Movie List

12 Best Mumblecore Movies of All Time

July 30, 2017
9 min read

Mumblecore is a niche category of Indie films, characterized by naturalistic acting and dialogue (often improvised), low-budget film production, an emphasis on dialogue over plot, and a focus on the personal relationships of people in their 20s and 30s. Its popularity has given birth to another subcategory within this one, mumblegore, which intersperses the components of horror and mumblecore movies.

Mumblecore Movies are often unconventional in nature, and make for an engaging watch. Their primary influence has been in America, with almost all films being produced and shot in the country. Certain distinguishing characteristics of these films are naturalism, low-running time, and the pattern of regularity in the characters of the film. Have fun exploring this genre. Here is the list of top mumblecore movies ever. You can watch some of these best mumblecore movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.

12. Everything Must Go (2010)

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I personally believe the genre established itself as one to consider when they landed his cast. Will Ferrell, Laura Dern, Michael Pena, Rebecca Hall. These superstars’ featuring in ‘Everything Must Go’ sure was a big boost for mumblecore. Based on a short story by Raymond Carver, the film centralizes on Nick Halsey, a veteran salesman fired from his job of 16 years due to issues with alcoholism. In an act of revenge, he delflates his boss’ tires with his Swiss knife (which has its name on it (but forgets to pull it out. This ignites a chain of disastrous events for him, as his whole life gets disheveled. Ferrell brings his ethereal charm to the script and makes it an entertaining watch. His screen presence and the quirky writing prove to be a fatal combination, making the movie a must watch.

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11. Uncle Kent (2011)

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Now this one is unique and controversial. While it is worriedly close to being porn, the film, in a more real sense, is far from it. The film sardines Becky, the main character, as a part of a troublesome trio, including her ex and her roommate. She has to deal with the whims and fancies of the two people closest to her heart in a manageable way. Rather than focusing on the turmoil and revelry that emerges out of such situations, Joe Swanberg, the director brings to light how they both individually love Becky more than themselves. While severely graphic and explicit in nature, the film is definitely a thought-provoking commentary on priorities and lust in life.

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10. My Effortless Brilliance (2008)

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When prissy city-boy Eric (Sean Nelson) has a falling out with his brooding best friend, Dylan (Basil Harris), the two stop speaking to each other for several years. Then, out of the blue, Eric appears outside Dylan’s remote log cabin in eastern Washington, sporting loafers and looking to work things out. What follows is an awkward series of mumbling accusations, prolonged silences and minor adventures through the woods as the two attempt to repair their ailing friendship. The way the film was shot really surprised me. Like this hot above, the film had many different and varied ones which simultaneously tried to express the emotions both the main characters felt.

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9. Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007)

Image result for hannah takes the stairsGreta Gerwig, I love you. It is a mere coincidence that out of the ten movies I watched last, she featured in four of them. This time I couldn’t resist googling her. It is one of the best I have seen on screen in a long time, not considering Meryl Streep of course. Gerwig gives life to the character of Hannah, a novice college graduate interning at a firm. She falls for two guys she works with, and initiates a relationship with the both of them, exploring herself and which one suits her best. The movie solely focuses on the juxtaposed image of Hannah, whom Gerwig plays to perfection. The little nuances in her speaking style, and especially her appearance, make the character complete on a more whole level.

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8. Team Picture (2007)

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This is as colloquial as it gets. There’s something that you ought to understand about the way these films are centered on mundane lives. They take a simple part of it and explore various underlying themes. This one envisaged the life of Erik, who has recently quit his father’s shop and broke up with his girlfriend. The new one that he makes, he plans to travel with to Chicago, leaving behind his innocuous roommate. The way it is shot will not be appealing to all. There isn’t much high quality stuff to pick out, and therefore it is important not to get stuck in its details. On the whole, the appeal and the theme of the movie are satisfactory in nature.

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7. LOL (2006)

I personally feel the advent of technology has diminished, rather made social interactions extinct. What better way than a movie to satirize the effects, negative, on it and open our eyes? Joe Swanberg took it upon himself to make on that examines the impact of technology on social relations. It uses three conduits to depict the various stages and forms that this media has. One with a laptop, the other with a mobile, and lastly, the third in a chat room. The film discusses how they enslave the three men and account for their troubled relationships with respective people.

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6. The Exploding Girl (2009)

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Zoe Kazan hits it out of the park with this one. It has enough evidence to corroborate her marvelous talent. It stars her as Ivy, an epileptic college student returning home to Brooklyn on break. While she is visiting her mother and catching up with her childhood friend Al, her boyfriend dumps her via a phone call. Drama ensues as it all uncovers. The visuals in the film are what makes this film stand out. It is really surprising the way he is able to achieve this level of vivid imagery. Just watch it to understand.

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5. Sorry, Thanks (2009)

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Please don’t judge the film on the basis of its rating. It is so much more than that. An ensemble comedy, the plot begins when Kira, reeling from a brutal break-up, sleeps with Max, a charming but disheveled wreck already committed to longtime girlfriend Sara. Max becomes obsessed, mostly with Kira, but vaguely with his curious lack of conscience as well. Kira, fighting to win a job she hates and running aimless romantic loops, faces the precarious double challenge of choosing a next step and charting a course back to sanity. The layered writing of the film appealed to me in bunches. Seeing the film was almost like reading a novel, because of the fact that the performances were so surreally real.

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4. Mutual Appreciation (2005)

The film was considered to be one of the very first movies of the genre, and also an important one in the movement. It chronicles a young musician (Justin Rice) from Boston arrives in New York following the breakup of his band. As he tries to figure out the next step in his career path, he spends time with his friends (Rachel Clift, Andrew Bujalski) and enjoys the romantic overtures of a radio disc jockey (Seung-Min Lee). It is always advantageous for a director when he also features in the film. Bujalksi took the opportunity with both hands. There are scenes wherein you know he is handling the dialogues and letting others play off of his set-up. Exquisitely shot and soulfully acted, this eviscerating piece of cinema is a gift from God.

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3. In Search of a Midnight Kiss (2007)

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Following the worst 12 months of his life, a 29-year-old man ends up alone and penniless as New Year’s Eve rapidly approaches, and vows to lock his doors, pull his blinds, and climb into bed – until his best friend talks him into posting a Craigslist personal ad. In seemingly no time at all, the message leads him to a young woman who is determined to be with the “right” man at the stroke of midnight. This concept alone was intriguing enough to tempt me into watching the film. The film is primarily shot in black and white, something which the director says symbolizes the chronology of time. The riveting musical score is another pro in a wonderful film that you must watch. 

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2. Nights and Weekends (2008)

And there she is again! Detracting from her comeliness and talent, the film relates to you on a very microscopic level. Let me ask you something. How do you spell love? My answer: you don’t. You feel it. Well, Winnie Pooh’s to be honest, but deep words nonetheless. It tells the story of two people, recounting from a long-distance relationship, living in two of the most vibrant of cities in the world. The first half of the film follows their relationship while the second half focuses on the dissolution and potential continuation of it, which occurs a year after the events of the first half of the film. The performances compliment a very well written script. It doesn’t have much to offer visually, but is a great one to understand the true meaning of love. Or at least try to.

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1. Funny Ha Ha (2002)

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The first ever mumblecore film also is the first on the list. The film follows the exploits of recently graduated protagonist Marnie as she tries to find a temporary job and win the attention of a college friend named Alex (who is already in a relationship), while trying to cut down on her beer consumption. The ceramic style of film making and sequencing sure takes some time to get familiarized with, but once it does, it is an exhilarating experience. The film shot Bujalski to international fame, winning him several awards. Watch it if you want to get away from the life that you have.

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