Is your streaming queue lacking that certain je ne sais quoi? When TV reruns and superhero movies just won’t cut it, turn to some extraordinary French cinema titles — all available for streaming either on Netflix or Hulu. We’ve rounded up several recommendations both old and new to add a burst of romance, exuberance, drama, or hilarity in classic French fashion. Pair with Perrier® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water for the ultimate cinematic experience extraordinaire. Read on for our favorite French films, then fire up your laptop!
Stranger by the Lake (2013)
A (dangerous) love story, this thriller follows Franck through romantic encounters over a summer spent by a lake — a popular cruising spot for gay men. He falls for Michel, a handsome and mysterious man who could also prove deadly. Find it streaming on Netflix.
Belle de Jour (1967)
Surreal cinema maestro Luis Buñuel directs Catherine Deneuve in this steamy classic. Deneuve stars as a bored housewife who begins working in a brothel in secret. Find it streaming on Hulu.
Murmur of the Heart (1971)
A coming of age story as only the French could tell it, directors including Noah Baumbach and Wes Anderson cite it (and legendary director Louis Malle) as a prominent influence. Find it streaming on Hulu.
Counter Investigation (2007)
If you need more Jean Dujardin after seeing The Artist, Counter Investigation is your answer. This gritty tale follows Dujardin’s detective character as he tries to find his daughter’s killer. Is it truly the man convicted of the crime? Find it streaming on Netflix.
You didn’t think we’d leave this one out, did you? Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s whimsical movie follows a shy waitress/manic pixie dream girl through Paris. Find it streaming on Netflix.
The Chorus (2005)
Think of it as the French take on Mr. Holland’s Opus, or Sister Act with French boys. Find it streaming on Netflix.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
A masterful telling of Jean-Dominique Bauby’s memoir of the same name, the movie follows Bauby as he attempts to recover from a paralyzing stroke. The only way he can communicate with his nurse and doctors is by blinking his left eye. Find it streaming on Netflix.
Holy Motors (2012)
Leos Carax’s fantastical drama was one of our favorites of 2012: “Some of it is baffling, and the filmmaker is occasionally peculiar seemingly for the sake of being peculiar. But even when it seems far afield, it is still fascinating, and it all adds up.” Find it streaming on Netflix.
We’re suckers for a good period piece or costume drama. This one finds a young nobleman navigating the fast-talking court of King Louis XVI, as he attempts to use his wits and wiles to his tenants’ benefits. Find it streaming on Netflix.
Time Out (2002)
When a French businessman is laid off, he goes to really, really incredible extremes to keep his family from finding out. When a lie overtakes your life, is it a lie any more? Find it streaming on Netflix.
With a Friend Like Harry (2000)
This suspenseful film finds Michel reuniting with an alleged friend from school, Harry. “Alleged” because Michel has no recollection of this man, but Harry remembers every moment, friend, teacher, and poem they shared. The creepy quotient only increases from there. Find it streaming on Netflix.
Made in 1967, this film about the confusion of modern technology is just as pertinent today. “Kafka-esque” goes some way in describing this comedy; the production relies on dazzling sets and cinematography instead of dialogue. Find it streaming on Hulu.
The 400 Blows (1959)
Another to file under “you didn’t think we’d skip it, right?”, Truffaut’s indelible (and semi-autobiographical) classic follows a neglected young boy in a downward spiral of petty crime. Find it streaming on Hulu.