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Like Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi classic Inception? Then watch these great movies now

Three men have a talk in Inception.
Warner Bros.

2023 belonged to Christopher Nolan. The British auteur is on the verge of winning multiple Oscars for Oppenheimer, a three-hour biopic about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist behind the atomic bomb. Nolan is on a shortlist of filmmakers whose name alone can sell a film. Take Inception as an example. A film about dream stealing with complicated ideas and confusing equations isn’t an easy sell. Yet, an emotionally moving story and visually stunning effects wowed audiences, resulting in a $839 million worldwide gross and four Oscars.

Inception is frequently mentioned on “best of” lists for the 2010s. While there are no direct comparisons to Inception, there are similar movie movies with the same themes and concepts. If you liked Inception, watch these three films, including another Nolan thriller, a sci-fi mystery from a terrific director, and an emotional romantic drama about heartbreak.

The Prestige (2006)

Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman look at each other in The Prestige.
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Nolan loves sending the audience home with a memorable ending. Inception features a cliffhanger with a spinning thimble that still sparks debates in 2024. While Inception‘s ending provides more questions than answers, the ending of The Prestige is definitive and features the filmmaker’s most satisfying movie twist.

In late 19th-century London, two rival magicians — Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) — begin a deadly game of one-upmanship as they strive to pull off impossible tricks. After Borden masters a teleportation trick, Angier makes it his mission to uncover the secret and sabotage his enemy. The twist reveal is equally shocking and rewarding, as Nolan saves his final trick until the end.

Stream The Prestige on Apple TV+.

Arrival (2016)

Amy Adams holds up a whiteboard sign in Arrival.
Paramount Pictures

Denis Villeneuve is currently being showered with praise for Dune: Part Two, and rightfully so. Many awards pundits have touted Villeneuve as a favorite to win Best Director at the 2025 Oscars. It would be his second directing nomination. His first came for our selection on this list, Arrival. Like InceptionArrival is another film centered around time as the lines between dreams and reality.

Twelve extraterrestrial spacecraft have entered Earth’s atmosphere. The U.S. Army hires linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) to establish communication with the aliens that have touched down in Montana. Louise must decipher the extraterrestrials’ purpose for coming to Earth before other nations incite a war. Backed by stunning cinematography and a fantastic twist ending, Arrival is centered around communication and the human condition. If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?

Stream Arrival on Peacock or Paramount+.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Clementine and Joel laying in bed in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Focus Features

While Inception focuses on implanting ideas in one’s subconscious, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a breakup movie centered around a procedure that erases memories. Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) learns that his ex-girlfriend, Clementine (Kate Winslet), underwent a procedure to remove him from her memory. Devastated and heartbroken, Joel signs up for the procedure to erase Clementine from his memories. As Joel relives his memories with Clementine during the procedure, he has second thoughts and fights to keep the memory of his girlfriend alive.

The erasure process is irreversible, but that doesn’t stop Joel’s subconscious from hiding his memories of Clementine deep within his brain. With an Oscar-winning script, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a fascinating and unique examination of the inner workings of human relationships, from love and heartbreak to everything in between.

Stream Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on Peacock.

Editors' Recommendations

Dan Girolamo
Dan is a passionate and multitalented content creator with experience in pop culture, entertainment, and sports. Throughout…
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