10 Movies Like Kinds of Kindness You Must See

Filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos’ ‘Kinds of Kindness’ is another one of his films rooted in such absurdist humor that its complete understanding demands thorough attention from viewers. Once again featuring Emma Stone in the lead, the Greek director’s anthology consists of three loosely connected stories. The first, ‘The Death of R.M.F,’ follows Jesse Plemons as a man attempting to seize control of his destiny after breaking away from his domineering boss (Willem Dafoe).

The second segment, ‘R.M.F. is Flying,’ centers on a man who becomes suspicious that his recently returned wife (Stone) is an imposter. The third, ‘R.M.F. Eats a Sandwich,’ involves a cultist seeking a person with the power to resurrect the dead. The surrealist plots, absurd wry humor, and multiple symbolic details pass off the black comedy as an entertaining affair in which its audiences likely find themselves asking for more. For those of you who enjoyed both the uniqueness and absurdity of ‘Kinds of Kindness,’ here are 10 similar films you might appreciate.

10. Movie 43 (2013)

Directed by a plethora of renowned filmmakers, including the likes of James Gunn, Peter Farrelly, Griffin Dunne, Bob Odenkirk, and Brett Ratner, ‘Movie 43’ nevertheless suffered from a harsh reception at the hands of critics that sat far from acclaim. Despite its reputation, the anthology — consisting of fourteen shorts — succeeds in what it aims to do, thanks to its gross-out humor and visuals.

With a star-studded cast as rich as the line-up of directors, ‘Movie 43’ stars — for a few minutes — Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone, Chris Pratt, Kate Winslet, Halle Berry, and many others. The film is a series of interconnected sketches, each presenting an outrageous and bizarre story. With its segments varying in style and humor and offering a mix of crude jokes, dark comedy, and somewhat incomprehensible personalities, ‘Movie 43’ checks almost every box that ‘Kinds of Kindness’ does.

9. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ is one of a kind feature that successfully combines the otherwise contrasting genres — Western, musical, anthology, absurd comedy — into one. With Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, and Liam Neeson portraying various outlaws, settlers, and bounty hunters in the Old West, the Coen brothers anthology comprises six distinct segments, each telling a story with themes ranging from whimsical to darkly comedic.

Each story explores different facets of human nature, often with a blend of humor and tragedy. Like ‘Kinds of Kindness,’ ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ uses a varied narrative structure to delve into moral and existential themes. The Coen Brothers’ signature blend of humor and pathos aligns with the absurdist tone found in Lanthimos’ work, offering an engaging viewing experience where characters know no limits and will go to any lengths to pursue their equally absurd goal.

8. I Heart Huckabees (2004)

‘I Heart Huckabees’ is full of philosophical discussions and various facades of human beings. Directed by David O. Russell, the movie, starring Jason Schwartzman, Dustin Hoffman, and Lily Tomlin, follows a man seeking existential meaning in his life with the help of two detectives. The film intertwines the lives of various quirky characters, each grappling with their own crises and vowing to avenge the backstabbings of their past. The mix of dark humor and profound questions about existentialism in ‘I Heart Huckabees’ strike chords with the introspective and resilient qualities of ‘Kinds of Kindness.’ Both films challenge viewers to reflect on profound hidden meanings through eccentric and quirky characters and the absurdities of their daily lives.

7. Wrong (2012)

Directed by Quentin Dupieux, ‘Wrong’ is an absurdist French-American joint venture that narrates the story of Dolph Springer, a man who embarks on a surreal journey to find his missing dog. The film’s plot is filled with bizarre and humorous encounters that defy conventional logic, creating a dreamlike atmosphere, though it also has no shortage of emotional moments that often justify Dolph’s questionable methods.

Its narrative style, relatively simple plot, and wry humor are akin to the tone found in ‘Kinds of Kindness.’ Both films revel in their innovative styles of filmmaking storytelling, turning into unique cinematic experiences that intrigue viewers. The similarities do not cease in their structure, offbeat humor, and surreal elements but likewise thrive in the movies’ delivery of existential crises through original, nonsensical aspects of everyday life.

6. Four Rooms (1995)

This farce, aka a highly exaggerated comedy film, is the first cinematic project from Quentin Tarantino after the triumphant success of ‘Pulp Fiction.’ Utilizing the nonlinear style of the cult film, ‘Four Rooms’ stars Marisa Tomei, Madonna, Lili Taylor, and Tim Roth, the last of whom appears as Ted, a bellhop who encounters eccentric and unpredictable guests in four different rooms in a hotel on New Year’s Eve. The four segments are directed by Tarantino, Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, and Robert Rodriguez and offer a distinct story — reminiscent of its director’s signature style — blending humor and chaos in a confined setting.

Like ‘Kinds of Kindness,’ ‘Four Rooms’ presents a collection of stories that are connected by a tool that is as funny as the dialogues themselves. Exploring a range of bizarre situations, the film’s quirky characters and over-the-top scenarios align with the absurdist and darkly comedic elements found in Lanthimos’ work, making ‘Four Rooms’ a fitting recommendation for fans of ‘Kinds of Kindness.’

5. Save the Green Planet! (2003)

The Korean film, ‘Save the Green Planet!,’ adds a touch of sci-fi in its dark comedic narrative, written and directed by Jang Joon-hwan. The plot follows Lee Byeong-gu, a man who believes his boss is an alien plotting to destroy Earth and kidnaps him in a bid to save the planet. It also includes satirized versions of a no-nonsense detective and devoted girlfriend, combining elements of thriller and highly emotional drama in its narrative, which would not answer the central question — is the boss, in fact, an alien? — anytime soon.

The dark commentary on social and economic status in society, along with the suspenseful intercuts between Byeong-gu and Detective Choo in ‘Save the Green Planet!’ resonate with the tone of ‘Kinds of Kindness.’ Both movies explore eccentric characters and outlandish situations, which are often teased to be manifestations of the past trauma these lead characters went through. The blend of dark comedy and sci-fi in ‘Save the Green Planet!’ is so reminiscent of the world of Yorgos Lanthimos that the ‘Kinds of Kindness’ director would remake the Korean film.

4. Naked Lunch (1991)

Directed by David Cronenberg, often referred to as the master of body horror films, ‘Naked Lunch’ is another one of his bold attempts to craft a mind-bending thriller. A surrealist adaptation of William S. Burroughs’ eponymous 1959 novel, Cronenberg’s acclaimed sci-fi drama stars Peter Weller as William Lee, a writer who descends into a bizarre, drug-induced world. The plot sees William and his wife Joan (Judy Davis) dangerously abusing substances as their gluttony leads Joan to indulge in a poisonous centipede and succumb to her death.

Blending elements of fantasy, horror, and black comedy, the unsettling style of the narrative, along with its exploration of the human psyche, is reminiscent of ‘Kinds of Kindness.’ Both movies sacrifice conventions for a somewhat surreal atmosphere that keeps viewers confused and engaged. Cronenberg’s ability to merge reality with nightmarish visions aligns well with Lanthimos’ and his actors’ intimate outings in ‘Kinds of Kindness.’

3. Taxidermia (2006)

One of the most celebrated features to come out of the Hungarian film industry, ‘Taxidermia’ is another surrealist tale that knows no genre. Directed by György Pálfi, it adapts various short stories of renowned writer Lajos Parti Nagy to screen. Altering the course of history, the first of three stories features the military orderly with bizarre sexual fantasies during World War II as the second follows his son, a speed-eating champion in the socialist era, who competes in gluttonous contests, inviting dangerous levels of obesity.

The final segment focuses on his grandson, a taxidermist, who preserves the grotesque bodies of his father and grandfather while working on a disturbing project of his own. With each of its leading characters succumbing to their bizarre obsessions and grotesque physical transformations, the narrative makes room for dark humor, body horror, and absurdist elements to explore themes of excess and decay. These surreal and disturbing elements and deep philosophical meanings resonate with the arthouse style of ‘Kinds of Kindness.’ Both movies use a triptych structure to tell their stories and challenge viewers’ perceptions.

2. Pity (2018)

‘Pity,’ directed by Babis Makridis and co-written by Efthymis Filippou, a frequent collaborator of Yorgos Lanthimos, is another absurdist Greek tale in which a man finds pleasure in his own suffering and strives to remain unhappy. The film’s plot revolves around the protagonist’s bizarre quest for pity, invoking a new level of originality in such absurdist dramas. Its themes of human suffering and emotional complexity are similar to those explored in ‘Kinds of Kindness.’

Both films feature the distinctive writing style of Filippou, who manages to incorporate some of the best elements of “Pity’ in “R.M.F. is Flying,” one of the three segments of the Lanthimos directorial. Both stories revolve around the protagonist’s twisted psyche following the sudden reemergence of his wife. The film’s exploration of the absurd lengths he goes to maintain his misery despite having reasons that allow him to be happy touches upon the seemingly unmatchable levels of absurdity found in ‘Kinds of Kindness.’

1. Wild Tales (2014)

This gripping Oscar-nominated anthology opens with dozens of passengers discussing the “coincidence” that all of them somehow wronged the pilot at some point in the past. The 2014 Argentine dark comedy thriller, directed by Damián Szifron, does not slow down from this moment, offering dark comedic tales that are as jaw-dropping as they are funny. Consisting of six standalone stories connected by themes of violence and revenge, the film stars Ricardo Darín, Leonardo Sbaraglia, and Darío Grandinetti.

Each segment explores the extreme reactions of ordinary people pushed to their limits, thus flipping the classic “hero’s journey” trope. With characters prioritizing their selfish wants without care about morality, ‘Wild Tales’ relies on the same tone, message, and overall structure, which uplift ‘Kinds of Kindness.’ The interconnected tales in both projects present commentary on societal issues and the blind eye it turns to.

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