IMDb Picks: Our Indie, Foreign, and Documentary Picks

by IMDb-Editors | created - 22 Nov 2016 | updated - 30 Nov 2016 | Public

IMDb's editors turn a spotlight on some of the arthouse films on our radar this December.

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1. Harry Benson: Shoot First (2016)

Unrated | 87 min | Documentary

74 Metascore

What we know today about many famous musicians, politicians, and actresses is due to the famous work of photographer Harry Benson. He captured vibrant and intimate photos of the most famous... See full summary »

Directors: Justin Bare, Matthew Miele | Stars: Harry Benson, Carl Bernstein, Bryant Gumbel, Ralph Lauren

Votes: 323 | Gross: $0.02M

If there was a larger-than-life public figure or unforgettable cultural event from the last half century, chances are photographer Harry Benson captured it with an image you find familiar. I'm looking forward to learning more about a man whose eyes and empathy for his subjects have influenced our memories. — Bret

Opens in limited release Friday, Dec. 9

2. Neruda (2016)

R | 107 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

82 Metascore

An inspector hunts down Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, who becomes a fugitive in his home country in the late 1940s for joining the Communist Party.

Director: Pablo Larraín | Stars: Gael García Bernal, Luis Gnecco, Mercedes Morán, Emilio Gutiérrez Caba

Votes: 8,331 | Gross: $0.94M

Pablo Larrain's will probably receive more attention for his other movie this year, but the director has received equally strong (perhaps a touch stronger) reviews for his inventive take on the life of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. I'm looking forward to seeing Luis Gnecco, who played an integral part in Larrain's No, star as heavily fictionalized version of Neruda, and Gael Garcia Bernal as the completely made up private investigator on his tail. — Arno

Opens in limited release Friday, Dec. 16

3. I, Daniel Blake (2016)

R | 100 min | Drama

78 Metascore

After having suffered a heart-attack, a 59-year-old carpenter must fight the bureaucratic forces of the system in order to receive Employment and Support Allowance.

Directors: Ken Loach, Laura Obiols | Stars: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Sharon Percy, Briana Shann

Votes: 46,170 | Gross: $0.26M

Powerful and urgent, Ken Loach's critical look at the British welfare system won the top prize at Cannes and has continued to make headlines, with the UK Prime Minister recently challenged to see the film during a debate in the Houses of Parliament. While it may not be an easy watch, it is certainly an essential one. — Michael

Opens in limited release Friday, Dec. 23

4. The Bad Kids (2016)

101 min | Documentary

75 Metascore

A group of teachers at a Mojave Desert high school take an unconventional approach to improve the lives of their struggling students.

Directors: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe

Votes: 530 | Gross: $0.00M

In every corner of the country there are true heroes to be found, instilling hope in the lives of those who need it most. This documentary, which won the Special Jury Prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, follows the story of an inspiring educator, Vonda Viland, who refuses to allow the struggling students of Black Rock High School to think they can't achieve the goal of earning a diploma. — Bret

Opens in limited release Friday, Dec. 23

5. Toni Erdmann (2016)

R | 162 min | Comedy, Drama

93 Metascore

A practical joking father tries to reconnect with his hard working daughter by creating an outrageous alter ego and posing as her CEO's life coach.

Director: Maren Ade | Stars: Sandra Hüller, Peter Simonischek, Michael Wittenborn, Thomas Loibl

Votes: 39,534 | Gross: $1.48M

This hilarious father-daughter story topped critics lists at this year's Cannes Film Festival and has been picking up audience awards ever since. If you've never seen a German comedy that runs for nearly three hours, make this your first. — Michael

Opens in limited release Sunday, Dec. 25

6. 20th Century Women (2016)

R | 119 min | Comedy, Drama

83 Metascore

The story of a teenage boy, his mother, and two other women who help raise him among the love and freedom of Southern California of 1979.

Director: Mike Mills | Stars: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup

Votes: 34,041 | Gross: $5.66M

Beginners director Mike Mills is back, this time with a story that's a tribute to his mother and clear shot for Annette Bening's fifth Oscar nomination. Personally, I'm a sucker for this time period, locale, genre, and actress, but I would also love to hear what Bening might have to say on stage at the Academy Awards this year. — Arno

Opens in limited release Sunday, Dec. 25

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