7 alternative dramas that define the genre


Great drama can be spellbinding when spun by dignified and caring hands. It is undoubtedly the most authentic form of cinema. Theater is based on the exploration of conflict, a long-standing narrative tool. Conflict, of course, requires emotion.

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From time to time, in the field of modern cinema and, in its past, there is a somewhat habitual temptation to dabble a little too eagerly in melodrama, or to abuse style rather than substance. In this case, it may be useful to look elsewhere for inspiration.

To protect

Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain in

Jeff NicholsThe influence on the film stemmed from a feeling he perceived in the world, a feeling of anxiety that everything we hold dear could disappear in an instant. There are elements of genuine sincerity behind this quietly moving film, and Nichols’ words carry real weight. Beneath this more apparent theme, however, lies the true beating heart of the film.

It’s a film about marriage, family and commitment. Haunted by a series of apocalyptic visions, Curtis (Michael Shannon) takes literal action to protect his wife (Jessica Chastain) and maiden of a coming storm, despite social adversity and doubts about her own mental stability. In truth, much can be gleaned from the poignant and devoted family relationship described here.



The cast of

Mathieu Kassovitz‘ a gritty, social-realistic drama takes the infamous Paris riots as its cultural inspiration. Set the next day, the film depicts 24 hours in the life of three young men from the Parisian suburbs.

Hatred translates to “hate” in English, and it lives up to its name. It’s as much a film about the perils of a detestable existence as it is an exploration of urban realism. Paris presents a problematic existence, and through the bitter perspectives of three ethnically diverse characters, we see the narrative tackle the pertinent and disturbing themes of racial tension and police brutality.

blue valentine

Ryan Gosling as Dean and Michelle Williams as Cindy in

An unconventional romantic drama, blue valentineit is its greatest strength lies in its openness and a more candid depiction of a troubled and ultimately doomed romance. Ryan Gosling and michelle williams star in Derek Cianfrancecontemporary tale of a married couple.

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A tone of sincerity is induced by the frank performances of the pairs. By cutting between different time periods, notably the beginning and the present of the relationship, Cianfrance is able to portray a stark contrast between the film’s central couple, both in terms of visual style and character arrangement. In a broader consensus, much of the film is layered to critique the more stereotypical characteristics we might associate with conventional romance movies.


Amy Adams and the Aliens in

Director Denis Villeneuve took a risk with Arrival. To create this high-level sci-fi drama, he worked with screenwriter Eric Heisserier to create a foreign language. The risk paid off. Arrival is built on the back of smart, thoughtful planning, all the hallmarks of great science fiction.

The plot unfolds following an “alien invasion” as twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world. Linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is working with the military in hopes of communicating with the extraterrestrial lifeforms on board. Adams, as always, brings a steely resonance to his character, full of depth and genuine emotion. Her story is the emotional engine and drama of the story, pulling us towards the final twist, which gratefully feels deserved and not upset.


The cast of

Bong Joon HoThe multi-genre satire of is arguably the perfect scenario; portraying social inequality and classism, Parasite captures the family drama at its heart. The film is set in South Korea, as the impoverished Kim family finds its way into the service and livelihood of the wealthy Park family.

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Joon-ho’s molding of thematic concerns into a layered narrative of compelling tonal shifts speaks volumes about his ability in the craft. Like a thrilling novel, it’s one that’s impossible to turn away from.

12 angry men

The cast of

Sidney LumetThe directorial debut plays like a tutorial for ambitious directors. The sole location of a jury room helps set an intense tone for movies, but in its most serious form, it’s how you create simple yet gripping drama.

The conflict at play stems from a contrast of mindsets, exploring how the distinction of “indisputable proof” can vary depending on the views of those involved. The Compassionate Juror 8 (Henry Fonda) and its use of caution and reasonable doubt frustrate a jury that seems determined to return a unanimous guilty verdict in a murder trial. Ultimately, his insistence leads to a reconsideration of the evidence presented to them.

Love Perros

Octavio and his dogs in 'Amores Perros'

The first in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarrituis the trilogy of life, Love Perros connects three separate but interrelated stories of love and the harsh realities of life. His use of intertwined storylines seems almost Pulp Fiction-esque, however, it is surely a more evocative and poetic undertaking.

Amours Perros’draws you in with its stunning vision of clarity, depicting a grainy and complex Mexico City. Inarritu’s film channels its thoughtful provocation through a collection of weary characters who, despite their struggles, act mostly out of love for their partner, their friend, and even their dogs.

Next:10 Comedy Actors Who Seamlessly Transitioned To Drama

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