10 Must-Watch Indie Films of the Decade


Indie films have gained immense popularity over the last decade. These low-budget, independently produced movies offer a refreshing take on storytelling, often tackling subjects that mainstream films overlook. From thought-provoking narratives to captivating performances, indie films have carved a niche for themselves in the film industry. In this article, we will explore the top ten must-watch indie films of the decade, which have made a significant impact on the cinematic landscape.

1. Moonlight (2016)

Subheading: A Poignant Coming-of-Age Story

Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins, is an exquisite portrayal of a young African-American man’s struggles with identity and self-discovery. Divided into three chapters, it follows the life of Chiron as he grows from a shy child exploring his sexuality to a troubled teenager and finally a conflicted adult. With its stunning visuals, remarkable performances, and powerful storytelling, Moonlight won numerous accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Bullet Points:

– Highlights the challenges faced by individuals from marginalized communities
– Masterful cinematography and evocative use of lighting
– Exceptional performances by a talented ensemble cast

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Subheading: Wes Anderson’s Quirky Delight

Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel is a whimsical journey that unfolds in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka. The film follows the misadventures of Gustave H., a legendary concierge who becomes embroiled in a murder mystery, with Ralph Fiennes delivering a delightful performance. With its impeccable production design, inventive storytelling, and a stellar ensemble cast, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a visual treat and a testament to Anderson’s unique directorial style.

3. Lady Bird (2017)

Subheading: A Charming Coming-of-Age Comedy

Lady Bird, a directorial debut by Greta Gerwig, takes us on a heartfelt journey through the life of a high school senior, Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson. Set amidst the backdrop of Sacramento in the early 2000s, the film beautifully captures the complexities of relationships, personal growth, and the pursuit of dreams. Saoirse Ronan’s compelling performance, along with Gerwig’s honest and witty script, makes Lady Bird an indie gem.

4. Get Out (2017)

Subheading: A Groundbreaking Social Thriller

Directed by Jordan Peele, Get Out challenges societal norms and explores the horrors of racism through a gripping and suspenseful narrative. The film follows Chris, an African-American man, as he meets his white girlfriend’s family. As the weekend progresses, Chris uncovers dark secrets, leading to an intense battle for survival. With its sharp social commentary, outstanding performances, and an unpredictable plot, Get Out became a critical and commercial success.

5. Her (2013)

Subheading: A Unique Love Story

Directed by Spike Jonze, Her is a futuristic tale set in a world where people form emotional connections with artificial intelligence. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a lonely writer who develops a relationship with a sophisticated operating system named Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Her delves into the complexities of human emotions, loneliness, and the impact of technology on our lives, creating a thought-provoking cinematic experience.

6. The Shape of Water (2017)

Subheading: A Captivating Fantasy Romance

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water is an enchanting love story that transcends boundaries. Set during the Cold War era, it centers on the relationship between Elisa, a mute janitor, and an amphibious creature being held captive at a secret research facility. With its stunning visuals, mesmerizing performances, and a touching narrative, The Shape of Water won the hearts of audiences and received critical acclaim.

7. Boyhood (2014)

Subheading: A Masterpiece Spanning a Childhood

Boyhood, directed by Richard Linklater, is a remarkable cinematic achievement that was filmed over a span of twelve years. The film chronicles the life of Mason Evans Jr., portrayed by Ellar Coltrane, from early childhood to his arrival at college. Through its unique production approach and genuine performances, Boyhood captures the essence of growing up, unveiling the challenges and joys of life in an authentic and relatable manner.

8. Whiplash (2014)

Subheading: The Pursuit of Excellence

Whiplash, directed by Damien Chazelle, explores the tumultuous relationship between an ambitious jazz drummer, Andrew Neiman, played by Miles Teller, and his demanding music instructor, Terence Fletcher, portrayed by J.K. Simmons. The film delves into the sacrifices, obsession, and the pursuit of greatness in the competitive world of music. With its electrifying performances and intense storytelling, Whiplash became a critically acclaimed indie film.

9. The Florida Project (2017)

Subheading: Childhood Innocence in the Shadows

The Florida Project, directed by Sean Baker, sheds light on the lives of people living on the outskirts of Disney World. The film follows the adventures of Moonee, a young girl, and her friends as they navigate the challenges of poverty and the complexities of adulthood. With its raw and genuine performances, vibrant cinematography, and a compassionate narrative, The Florida Project offers a poignant glimpse into the resilience of the human spirit.

10. A Separation (2011)

Subheading: A Nuanced Family Drama

A Separation, directed by Asghar Farhadi, is an Iranian film that delves deep into family dynamics, morality, and the consequences of difficult choices. The story revolves around a couple who separate and the conflicts that arise when they hire a caretaker for their elderly father. With its powerful performances, taut screenplay, and thought-provoking themes, A Separation garnered international acclaim, including an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


Over the past decade, indie films have presented audiences with captivating stories, unconventional narratives, and extraordinary performances. From Moonlight’s profound exploration of identity to The Grand Budapest Hotel’s whimsical escapades, each film on this list has made a lasting impact on the cinematic landscape. These ten must-watch indie films of the decade highlight the diversity and creativity that independent cinema has to offer.

FAQs After The Conclusion

Q: Are indie films only made on a small budget?


No, while indie films are typically low-budget productions, there have been instances where independent filmmakers have managed to secure more significant budgets for their projects.

Q: Are indie films a recent phenomenon?


No, indie films have existed since the early days of cinema. However, their popularity has grown significantly over the past few decades.

Q: Do indie films always feature unknown actors?


Not necessarily. While indie films often provide a platform for emerging talent, there are also instances where established actors choose to work on indie projects.

Q: Can indie films be commercially successful?


Yes, some indie films have achieved substantial commercial success, gaining recognition from both critics and audiences worldwide.

Q: Are all indie films experimental or avant-garde?


No, indie films cover a broad spectrum of genres and styles. While some may be experimental or avant-garde, others can be conventional narrative-driven stories.

Q: How can I watch indie films?


Indie films can be found in arthouse cinemas, film festivals, and online streaming platforms dedicated to independent cinema.