Five Must-See Indie Movies For The Holiday Season

Five Must-See Indie Movies For The Holiday Season

The holiday season is full of hustle and bustle. Between Christmas parties, shopping, and decorating, you may be ready for some time to kick back and relax with a movie. If you’re looking for something outside the norm, here are five outstanding independent films you shouldn’t miss.

The BabadookThis Australian horror film has been officially endorsed by Oscar-winning director William Friedkin. (He made a little film called The Exorcist that you may have heard of.) The Babadook tells the chilling story of a mother attempting to deal with her behaviorally-challenged child. A mysterious pop-up book about a malevolent creature shows up on her shelf one day, bringing with it a series of unthinkable horrors. Say adios to sleep after watching this thematically deep and disturbing thriller.

Where to see it: In theaters and on-demand (via iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and others).

Life PartnersGillian Jacobs (Community) and Leighton Meester play BFFs in this charming comedy. The latter is gay, the former straight. When Jacobs gets involved in a serious relationship with Adam Brody, the nature of her friendship with Meester changes in ways that surprise and dismay both of them. Funny and truthful, with delightful performances from the two leads, Life Partners examines how priorities shift when you find true love — and how friendships have to be redefined.

Where to see it: On-demand via these providers.

Force MajeureA husband and wife on a ski vacation with their two kids find the strength of their marriage tested after he has an unusual reaction in the wake of an avalanche. This foreign-language movie from Sweden, which won a major prize at the Cannes Film Festival, is a probing look at gender roles, and how men and women are expected to behave in the wake of adversity. It’s smart, observant, provocative, and fascinating.

Where to see it: In theaters now and expanding throughout March.

Glen Campbell: I’ll Be MeThis touching documentary follows the legendary singer as he stages a farewell concert tour while also battling Alzheimer’s. Aside from presenting some obviously great music, the movie will move you with its portrait of Campbell’s bravery in soldiering on in the face of increasing dementia. Various superstars appear in interview segments to discuss the subject’s impact and legacy. It’s an inspiring doc about the healing power of music.

Where to see it: In theaters now

CitizenfourWe all know that Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the fact that the NSA was engaging in massive invasions of every American’s privacy by collecting information from cell phones and social media, among other things. What you may not know is that filmmaker Laura Poitras was in the Hong Kong hotel room when he did it, and she had her cameras rolling. Citizenfour is the year’s best documentary, a hypnotic real-time look at a historical game-changer. Agree with his actions or not, you will never look at Edward Snowden the same way again.

Where to see it: In theaters now and expanding throughout February.

Do any of these movies catch your interest? Which ones do you plan to see? Give us your thoughts in the comments section.

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Mike McGranaghan is the film critic for The Aisle Seat. His film writing can also be found at Film Racket and Daily Grindhouse, and his reviews are heard weekly on the radio stations of Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation. He is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society, as well as the author of two books, "Straight-Up Blatant" and "My Year of Chevy."