Skip to main content

Like the 2023 thriller Anatomy of a Fall? Then watch these three underrated movies now

ANATOMY OF A FALL - Official Trailer

Did she do it or didn’t she? That’s the central question behind Anatomy of a Fall, 2023’s most acclaimed thriller that still has everyone talking. Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Justine Triet), and Best Actress (Sandra Hüller), the movie concerns the death of Samuel Maleski, who has fallen from the second story of the French chalet he shares with his blind son, Daniel, and his wife, Sandra.

The police believe Sandra pushed her husband, and as the movie progresses, the audience sees a portrait of a marriage slowly crumbling and of a woman on trial as much for her past as she is for the crime she may or may not have committed. Anatomy of a Fall is a one-of-a-kind movie, but if you’re desiring films with similar themes and that have a mysterious, impenetrable female lead, these three films should do the trick.

Swimming Pool (2003)

A woman lounges by a pool in Swimming Pool.
UGC Films

Who can resist the seductive pleasures of lounging by a pool as the sun’s warm rays pour down on you? That’s all British mystery writer Sarah Morton (Dune: Part Two‘s Charlotte Rampling) thinks about as she ventures to her publisher’s secluded French country house for an extended stay to write her next book. She’s in for a rude awakening when the publisher’s wild child daughter, Julie (Ludivine Sagnier), shatters Sarah’s tranquility with her excessive drinking and hard partying. Soon, a dead body shows up in the titular swimming pool, but it’s unclear how it got there or even if it’s real.

Like Anatomy of a Fall‘s Sandra, we can’t really trust Sarah, and that’s what makes Swimming Pool so intriguing. Because she’s a writer, Sarah is prone to take elements of her life to create a fantasy world, and it’s never clear what’s reality and what’s make-believe.  Directed by Francois Ozon, who knows how to present complicated female characters who aren’t all that likable, Swimming Pool is satisfyingly seductive and maddeningly mysterious. There’s no concrete solution to its central mystery, but the movie is such a pleasure to watch that you don’t really care.

Swimming Pool can be rented or purchased on DirecTV.

Love Crime (2010)

A woman reaches out to another in Love Crime.
Canal+

Everyone can relate to having a demanding boss, but the protagonist of the French thriller Love Crime, Isabelle (Ludivine Sagnier again), has one that would make Meryl Streep’s iconic Miranda Priestly a saint in comparison. As played by The English Patient actress Kristin Scott-Thomas, Christine is ruthless, demanding, and impossible to deal with. It’s no surprise when, early in the film, Christine ends up dead and Isabelle is the prime suspect.

Both Anatomy of a Fall and Love Crime feature female protagonists who are faced with a mountain of evidence that heavily suggests their guilt. We as an audience automatically trust Isabelle because she’s our guide through the films’ harsh and cold corporate world, but that doesn’t necessarily make her innocent, either. Unlike Anatomy of a Fall and Swimming Pool, Love Crime‘s ending isn’t ambiguous at all. You know who killed Christine, and you can’t help but be impressed by how they got away with it.

Love Crime is streaming for free on Tubi.

Femme Fatale (2002)

A man and a woman gaze at each other in Femme Fatale.
Warner Bros.

Talk about unreliable narrators! Brian De Palma’s built his entire career out of them, and there’s none more untrustworthy than Femme Fatale‘s Laure Ash. As played by Rebecca Romijn, Laure is a seductive jewel thief who runs afoul of some very bad men. Fate gives her a way out of her chaotic life when a woman, Lily, who looks exactly likes her, kills herself in front of Laure, allowing her to assume the dead woman’s identity and reinvent herself as the wife of an ambassador. But when a paparazzo takes her picture and deduces Lily is really Laure, all hell breaks loose.

That’s a whole lot of plot, and I only described half the movie! To properly enjoy Femme Fatale, you have to fully embrace its illogical plot twists, outrageous set pieces (the opening scene when Laure steals diamonds off a model’s nude body at the Cannes Film Festival is still a stunner), and gratuitous nudity. It’s utterly shameless, and totally a blast to watch.

Fun fact: De Palma directed the American remake of Love Crime in 2012. It’s called Passion, stars Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, and it should only be watched with lowered expectations.

Femme Fatale is available to watch on Hoopla.

Editors' Recommendations

Jason Struss
Section Editor, Entertainment
Jason is a writer, editor, and pop culture enthusiast whose love for cinema, television, and cheap comic books has led him to…
This 2023 movie should’ve been nominated for Best Picture. Here’s why you should watch it now
A man stands in a field in All of Us Strangers.

The 2024 Oscar nominations were announced nearly a month ago, with very few surprises in the lineup. There were the usual snubs and surprises, although the whole affair was remarkably predictable considering the narratives formed by that point in awards season. Even so, there was a truly heartbreaking omission across every major category, and that was Andrew Haigh's powerful, sorrowful fantasy drama All of Us Strangers.

Now, don't get me wrong. Few, if any, of us were expecting All of Us Strangers to make the cut — it's too quiet, too insightful, and too esoteric for the Academy's tastes. The thing is, it should've absolutely dominated the ceremony. It might not be an overstatement to call it the best movie of the year, give or take a Poor Things. And while the Academy paid All of Us Strangers no mind, you really shouldn't. It's a modern masterpiece deserving of your time and appreciation, and I'm about to tell you exactly why.
The superb acting

Read more
This overlooked 2023 disaster movie is Netflix’s newest hit right now. Here’s why you should watch it
A town is destroyed in The Abyss.

When Netflix recently added The Abyss to its lineup, there probably weren't very high expectations for it. After all, it's not James Cameron's The Abyss from 1989. Instead, it's a Swedish disaster film that is now one of the most popular movies on Netflix.

That's the thing about Netflix's algorithm: It's very unpredictable. More often then not, seemingly random films are suddenly more popular now than they ever were when they hit theaters. In this case, American audiences would have never seen The Abyss if it hadn't suddenly arrived on a large platform like Netflix. But if you're on the fence about checking it out, here are three reasons to watch The Abyss on Netflix.
Tuva Novotny grounds the movie with her performance

Read more
Like Netflix’s hit movie Players? Then watch these underrated rom-coms right now
Four people stand and smile in Players.

It's no surprise that during the week of Valentine's Day, one of Netflix's most popular movies is Players, an original 2024 feature that is yet another in a recent string of successful rom-coms coming out in the last few months. Players stars Gina Rodriguez as Mack, a New Yorker who enlists the help of her friends to land a man, Nick (Tom Ellis).

Players doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it hits all the notes of a satisfying rom-com: charming leads, a far-fetched premise, and a satisfying ending. For those who are craving more love stories just like it, here are three rom-coms on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video that share Players' warm-and-fuzzy appeal.
The House Bunny (2008)

Read more