1. Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (1953)
The French slapstick comedy is a simple story of a clumsy man named Monsieur Hulot whose hilarious antics cause pandemonium at a seaside resort where he is spending his holidays. The film technically has no dialogue and just background noises. It is, therefore, more along the lines of Charlie Chaplin films. Yet, the film is not as widely known to international audiences as Charlie Chaplin movies or even Mr. Bean.
2. Mississippi Masala (1991)
One of the most romantic underrated films ever, Mississippi Masala, revolves around an Indian-origin girl, Mina, and an African-American man, Demetrius, as they struggle to make people around them accept their love. The problem they face primarily comes from Mina’s family, who cannot forget the pains they had to endure when they were forced to leave their home country, Uganda, by the dictator Idi Amin during the ethnic expulsion of Asians in 1972.
3. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
This war film received 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, at the 76th Academy Awards in 2004. However, it was overshadowed by one movie that ruled all films that year — The Lord of the Rings.
This makes Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World one of the most significantly overlooked Hollywood movies of the 2000s.
4. Jennifer’s Body (2009)
According to revisionists, the film shows Fox’s best performance ever. However, it is considered one of the most unusual movies because of its off-the-mark marketing, highlighting it as a campy teen flick. This belied the underlying significance of Jennifer’s Body as an essential feminist story.
5. Speak (2004)
Speak is another excellent film that finds a place among lesser-known Hollywood movies. Based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Laurie Halse Anderson is about a young girl who stops speaking after a traumatic incident.
Her friends shun Melinda (Kristen Stewart) at high school for calling the police on a popular summer party. But, of course, no one tries to understand the horrible truth that forced Melinda to call the cops.
6. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
The Western anthology film directed by the illustrious Coen brothers had a limited theatrical release and was primarily streamed on Netflix. It is one of the finest hidden gems on Netflix and, though critically appreciated, is relatively lesser known despite having an ensemble cast of famous actors. These include Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, Liam Neeson, Harry Melling, Tom Waits, Zoe Kazan, Tyne Daly, and Brendan Gleeson.
7. Raincoat (2004)
Manoj, a down-on-luck man, visits the house of his lost love Neerja on a rainy day in Calcutta to seek financial help. Manoj thinks Neerja married a wealthy man, and they can help him. But once there, he finds himself unable to tell her his plight. As their conversations unfold, Manoj realizes something is not adding up in Neerja’s wealthy lifestyle.
8. Kabhi Haan, Kabhi Naa (1994)
Not only is Kabhi Haan, Kabhi Naa one of the best-underrated movies of the 1990s, but it is also perhaps the most underrated film in Shah Rukh Khan’s career. The film was released the year after SRK gained fame as an anti-hero in Baazigar and Darr and was expected to be another mega-hit in his career. But even though most critics liked it, the film failed to strike a chord with the masses.
9. The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
When the film hit the theatres, some critics were particularly appalled that it deviated from Alexandre Dumas’ acclaimed 1844 French novel of the same name. Others, who received the film slightly more positively, labeled it merely watchable. Unfortunately, this was one reason the film didn’t fare well at the box office.
10. Suspiria (2018)
The supernatural horror is a remake of the 1977 Italian film of the same name by Dario Argento. It is about a young American woman, Susanna, who arrives in West Germany to attend a dance school. Unbeknownst to her, the dance school is a coven of witches. Apart from the overall horror ethos, the film is noteworthy for Tilda Swinton’s performance as three different characters.
11. What If (2013)
Set in Toronto, Canada, the film, which is also known by its other title — The F Word, is a beautiful romance about a young man, Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe), who falls in love with a woman, Chantry (Zoe Kazan), who is already in a relationship. The film also stars Adam Driver in an important role. Unfortunately, even though critics gave it a thumbs up, the film was a flop. One reason was its low expectations, principally because the story is formulaic.