It’s time to batten down the hatches and hide from a world that will soon turn cold and gray—unless global warming continues keeping the temperature about 50 degrees, at least. Here’s the best French movies available to stream on Netflix en hiver:
Dir. Régis Roinsard
Romain Duris (Mood Indigo) makes Déborah François (L’Enfant) compete in a speed-typing contest to earn a secretarial job with his company. Think Mad Men meets Down With Love meets the 1958 Scripps’ Spelling Bee.
Dir. Volker Schlöndorff
In the waning hours of World War II, Hitler orders the destruction of Paris while a Swedish diplomat (André Dussolier) tries to convince a German general (Niels Arestrup) to disobey his orders. Think Schindler’s List, then just as you start to tear up, remember this is nothing like Schindler’s List.
War Of The Buttons (La Guerre des Boutons)
Dir. Yann Samuel
Laetitia Casta and Guillaume Canet star in this slightly different World War II drama where two rival factions of children battle each other in the French countryside, based on the novel by Louis Pérgaud and written and directed by Canet’s Love Me If You Dare collaborator Yann Samuel. Think Lord Of The Flies, if the flies were buttons.
Le Chef (Comme Un Chef)
Dir. Daniel Cohen
Jean Reno stars as a hitman who gains an unlikely sidekick after a gangland-murder in his apartment building. No, that The Professional. Jean Reno plays a cranky, domineering chef who battles with the CEO of his restaurant group to help bring in a younger molecular gastronomist. Think how good this movie would’ve been if the CEO was played by a pill-popping Gary Oldman.
Special Forces (Forces Spéciales)
Dir. Stéphane Rybojab
Inglorius Basterds’ Diane Kruger stars as a French journalist who gets captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan, where Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Djimon Hounsou leads a team of special ops to return her to safety. Think Argo, except not in Iran with fewer people to rescue and a lot less Ben Affleck.
The Chorus (Les Choristes)
Dir. Christophe Barratier
A new teacher tries to get through to a brow-beaten bunch of boarding school boys the only way he knows how: with music. Think Dead Poets Society meets Mr. Holland’s Opus, World War II-era France.
Marie’s Story (Marie Heurtin)
Dir. Jean-Pierre Améris
Marie’s story: that she’s both blind and deaf, and has to rely on a Catholic nun to help her learn how to communicate with the world around her. Think The Miracle Worker, but in France.
Dir. Christian Vincent
The true story of Périgod Chef Hortense Laborie (Catherine Frot) being called upon to become the personal chef of French president François Mitterand at the Élysées Palace. Think The American President meets Julie & Julia meets… France.
Tell No One (Ne Le Dis À Personne)
Dir. Guillaume Canet
Written and directed by Guillaume Canet—Monsieur Cotillard, en fait—who nabbed a Best Director César award for the film, Tell No One sees a widower doctor implicated in a double homicide nearly a decade after his wife’s murder, pinning the suspicion for a string of serial killings on him. Think The Fugitive meets Silence Of The Lambs, with less tucking.
The Concert (Le Concert)
Dir. Radu Mihăileanu
Mélanie Laurent stars in this film about the fall from favor of Bolshoi Theatre orchestra conductor Andrey Simonovich for defending Jewish musicians, becoming a lowly janitor to get by until a chance invitation to replace the Los Angeles Philharmonic comes into his possession. Think Whiplash meets The Muppets Take Manhattan.
District 13 and District 13: Ultimatum
Dir. Pierre Morel, Patrick Alessandrin
Luc Besson’s dual parkour-packed action films feature a stolen nuke and gangland warfare as the alternate future of Paris goes horribly wrong. Think The Warriors set in the Paris of the Robocop universe while The Hunger Games are going on.
Dir. Fred Cavayé
Netflix, take it away: “Nothing can turn a good man bad. Until his pregnant wife is kidnapped. Now he’s bad. And REALLY mad.” Think Taken meets Prefontaine meets Shoot ‘Em Up.
There are, of course, the old standbys, as well: the ever adorable Amélie, Jean Reno actually playing a hitman in The Professional, critical darling Diving Bell And The Butterfly, and France’s most mainstream porno Blue Is The Warmest Color.