31 French Movies to Watch This May


Last Updated: September 1, 2022

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My recommended must-see movies for the merry month of May features an eclectic mix of drama, action, suspense, and comedy—all crafted in a style that is unique to French cinema.

31 french movies to watch

Get your fill of gripping tales of passion from “La Piscine,” riveting twists and turns of classic thriller “Diva,” and of the hilarious events taking place in the heart-warming “Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot.” The best thing about it is that you still have 27 more of such movies to see you through the month. So sit back, grab your popcorn, snuggle up to someone, and enjoy the movies. We’ve got your viewing covered. 

See also: How to Learn French with Movies in 7 Easy Steps (+ free e-book)

Day 1: Incendies (Incendies)

Directed: Denis Villeneuve

Written: Valérie Beaugrand-Champagne, Wajdi Mouawad


Source: Cineinternational

Twins make a decision to travel to the Middle East in order to explore their family history, only to discover skeletons in the closet.  Highly talented director Denis Villeneuve transfers Wajdi Mouawad's play to the screen- yet keeps the atmosphere intact.  “Incendies” appears more like a fascinating history lesson rather than a thriller or drama. But then it suddenly explodes into a gripping action!

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 2: Yves Saint Laurent

Directed: Jalil Lespert         

Written: Laurence Benaïm, Jacques Fieschi, Marie-Pierre Huster, JalilLespert

Yves Saint Laurent

Source: Impawards

Ever dreamt about spending time with legendary director Yves Saint Laurent? You are welcome to share the French designer’s life from the very beginnings of his professional path in 1958. That’s when the fashion guru met his business partner and lover – Pierre Berge.

Despite fighting his inner demons, Yves Saint Laurent, brick-by-brick, creates a fabulous empire that helps aid the liberation of women all over the globe.

Available on Netflix: Yes or Amazon Instant Video

Day 3: La science des rêves (The Science of Sleep)

Directed: Michel Gondry

Written: Michel Gondry

La science des rêves

Source: Audiodescriptionfrance

Depressed over his father’s death, a shy man, Stéphane Miroux, comes to Paris to support his bereaved mother. Kind-hearted, but reserved, his life seems as colorless as his job. Until one day when Stéphane falls deeply in love with his beautiful neighbor, a French woman. Unfortunately, winning the lady’s heart will not be as easy as pie... With his childish sense of wonder and vivid imagination,  Stéphane Miroux will  try to conquer all the odds!

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 4: La mariée était en noir (The Bride Wore Black)

Directed: François Truffaut   

Written: Cornell Woolrich, François Truffaut, Jean-Louis Richard

La mariée était en noir

Source: Bernardherrmann

A tragic and thrilling portrait of  lives shattered by violence, the Bride Wore Black stars Jeanne Moreau, a charming lady whose fiancé is cruelly murdered by a violent gang. With a cold fury inside her, the protagonist tracks down the murderers, sexually tortures them and, with the skill of a professional assassin, fakes their deaths. Alfred Hitchcock would be a great admirer of François Truffaut’s work!

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 5: Le tableau (The Painting)

Directed: Jean-François Laguionie

Written: Jean-François Laguionie, Anik Leray

Le tableau

Source: Moresay

A deep dark forest, a mysterious château, flowering gardens…. For some unknown reasons, The Painter has left his living canvas unfinished! As the story begins, you see three groups of characters who go on their lives inside the painting. The Toupins are completely painted. The Pafinis are longing for a few more colors. And here go the Reufs. Who are only sketches…

The animated painting is similar to wider society. The Toupins, considering themselves of a better quality, turn the Reufs unto the slaves and chase the poor Pafinis from the beautiful château. Who will bring the harmony back to the painting? Convinced that the Painter is the one who can save them, Lola, Ramo and Plume make a trip to find their creator. Through their marvelous adventures they begin find the answer to the vital questions: why did the Painter leave them? What is the reason behind his decision to destroy all his work? Will they ever uncover the Painter’s secret?

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 6: Diva

Directed: Jean-Jacques Beineix      

Written: Daniel Odier, Jean-Jacques Beineix, Jean Van Hamme    


Source: Bestfrenchfilms

Visually breathtaking and with a mind-blowing plot, this stylish movie cleverly twists plot-lines revolving around Parisian postman Jules, who’s on the run. Trying to escape from a gang, the mail-carrier shows a cunning playfulness that the audience will 100% appreciate, and even openly applaud!

The labyrinthine plot follows the unlikely friendship between the French postmen and a reclusive diva. An exciting motorbike chase through the Paris subway tunnels is combined with an amazing soundtrack – truly a fun way to spend a few hours of your time.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 7: Les femmes du 6ème étage (The Women on the 6th Floor)

Directed: Philippe Le Guay

Written: Philippe Le Guay, Jerome Tonnerre

Les femmes du 6ème étage

Source: Entetedaffiche

A powerful movie which perfectly encapsulates romance, drama, comedy and… class politics. In 1960’s Paris, a conservative family’s life is almost ruined by two sassy maids from Spain. The everyday life of the Joubert family is turned upside-down when the two poor servants try to show them that life is not only about huge penthouses and bulging wallets. A clever  comedy that packs a real punch!

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 8: La guerre est déclarée (Declaration of War)

Directed: Valérie Donzelli

Written: Valérie Donzelli, Jérémie Elkaïm

La guerre est déclarée

Source: Cinemaparadiso

When their newborn baby is diagnosed with a fatal form of cancer, Romeo and Juliette are not ready to give up. Young mom and dad choose to fight against the  disease, the odds and pessimism itself… Intensively moving, courageous and inspiring, the movie is based on a touching true-life story. Valérie Donzelli, a famous director, her ex-husband, screenwriter and actor Jérémie Elkaïm, and their little son were the inspiration for this touching tear-jerker.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 9:  Les triplettes de Belleville (The Triplets of Belleville)

Directed: Sylvain Chomet

Written: Sylvain Chomet

Les triplettes de Belleville

Source: Wikipedia

Originally named “Les triplettes de Belleville”, “The Triplets of Belleville” is a fantastical adventure suitable for both kids and adults! A surreal story of an old lady raising her grandson. When the boy is kidnapped during the Tour de France, the aged heroine teams up with the all-singing, all-dancing Belleville Sisters’ team, and her loyal pooch Bruno in order to save him.

Made in 2003, “Les triplettes de Belleville” features high-class retro animation and the completely other-worldly voices of Michel Robin, Michèle Caucheteux and Jean-Claude Donda.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 10: La conquête (The Conquest)

Directed: Xavier Durringer  

Written: Patrick Rotman, Xavier Durringer,

La conquête

Source: Themovienetwork

This hilarious film is a satirical allegory of French president Nicolas Sarkozy's path to power. See how Nicolas rose to his victory in the 2007 presidential elections. A highly gifted Denis Podalydès portrays the French president with uncanny accuracy and brilliance.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 11: La planète sauvage (Fantastic Planet)

Directed: René Laloux , Roland Topor

Written: Steve Hayes, René Laloux

La planète sauvage

Source: Monolithcocktail

Quite unlike everything you’ve watched before. The futuristic tale is focused on a cartoon planet ruled by giants. Oppressed and miserable, the humanoids rise up against the oppressive rulers. It must be said though, the hand-drawn animation is decidedly crude. Nonetheless, the artwork by René Laloux and Roland Topor is truly imaginative.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 12: Les émotifs anonymes (Romantics Anonymous)

Directed: Jean-Pierre Améris

Written: Jean-Pierre Améris, Philippe Blasband


Source: Secretsofparis

A cup of sweet cocoa gives you a warm feeling deep inside. The kind of feeling you’ll experience after watching “Romantics Anonymous”.

Watch Angélique, a talented chocolate maker, and her boss - Jean-René---fall in love. A small chocolate factory turns into an oasis for the two highly emotional soul mates. But things are not easy when both lovers are painfully shy. Will fate allow them to live happily ever after, or will the pressure be too much for them? Watch and find out …

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 13: Le gamin au vélo (The Kid with the Bike)

Directed: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Written: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Le gamin au vélo

Source: Artfulintel

I know it is not a French Movie but I'm adding this here  because the Dardennes are darned good directors. Difficult, and sometimes uncomfortable viewing, The Kid with the Bike is a dark, and unsettling adult fairy tale about an 11 year old boy, Thomas Doret, who breaks free from an orphanage to find the father who abandoned him there. While he finds a surrogate mother in the form of kindly hairdresser Cecile De France, he finds himself consumed by his quest to be reunited with his parent.

“Le gamin au vélo” is not a rose-tinted comedy, and is sometimes pretty hard to watch, but impossible to forget indeed.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) orAmazon Instant Video

Day 14: Chasseurs de dragons (Dragon Hunters)

Directed: Guillaume Ivernel, Arthur Qwak

Written: Frédéric Lenoir, Arthur Qwak

Chasseurs de dragons

Source: Moviexclusive

An imaginative, exhilarating and unexpectedly fun adventure from the first second to the last! A brave little girl lends a helping hand to two would-be heroes to save the world from a wild beast. Despite being a low-budget project, this GCI-animated movie impresses with truly stylish backgrounds and impressive animation.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 15: Peau d'âne (Donkey Skin)

Directed: Mag Bodard

Written: Jacques Demy, Charles Perrault


Source: Cdandlp

Demy successfully creates a colorful and amazingly delightful surrealist dream world.  Based on a well-known story the “Peaud'âne”, the film is a pretty bizarre, but, at the same time, enchanting story for grown-ups.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 16: Les vacances de monsieur Hulot (Mr. Hulot's Holiday)

Directed: Jacques Tati

Written: Jacques Tati, Pierre Aubert, Jacques Lagrange, Henri Marquet

Les vacances de monsieur Hulot

 Source: Frenchnewwavemr

As Monsieur Hulot arrives at a seaside hotel for a vacation, his much-loved alter ego somehow causes havoc. This one is a pure cinematic gem that is worth all the money they spend on making any of today’s  comedies. “Les vacances de monsieur Hulot” is a  timeless charming story that should not be missed!

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 17: L'enfant d'en haut (Sister)

Directed: Ursula Meier

Written: Antoine Jaccoud, Ursula Meier

L'enfant d'en haut

Source: Wikipedia

“L'enfant d'en haut” is one of the dramas that immediately gets sous la peau! The movie plot focuses on the dramatic tension of the characters' relationships.

Twelve-year-old Simon lives with his jobless sister beneath a wealthy ski resort. The grim industrial valley is in complete contrast to the luxury mountain high above. Faced with poverty yet fighting against it, thanks to the boy’s skills as a thief, the siblings have an opportunity to survive. In winter, Simon goes to the opulent world of the rich ski resort, yet soon discovers their problems are deeper than they imagined. A tear-inducing, powerful drama about unspoken desperation.

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 18: La Femme de Mon Pote (My BestFriend’s Girl)

Directed: Bertrand Blier

Written: Bertrand Blier, Gérard Brach

La Femme de Mon Pote

Source: Eil

Isabelle Huppert is a gorgeous Parisienne who’s on the lookout for some hot stuff while on her vacation.What is the best place to have some fun when you’re an unattached, attractive lady? The ski slopes of Courchevel!

In the heart of  the Alps she strikes up a love affair with a hunky salesman. But the love story doesn’t end in a typical ‘happily ever after’. At the same time, the woman is hooked by a chubby, insecure, DJ from the local night club. Seems like a perfect plan to have a good time on both sides. But what if the disk jockey and the salesman turn out to be best friends?

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 19: La piscine (The Swimming Pool)

Directed: Jacques Deray

Written: Jean-Claude Carrière, Jacques Deray

La piscine

Source: Whatculture

There is a love story behind the screen. For several years, Romy Schneider and Alain Delon have been one of the most glamorous couples in French movie history. Still, their love affair had long ended when the ex-lovers were re-united as Jean-Paul and Marianne in the beautiful “La Piscine”.

A loving couple enjoying their vacation in Saint-Tropez are faced with the sudden intrusion of Marianne’s boyfriend and his flirtatious daughter Penelope. The twosome quickly turns into an unsettling foursome. The movie plot is concentrated around the swimming pool, which is a magnifique metaphor for all the desires hidden below the surface of human’s soul.

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 20: L'homme qui plantait des arbres (The Man Who Planted Trees)

Directed: Frédéric Back

Written: Jean Giono (story), Jean Roberts

L'homme qui plantait des arbres

Source: Videoenpoche

A simple story, yet one told in an impressive way. It tells the touching story of a shepherd who selflessly cultivates a forest to re-build the ruined ecosystem. The breathtaking animation style will hypnotize you with its sheer magnificence!

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 21: Marius et Jeannette (Marius and Jeannette)

Directed: Robert Guédiguian

Written: Jean-Louis Milesi, Robert Guédiguian

Marius et Jeannette

Source: Moviepostershop

Marius works as a keeper for the deserted cement works in Marseilles. Jeannette is just trying to make ends meet. She works hard to raise her kids. Marius and Jeannette’s relationship is not going to be trouble-free. Besides the material difficulties, both of them have scars left by life’s cruelties. See this well-structured lesson on how to learn to be happy again! 

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 22: Paulette

Directed: Jérôme Enrico

Written: Laurie Aubanel, Jérôme Enrico


Source: Unifrance

Paulette lives all alone in the suburbs of Paris. Receiving a meager pension, the old lady realizes she can’t make ends meet any longer. When fate shows her a new path to follow, Paulette decides to sell...marijuana. After all, why not?

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 23: Un bonheur n'arrive jamais seul (Happiness Never Comes Alone)

Directed:James Huth

Written:  James Huth,  SonjaShillito

Un bonheur n'arrive jamais seul

Source: Moviesreview

There’s a certain chemistry between brilliant stars Sophie Marceau and Gad Elmaleh that makes the couple really easy to watch.

Sacha Keller’s lifestyle is focused only on one night stands with hot chicks. Aside from that, he also has a 'phobia’ of children. But when he meets Charlotte –everything changes! After Sacha and Charlotte have sex, Sacha finds out that his new lady is a mom of three. She also has a jealous ex-husband-to-be who owns the corporation where they all work.

Charlotte and Sacha have nothing in common or… maybe they were meant to be together?

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 24: Les beaux jours (Bright Days Ahead)

Directed:Marion Vernoux

Written: Fanny Chesnel, Marion Vernoux

Les beaux jours

Source: Sparklyprettybriiiight

A touching drama from Marion Vernoux covers two major themes usually not often combined in the movies – retirement and adultery. The dentist Caroline is now free from her job. She attends computer classes. She also has a crush on her younger tutor. But when her husband  reveals the secret, her quiet retirement becomes complicated!

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 25: Et Dieu créa la femme (And God Created Woman)

Directed: Roger Vadim

Written: Roger Vadim, Raoul Lévy 

Et Dieucréa la femme

Source: Qobuz

And the devil created Brigitte Bardot, as some of the French-cinema-fans tend to say. In sunny and luxury Saint-Tropez, a young and sweet sexpot falls for one brother but gets married to the other. And that’s when life starts getting complicated!

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

 Day 26: Les garçons et Guillaume, à table! (Me, Myself and Mom)

Directed: Guillaume Gallienne

Written: Guillaume Gallienne

Les garçons et Guillaume, à table!

Source: Institutfrancais

How to become a real man if everyone around you has other  plans? This is the kind of challenge young Guillaume has faced with.  A sly comedy about gender roles and expectation, with Guilliame Galliene bravely taking a duel role of ‘himself’ and his mother.

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 27: La grande vadrouille (Don't Look Now - We're Being Shot at)

Directed: Gérard Oury

Written: Gérard Oury, Danièle Thompson

La grande vadrouille

Source: Frenchgirlinseattle

One more Louis de Funès classic éternelle! An amazing example of  French-English collaboration. The story is about a RAF Bomber who is shot down by the Germans, causing the allies to parachute into France. With the help of kind-hearted Frenchmen, they try to cross to the south of France which is still unoccupied by German troops. Sounds like a pretty harsh war action. But when there’s forever young Louis de Funès, you be laughing your heart out.

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 28: Les ripoux (My New Partner)

Directed: Claude Zidi

Written: Didier Kaminka, Simon Michaël

Les ripoux

Source: Dvd-bluray-reviews

This drama-comedy about cops was a big hit when it was released. In a similar vein with Hollywood cop dramas like 48 Hours and Lethal Weapon, this movie features two mismatched policemen. René, who’s built his career on racketeering and bribes, and his naïve and honest partner François. Eventually, poor François becomes hopelessly embroiled in René’s dirty schemes. Eventually, the young and innocent François comes up with an idea to swipe enough money for them both to have an easy retirement. 

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 29: 99 francs

Directed: Jan Kounen

Written: Nicolas & Bruno, Jan Kounen

99 francs

Source: Nudeandgrey

Creative ad genius Parango Octave’s life takes a dramatic turn when his beloved Sophie ditches him. His career turns haywire when his new ad project goes kaput. Surprisingly, the wealthy and cynical drug addict begins to rebel and boycott the system. 

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

Day 30: Hors de prix (Priceless)

Directed:    Pierre Salvadori

Written: Pierre Salvadori, Benoît Graffin


Source: Aflahore

A charming thirty-something, Irène, never had much trouble when it comes to choosing between money and love. Going after males with hefty wallets, she coasts through life in a comfortable, utterly spoilt manner. However, the shallow life of a sex-and-status lady comes to an end when she’s wooed by a mere....bartender. Ha! And here goes fate, playing her most unexpected trick!

After all, love is the only thing that is truly priceless, right? 

Available on Netflix: No (DVD only) or Amazon Instant Video

Day 31: La moutarde me monte au nez (Lucky Pierre)

Directed: Claude Zidi

Written: Michel Fabre, Pierre Richard

La moutarde me monte au nez

Source: Pariscine

Meet Pierre, a rumpled-looking dude who often gets overlooked by ladies at the school where he works as a teacher. However, when Pierre hooks up with a movie star, he receives more attention than he could dream of! The media world is entranced. His dad disapproves of the affair. The school girls stick to him like bees to honey.

Available on Netflix: No or Amazon Instant Video

What do you think of this month's movies?

Once you are done watching any, or all, of the movie selection we have compiled for you this month, let us know what you think in the comments section.

And of course, don't forget your FREE e-book. Get it by clicking the image below.

365 days of frenchmovies

About the author 

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Instagram

  • Thanks for this great list. You may want to add “la vie est un long fleuve tranquille” , as mentionned above, and “delicatessen”.

  • Mortelle randonnée ! Claude Miller. 1983.
    Missing one of Francis Veber’s film (anyone you’dlike)
    Sadly missing Godard and Lelouch, Instead of “Priceless” “Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain” is better in my opinion…
    Thx for this choice… 🙂

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