The 20 most underrated movies of the last 20 years

by Kharpal | last updated - 25 Nov 2011 | Public

In this list, i want to promote fiction movies produced in the last 20 years (from 1991 to 2011) that i think deserves more attention than what they actually have. I do consider three characteristics: First, the number of votes from IMDB users reflects how many people have seen the movie. Secundo, the film budget, because it greatly affects the film visibility around the world. Finally, the production country will also make a huge difference. Conclusion: don't expect to see any blockbuster here...

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1. Monsieur Lazhar (2011)

PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Drama

7.5
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82 Metascore

At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed.

Director: Philippe Falardeau | Stars: Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Émilien Néron, Danielle Proulx

Votes: 17,144 | Gross: $2.01M

This touching film about death, education and immigration is still on screen at the moment of making this list. It has received numerous praise around the world, however, since it's been produced in Quebec with a very low budget, it deserves to be in the list as now.

2. Fish Tank (2009)

Not Rated | 123 min | Drama

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
81 Metascore

Everything changes for 15-year-old Mia when her mum brings home a new boyfriend.

Director: Andrea Arnold | Stars: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing, Rebecca Griffiths

Votes: 51,937 | Gross: $0.37M

I was really impressed with this Ken Loach like film. The main character was played by a non-professionnal actress, discovered by accident when she was having a heated argument with her boyfriend across the platforms at Tilbury Town railway station. She had dropped out of school and was unemployed when she was cast in her first film.

3. 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: 53,576 | Gross: $2.89M

A great film about life and dream. Shot entirely on video cameras, then rotoscope-animated on Mac G4. Brilliant.

4. Mysterious Skin (2004)

Unrated | 105 min | Drama, Mystery

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

A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions cross paths, together discovering a horrible, liberating truth.

Director: Gregg Araki | Stars: Brady Corbet, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elisabeth Shue, Chase Ellison

Votes: 60,062 | Gross: $0.70M

This surprising movie about the effect of sexual abuse on youth people is just mesmerizing. Gregg Araki cut the movie himself on his Macintosh computer, using Final Cut Pro 4.

5. The Man Without a Past (2002)

PG-13 | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.7
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84 Metascore

The second part of Aki Kaurismäki's "Finland" trilogy, the film follows a man who arrives in Helsinki and gets beaten up so severely he develops amnesia. Unable to remember his name or ... See full summary »

Director: Aki Kaurismäki | Stars: Markku Peltola, Kati Outinen, Annikki Tähti, Juhani Niemelä

Votes: 18,919 | Gross: $0.92M

6. Salmer fra kjøkkenet (2003)

PG | 95 min | Comedy, Drama

7.3
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75 Metascore

A scientific observer's job of observing an old cantankerous single man's kitchen habits is complicated by his growing friendship with him.

Director: Bent Hamer | Stars: Tomas Norström, Joachim Calmeyer, Bjørn Floberg, Reine Brynolfsson

Votes: 7,392 | Gross: $0.35M

7. Tulpan (2008)

Not Rated | 100 min | Comedy, Drama

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

On the steppes of Kazakhstan, Asa lives in a yurt with his sister Samal, her husband Ondas, and their three children. Ondas is a herdsman, tough and strong. It's dry, dusty, and windy; too ... See full summary »

Director: Sergei Dvortsevoy | Stars: Askhat Kuchencherekov, Tolepbergen Baisakalov, Samal Yeslyamova, Ondas Besikbasov

Votes: 2,770 | Gross: $0.16M

8. Nói albinói (2003)

PG-13 | 93 min | Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
68 Metascore

Is he the village idiot or a genius in disguise? 17 year old Noi drifts through life on a remote fjord in the north of Iceland. In winter, the fjord is cut off from the outside world, ... See full summary »

Director: Dagur Kári | Stars: Tómas Lemarquis, Þröstur Leó Gunnarsson, Elín Hansdóttir, Anna Friðriksdóttir

Votes: 8,293 | Gross: $0.06M

9. Sin Nombre (2009)

R | 96 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama

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

A Honduran young girl and a Mexican gangster are united in a journey across the American border.

Director: Cary Fukunaga | Stars: Paulina Gaitan, Marco Antonio Aguirre, Leonardo Alonso, Karla Cecilia Alvarado

Votes: 27,811 | Gross: $2.53M

10. Eagle vs Shark (2007)

R | 88 min | Comedy, Romance

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

Eagle vs Shark is the tale of two socially awkward misfits and the strange ways they try to find love; through revenge on high-school bullies, burgers, and video games.

Director: Taika Waititi | Stars: Loren Taylor, Jemaine Clement, Craig Hall, Joel Tobeck

Votes: 18,501 | Gross: $0.22M

A funny movie about weird characters. Definitely worth a look.

11. Direktøren for det hele (2006)

Not Rated | 99 min | Comedy

6.7
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71 Metascore

An IT company hires an actor to serve as the company's president in order to help the business get sold to a cranky Icelander.

Director: Lars von Trier | Stars: Jens Albinus, Peter Gantzler, Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, Benedikt Erlingsson

Votes: 9,588 | Gross: $0.05M

The less "Von Trier" movie from Von Trier. Nonetheless one of of his best. A fine comedy about power, work relationships and manipulation.

12. La Cérémonie (1995)

Not Rated | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

7.6
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A new-hired maid for a rich countryside family befriends a post-office clerk, who encourages her to rebel against her employers.

Director: Claude Chabrol | Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Sandrine Bonnaire, Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassel

Votes: 7,740 | Gross: $0.08M

13. Where the Truth Lies (2005)

Unrated | 107 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

6.5
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47 Metascore

Karen O'Connor, a young journalist known for her celebrity profiles, is consumed with discovering the truth behind a long-buried incident that affected the lives and careers of showbiz team Vince Collins and Lanny Morris.

Director: Atom Egoyan | Stars: Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, Alison Lohman, David Hayman

Votes: 15,708 | Gross: $0.87M

14. De helaasheid der dingen (2009)

Not Rated | 108 min | Comedy, Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
54 Metascore

13-year-old Gunther Strobbe grows up surrounded by alcohol, trash and his completely useless father and uncles. Slowly but surely, he's being prepared for the same hapless life. Can he defy his destiny?

Director: Felix van Groeningen | Stars: Kenneth Vanbaeden, Valentijn Dhaenens, Koen De Graeve, Wouter Hendrickx

Votes: 8,308

This one is the first film i saw from Belgian director Felix Van Groeningen. Ruthless, direct, in your face type of movie that you won't forget soon.

15. Der Tunnel (2001)

150 min | Drama, History, Thriller

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

Based on a true story a group of East Berliners escaping to the West. Harry Melchior was a champion East German swimmer at odds with the system under which he has already been imprisoned. ... See full summary »

Director: Roland Suso Richter | Stars: Heino Ferch, Nicolette Krebitz, Sebastian Koch, Alexandra Maria Lara

Votes: 5,547 | Gross: $0.01M

16. The Secret of the Grain (2007)

Not Rated | 151 min | Drama

7.4
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83 Metascore

At the port of Sète, Mr. Slimani, a tired 60-year-old, drags himself toward a shipyard job that has become more and more difficult to cope with as the years go by. He is a divorced father ... See full summary »

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche | Stars: Habib Boufares, Hafsia Herzi, Farida Benkhetache, Abdelhamid Aktouche

Votes: 5,873 | Gross: $0.09M

17. Congorama (2006)

105 min | Comedy, Drama

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

An eccentric Belgian inventor travels to Québec to search for his family, which uncovers a secret history between two seemingly unrelated people.

Director: Philippe Falardeau | Stars: Olivier Gourmet, Paul Ahmarani, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Claudia Tagbo

Votes: 1,088

18. A Self-Made Hero (1996)

107 min | Drama, Comedy

7.4
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Set in France at the end of World War II Albert Dehousse finds out his father wasn't a war hero and his mother is a collaborator. He leaves his wife and goes to Paris. Gradually he ... See full summary »

Director: Jacques Audiard | Stars: Mathieu Kassovitz, Anouk Grinberg, Sandrine Kiberlain, Jean-Louis Trintignant

Votes: 2,263 | Gross: $0.07M

19. Efter brylluppet (2006)

R | 120 min | Drama

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

A manager of an orphanage in India is sent to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he discovers a life-altering family secret.

Director: Susanne Bier | Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Rolf Lassgård, Neeral Mulchandani

Votes: 27,833 | Gross: $0.41M

20. Je vais bien, ne t'en fais pas (2006)

92 min | Drama

7.4
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Lili returns from holidays and learns that her twin brother left the house after a violent argument with their father.

Director: Philippe Lioret | Stars: Mélanie Laurent, Kad Merad, Isabelle Renauld, Julien Boisselier

Votes: 8,715