70 Movies You Have to Watch by the Time You're 30

You better hop to it.

Whether you fancy romance, comedy, drama—or any hyphenate in-between—there are certain films that are undeniable must-sees. Some are important because they make you uncomfortable (but have plenty of teachable moments), others entertain, but above all, this particular set will make you think. And thinking is what you're supposed to do as a real-life adult, no? This list may be long, but FOMO is eternal.

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STXFilms
Molly's Game (2017)

WATCH

The unbelievably talented Jessica Chastain plays Molly Bloom, the 26-year-old Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target. The American crime drama is equally chilling as it is fascinating.

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Universal Pictures
Lady Bird (2017)

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Greta Gerwig's film has landed multiple Oscar nominations, and for good reason. Any teen growing up in suburbia can relate to this coming-of-age film (especially those who went to Catholic school). Viewers often find it similar to the 2002 comedy/drama Real Women Have Curves.

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Warner Bros.
Wonder Woman (2017)

WATCH

Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is the ultimate superhero as she fights alongside men in war while discovering her true power and potential. Despite its Oscars snub, Wonder Woman gives girls everywhere the affirmation they need that women are just as powerful as their male counterparts.

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Fox Searchlight
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

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Three Billboards speaks the hard cold truth of rape, murder, and racism in the South. After months of searching for the culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) makes a bold move painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at the town's chief of police. The film is nominated for multiple Oscars as well.

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Summit Entertainment
La La Land (2016)

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Heartbreak, joy, and love is the epitome of this 2016 drama/romance starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. You'll want to immediately download the soundtrack and call the one who got away. No matter who you are or what you've experienced, the ending will have you experiencing *all* the feels.

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Walt Disney
The Parent Trap (1998)

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A classic and super relatable movie if you've ever attended sleepaway camp (or you know, have a twin you didn't know about then make a plan to reunite your divorce parents then live happily ever after). Prepare to get all the feels watching Lindsay Lohan in her glory days playing both (yes, both) Hallie and Annie Parker alongside Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson. #DreamFamily

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MGM
Legally Blonde (2001)

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Heard of the bend and snap? If you can believe this movie came into our lives 17 years ago, it's time to give it a watch if you haven't already—simply to witness the evolution of Reese Witherspoon and her incredible acting. What, like it's hard?

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Walt Disney
You've Got Mail (1998)

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The MarieClaire.com team is *very* passionate about this movie, and for good reason. Starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, the 1998 drama/romance tells the story of two neighborhood bookstore rivals who absolutely hate each other in real life, then fall in love online, and well...we won't spoil the rest for you. (The good ol' AOL days.)

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Getty Images
Forrest Gump (1994)

If we had a penny for every time somebody raved about this movie, we would be *very* rich. Gump takes us through his life, which will have you continuously alternating between laughing, crying, and smiling. A must-see that will continue to make its way to people's screens for years to come.

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Getty Images
The Sound of Music (1965)

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Julie Andrews plays an Austrian nun during World War II in the Academy Award-winning film. When she comes to the villa of retired naval officer Captain Georg von Trapp to be governess to his seven children, she begins to realize how much the family means to her. The latter part of the movie has an unexpected twist and displays the unfathomable truth of what it was like living through Nazi Germany.

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Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Get Out (2017)

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It's not often that a movie so perfectly taps into the spirit of the times, but in a year where Trump's presidency has sparked tense discussions about police brutality, race, and false liberalism, this was the breakout movie that did the job—in the horror genre, no less. Director Jordan Peele turns the typical horror script on its head with this blend of cultural criticism and horror tropes.

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Courtesy of A24 Films
Moonlight (2016)

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Yes, you've heard all the buzz about this movie. But if you haven't seen it yet, make room in your schedule. Moonlight is a beautifully filmed coming-of-age story of a gay black boy growing up in a housing project in Miami. The many-layered film sheds light on aspects of black identity that are rarely spotlighted on film and was a truly watershed moment at the Oscars.

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Everett
Spotlight (2015)

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This riveting newsroom drama, based on real events, follows the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Spotlight" team as they investigate cases of sexual abuse by the Catholic church in the Boston area. Expert performances from the well-rounded cast (including Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams) plus an examination of the career-defining journalism undertaken here make this a must-see.

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Courtesy of A24 Films
Obvious Child (2014)

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This hilarious romantic comedy spins laughs out of an unconventional feminist narrative about a woman getting an abortion. Jenny Slate plays a hapless twenty-something comedian who falls pregnant after she meets a nice guy in a bar. The story is compelling for its honesty and how it makes room for female characters to be unabashedly bawdy and comfortable in their own skin.

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Everett
Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)

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Though its direction was very controversial, this French film redefined the modern love story with an examination of all the beauty and pain of falling in and out of love. The impeccable acting from ingenues Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux put them on the international map, and their emotional performances are well worth the watch.

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YouTube
Her (2013)

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Save this for a day when you're not feeling a case of the sads, because it may make you a little blue. Spike Jonze's Her imagines a not-so-distant future where high waisted pants are still a happening trend and where one lonely man falls in love with his Siri-esque operating system.

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YouTube
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

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J.Laaaaaw. What looks from the outset like a typical rom-com delves deeper into the motions of mental illness, as a bipolar man tries to reconnect with his estranged wife following his release from a psychiatric ward. He meets a recently widowed woman (Jennifer Lawrence) with her own problems, who convinces him to join a dance competition with her to help him win his wife back.

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YouTube
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

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If you've ever wondered what #RelationshipGoals look like, check out Wes Anderson's sepia-tinted childhood love story that's full of charm (pastel colored record players and knee high socks abound) and an all-around outstanding cast that features Tilda Swinton and a very off-brand Edward Norton.

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YouTube
Frances Ha (2012)

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Every millennial needs to see this heartwarming film about a girl finding her way in New York, getting her sh*t together, living month-to-month (Okay, I see you), and learning to be self-sufficient. All the laughs, all the feels, Greta Gerwig at her best, and it's all filmed in black-and-white.

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YouTube
The Artist (2011)

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The grasshopper becomes the master in this modern silent film which sees a famous actor eclipsed by the beautiful protege he loves.

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Paramount Pictures
Mean Girls (2004)

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No movie has ever spoofed high school culture as brilliantly as Mean Girls, whose hilarious script by Tina Fey has become iconic, bringing the phrases "so fetch," "I know, right?" and "cool mom" into our modern language. It lives on in countless memes and GIFs, even though the movie's more than 10 years old at this point.

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GETTY
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)

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One of the smartest love stories ever written (it won best screenplay at the Oscars that year) captures a couple who both undergo a treatment to erase each other from their memories following a breakup. The dream, right? Not so, as they revisit their life together in woozy flashbacks and realize that they're not ready to let go just yet.

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YouTube
Lost in Translation (2003)

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The film that gave us all acute wanderlust for Japan sees an unexpected friendship blossom between a movie star played by Bill Murray and a young and lonely wife (Scarlett Johansson) who explore the sprawling city of Tokyo together.

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Everett
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

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The movie trilogy that forever set the standard for how excellent movie adaptations of books can be owes a lot to director Peter Jackson in this stunning rendering of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy epic. "The one ring to rule them all" must be destroyed and it's up to the littlest creatures of Middle Earth, the hobbits, to round out the fellowship that will take the ring deep into the fires of Mount Doom.

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Everett
Amélie (2001)

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This famous modern French flick is a quirky story about a do-gooder woman who wants to set the world around her right with a series of good deeds. The inventive use of color and the creative dialogue made it a super accessible watch for international audiences, who all rooted for Amélie Poulain to find love and happiness for herself, too.

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Getty Images
In the Mood for Love (2000)

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The elaborate costumes, the stunning visuals, and the beautiful art direction are all key features of this art house movie by Chinese director Wong Kar-Wai. And though there's sparse dialogue, sit back and prepare to be enchanted by the slow but captivating scenes of two married neighbors falling in love.

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GETTY
Requiem for a Dream (2000)

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A horror movie in its own right, Requiem for a Dream takes a disturbing dive into the lives of four drug addicts who are reeling from dependency, all set to a chilling soundtrack scored by Clint Mansell (you've probably heard it in many other movie trailers since then).

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GETTY
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

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Volumes could be written about the sheer brilliance of this movie, but if you've never seen it, know that it's one of the best teen movies ever made, from the script to the acting (two words: Heath Ledger *swoons*) to the speech-making and wooing that make this feel like a modern Shakespearean comedy.

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GETTY
American Beauty (1999)

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You may know this movie solely from its iconic plastic bag scene, but the full movie is worth seeing for its satire on middle class ideals of beauty, strength, and success. The film follows House of Cards' Kevin Spacey as he undergoes a midlife crisis and also stars Annette Bening and Thora Burch, as his wife and daughter.

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Everett
The Matrix (1999)

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Even if you don't realize it, many action and virtual reality flicks owe their effects (see the slow motion action scenes) to this iconic '90s film that blurs the lines between dreams and reality. The film is set in dystopian future in which most people's "reality" is really just a simulated world called "The Matrix." One computer hacker named Neo learns the truth of his existence and tries to fight back against the machines who run this alternate universe.

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