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5 Great Movies You Missed Last Year Currently on Netflix

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(IFC Films)
(IFC Films)

Last year was truly memorable for movie buffs of all walks. A legitimate all-time great film won the Best Picture Oscar (12 Years a Slave), a rare occurrence. A sci-fi adventure flick was a critics AND audience favorite (Gravity), an even rarer occurrence. And the highest-grossing film of last year (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) was actually worth seeing twice, a spectacularly rare occurrence. 

But we know all about those movies and the rest of the popular ones. The real reason 2013 was especially memorable was the the quality of the less popular, independent or foreign films most audiences never saw because they were simply never in theaters except in big cities. Limited releases are always the hidden gems of any given year in film. This is how cult movies are made. People discover them and take ownership, revealing them to friends like tiny diamonds unearthed from a pile of rubble. 

So without further ado, here are five of the best movies from last year that you may not have heard about and most likely haven't seen. Netflix has them all available to watch instantly as of right now so click that plus sign and add them to your list today. 

Stories We Tell

Directed by Sarah Polley

Based on her own fascinating life story, actress/writer/director Sarah Polley turns the documentary medium on its head in this investigative, revealing film that places the filmmaker front and center. Polley interviews her entire family, asking them to tell her life story in their own words and how she came to learn her father wasn't really her father. After turning 18, Sarah discovered she was the result of her mother's affair with a film producer. The startling revelation is revealed with supreme suspense and throughout the story, Polley taps into humanity in general and how each person can change a story just by telling it. 

Big Bad Wolves

Starring: Lior Ashkenazi, Rotem Keinan, Tzahi Grad

It's easy to see why Quentin Tarantino called this film his favorite of last year. Big Bad Wolves is a unique mix of goofball comedy and extreme horror as a shamed detective and the father of a murder victim team up to exact revenge on the sex offender they "know" did the deed. The two lead performances, by Ashkenazi and Grad, are fantastic with Ashkenazi providing the humor and Grad the dead-eyed line readings of doom.

Simon Killer

Starring: Brady Corbet, Mati Diop, Lila Salet 

From director Antonio Campos (Afterschool), Simon Killer is a slow-burning character portrait of a heartbroken American (Corbet) looking for love in Paris. But the dude is more than a little tapped and his old predilections resurface despite changing time zones. Corbet is fantastic here, showing why he's one of film's most promising young stars. And Campos' atmospheric direction and driving soundtrack (LCD Soundsystem) pace the action. 

The Dirties

Starring: Matt Johnson, Owen Williams, Padraig Singal

Two high school buddies set out to make a fictional film about students like themselves getting revenge on a group of bullies called "The Dirties." But fiction starts imitating reality when one of the friends starts taking the project a little too seriously and begins planning a real school shooting. The Dirties goes where others fear to tread, treating the delicate subject matter like no film before it. It doesn't trivialize the issue, but instead accomplishes what satire often does: It allows us to see something old in a new light.

The Selfish Giant

Starring: Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas, Sean Gilder

Easily the most emotionally-draining film on this list, The Selfish Giant's ending is not for the faint of heart. It's the story of two best friends who don't fit in at school but find solace spending time together while trying to grow up too fast and fix the many problems they each face at home. Renton is a kinetic boy. Unable to sit still, he's trouble incarnate but has a big heart. His best friend, Swifty, is the school punching bag. They both come from poor families so the boys take to collecting scrap metal for a local junker. They just want to help pay the bills, but they're too young to enter the real world so soon.

 

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