3 Movies Like Private Property (2022)

Staff & contributors

, 2004

Kristen Stewart stars as Melinda, a girl entering the gauntlet of freshman year in high school who is also carrying a heavy secret: after suffering an assault over the summer at a party, she has become determined to speak as little as possible. Melinda’s subjective experience is presented without mediation, melodrama nor moralism, but rather as life through her eyes: teachers are puff-chested bullies; parents are mumbling, ephemeral strangers; whispering girls are talking about her, all the time. It is a realistic portrait of the inner life and experience of a young woman whose sudden introversion, academic decline, and loss of social connections appear to go completely unnoticed, while she struggles to process and unburden herself of the weight of trauma. It’s an empathetic story well-served by Stewart’s understated performance and the film’s quiet pace.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Allison Siko, Arron Kinser, Caitlyn Folley, Christina Hardebeck, D. B. Sweeney, Elizabeth Perkins, Eric Lively, Hallee Hirsh, Kristen Stewart, Leslie Lyles, Michael Angarano, Richard Hagerman, Robert John Burke, Steve Zahn, Susan Gardner

Director: Jessica Sharzer

At 80 minutes, Smoking Causes Coughing is another slice of perfectly paced absurdist fun from Quentin Dupieux, the zany mind behind Rubber (in which a car tire turns serial killer) and Deerskin, the tale of a motorcycle jacket that wants to rule the world. This time around, the protagonists aren’t inanimate objects: they’re Tobacco Force, a Power Rangers-style band of lightly idiotic superheroes who harness the toxic power of cigarettes to defeat Earth’s enemies, and are each named after one of their harmful components (Benzene, Nicotine, Mercury, Ammonia, and Methanol). They’re led by Chief Didier, a rat who inexplicably dribbles green goo — and, even more inexplicably, casts an intense erotic spell over Tobacco Force’s female members.

Smoking Causes Coughing leans deliriously, hilariously far into its absurdist premise. Citing a lack of “group cohesion,” Chief Didier sends the Force to the woods on a team-building retreat. While they swap “scary” stories over a campfire, however, a reptilian galactic supervillain plots to put Earth “out of its misery” because it’s a “sick planet” (can’t really argue with that). Full of insane plot twists and without a tired trope in sight, Smoking Causes Coughing never approaches the realm of predictability — no small achievement in this era of superhero fatigue.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Actor: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Alain Chabat, Anaïs Demoustier, Anthony Sonigo, Benoît Poelvoorde, Blanche Gardin, Charlotte Laemmel, David Marsais, Doria Tillier, Elodie Mareau, Frédéric Bonpart, Gilles Lellouche, Grégoire Ludig, Jean-Pascal Zadi, Jérôme Niel, José Da Silva, Jules Dhios Francisco, Julia Faure, Marie Bunel, Olivier Afonso, Oulaya Amamra, Raphaël Quenard, Sava Lolov, Vincent Lacoste

Director: Quentin Dupieux

Full of charm and nostalgia, Bang Woo-ri’s first feature film is a love letter to the late 90s—and to the heartstopping experience of first love, as high school student Na Bo-ra tries to get to know her friend’s crush Baek Hyun-jin. While at times immature, she comes across as endearing through Kim Yoo-jung’s charismatic, devoted performance. And as the Na Bo-ra goes through all the ways people wooed each other in the 90s—figuring out each other's phone numbers, filming each other through old camcorders, renting out VHS tapes—the film evokes memories of our own first loves. Even with some underdeveloped characters and certain contrived moments, 20th Century Girl is still a stunning picture of young love at the turn of the century.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Bang Woo-ri, Byeon Woo-seok, Choi Kyo-sik, Gong Myeong, Gong Myoung, Han Hyo-joo, Jeon Hye-won, Jeong Min-jun, Jeong Seok-yong, Jo Ji-hyeon, Kang Chae-young, Kim Nu-rim, Kim Sung-kyung, Kim You-jung, Lee Beom-soo, Lee Beom-su, Lee Cheon-mu, Lee Woo-sung, Ong Seong-wu, Park Hae-jun, Park Jung-woo, Roh Yoon-seo, Ryu Seung-ryong, Shin Dong-ryeok, Yoon Yi-reh

Director: Bang Woo-ri

Rating: TV-PG