the best indie films with a heart

by thenightfollower | created - 14 Apr 2011 | updated - 14 Apr 2011 | Public

Here's some of my favorite indie films that haven't been as publicized as much as your typical holly-wood blockbusters.

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1. Reign Over Me (2007)

R | 124 min | Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
61 Metascore

A man who lost his family in the September 11 attack on New York City runs into his old college roommate. Rekindling the friendship is the one thing that appears able to help the man recover from his grief.

Director: Mike Binder | Stars: Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler

Votes: 87,493 | Gross: $19.66M

2. Fanboys (2009)

PG-13 | 90 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
45 Metascore

Star Wars fanatics take a cross-country trip to George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch so their dying friend can see a screening of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) before its release.

Director: Kyle Newman | Stars: Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell, Sam Huntington

Votes: 52,288 | Gross: $0.69M

3. King of California (2007)

PG-13 | 93 min | Comedy, Drama

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
63 Metascore

An unstable dad who after getting out of a mental institution tries to convince his daughter that there's Spanish gold buried somewhere under suburbia.

Director: Mike Cahill | Stars: Michael Douglas, Evan Rachel Wood, Willis Burks II, Laura Kachergus

Votes: 20,623 | Gross: $0.26M

4. Donnie Darko (2001)

R | 113 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
88 Metascore

A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.

Director: Richard Kelly | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne

Votes: 647,523 | Gross: $0.19M

5. Charlie Bartlett (2007)

R | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
54 Metascore

A rich kid becomes the self-appointed psychiatrist to the student body of his new high school.

Director: Jon Poll | Stars: Anton Yelchin, Robert Downey Jr., Hope Davis, Kat Dennings

Votes: 58,947 | Gross: $3.95M

6. Love & Other Drugs (2010)

R | 112 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
55 Metascore

A young woman suffering from Parkinson's befriends a drug rep working for Pfizer in 1990s Pittsburgh.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Judy Greer, Oliver Platt

Votes: 156,964 | Gross: $32.37M

7. Rocket Science (2007)

R | 101 min | Comedy, Drama

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
73 Metascore

Looking for answers to life's big questions, a stuttering boy joins his high school debate team.

Director: Jeffrey Blitz | Stars: Reece Thompson, Anna Kendrick, Nicholas D'Agosto, Utkarsh Ambudkar

Votes: 12,162 | Gross: $0.71M

8. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)

R | 147 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
56 Metascore

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born with a superior olfactory sense, creates the world's finest perfume. His work, however, takes a dark turn as he searches for the ultimate scent.

Director: Tom Tykwer | Stars: Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman, Francesc Albiol

Votes: 206,112 | Gross: $2.22M

9. Pieces of April (2003)

PG-13 | 80 min | Comedy, Drama

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
70 Metascore

A wayward daughter invites her dying mother and the rest of her estranged family to her apartment for Thanksgiving dinner.

Director: Peter Hedges | Stars: Katie Holmes, Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson, Derek Luke

Votes: 18,705 | Gross: $2.53M

10. December Boys (2007)

PG-13 | 105 min | Drama, Romance

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
56 Metascore

One summer, four orphans boys who have grown to be the closest of friends find themselves competing for the attention of the same family.

Director: Rod Hardy | Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Teresa Palmer, Lee Cormie, Christian Byers

Votes: 10,990 | Gross: $0.05M

11. Assassination of a High School President (2008)

R | 93 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

At a Catholic high school, the popular girl teams up with a sophomore newspaper reporter to investigate a case of stolen SAT exams. Once the duo target their suspects, a larger conspiracy is unearthed.

Director: Brett Simon | Stars: Reece Thompson, Mischa Barton, Bruce Willis, Michael Rapaport

Votes: 14,614

12. (500) Days of Summer (2009)

PG-13 | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
76 Metascore

An offbeat romantic comedy about a woman who doesn't believe true love exists, and the young man who falls for her.

Director: Marc Webb | Stars: Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Geoffrey Arend, Chloë Grace Moretz

Votes: 414,495 | Gross: $32.39M

13. Be Kind Rewind (2008)

PG-13 | 102 min | Comedy

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
52 Metascore

Two bumbling store clerks inadvertently erase the footage from all of the tapes in their video rental store. In order to keep the business running, they re-shoot every film in the store with their own camera, with a budget of zero dollars.

Director: Michel Gondry | Stars: Jack Black, Yasiin Bey, Danny Glover, Mia Farrow

Votes: 83,382 | Gross: $11.17M

14. The Last Kiss (2006)

R | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
57 Metascore

Michael and Jenna, having been a couple for three years, want to get married and start a family. These plans seem to be well on their way when Jenna announces that she's pregnant. But ... See full summary »

Director: Tony Goldwyn | Stars: Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Rachel Bilson, Casey Affleck

Votes: 39,112 | Gross: $11.60M

15. Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (2009)

PG-13 | 83 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

While drinking at their local pub, three social outcasts attempt to navigate a time-travel conundrum.

Director: Gareth Carrivick | Stars: Chris O'Dowd, Marc Wootton, Dean Lennox Kelly, Anna Faris

Votes: 28,691

16. Mammoth (2009)

Not Rated | 125 min | Drama, Romance

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
51 Metascore

While on a trip to Thailand, a successful American businessman tries to radically change his life. Back in New York, his wife and daughter find their relationship with their live-in Filipino maid changing around them. At the same time, in the Philippines, the maid's family struggles to deal with her absence.

Director: Lukas Moodysson | Stars: Gael García Bernal, Michelle Williams, Marife Necesito, Sophie Nyweide

Votes: 8,902 | Gross: $0.01M

17. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

R | 126 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
75 Metascore

The dramatization of a motorcycle road trip Che Guevara went on in his youth that showed him his life's calling.

Director: Walter Salles | Stars: Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna, Mía Maestro, Mercedes Morán

Votes: 88,169 | Gross: $16.76M

18. I Heart Huckabees (2004)

R | 107 min | Comedy

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
55 Metascore

A husband-and-wife team play detective, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, the happy duo helps others solve their existential issues, the kind that keep you up at night, wondering what it all means.

Director: David O. Russell | Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Mark Wahlberg

Votes: 58,917 | Gross: $12.78M

19. The Informers (2008)

R | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

5.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  
20 Metascore

One week in L.A. in 1983, featuring movie executives, rock stars, a vampire and other morally challenged characters in adventures laced with sex, drugs and violence.

Director: Gregor Jordan | Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, Jon Foster

Votes: 14,889 | Gross: $0.30M

20. Superbad (2007)

R | 113 min | Comedy

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
76 Metascore

Two co-dependent high school seniors are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry.

Director: Greg Mottola | Stars: Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bill Hader

Votes: 456,097 | Gross: $121.46M

21. She's the Man (2006)

PG-13 | 105 min | Comedy, Romance, Sport

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
45 Metascore

When her brother decides to ditch for a couple weeks, Viola heads over to his elite boarding school, disguised as him, and proceeds to fall for one of his soccer teammates, and soon learns she's not the only one with romantic troubles.

Director: Andy Fickman | Stars: Amanda Bynes, Laura Ramsey, Channing Tatum, Vinnie Jones

Votes: 127,648 | Gross: $2.34M

22. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

R | 101 min | Comedy, Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
80 Metascore

A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.

Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris | Stars: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Abigail Breslin

Votes: 386,393 | Gross: $59.89M

23. Hot Rod (2007)

PG-13 | 88 min | Comedy

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
43 Metascore

Self-proclaimed stuntman Rod Kimble is preparing for the jump of his life - to clear fifteen buses to raise money for his abusive stepfather Frank's life-saving heart operation.

Director: Akiva Schaffer | Stars: Andy Samberg, Isla Fisher, Ian McShane, Jorma Taccone

Votes: 65,445 | Gross: $13.92M

24. Cashback (2006)

R | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
54 Metascore

After a painful breakup, Ben develops insomnia. To kill time, he starts working the late night shift at the local supermarket, where his artistic imagination runs wild.

Director: Sean Ellis | Stars: Sean Biggerstaff, Emilia Fox, Michelle Ryan, Erica Ellis

Votes: 76,817 | Gross: $0.02M

25. Juno (2007)

PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
81 Metascore

Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

Director: Jason Reitman | Stars: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman

Votes: 444,740 | Gross: $143.50M

26. Thank You for Smoking (2005)

R | 92 min | Comedy, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
71 Metascore

Satirical comedy follows the machinations of Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, Nick Naylor, who spins on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son.

Director: Jason Reitman | Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Cameron Bright, Maria Bello, Joan Lunden

Votes: 199,947 | Gross: $24.79M

27. Awake (2007)

R | 84 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
33 Metascore

A wealthy young man undergoing heart transplant surgery discovers that the surgical team intend to murder him.

Director: Joby Harold | Stars: Hayden Christensen, Jessica Alba, Terrence Howard, Lena Olin

Votes: 66,936 | Gross: $14.38M

28. Blindness (2008)

R | 121 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
45 Metascore

A city is ravaged by an epidemic of instant white blindness.

Director: Fernando Meirelles | Stars: Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Gael García Bernal, Yûsuke Iseya

Votes: 62,973 | Gross: $3.07M

29. Wedding Daze (2006)

R | 90 min | Comedy, Romance

5.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

This is a comedy that shows us that love has nothing to do with perfection. After losing the woman of his dreams, Anderson is convinced he'll never fall in love again. But at the urging of ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Ian Black | Stars: Jason Biggs, Isla Fisher, Michael Weston, Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Votes: 13,695

30. He Was a Quiet Man (2007)

Not Rated | 95 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
53 Metascore

An office worker inadvertently becomes a hero after he saves a woman's life.

Director: Frank A. Cappello | Stars: Christian Slater, Elisha Cuthbert, William H. Macy, Michael DeLuise

Votes: 20,974

31. Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)

PG | 104 min | Comedy, Family, Romance

5.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
38 Metascore

A college grad lands a job as a financial journalist in New York City to support where she nurtures her shopping addiction and falls for a wealthy entrepreneur.

Director: P.J. Hogan | Stars: Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Krysten Ritter, Joan Cusack

Votes: 67,388 | Gross: $44.28M

32. L'illusionniste (2010)

PG | 80 min | Animation, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
82 Metascore

A French illusionist finds himself out of work and travels to Scotland, where he meets a young woman. Their ensuing adventure changes both their lives forever.

Director: Sylvain Chomet | Stars: Jean-Claude Donda, Eilidh Rankin, Duncan MacNeil, Raymond Mearns

Votes: 30,343 | Gross: $2.23M

33. Waking Life (2001)

R | 99 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

7.8
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82 Metascore

A man shuffles through a dream meeting various people and discussing the meanings and purposes of the universe.

Director: Richard Linklater | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Trevor Jack Brooks, Lorelei Linklater, Wiley Wiggins

Votes: 53,852 | Gross: $2.89M

34. He's Just Not That Into You (2009)

PG-13 | 129 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
47 Metascore

This Baltimore-set movie of interconnecting story arcs deals with the challenges of reading or misreading human behavior.

Director: Ken Kwapis | Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Morgan Lily

Votes: 141,762 | Gross: $93.95M

35. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

R | 118 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

7.7
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41 Metascore

An oddball journalist and his psychopathic lawyer travel to Las Vegas for a series of psychedelic escapades.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire, Michael Lee Gogin

Votes: 229,382 | Gross: $10.68M

36. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)

R | 90 min | Horror

5.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
44 Metascore

A group of high-schoolers invite Mandy Lane, an innocent, desirable girl, to a weekend party on a secluded ranch. While the festivities rage on, the number of revelers begins to drop mysteriously.

Director: Jonathan Levine | Stars: Amber Heard, Anson Mount, Whitney Able, Michael Welch

Votes: 27,636

37. Make It Happen (2008)

PG-13 | 90 min | Drama

5.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Embarking on a journey to fulfill her dreams as a dancer, a young girl discovers a new style of dance that will prove to be the source of both conflict and self-discovery.

Director: Darren Grant | Stars: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Tessa Thompson, Riley Smith, John Reardon

Votes: 5,520

38. Milk (I) (2008)

R | 128 min | Biography, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
84 Metascore

The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official.

Director: Gus Van Sant | Stars: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna

Votes: 147,332 | Gross: $31.84M

39. Fired Up! (2009)

PG-13 | 90 min | Comedy

6.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
31 Metascore

The two most popular guys in high school decide to ditch football camp for cheerleader camp. For the girls and for the glory.

Director: Will Gluck | Stars: Eric Christian Olsen, Nicholas D'Agosto, Sarah Roemer, Molly Sims

Votes: 39,264 | Gross: $17.23M

40. He's Just Not That Into You (2009)

PG-13 | 129 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
47 Metascore

This Baltimore-set movie of interconnecting story arcs deals with the challenges of reading or misreading human behavior.

Director: Ken Kwapis | Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Morgan Lily

Votes: 141,762 | Gross: $93.95M

41. Push (2009)

PG-13 | 111 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

6.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
36 Metascore

Two young Americans with special abilities must race to find a girl in Hong Kong before a shadowy government organization called Division does.

Director: Paul McGuigan | Stars: Camilla Belle, Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans, Colin Ford

Votes: 96,222 | Gross: $31.81M

42. Moon (2009)

R | 97 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
67 Metascore

Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.

Director: Duncan Jones | Stars: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Dominique McElligott, Rosie Shaw

Votes: 288,166 | Gross: $5.01M

43. Taking Woodstock (2009)

R | 120 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
55 Metascore

A man working at his parents' motel in the Catskills inadvertently sets in motion the generation-defining concert in the summer of 1969.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Demetri Martin, Henry Goodman, Edward Hibbert, Imelda Staunton

Votes: 26,073 | Gross: $7.44M