Hidden Gems of 2018 Film

Hidden Gems of 2018 Film

Looking for a current DVD you may not have checked out? Try one of these lesser known films from 2018. This list has something for everyone from heart-stopping thrillers to quiet character studies.


Compiled by:
Elizabeth G.
American Animals

Bart Layton
- Director
Ame

Part documentary, part feature film, writer-director Bart Layton's American Animals is unlike anything else released this year. Charting the exploits of four young men looking to rob some rare books from their college library, either out of boredom or necessity, the flick splices in footage of the real-life criminals with reenactments starring the high-profile likes of Evan Peters, Blake Jenner, and Barry Keoghan. The result is a truth-defying oddity that leaves even its participants puzzled over the reasoning behind their exploits. 


Disobedience

Sebastián Lelio
- Director
Dis

Chilean director Sebastián Lelio's follow-up to the Oscar-nominated A Fantastic Woman takes on another facet of LGBT life as he turns his attention to an Orthodox Jewish community in London and the woman it cast out for being a lesbian. Rachel Weisz is Ronit, who returns home following the death of her father to find her ex-lover Este (Rachel McAdams) is married to a man — their mutual best friend from childhood, Dovid (sensitively played by Alessandro Nivola).


First Reformed

Paul Schrader
- Director
Fir

Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the church is now a tourist attraction catering to a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by its nearby parent church, Abundant Life, with its state-of-the-art facilities and 5,000-strong flock. When a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks Reverend Toller to counsel her husband, a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past, and equally despairing future, until he finds redemption in an act of grandiose violence.


Hearts Beat Loud

Brett Haley
- Director
Hea

Everybody's favorite grumpy dad, Ron Swanson (aka Nick Offerman), plays a musician and record store owner/single father to a wannabe doctor (Kiersey Clemons) who's right on the cusp of university when the two write a catchy pop-rock song (the same one that gives the film its title) together. He wants her to stay so they can be a band; she wants to spread her wings. Hearts Beat Loud is such a quiet little film it passed most people by, but critics went cuckoo for the sweet, atypical relationships at its core.


Leave No Trace

Debra Granik
- Director
Lea

A father and daughter live a perfect but mysterious existence in Forest Park, a beautiful nature reserve near Portland, Oregon, rarely making contact with the world. But when a small mistake tips them off to authorities, they are sent on an increasingly erratic journey in search of a place to call their own.


The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Desiree Akhavan
- Director
Mis

Cameron is sent to a gay conversion therapy center after getting caught with another girl in the back seat of a car. Run by the strict and severe Dr. Lydia Marsh and her brother, Reverend Rick, the center is built upon repenting for same sex attraction. In the face of intolerance and denial, Cameron meets a group of fellow sinners, including the amputee stoner Jane and her friend, the Lakota Two-Spirit Adam. Together, this group of teenagers forms an unlikely family as they fight to survive.


Possum

Matthew Holness
- Director
Pos

A disgraced children's puppeteer returns to his dilapidated childhood home and lecherous stepfather, intent on destroying a hideously malformed spider-puppet he carries with him in a brown leather case. His mind flooded with painful half-memories and nightmarish visions, he soon finds himself embroiled in a local investigation for a missing boy, progressively unsure of what's real and what's not. All the while the spider seems to mock his suffering at every turn.


Puzzle

Marc Turtletaub
- Director
Puz

Agnes’ world is a tight circle, moving between home, church, errands, and back again. The gift of her  first puzzle changes everything. Desperate for another large-scale puzzle – and mostly afraid of the possibilities of internet shopping, a subplot that also sees Agnes trying to navigate her very first iPhone – she heads to New York City. At the puzzle store, a small note hangs from the register: a champion puzzler is looking for a partner. Agnes’ entire life blows up. A coming-of-age tale for the older set, Puzzle is tender and honest, open-hearted in a way that few films are willing to strive for these days.


Revenge

Coralie Fargeat
- Director
Rev

Coralie Fargeat's debut feature, which she wrote and directed, stars Matilda Lutz as an abused woman out for, well, revenge against the men who wronged her. This French film is notable primarily for turning the much-maligned rape revenge sub-genre on its head.


Thoroughbreds

Cory Finley
- Director
Tho

Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke hatch a murderous scheme to get rid of a horrid stepfather in writer-director Cory Finley's darkly stylish debut. The clothes are to die for (no pun intended), while the interiors and landscapes are both lovingly shot — particularly when the blood starts spilling. This dark comedy also boasts the best reference to Swimfan this side of… well, okay, it's probably the first one ever. 


Unsane

Steven Soderbergh
- Director
Uns

Sawyer Valentini relocates from Boston to Pennsylvania to escape from the man who's been stalking her for the last two years. While consulting with a therapist, Valentini unwittingly signs in for a voluntary 24-hour commitment to the Highland Creek Behavioral Center. Her stay at the facility soon gets extended when doctors and nurses begin to question her sanity. Sawyer now believes that one of the staffers is her stalker -- and she'll do whatever it takes to stay alive and fight her way out.


Who We Are Now

Matt Newton
- Director

Told with the full texture of real life, Julianne Nicholson’s second collaboration with “From Nowhere” filmmaker Matthew Newton is a close-up character study that explores notions of forgiveness and self-worth with surgical precision. It’s also a devastatingly authentic drama that’s as guarded and unforthcoming as its protagonist. The only thing we’re told about Nicholson’s character is that her name is Beth; everything else we’re left to sort out — or pry out — for ourselves. Eventually we learn that she’s been in jail for the last 10 years and is fighting for custody over her son, and the story of her legal case becomes a profoundly affecting portrait of sacrifice, redemption, and accepting the fact that the present is the only part of your life that you have the immediate power to change.