But it is not all rainbows and butterflies, French filmmakers are also not hesitant to explore the more ridiculous, gloomy, and nitty-gritty side of things.
French Films on Netflix
Not that films are confined to theatres but you can stream the best French films on Netflix by picking the finest French films Netflix from a field that continuously defines and redefines the cinema form. Nevertheless, it is a challenging task, as one might expect.
So, whether you are a hardcore Francophile or not, you need to brush up on your French, or simply want an excuse to fantasize about a French accent and stream French films on Netflix after a dinner party. You can also plan your next vacation to Paris.
Here are 10 of the best French films on Netflix that every Francophile and, in general, all moviegoers should watch.
The movie is directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and the cast consists of Noémie Lvovsky, Hafsia Herzi, and Céline Sallette. A film has excelled in four areas; technical artistry, storytelling artistry, entertainment, and art.
The aesthetically stunning picture by Jean-Pierre Jeunet portrays the lifestyle of a young and lonely Parisian lady. The story, which is anchored by a superb performance by Audrey Tatou, explores Amélie’s world through her habits and oddities. It is more than just a cute, amusing French film, as Jeunet closely analyzes his character’s loneliness and melancholy.
The story focuses on Amélie (Audrey Tautou) who works as a waiter in a café in Montmarte. And, while she may appear modest and reserved, she uses her naughty magic touch and charms to improve the lives of others around her. She makes it her duty to aid fate, and along the road, she falls in love in modern-day Paris.
Amélie was a worldwide triumph upon its initial release, and rightly so. Have you ever observed that French films on Netflix about sad issues outnumber those about happy ones by an odd factor?
You can tell a movie is extraordinary when it increases in value with time and it is likely impossible to bring that world back. Countless French filmmakers have attempted to recreate its storytelling brilliance, but few have come near, much alone improved on, Amélie’s aesthetic.
One of the reasons might be that making the ideal feel-good movie while still surprising audiences with little surprises at every turn is quite difficult. It is a Wonderful Life and Life is Beautiful are two more fantastic French films on Netflix that have successfully walked this narrow path.
One can easily immerse themselves in the realm of joy and naivety by seeing this French movie which subjected a woman, Amélie again and again. It is also one of the films made before the era of mobile phones and social media, which will permanently cement its history, even if just for nostalgic purposes.
2. House of Tolerance
It is directed by – Bertrand Bonello and the cast includes Noémie Lvovsky, Hafsia Herzi, and Céline Sallette.
Sometimes the finest horror films include an unknown antagonist. French films on Netflix have a prevalent trait in many horror antagonists, particularly in the slasher style. It is extremely effective in this French movie Bertrand Bonello’s House of Tolerance (L’Apollonide, Souvenirs de la Maison close)- one of the astounding French films on Netflix.
The film opens with little to no anticipation of the horrors of extreme violence that would befall the characters, capitalizing on the viewer’s fairly modest expectations that this will not be a horror picture, but rather the sexual drama that the synopsis suggests.
The film’s brilliance is found in the devastating effect of these women’s existence. Intoxicating the audience with richness, then shattering their expectations with a premeditated blow.
Horror is a fascinating genre founded on exploiting viewers’ various fears via situations that might be horrifying for some while providing humorous relief for others.
Fear provides no humorous relief in House of Tolerance. The only discomfort at the agony of the sexist interaction is the thought that a woman has a cost, making it scarier via the subtlety of its undefined yet pervasive patriarchal antagonist than the face of a killer.
House of Tolerance offers an emotional portrayal of ladies locked in a gilded cage while chronicling daily life. Bonello gradually reveals how this excluded world operates through a novice to the brothel, but he also spares some surprises with the entirely new light, both musical and visual (photo credits, split-screen, candlelight, flashbacks, mirrors).
3. La Vie en Rose
The movie is directed by – Olivier Dahan and the cast includes Marion Cotillard, Sylvie Testud, and Pascal Greggory.
What defines a masterpiece in the film is extremely vague. Is it the writing that makes a film a classic? Is it the vision of the director that catches something hitherto unseen? Could it be an actor’s change that blurs the boundary between fiction and reality? It is unclear what it is that elevates a French film on Netflix to a cultural touchstone and cultural and racial clashes, but you know it when you see it.
A masterpiece is found in a narrative that follows you home from the theatre, plays over and over in your brain before night, and alters your perspective on life. In this 2007 classic-turned-masterpiece, La Vie En Rose, a tale of the sad path of French singer and musical great Édith Piaf, Olivier Dahan achieved that elusive enchantment.
This film is magnificently gorgeous, illustriously dazzling, and yet fading like a rose on fire. La Vie En Rose is a piece of gold jewellery on a black outfit or brown piercing eyes on contrasting skin, bursting with tremendous performance and brilliant directing. The film is an example of the unforeseen beauty of the 2000s.
La Vie En Rose follows the most heartbreaking and uplifting episodes in the life of international treasure, Édith Piaf, from her ascent to popularity to her untimely end. Édith, a cursed lady, was meant to burn out, yet Dahan depicts how brightly her star burnt, illuminating the world while it could.
La Vie En Rose, anchored by Marion Cotillard’s spellbinding performance, is a modern masterpiece that, like the legend of Edith Piaf, resonates with moviegoers long after the film ends.
4. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
It is directed by Céline Sciamma and the cast includes Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, and Luàna Bajrami.
One of the French films on Netflix, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a fascinating love story. The film is a lesbian love story set in the eighteenth century on an isolated Brittany coast. The story follows a portraitist, Marianne (Noémie Merlant), and the woman she has been commissioned to portray, Hélose (Adèle Haenel).
The film debunks the idea of the one-dimensional relationship between artist and muse by transforming Marianne and Hélose into mutual partners, their cumulative love and creativity intermingled.
Whereas many other directors of a historical lesbian romance may stress the taboos of same-sex love, Sciamma is more focused on the power of the real-life true ties that establish.
There are few men or young men in the film, and when they do appear, they frequently have their backs turned or their features out of focus; when you do see a man’s face clearly, it feels like an interruption.
Sciamma illustrates the several ways in which patriarchy restricts the lives of her female heroes even without presenting males onscreen.
5. Paris, Je T’aime
Directed by Alexander Payne, Alfonso Cuarón, Bruno Podalydès, Christopher Doyle, Daniela Thomas, Emmanuel Benbihy, Ethan Coen, Frédéric Auburtin, Gérard Depardieu, Gurinder Chadha, Gus Van Sant, Isabel Coixet, Joel Coen, Nobuhiro Suwa, Oliver Schmitz, Olivier Assayas, Richard LaGravenese, Sylvain Chomet, Tom Tykwer, Vincenzo Natali, Walter Salles and Wes Craven.
The cast of the movie includes Juliette Binoche, Leonor Watling, and Ludivine Sagnier. Paris Je T Aime (Paris, I Love You), a love letter to the city of Paris with a remarkable lineup of 21 globally famous filmmakers, is about as wonderful as it gets. A charming compilation of short films set in several areas of the town of Paris.
The film recounts 20 stories about love, divorce, faithfulness/commitment, lighthearted comedy, sexual passion, innocent desire, and death. Each film has a distinct director(s), and each delivers its story differently based on the vision of that filmmaker.
PARIS JE T’AIME is intriguing, though at times monotonous film with little to no payoff at the conclusion. The stage life appears to be a prelude to a larger plot, but they never get there in the end.
The individual parts’ quality varies, of course, and your enjoyment of the entire picture will be decided by your appreciation of those individual pieces rather than the total of them. However, there is a high degree of success here, which may be credited to the talent involved; a segment rarely misses, and even those mistakes are intriguing.
As one might expect, some parts are better than others. This may either help or hinder the film. If you don’t like a particular section, you are in luck because each short lasts roughly eight minutes before being replaced by another.
Several of the shorts, though, are fascinating. As a result, viewers will want to learn more about these folks and their narrative, but after eight minutes, they don’t get to see them again.
Not knowing much about the French movie beforehand, one would think that all the stories would be connected, or at least that the movie would revisit some of the characters. By the “end” of many of the shorts, however, too much is left open and the stories are merely being introduced rather than concluded.
This French movie appears repetitive because these portions lack a unified and underlying relationship. In concept, this film appears to be a winner.
6. The Intouchables
The movie is directed by Olivier Nakache, and Éric Toledano. The cast incoporates François Cluzet, Omar Sy, and Anne Le Ny.
This is one of those French films on Netflix movie which got a huge box-office success in France, and it is really enjoyable. Despite its flaws, the film’s popularity stems entirely from its casting. Francois Cluzet, who just uses his face and voice, conveys a lot of emotion.
The French movie depicts the development of a connection between these two likeable individuals, based on Driss’ belief that Philippe will change if he departs his stuffy lifestyle and experiences the wider freedoms of an African immigrant. There may be some truth to this, but Philippe’s education and school life consist primarily of offensive platitudes.
Driss, you see, has rhythm and spirit, and Philippe would be a happy guy if he could absorb some of that. He will still be a French millionaire surrounded by bodyguards and crippled, but he will be happier.
People frequently let presumptions go untested because they are engrossed in the happenings. The lure of a film like this, which is quite real, is that once you develop feelings for the characters, what makes you happy makes the producers happy.
7. Children of Paradise
It is directed by Marcel Carné and the cast includes Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, and Pierre Brasseur. Children of Paradise, generally regarded as the best French movie ever produced, achieved lofty heights of poetic realism.
“Children of Paradise” is a film adaptation of a Balzac book, full of dramatic transformations and surprising revelations. Rivals in love watch their rivalry play out onstage, then become rival stage stars of their generation while remaining affectionate friends; the lovable hero is revealed as a dreamer and coward, the vain philanderer as a man capable of nobility and self-sacrifice, and the criminal villain as a figure of cruel but unquestionable integrity.
“Children of Paradise” is first and foremost a work of cinema, beautifully photographed by Roger Hubert and featuring at least three or four of the finest acting performances in French film history.
The storyline is both simple and deep, and it became a symbol of the indomitable and distinct nature of French culture. Everything in the picture seems to whirl in a frenzy of people, clothing, and overlapping relationships, a sort of insane muddle of a life lived in its most basic form. And the cast executes the director’s vision well.
Rarely in a movie will you see a mash-up of everything that never hits a discordant note. This is a film that deserves to be labelled a true masterpiece and one of the best French movies on Netflix.
8. The Lovers on the Bridge
It is directed by Leos Carax and the cast includes Juliette Binoche and Denis Lavant. The Lovers on the Bridge or, in French, Les Amants du Pont-Neuf is remarkable in this regard, as it is in many other French films on Netflix. Aside from its cinematic qualities, it is recognized to this day as a financial failure that halted its writer-career director’s for several years.
Amid daily struggles, a childish homeless guy (Denis Lavant, in a heart-stopping performance) and a young woman, a soon-to-be-blind painter (Juliette Binoche) fall in love. The film is a crazy swirl of hopelessly romantic gestures played out against the Chaplin-esque sadness of the streets, set against the beautiful Technicolor background of Paris by night and the city’s 1989 bicentennial celebration.
The main theme of Lovers on the Bridge appears to be that humans are emotionally fragile animals, and that romantic love is the only authentic, but ephemeral, source of happiness. However, the film indicates this message too vaguely, and only near the conclusion and in the final scene.
It also features the aforementioned severe look at circumstances inside a drunk tank in Paris, some graphic nudity, obnoxious booze, drug usage, and the criminal underworld (small-time drug dealer). Concerning the latter, Alex and Michele once discreetly drugged the drinks of guys eating at outdoor cafés to take the men’s money while they were sleeping.
If you draw startling comparisons, it is one thing to injure your own body with drink and drugs, but it is quite another to intentionally harm others. Especially if the filmmakers fail to demonstrate the depravity of such action.
9. I Am Not an Easy Man
It is directed by Eléonore Pourriat and the cast includes Vincent Elbaz, Marie-Sophie Ferdane, and Pierre Benezit.
Being one of the amazing French films on Netflix, it introduces a witty, yet dark rom-com in the form of I Am Not An Easy Man. Being on a list of French films on Netflix, it follows Damien, a man who is highly familiar with the benefits of living in a patriarchal society.
While billed as a comedy, the way I Am Not An Easy Man examines what the world might be like if women had control since the stone Age leads one to believe it is more of a thought-provoking comedy.
One that may contain jokes, but the jokes are not one-liners meant to be laughed at and then forgotten. They produce instructional moments, like ‘I Feel Pretty’, which compel its audience to reconsider what is or is not amusing while flipping gender conventions.
I Am Not An Easy Man might surprise you; it is both amusing and profound. Despite being riddled with clichés and tropes, I Am Not An Easy Man tackles several pressing issues facing modern men and women.
I Am Not An Easy Man’s comedy and Naoufel’s tragic story derives from overt examples of tropes and events that are generally reserved for specific gender roles.
As a result, even with its sudden, sequel-begging finale, I Am Not An Easy Man challenges the notion and reasoning for why the two primary genders interact with one another as they do and have built the society people live in.
All the while challenging you to rethink your role in it and how strange some of the things you take for granted would be if the scenario were reversed. It is more than just an enjoyable film because it leaves you with questions to ponder long after the credits have rolled.
10. The Most Assassinated Woman in the World Movie
It is directed by Franck Ribière and the cast includes Anna Mouglalis, Niels Schneider, and Jean-Michel Balthazar.
This French film on Netflix, The Most Assassinated Woman in the World (La femme la plus assassinée du monde) is unusual. This French movie aims to tackle current concerns through the legendary violent, gory, horrifying, yet somewhat campy Grand Guignol theatrical tradition.
Grand Guignol, named for the Parisian theatre that mastered the genre and where most of this film takes place, is probably only known to those who studied theatrical history in college. The combination of gross, violent horrors and great theatricality that was formerly present there, established the tone for the modern slasher film that we know today.
The Most Assassinated Woman In The World (La femme la plus assassinée du monde), a film that draws inspiration from and pays homage to a theatrical genre that aspired to cannonade through the artifice of social and artistic taboos, rarely manages to soar above the beautiful tapestries and sumptuous silks of the world it conjures for us.
The lavish, lengthy title of Franck Ribiere’s film whets your appetite from the start. While the production appears to be on a low budget from the start, the presence of the radiant, undeniably appealing Anna Mouglalis and the lavish production design prepare you for an immersive, and aesthetically striking encounter.
Enjoy these French Films on Netflix
Watching French films on Netflix can be a worthy experience. These are some of the best-written French films that have brought the French new wave and influenced generations of filmmakers of French culture.
The amount of gems produced by the industry in its twelve decades of existence is a remarkable, extremely vast, and vivid collection of French movies for a French film lover.
This chosen selection of French films on Netflix does not include French documentaries, science fiction, and French animated film. Anyway, French documentaries, science fiction, and animated film or toy story are a different ecosystem of French housing projects with many radical works.