8 Powerful Psychological Movies You May Not Have Heard Of

8 Powerful Psychological Movies You May Not Have Heard Of

Have you watched any of these underrated gems?

While we've been bombarded with superhero films that draw in large crowds over the recent years, sometimes it's the films with less "flashiness" that leave quite an impression on us. Sure, commercial films are entertaining, but sometimes it's the psychologically-layered films that stand out. They might not attract as many viewers as blockbusters, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve as much attention. Here's a list of 8 films that may not be as popular but have had a fascinating impact on us, either for the storyline or the performance of the cast.

1. Side Effects

This psychological thriller is all about big pharma and mental health. It follows the story of a woman who's been prescribed a drug by her psychiatrist that has unexpected chilling side effects. With a stellar cast of Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law, and Catherine Zeta-Jones don't miss this psychological thriller film directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Scott Z. Burns.


2. Her

One of our personal favorites! The plot might sound a bit bizarre as it involves an introverted writer Theodore Twombly who buys an Artificial Intelligence system and ends up falling in love with it! Perhaps it makes more sense when you know the insightful and surprisingly charming operating system is voiced by Scarlett Johansson. The sci-fi romance directed by Spike Jonze taps into the mind of the sensitive writer played by Joaquin Phoenix and tells the unusual tale with so much heart. A must-watch!


3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 

Another absolute favorite... Joel, played by Jim Carrey, and Clementine played by Kate Winslet are two clashing personalities who end up on a journey of love and pain in Michel Gondry’s 2004 movie. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind follows Clementine undergoing a procedure to erase memories of her former boyfriend Joel from her mind. Do they find their way back to each other? Watch this funny, tender, one-of-a-kind tale to find out.


4. The Truman Show

Jim Carrey truly has the range! He plays an oblivious insurance salesman whose life is being secretly tracked as part of a reality show. Slowly but surely Truman begins to notice that his quaint hometown and his life are not what they seem. Watching the 1998 film now may be a bit eerie, realizing that it predicted where we are right now in the world. With the advent of social media does our world seem too "set up" just like The Truman Show?


5. Cleveland Abduction

We're always fascinated with a true story and this film is based on one. Cleveland Abduction follows a young woman who was abducted by an evil man who kept her captive for 11 years. The 2015 American crime drama television film is based on The Ariel Castro kidnappings that took place between 2002 and 2004. Taryn Manning plays Michelle Knight, the 21-year-old single mother whose life drastically changed after the incident. This is going to be a difficult watch.


6. Girl, Interrupted

This movie is a powerful drama based on writer Susanna Kaysen's account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital. The 1999 American psychological drama film is directed by James Mangold and has an incredible cast starring Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall, Brittany Murphy, Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Moss, Angela Bettis, Vanessa Redgrave, and Jared Leto.


7. Martha Marcy May Marlene

Featuring Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson, John Hawkes, and Christopher Abbott, the 2011 movie follows Martha after her time spent with an abusive cult. She's haunted by painful memories, increasing paranoia, and struggles to differentiate between dreams and reality. It even poses questions to viewers making the audience constantly wonder: is Martha is dreaming or if any of it is real?


8. Stoker 

The 2013 psychological thriller film is directed by South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook filled with quite a lot of suspense. The synopsis reads: After India's (Mia Wasikowska's) father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her emotionally unstable mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman). Soon after his arrival, she comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives, but instead of feeling outrage or horror, this friendless girl becomes increasingly infatuated with him. The film is apparently intended to be a huge homage to Alfred Hitchcock's 1943 film Shadow of a Doubt. The story poses questions like how much of what is within us is determined by our genes, and how much is shaped by our surroundings?


Recommended for you