Best Movies If You Like Chloé Zhao (That Aren't Her Films) – Screen Rant Leave a comment

From superhero ensembles to slice-of-life dramas, these are some of the best movies that would impress fans of Chloé Zhao, but aren’t made by her.
Chloé Zhao has come into the limelight as the writer and director behind the Oscar-winning Nomadland and the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe offering, Eternals. But even before these two blockbusters, the auteur has crafted soulful, emotionally-driven films such as The Rider and Songs That My Brother Taught Me.
RELATED: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Eternals
Hence, fans of Zhao’s filmography have a wide variety of genres to pick from ranging from human drama to superhero. From reputed Oscar winners to underrated dramatic gems, there is a wide variety of options when it comes to movies by other directors but similar to her style.
In Captain Fantastic, a father of six must confront the death of his wife while deciding the future of his children. All their lives, they have grown up in the wild, but now, the patriarch decides to expose them to the chaotic and unpredictable “real world.”
In ways more than one, Captain Fantastic is the antithesis of Nomadland. Viggo Mortensen’s performance as Ben Cash involves protecting his family while reentering human society. On the other hand, Frances McDormand’s Fern has no family left and plans to get as far from everyday life as possible. Both characters make for interesting case studies in the face of a capitalist society.
Directed by Debra Granik, Leave No Trace stars Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie as a father-daughter pair who camp in the woods to lead a peaceful life. However, when the authorities question their nomadic lifestyle, the relationship grows strained and ideological differences arise.
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Just like Nomadland, this emotional drama doesn’t offer any straightforward answers and leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Further, much like Nomadland‘s Fern coping with the death of her husband, Foster’s character of Will also has his own demons to battle as a PTSD-struck war veteran.
The acclaimed A24 movie, Waves, deals with the life of a promising high-school wrestler whose athletic career is cut short after a life-threatening injury. The aftermath of the incident, along with his rocky relationship with a dominating father, forms the rest of the story.
In some aspects, Waves is similar to Chloé Zhao’s The Rider. In the latter, a rodeo rider meets with a tragic accident that leaves him with brain damage. However, despite all the threats, he is still adamant about riding horses, much like the frustrated protagonist of Waves. Both films are brilliant explorations of loss, change, and the acceptance that comes along the way.
When it comes to team-up movies, the superhero genre is a major hit-churner. But The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen plays around an interesting concept, uniting not superhumans but rather fictional literature characters like Tom Sawyer, Dorian Gray, Dr. Jekyll (and Mr. Hyde) among many others.
The MCU team in Eternals finds the heroes confronting their differences and joining forces for a united cause. Each member of the team has their own distinct personality and set of powers. While The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen flopped in its time, it can still be revisited by viewers who like such themes in ensemble-driven films.
The Mustang is the heartwarming journey of a violent prisoner’s chance at redemption as he tames an equally angry horse. Avoiding familiar ‘horse movie’ cliches, the movie weaves a fresh narrative that is more realistic in nature.
RELATED: The 10 Best Animal Movies Of The Last 30 Years, According To IMDb
The lead character of Roman can be contrasted with The Rider‘s Brady Blackburn. While the former is new to riding horses, the latter is a professional rider. But while Roman’s journey has only begun, Brady must bid adieu to his equestrian life. However, the life lessons they learn along the way make both films perfect companion pieces to each other.
Moonlight is a unique take on the coming-of-age genre, as it chronicles the life of a man called Chiron in three different phases of his life. Through different experiences and people in Chiron’s life, the film explores notions of sexuality and toxic masculinity.
For those viewers who wish to watch more introspective growing-up stories like Zhao’s Songs That My Brothers Taught Me, Moonlight is the perfect pick. Further, both Moonlight and Nomadland are both memorable Oscar Best Picture winners from recent years.
No list of superhero teams is complete without one of the X-Men movies. First Class is definitely one of the high points of the franchise, as it touches upon the team’s genesis. Not only do the team’s leaders, Professor X and Magneto, unite the mutants, but they also engage in philosophical debates that ultimately lead to their fallout.
Similarly, in Eternals, Ikaris and Sersi are both immensely powerful immortals. But it is their views on humanity that decide the course of the story.
Inspired by the real-life of Hugh Glass, this Leonardo Dicaprio-starring movie is a survival movie that is centered around Glass’ arduous journey in the American West as he seeks revenge on a frontiersman who betrayed him.
As is evident from Songs That My Brothers Taught Me and Nomadland, Chloé Zhao loves sprawling landscapes and nature-driven cinematography. These elements are present in aplenty in The Revenant, as director Alejandro Iñárritu and Immanuel Lubezki’s cinematography weave together an immersive and haunting picture of the 1800s-era American wilderness.
While there are multiple Superman films, Man Of Steel is probably the one that attempts to humanize its all-powerful character. Henry Cavill’s portrayal of Superman shows his naivety when it comes to human society, his uncontrollable rage with villains like General Zod, and the ultimate responsibility that he has to involuntarily carry as a superhero.
RELATED: 10 Reasons Man Of Steel Is Better Than You Remember
Man of Steel makes for essential viewing for fans of Eternals, and Chloé Zhao has even explicitly stated that her take on Ikaris was directly influenced by the Superman in Zack Snyder’s film.
Reese Witherspoon stars in Wild as Cheryl Strayed, a recently-divorced woman in desperate need of a new purpose in life. As she hikes an ambitious 1,100-mile-long trek, she begins to discover new aspects of her personality. The self-realization that comes along the way makes for a calming and uplifting watch.
Those who enjoyed Nomadland should also have a good time with Wild, as both films are driven by strong, female characters who discover themselves as they travel in nature.
NEXT: 10 Best Movies To Watch If You Liked Nomadland
Shaurya Thapa is an Indian freelance journalist who mostly dabbles in writings on cinema, music, and human interest features. When it comes to Screen Rant, he writes lists on a wide array of subjects ranging from international films to mainstream Netflix series and comic book trivia. He also hosts a podcast called ‘BhindiWire’, an Indian parody of IndieWire.


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