A List of 45 Modern Character Dramas

by Metamoris | created - 2 months ago | updated - 1 month ago | Public

45 Modern Character Dramas: known for excellent casting, including lead and supporting actors, as well as creative writing and story development.

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1. Forrest Gump (1994)

PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, the events of Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field

Votes: 1,668,812 | Gross: $330.25M

2. American History X (1998)

R | 119 min | Drama

62 Metascore

A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did.

Director: Tony Kaye | Stars: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Lien

Votes: 976,837 | Gross: $6.72M

3. Amélie (2001)

R | 122 min | Comedy, Romance

69 Metascore

Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet | Stars: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Lorella Cravotta

Votes: 667,233 | Gross: $33.23M

4. As Good as It Gets (1997)

PG-13 | 139 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

67 Metascore

A single mother and waitress, a misanthropic author, and a gay artist form an unlikely friendship after the artist is assaulted in a robbery.

Director: James L. Brooks | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Votes: 259,997 | Gross: $148.48M

5. The Big Lebowski (1998)

R | 117 min | Comedy, Crime, Sport

71 Metascore

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi

Votes: 681,393 | Gross: $17.50M

6. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

PG-13 | 107 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

69 Metascore

In the deep south during the 1930s, three escaped convicts search for hidden treasure while a relentless lawman pursues them.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman

Votes: 270,074 | Gross: $45.51M

7. Lost in Translation (2003)

R | 102 min | Drama

89 Metascore

A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.

Director: Sofia Coppola | Stars: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris

Votes: 383,669 | Gross: $44.59M

8. Jerry Maguire (1996)

R | 139 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

77 Metascore

When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent agent with the only athlete who stays with him and his former secretary.

Director: Cameron Crowe | Stars: Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renée Zellweger, Kelly Preston

Votes: 227,435 | Gross: $153.95M

9. Rushmore (1998)

R | 93 min | Comedy, Drama

86 Metascore

The extracurricular king of Rushmore Preparatory School is put on academic probation.

Director: Wes Anderson | Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams, Seymour Cassel

Votes: 160,229 | Gross: $17.11M

10. Erin Brockovich (2000)

R | 131 min | Biography, Drama

73 Metascore

An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply.

Director: Steven Soderbergh | Stars: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin, Dawn Didawick

Votes: 162,851 | Gross: $125.60M

11. Moneyball (2011)

PG-13 | 133 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

87 Metascore

Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.

Director: Bennett Miller | Stars: Brad Pitt, Robin Wright, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Votes: 335,908 | Gross: $75.61M

12. Garden State (2004)

R | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

67 Metascore

A quietly troubled young man returns home for his mother's funeral after being estranged from his family for a decade.

Director: Zach Braff | Stars: Zach Braff, Peter Sarsgaard, Natalie Portman, Ian Holm

Votes: 202,704 | Gross: $26.78M

13. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

PG-13 | 103 min | Drama, Romance

67 Metascore

An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.

Director: Stephen Chbosky | Stars: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd

Votes: 431,137 | Gross: $17.74M

14. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

R | 101 min | Comedy, Drama

80 Metascore

A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.

Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris | Stars: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Abigail Breslin

Votes: 417,629 | Gross: $59.89M

15. Burn After Reading (2008)

R | 96 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

63 Metascore

A disk containing mysterious information from a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous and daft gym employees who attempt to sell it.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen | Stars: Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, George Clooney, John Malkovich

Votes: 293,530 | Gross: $60.36M

16. Office Space (1999)

R | 89 min | Comedy

68 Metascore

Three company workers who hate their jobs decide to rebel against their greedy boss.

Director: Mike Judge | Stars: Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, David Herman, Ajay Naidu

Votes: 231,202 | Gross: $10.82M

17. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

R | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

81 Metascore

After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.

Director: David O. Russell | Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver

Votes: 631,585 | Gross: $132.09M

18. Michael Clayton (2007)

R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

82 Metascore

A law firm brings in its "fixer" to remedy the situation after a lawyer has a breakdown while representing a chemical company that he knows is guilty in a multibillion-dollar class action suit.

Director: Tony Gilroy | Stars: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Michael O'Keefe

Votes: 150,545 | Gross: $49.03M

19. The Descendants (2011)

R | 115 min | Comedy, Drama

84 Metascore

A land baron tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident.

Director: Alexander Payne | Stars: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause

Votes: 225,856 | Gross: $82.58M

20. Mid90s (2018)

R | 85 min | Comedy, Drama

66 Metascore

Follows Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 1990s-era Los Angeles who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop.

Director: Jonah Hill | Stars: Sunny Suljic, Katherine Waterston, Lucas Hedges, Na-kel Smith

Votes: 33,061 | Gross: $7.36M

21. Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019)

R | 161 min | Comedy, Drama

83 Metascore

A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch

Votes: 271,099 | Gross: $135.37M

22. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

R | 118 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

41 Metascore

An oddball journalist and his psychopathic lawyer travel to Las Vegas for a series of psychedelic escapades.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Tobey Maguire, Michael Lee Gogin

Votes: 247,031 | Gross: $10.68M

23. Hesher (2010)

R | 106 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

45 Metascore

A young boy has lost his mother and is losing touch with his father and the world around him. Then he meets Hesher who manages to make his life even more chaotic.

Director: Spencer Susser | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Devin Brochu, Natalie Portman, Rainn Wilson

Votes: 49,154 | Gross: $0.38M

24. Girl, Interrupted (1999)

R | 127 min | Biography, Drama

51 Metascore

Based on writer Susanna Kaysen's account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital in the late 1960s.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall, Brittany Murphy

Votes: 152,101 | Gross: $28.87M

25. Fish Tank (2009)

Not Rated | 123 min | Drama

81 Metascore

Everything changes for 15-year-old Mia when her mum brings home a new boyfriend.

Director: Andrea Arnold | Stars: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing, Rebecca Griffiths

Votes: 55,876 | Gross: $0.37M

26. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

R | 119 min | Comedy, Drama

87 Metascore

A washed-up superhero actor attempts to revive his fading career by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway production.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu | Stars: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough

Votes: 536,645 | Gross: $42.34M

27. Sunshine Cleaning (2008)

R | 91 min | Comedy, Drama

61 Metascore

In order to raise the tuition to send her young son to private school, a mom starts an unusual business -- a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service -- with her unreliable sister.

Director: Christine Jeffs | Stars: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Jason Spevack

Votes: 67,837 | Gross: $12.06M

28. I Heart Huckabees (2004)

R | 107 min | Comedy

55 Metascore

A husband-and-wife team play detective, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, the happy duo helps others solve their existential issues, the kind that keep you up at night, wondering what it all means.

Director: David O. Russell | Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Mark Wahlberg

Votes: 60,886 | Gross: $12.78M

29. Little Children (2006)

R | 136 min | Drama, Romance

75 Metascore

The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Massachusetts.

Director: Todd Field | Stars: Kate Winslet, Jennifer Connelly, Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley

Votes: 101,890 | Gross: $5.46M

30. Mysterious Skin (2004)

Unrated | 105 min | Drama

73 Metascore

A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions cross paths, together discovering a horrible, liberating truth.

Director: Gregg Araki | Stars: Brady Corbet, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elisabeth Shue, Chase Ellison

Votes: 63,525 | Gross: $0.70M

31. Ghost World (2001)

R | 111 min | Comedy, Drama

88 Metascore

With only the plan of moving in together after high school, two unusually devious friends seek direction in life. As a mere gag, they respond to a man's newspaper ad for a date, only to find it will greatly complicate their lives.

Director: Terry Zwigoff | Stars: Steve Buscemi, Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Brad Renfro

Votes: 108,446 | Gross: $6.22M

32. There Will Be Blood (2007)

R | 158 min | Drama

93 Metascore

A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Ciarán Hinds, Martin Stringer

Votes: 476,998 | Gross: $40.22M

33. Broken Flowers (2005)

R | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Mystery

79 Metascore

As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives an anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him. A freelance sleuth neighbor moves Don to embark on a cross-country search for his old flames in search of answers.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Bill Murray, Jessica Lange, Sharon Stone, Julie Delpy

Votes: 94,018 | Gross: $13.74M

34. Catch Me If You Can (2002)

PG-13 | 141 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

75 Metascore

A seasoned FBI agent pursues Frank Abagnale Jr. who, before his 19th birthday, successfully forged millions of dollars' worth of checks while posing as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor, and a legal prosecutor.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen

Votes: 748,491 | Gross: $164.62M

35. Brokeback Mountain (2005)

R | 134 min | Drama, Romance

87 Metascore

The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Randy Quaid

Votes: 306,356 | Gross: $83.04M

36. Juno (2007)

PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy, Drama

81 Metascore

Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

Director: Jason Reitman | Stars: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman

Votes: 472,879 | Gross: $143.50M

37. Sideways (2004)

R | 127 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

94 Metascore

Two men reaching middle age with not much to show but disappointment embark on a week-long road trip through California's wine country, just as one is about to take a trip down the aisle.

Director: Alexander Payne | Stars: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh

Votes: 172,190 | Gross: $71.50M

38. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

R | 91 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

67 Metascore

A year after their father's funeral, three brothers travel across India by train in an attempt to bond with each other.

Director: Wes Anderson | Stars: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Amara Karan

Votes: 169,137 | Gross: $11.90M

39. Closer (I) (2004)

R | 104 min | Drama, Romance

65 Metascore

The relationships of two couples become complicated and deceitful when the man from one couple meets the woman of the other.

Director: Mike Nichols | Stars: Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Clive Owen, Julia Roberts

Votes: 193,757 | Gross: $33.99M

40. Citizen Ruth (1996)

R | 106 min | Comedy, Drama

64 Metascore

An irresponsible, drug-addicted, recently impregnated woman finds herself in the middle of an abortion debate when both parties attempt to sway her to their respective sides.

Director: Alexander Payne | Stars: Laura Dern, Swoosie Kurtz, Mary Kay Place, Kurtwood Smith

Votes: 6,900 | Gross: $0.15M

41. The Savages (2007)

R | 113 min | Comedy, Drama

85 Metascore

A sister and brother face the realities of familial responsibility as they begin to care for their ailing father.

Director: Tamara Jenkins | Stars: Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Bosco, Peter Friedman

Votes: 34,810 | Gross: $6.61M

42. About Schmidt (2002)

R | 125 min | Comedy, Drama

85 Metascore

A man upon retirement, embarks on a journey to his estranged daughter's wedding, only to discover more about himself and life than he ever expected.

Director: Alexander Payne | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Kathy Bates

Votes: 118,739 | Gross: $65.02M

43. All the Real Girls (2003)

R | 108 min | Drama, Romance

71 Metascore

Small-town love story of a young man with a reputation for womanizing and his best friend's sister.

Director: David Gordon Green | Stars: Zooey Deschanel, Paul Schneider, Patricia Clarkson, Shea Whigham

Votes: 10,035 | Gross: $0.55M

44. Laggies (2014)

R | 99 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

63 Metascore

In the throes of a quarter-life crisis, Megan panics when her boyfriend proposes, then, taking an opportunity to escape for a week, hides out in the home of her new friend, 16-year-old Annika, who lives with her world-weary single dad.

Director: Lynn Shelton | Stars: Keira Knightley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell, Mark Webber

Votes: 39,682 | Gross: $0.44M

45. Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)

R | 124 min | Drama

78 Metascore

A film star comes face-to-face with an uncomfortable reflection of herself while starring in a revival of the play that launched her career.

Director: Olivier Assayas | Stars: Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloë Grace Moretz, Lars Eidinger

Votes: 25,473 | Gross: $1.81M