15 Movies Like Damsel (2024)

Staff & contributors

Chasing the feel of watching Damsel ? Here are the movies we recommend you watch right after.

Historically, noble ladies get married to lords in order to strengthen existing alliances between their family’s domains. At best, they are able to broker peace, but at worst, they are hostages to the stronger family they married into. Damsel cleverly depicts a twisted version of this relationship through a reversed version of the fairytale, where instead of a wedding being the ultimate endgoal, it is the start of the princess’ misfortunes, placing Millie Bobby Brown into a fantastical survival stand-off against a dragon. It’s an intriguing idea, though the film mostly sticks to its PG-13 lane, leading to a fairly entertaining dark fantasy flick without delving deep into its horrors.

By remaining totally committed to its quiet, drama-free, observational style of documentary filmmaking, Mr. Bachmann and His Class ends up teaching us a whole lot about the way we view educational spaces and difficult students as well. While the titular German teacher is mainly there to teach language, the way he patiently handles disagreement and conflict—reorienting the immature or harmful beliefs they may have learned from home or from elsewhere—is truly inspiring to witness. We never see these home lives and the film's director, Maria Speth, knows better than to romanticize anybody in this classroom. But over the film's lengthy runtime, it really begins to feel like we get to know and understand each of these kids, and to root for their ability to change their views and become more open and appreciative towards one another.

Genre: Documentary

Director: Maria Speth

This documentary from journalist David Farrier, New Zealand’s answer to Louis Theroux, plays more like an out-and-out horror movie. But don’t be fooled by the serial killer connotations of its title — the real Mister Organ’s crimes are (mostly) psychological and have no obvious motive, making him quite a bit scarier than your usual screen villain. Described as a “parasite,” “terrorist,” and a “black hole” by the few traumatized victims of his who agree to talk on record about him, Organ is clearly a master at weaving a sticky web around everyone who comes near him — including, as it turns out, Farrier himself, who soon becomes a casualty of his own investigation.   Though the doc never really punctures the nebulous aura of this deeply creepy — and yet somehow deeply dull — character, that’s what makes it such an arresting watch: Farrier takes us along for the ride as he’s sucked into the disorienting orbit of an energy vampire, largely denying us the relief of a clarifying explanation so that we, too, get a taste of the claustrophobia and psychological torture that come with dealing firsthand with someone like Organ.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: David Farrier, Michael Organ

Director: David Farrier

Somewhere near the border between Russia and Ukraine lies a shelter for kids coming from unstable homes. Their parents, either alcoholics or abusers, have nine months to prove that they’re fit to look after their children; otherwise, the kids are sent straight to the orphanage, with no chance of a goodbye. A House Made of Splinters is a documentary that quietly and closely follows the shelter’s occupants amid growing joys and pains, not to mention the ever-present danger of war.

Perhaps one of the most striking things about A House Made of Splinters is how attuned it is to the kids. It serves as a reminder of their immense sensitivity and observational skills (more than once, you’ll hear a child assess their home situation in the calmest of manners), as well as their clever ingenuity (there’s a lot of playing going on despite everything, which is heartwarming to watch.

Genre: Documentary, Drama

Director: Simon Lereng Wilmont

Unlike plenty of time torn films, Maboroshi is the kind of film that doesn’t have a straightforward explanation for the town of Mifuse standing still in time. But even when it doesn’t have a logical reason, the way the film unfolds has a distinct feeling as it explores the illusions the town either could cling to, or release to grow. This kind of storytelling would be familiar to fans of the prolific screenwriter Mari Okada, who just started directing in 2018 with Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms, but even those new to her work would appreciate the pure emotion driving Maboroshi, if they can let go of reality and enjoy MAPPA’s exquisite art for a moment.

Genre: Animation, Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Actor: Ayaka Saito, Daiki Kobayashi, Junya Enoki, Kento Hayashi, Koji Seto, Maki Kawase, Misaki Kuno, Reina Ueda, Setsuji Sato, Taku Yashiro, Tasuku Hatanaka, Yukiyo Fujii

Director: Mari Okada, Seimei Kidokoro

Rating: PG-13

, 2024

To the untrained eye, a TV interview is just that: an interview, a simple (and at times rehearsed) back-to-back between a reporter and a subject. But Scoop is a thrilling reminder of how complex the process actually is, from the legwork to the questioning and even after airing. In the UK, that quest for truth is complicated by stringent palace rules and the fact that the BBC, which McAlister and her colleagues work for, is a publicly funded institution. How free is the free press when a Royal can call off a story, and how far are reporters willing to go to protect it? Scoop is bolstered by a smart script and a wealth of strong performance—Sewell is almost unrecognizable as Prince Andrew and Gillian Anderson is commanding as anchor Emily Maitlis. But the movie won’t be as strong as it is without Piper leading it; she’s relatable and entrancing as she works her way from underestimated underdog to compelling champion.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Alex Waldmann, Amanda Redman, Andrew MacBean, Aoife Hinds, Billie Piper, Charity Wakefield, Charlie Roe, Charlotte Avery, Christopher Fairbank, Colin Wells, Connor Swindells, Gillian Anderson, Gordon Warnecke, Harriet Benson, Jonathan Rhodes, Jordan Kouamé, Kate Fleetwood, Keeley Hawes, Lia Williams, Mark Noble, Mia Threapleton, Nicholas A. Newman, Nicholas Murchie, Paul Popplewell, Raffaello Degruttola, Richard Goulding, Romola Garai, Rufus Sewell, Tim Bentinck, Vangelis Christodoulou, Zach Colton

Director: Philip Martin

The Bloody Hundredth was produced as an accompaniment to fellow Apple TV+ production Masters of the Air, and it shows. In writing and editing, it doesn’t feel grand enough to stand on its own despite having big stars like Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg come in and lend their presence. That said, it’s still a compelling story, made even more valuable by the real-life heroes who recall their experiences onscreen. This, plus the rich archival footage that accompanies them, is what makes an otherwise straightforward documentary well worth watching.

Genre: Documentary, History, War

Actor: Adolf Hitler, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Frank Murphy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, James Stewart, John 'Lucky' Luckadoo, John A. Clark, Joseph Stalin, Robert 'Rosie' Rosenthal, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Winston Churchill

Director: Laurent Bouzereau, Mark Herzog

Rating: PG-13

For a romantic comedy with a fairy tale premise (a star falls in love with a regular person, and a much older one at that), The Idea of You is surprisingly relevant. It interweaves its romance with discussions of ageism and sexism, making it more self-aware than other movies in the same genre. But with that relevance comes a certain dryness; The Idea of You, for all its steamy scenes, lacks the sensuality and charm of a legitimate romcom. Solene is overly cautious, which doesn’t give much way to mystery and mistakes. She makes for a wise role model sure, but not necessarily a rootable heroine. If you like your romcoms to be more on the smart and predictable side, then you’ll enjoy The Idea of You. But if you prefer more hearty laughs and big gestures, then you’re better off looking for another title to stream.

Genre: Comedy, Music, Romance

Actor: Angela Davis, Anne Hathaway, Annie Mumolo, Bethany Brown, Brent Bailey, Chandler Lovelle, Cheech Manohar, Demi Castro, Dustin Lewis, Ella Rubin, Grace Junot, Graham Norton, Hedy Nasser, Holly Morris, Jon Levine, Jordan Aaron Hall, Lauren Revard, Mathilda Gianopoulos, Meg Millidge, Melanie Kiran, Nicholas Galitzine, Nina Bloomgarden, Perry Mattfeld, Rashal James, Raymond Cham Jr., Reid Scott, Roxy Rivera, Tiffany Morgan, Trevor David

Director: Michael Showalter

Rating: R

This is Me…Now is more than just a glorified music video. It’s a personal confessional for one, and a surprisingly effective comedy for another. In parts, Jennifer Lopez speaks to her therapist (Fat Joe) about the dreams she’s been having, which then give way to surreal sequences of Lopez singing songs off her latest album, all about love and personal growth. You’d have to be a fan of Lopez’s pop style to appreciate the music, but the choreography is mesmerizing and, dare I say, Lopez’s true strength. When she’s not regaling us with her thoughts on love, we have the Council of Zodiac Signs, played by a stacked cast that includes Jane Fonda, Sofia Vergara, and Trevor Noah, to humor us with their genuinely funny observations. Lopez obviously has a vision, and it’s admirably big and earnest, but the technical side of the film fails her. Except for the ornate storybook opener, most of the dream sequences are gray and sludgy, and they rarely reflect Lopez’s rose-tinted view of life. I wish the film had more light, but instead, we get melty, inferior CGI work that is just painful to look at. Some people might be able to forgive this, but because film is largely a visual medium, I find that it ultimately detracts from the experience.

Genre: Drama, Music

Actor: Alex West, Alexander Pelaez, Alix Angelis, Ashley Versher, Ben Affleck, Brandon Delsid, Carlito Olivero, Danielle Larracuente, Derek Hough, Fat Joe, Idaliz Christian, Jane Fonda, Jay Shetty, Jenifer Lewis, Jennifer Lopez, Jocelyn Marie, Keke Palmer, Kim Petras, Malcolm Kelner, Matthew Law, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Paul Raci, Post Malone, Sadhguru, Sofia Vergara, Trevor Jackson, Trevor Noah

Director: Dave Meyers

Rating: PG-13

Hipgnosis’s body of work is so rich, brilliant, and recognizable, that it’s hard not to at least sit in awe as they flash by you in this documentary. The accompanying stories behind their creation, sometimes told by Thorgerson and Powell, other times by their musician clients like Jimmy Page and Paul McCartney, are also pleasant and informative enough to paint, in whole, an interesting picture. But apart from the covers themselves, Squaring the Circle doesn’t have much else going for it. The co-founders’ history is too brief and plain to render drama, and their upbringing too upper-class and male to be relatable. A more broad, ambitious goal would’ve been to parallel the history of these artworks with the history of rock music itself, but this niche documentary seems uninterested in explaining itself to outsiders and newcomers. That said, it still serves as a precious account for those familiar with Hipgnosis’ pieces. 

Genre: Documentary, Music

Actor: David Gilmour, Glen Matlock, Graham Gouldman, Jimmy Page, Nick Mason, Noel Gallagher, Paul McCartney, Peter Gabriel, Peter Saville, Robert Plant, Roger Waters

Director: Anton Corbijn

Made to commemorate Toei Studio’s 70th anniversary, The Legend & Butterfly seemed like a good choice for this purpose. As a historical epic about the first Great Unifier of Japan, the film could have enabled the production company to show off their studio’s best in production design, set pieces, costumes, and score, through a familiar story Japanese audiences would care about. And with Nohime having a near blank slate in history, it gives enough creative freedom for the team to craft a heartrending romance. While the design aspects definitely succeeded, the romance did not. On top of this, the film’s focus on the romance takes away time, effort, and emotional resonance from the large-scale spectacular war battles that epics like these are known for.

Genre: Drama, History, Romance

Actor: Ai Mikami, Daisuke Honda, Haruka Ayase, Hideaki Ito, Hio Miyazawa, Hirotaro Honda, Ichikawa Somegorō VIII, Jun Hashimoto, Kinya Kitaoji, Kokoro Morita, Manabu Hamada, Mansaku Ikeuchi, Masato Wada, Miki Nakatani, Shuichiro Masuda, Takuma Otoo, Takumi Saitoh, Takuya Kimura, Toshinori Omi, Tsutomu Takahashi

Director: Keishi Otomo

Ijogbon is a straightforward thriller centered on a pouch of uncut diamonds, which bring chaos to the four teenagers that find it. With the film’s young cast, the ensemble, understandably, makes poor decisions when given a stack of cash. The way they and their families handle difficulties, like deciding who to get the gun, or deciding what to do when they find random dead bodies, actually feel humorous – there’s something to be said about how, given the right circumstances, both kids and adults make the same mistakes. Thematically, there’s also something here about how natural resources in Nigeria are made for high end technology they can’t afford. However, the film doesn’t really delve into its themes, or play up the comedic potential it has shown, deciding instead to play out the same way similar stories do.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Bimbo Manuel, Fawaz Aina, Ruby Akubueze, Sam Dede, Yemi Solade

Director: Kunle Afolayan

The latest installment of Ly Hai’s Face Off franchise has an entertaining premise with some terrible plot twists. With this premise, it’s almost expected to see the worst of the worst of people when given a jackpot, and it’s easy to feel distraught when this happens, because the initial dynamic between the six friends feels genuine. However, the fun and wacky hijinks devolve into seriously messed up plot twists. Some of these work, but certain scenes feel like it was just added for shock value at the expense of other characters. The film couldn’t choose between vilifying some characters and celebrating their friendship. Because of this, Face Off 6 feels like it missed its mark.

Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Huy Khánh, Huỳnh Thi, Lý Hải, Quốc Cường, Tiết Cương, Trung Dũng

Director: Lý Hải

Five Blind Dates is a squeaky clean, hopelessly boring film pretending to be a raunchy romcom. Despite Lia (Shuang Hu) going on five (or four, really) dates, she doesn’t find real chemistry with any one of them. There’s no heat, no passion, no inane fun to be had, or reckless experimentation. It’s clear that what she’s after isn’t really love but a partner who accepts her traditional whims, which I guess counts as a happy ending if this were airing on Hallmark or any other wholesome TV channel. But it isn’t, and instead of embracing its true form—that is, family drama—it instead postures as a modern and exciting romcom, even though it contains zero spice. To be fair, the film has its funny moments, and I do think the first date’s premise, while played for laughs, has the potential to spark an interesting discussion about our generation’s willingness to sacrifice intimacy for financial security. But the film doesn’t really go there, nor anywhere, and remains as stale and safe as can be.

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Desmond Chiam, Ilai Swindells, Jon Prasida, Rob Collins, Shuang Hu, Tzi Ma, Yoson An

Director: Shawn Seet

There's a novel idea at the center of World's First Christmas, but the film's unfortunately takes it through the least interesting route available. There's a rich opportunity here to unpack what the holiday season really means to people, or to poke fun at how this occasion for togetherness and celebration has been co-opted by corporations trying to make a buck. But the film never gets there, running through a series of occasionally funny scenarios only to end up becoming an unconvincing advertisement for Christmas as a consumer holiday. The main gag here is that everyone has been left miserable by the absence of Christmas, which is an idea that falls apart immediately once you start asking even the simplest questions about it.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy

Actor: Fabiana Karla, Ígor Jansen, Ingrid Guimarães, Lázaro Ramos, Rafael Infante, Theo Mattos, Wilson Rabelo

Director: Gigi Soares, Susana Garcia

, 2024

When life imitates art unexpectedly, it can be thrilling, exciting, and maybe even dangerous. As dissatisfied wife Gokce finds an unpublished novel, we hoped that her eventual escapades would be similarly riveting, but sadly, Ashes isn’t thrilling. Part of it is because the first half is just dedicated to pretty images that don’t even feel particularly steamy, but mostly this stems from the fact that Ashes hasn’t formulated a coherent plotline for the manuscript Gokce was reading, so all the twists and turns in the second half feels more randomly tossed, than carefully set up as a surprise.

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Actor: Alperen Duymaz, Canan Atalay, Funda Eryiğit, Gökçe Eyüboğlu, Mehmet Günsür, Nur Sürer, Seda Türkmen, Yıldıray Şahinler

Director: Erdem Tepegöz