3 Movies Like Allegiant (2016)

Staff & contributors

In Motherwell, you either “get locked up or knocked up,” or so says Gemma, a teenager on the cusp of adulthood growing up in an old Scottish steel town. Gemma runs among a tight-knit group of friends, at the center of which is ordinary mischief, routine, and roughhousing. And beneath that lies a certain kind of everyday violence. 

As Gemma enters young motherhood, she reckons with how to reconcile her own aggressions with the protective tenderness she feels toward her newborn. Beautifully and thoughtfully directed by Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin, Scheme Birds never feels invasive. Rather, their documentary lets Gemma speak for herself—and in doing so, illuminates not just her life, but the complicated lives that intersect hers, too. 

Genre: Documentary, Drama

Director: Ellen Fiske, Ellinor Hallin

Rating: Not Rated

Classroom chatter and inside jokes; the rhythmic routine of class, band practice, and communal mealtime; colorful paints and a keen Shakespeare play; paperback books, pages bookmarked with dogears. These are the precious, ordinary wonders of Headfort, a preparatory boarding school in Ireland. 

School Life observes Amanda and John Leyden, who have each taught at Headfort for over four decades. As they both near retirement, so too looms the promise of a tranquil retreat into the countryside—and questions of what they leave behind in their school, their classrooms, and their students. Idyllic and gentle, this documentary offers a brief but meaningful look into the school lives of bright children indelibly influenced by their earliest mentors.

Genre: Documentary

Director: David Rane, Neasa Ní Chianáin

Rating: PG-13

Fans of Netflix's The Queen's Gambit might be curious about its writer/director Scott Frank's first feature, this small, suspenseful thriller about a young man with anterograde amnesia and the eccentric cast of characters he encounters leading up to a bank heist. These people are brought to life by a number of high-profile actors doing relatively unusual work outside their wheelhouses: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels, and an almost unrecognizable Matthew Goode as a scheming robber. It might be a little unclear what The Lookout is trying to say, exactly, but it works as a brief look into a fractured mind trying to hold on to something good in his life.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Aaron Berg, Alberta Watson, Alex Borstein, Brian Edward Roach, Bruce McGill, Carla Gugino, Charles Crossin, Chuck Robinson, Courtney-Jane White, David Huband, Greg Dunham, Harry Nelken, Isla Fisher, Janaya Stephens, Jeff Daniels, John Bluethner, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kalyn Bomback, Laura Vandervoort, Leslie Bais, Marc Devigne, Martin Roach, Matthew Goode, Morgan Kelly, Sergio Di Zio, Stephen Eric McIntyre, Suzanne Kelly, Thanya Romero, Tinsel Korey, Toni Reimer

Director: Scott Frank