‘Weathering With You’ Blends Fantasy And Realism In A Magical Love Story

Bong Joon-ho’s South Korean thriller “Parasite” swept at the 2020 Oscars, winning for best director, best international feature film, best original screenplay, and best picture. It’s one of only 11 international movies ever nominated for best picture and the first to win.

When director Bong Joon Ho accepted the Golden Globe for best foreign language film earlier this year, he made a pointed remark to American audiences via a translator: “Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

Luckily for viewers, streaming sites have made it easier than ever before to enjoy international movies. Here are some of the excellent films from around the world to stream right now.


2018’s “Roma” is the story of a woman working as a maid in 1970s Mexico City.

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Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira in “Roma.”
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Netflix

Where to watch: Netflix

Synopsis: Based on director Alfonso Cuarón’s memories of his childhood nanny, “Roma” follows an indigenous Mexican woman named Cleo as she works for an unraveling middle-class family in 1970s Mexico City.

The film went on to win three Oscars (best foreign language film, director, and cinematography), becoming one of Netflix’s most awarded original films.

“[‘Roma’] achieves the rare feat of making the personal authentically political, not through explicit polemic or tortured metaphors, but simply by observing life with enough perspective to reflect it in all its contradictions,” wrote The Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday.


The 2019 supernatural romance “Atlantics” tells a haunting ghost story set in modern-day Senegal.

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Mama Bineta Sane and Ibrahima Traoré in “Atlantics.”
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Netflix

Where to watch: Netflix

Synopsis: Set in the capital city of Senegal, Mati Diop’s “Atlantics” is a contemporary ghost story, a supernatural exploration of class, and a romance all in one.

Ada, the film’s 17-year-old protagonist, is betrothed to a wealthy older man, but she’s in love with a young construction worker named Souleiman. When he and his colleagues decide to sail across the ocean to Europe after going months without pay and disappear, his ghost reappears in Ada’s life as she also dreams of escape.

“‘Atlantics’ remains a deeply romantic work that magnetized the fears of people trapped by their surroundings and striving for the companionship that can rescue them from despair,” wrote Eric Kohn for Indiewire.


In the 2018 South Korean mystery thriller “Burning,” a young aspiring author investigates a friend’s disappearance shortly after she meets a wealthy older man.

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Lee Jong-su, Jong-seo Jun, and Steven Yeun in “Burning.”
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CGV Arthouse

Where to watch: Netflix

Synopsis: Based on a short story by iconic Japanese author Haruki Murakami, “Burning” follows a poor farmer and aspiring novelist, Jong-su, who bumps into his former neighbor, a girl named Shin-Hae-mi (Jong-seo Jun), who leaves to travel soon after they enter the beginnings of a relationship. When she disappears soon after returning with a wealthy older man, Jong-su’s investigation into what happened to her evolves into a slow-burn critique of South Korean class struggles.

Former “The Walking Dead” star Steven Yeun turns in a career-best performance as Ben, the mysterious man involved with Shin Hae-mi.

“‘Burning’ offers the opposite of instant gratification, creating a slow dramatic simmer that intensifies gradually over two-and-a-half perfectly measured hours, until it reaches a shocking and powerful crescendo,” wrote A.A. Dowd for The A.V. Club.


The 2018 drama “Shoplifters” is a heartbreaking, poignant look at found families and class struggles in Japan.

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The ensemble cast of “Shoplifters.”
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GAGA Pictures

Where to watch: Hulu

Synopsis: In Hiorkazu Koreeda’s “Shoplifters,” a ragtag group of petty thieves scraping by just outside of Tokyo take in an abused young girl. As their illusion of nuclear family is called into question, the director investigates the collapsing Japanese state system and the definition of family outside of biological relatives.

“At once charming and heart-wrenching, this exquisitely performed film will steal the hearts of both art-house and mainstream audiences,” wrote Variety critic Maggie Lee.


The 2001 coming-of-age film “Y Tu Mamá También” follows two teenagers who embark on a road trip across Mexico with an older woman.

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Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Maribel Verdú in “Y Tu Mamá También.”
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IFC Films

Where to watch: Netflix

Synopsis: Seventeen years before “Roma,” Cuarón told a sensual coming-of-age story about two Mexican teenage boys who take a summer road trip with a woman in her late twenties in “Y Tu Mamá También.”

The movie is set against the backdrop of the economic and political upheaval of 1999 Mexico and was nominated for two Academy Awards (best original screenplay and best foreign language film).

“‘Y Tu Mamá También’ manages to be comic, dramatic, erotic, sociological and even political, all without breaking a sweat,” wrote Kenneth Turan for The Los Angeles Times.


The 2016 drama “The Handmaiden” is a lesbian romance and revenge thriller.

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Min-hee Kim and Tae-ri Kim in “The Handmaiden.”
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Amazon Studios

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Synopsis: Set during Japan’s occupation of Korea in the 1930s, Park Chan-wook’s “The Handmaiden” centers on a woman (Kim Tae-ri) who falls in love with the Japanese heiress (Kim Min-hee) whose inheritance she has been hired to help steal. The film won the award of best film not in the English language at the 2017 BAFTAs.

“‘The Handmaiden’ is just pure cinema, a dizzying, disturbing fable of love and betrayal that piles on luxurious imagery, while never losing track of its story’s human core,” wrote The Atlantic critic David Sims.


Hulu’s 2019 Macedonian documentary “Honeyland” was nominated for two Oscars in 2020: best documentary feature and best international feature film.

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Hatidze Muratova in “Honeyland.”
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KJ films

Where to watch: Hulu

Synopsis:Honeyland,” which was nominated for best documentary feature and best international feature film at the 2020 Oscars, follows the last female bee-hunter in Europe (specifically, Macedonia).

When nomadic beekeepers invade her property and threaten her livelihood, she is tasked with saving her bees.

“‘Honeyland’ is both an immersive experience and an undeniably gorgeous reflection on our relationship to nature,” wrote Monica Castillo for RogerEbert.com.


In the 2019 animated fantasy “I Lost My Body,” a severed hand escapes from a Paris laboratory while a Moroccan immigrant falls in love with a librarian.

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Hakim Faris and Victoire Du Bois costar in Netflix’s “I Lost My Body.”
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Netflix

Where to watch: Netflix

Synopsis: Netflix’s animated feature “I Lost My Body” tells the story of Nauofel, a Moroccan immigrant and pizza boy in Paris who falls in love with a librarian. While these events are taking place, a severed hand escapes from a dissection laboratory and attempts to find its body again.

Vulture critic Bilge Ebiri described it as “a gloriously hand-animated existential fable that manages to be both genuinely sweet and thoroughly twisted.”


“Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho’s previous movie, the 2017 Netflix original “Okja,” satirizes animal cruelty within the food industry by telling the story of a South Korean girl separated from her giant pet pig.

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Seo-hyun Ahn in “Okja.”
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Netflix

Where to watch: Netflix

Synopsis: Before directing best picture winner “Parasite,” Bong Joon Ho helmed the Netflix original movie “Okja.”

It follows a young South Korean girl fighting to save her best friend, Okja, a super-pig that belongs to a corrupt international corporation.

“It’s a testament to Bong’s sprawling ambition that Okja manages to be so many things at once – a caustic satire of corporate evil, an intercontinental action/adventure epic, a coming-of-age narrative for the girl,” wrote Newsweek journalist Zach Schonfeld.


As strange as its premise may seem, the 2015 Irish sci-fi romance “The Lobster” is an endearing, off-beat satire of modern relationships.

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Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in “The Lobster.”
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The Lobster

Where to watch: Netflix

Synopsis: In the dystopian near-future of Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster,” single people who do not find a romantic partner in forty-five days are turned into animals. The Irish film was praised for its strange but affecting satire of loneliness and societal pressures to couple.

“Lanthimos forgoes easy sentiments about the transformative power of love,” wrote The Chicago Reader critic Leah Pickett. “This may turn off viewers, but there’s a certain liberation and even some relief in knowing that societal pressure to settle down can be just as cruel as loneliness.”


The 2016 action film “Train to Busan” follows a father and daughter’s fight to survive when a zombie outbreak occurs in South Korea.

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Yoo Gong in “Train to Busan.”
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Next Entertainment World

Where to watch: Netflix

Synopsis: A father and daughter are on the titular “Train to Busan” in South Korea when a zombie virus breaks out aboard the vehicle.

The Times critic Kate Mulr described “Train to Busan” as “a smart horror that contrasts the hyper-cleanliness and efficiency of South Korean life with bloody, neck-biting chaos.”


In the 2019 romantic drama “Rafiki,” the daughters of two rival Kenyan politicians secretly fall in love.

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Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva in “Rafiki.”
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Big World Cinema

Where to watch: Kanopy

Synopsis: In the first LGBT film to ever screen in Kenya (where gay relationships are illegal), “Rafiki” tells a love story between Kena and Ziki, who are the daughters of rival politicians. While many critics noted that the movie’s coming-of-age tale of forbidden love was familiar, its cultural context and bright Afro-Pop aesthetics were notable.

“This is a story that may have been told before, sure, but never in this context before,” wrote Gwllym Mumford for The Guardian. “That alone seems worth celebrating.”


The 2001 French classic “Amélie” follows the exploits of its optimistic Parisian heroine.

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Audrey Tautou in “Amélie.”
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UGC-Fox Distribution via Amazon Prime

Where to watch: Hulu

Synopsis: One of the more internationally successful of many French romantic comedies, “Amélie” centers around the escapades of its titular heroine, an idealistic and naive young woman in Paris who is inspired to improve the lives of the people around her.

The movie was nominated for five Oscars and later inspired a short-lived Broadway musical of the same name starring “Hamilton” actress Phillipa Soo.

“‘Amelie’ is one of those once-in-a-decade comedies which scatters its charm like pearls from a broken necklace, all the more adorable because they are not real,” wrote The Times critic Barbara Ellen.


In the eerie 2006 Spanish fairy tale “Pan’s Labyrinth,” a girl retreats from the violence of World War II into a fantastical underworld.

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Ivana Baquero and Doug Jones in “Pan’s Labyrinth.”
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New Line Cinema

Where to watch: Netflix

Synopsis: Before director Guillermo del Toro won best picture for 2017’s “The Shape of Water,” he had already created an Oscar-winning movie – “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

Set during Spain in World War II, it follows the bookish stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer away from the war and into an eerie, fantastical underworld.

“Guillermo del Toro has crafted a masterpiece, a terrifying, visually wondrous fairy tale for adults that blends fantasy and gloomy drama into one of the most magical films to come along in years,” wrote The Associated Press critic David Germain.


Kristen Stewart played a high fashion personal shopper attempting to make contact with her late brother in the 2017 French ghost story “Personal Shopper.”

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Kristen Stewart in “Personal Shopper.”
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IFC Films

Where to watch: Netflix

Synopsis: Kristen Stewart stars in “Personal Shopper” as a fashion consultant and spiritual medium in Paris attempting to make contact with her twin brother, who passed away there. In the process, she begins to receive strange anonymous texts.

Stewart, in particular, was praised by critics for her magnetic, aching performance in the horror-drama.

“[‘Personal Shopper’] is a riveting, impossible-to-shake masterwork that leaves the audience spooked, not by its telling but by its commitment to abstract themes of grief, solitude and coming of age,” wrote Durga Chew-Bose for The Globe and Mail.


The 2019 Chinese crime drama “Ash is Purest White” tracks the long-term romance between a mobster couple.

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Cohen Media Group

Where to watch: Kanopy

Synopsis: A long-spanning tale of the Chinese jianghu criminal underworld, “Ash is Purest White” tracks the relationship between two mobsters from 2001 to 2017.

Along the way, director Jia Zhangke pulls away from their immediate rivalries and explores China’s rapid economic and cultural change in the 21st century.

“This is a movie about how time and circumstance conspire to make dazed, restless wanderers of us all,” wrote The Los Angeles Times critic Justin Chang.


Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor directed 2019’s “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” which tells the true story of a boy in Malawi building a windmill to save his village.

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Chiwetel Ejiofor and Maxwell Simba in “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.”
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Netflix

Where to watch: Netflix

Synopsis: Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor made his directorial debut with Netflix’s “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” which tells the true story of a 13-year-old boy in Malawi who saves his village from famine by learning to build a windmill.

“[‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’] feeds our hunger for inspiring tales in these desperate times with a beautifully engineered narrative latticework of hardship, hope, and know-how,” wrote Robert Abele for The Los Angeles Times.


The 2014 South Korean sci-fi epic “Snowpiercer” imagines a dystopian future where the only humans left behind after an apocalyptic event fight for survival aboard a constantly moving train.

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Chris Evans and Ko Asung in “Snowpiercer.”
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RADius/TWC

Where to watch: Netflix

Synopsis: Another Bong Joon-ho film available to stream on Netflix, “Snowpiercer” takes place in a future where a failed climate-change experiment has wiped out all life except a handful of people who boarded a train that travels around the world. In line with the class struggles explored in “Parasite,” the movie follows the violent new class system that has emerged among them.

“Avengers” actor Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton costar in the ensemble cast.

“[‘Snowpiercer’ is] a wicked, violent parable, and one of the only movies of the summer worth talking about after the credits roll,” wrote Jim Slotek for The Toronto Sun.


“I Am Not a Witch” is a 2017 Zambian satire that centers on a young girl in a traveling witch camp.

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Maggie Mulubwa in “I Am Not a Witch.”
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Artificial Eye

Where to watch: Kanopy

Synopsis: In Rungano Nyoni’s “I Am Not a Witch,” an 8-year-old Zambian girl named Shula is found guilty of witchcraft and sent to live in a traveling witch camp.

The movie teeters gracefully between satire and drama, taking jabs at superstition and non-Western exploitation with an impressive performance from its young lead.

“[‘I Am Not a Witch’] blends deadpan humor with light surrealism, vivid visuals, and left-field musical choices,” wrote Stephen Dalton for The Hollywood Reporter.


The 2019 Mexican crime fantasy “Tigers Are Not Afraid” follows a girl who joins a street-dwelling gang of children to search for her missing mother.

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The ensemble cast of “Tigers are Not Afraid.”
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Shudder

Where to watch: Amazon Prime/Shudder

Synopsis: “Tigers are Not Afraid” is a dark, contemporary fairytale about a Mexican girl who joins a gang of five children to find her missing mother in the midst of local cartel violence.

“Blending the often frightening surrealism of a child’s wild imagination with the blood-splattered realism of the drug cartels, ‘Tigers Are Not Afraid’ is a highly original horror story made for these times,” wrote The Houston Chronicle critic Cary Darling.

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