The 19 Best Drama Movies of 2019

This year is shaping up to be a great one for film already. Here are some of the best and most-anticipated drama movies coming out in 2019.

Hair, Hairstyle, Fashion, Blond, Human, Lip, Long hair, Photography, Model, Jeans,
Hair, Hairstyle, Fashion, Blond, Human, Lip, Long hair, Photography, Model, Jeans,
(Image credit: Sony Pictures/Global Road Entertainment)

Do you ever feel like there just isn't enough drama in your real life, and you need to turn to the world of entertainment to find some? Probably not, right? But do you ever feel like the drama of your real life is just too real and you need a little dramatic escapism to get you through the day, week, month, or—let's be honest—entire year? Yeah, same. Thankfully, 2019 has a spate of drama movies in the pipeline featuring many of our favorite Hollywood stars, including Anne Hathaway, Keira Knightly, and Taraji P. Henson. These are the top 10 most-anticipated drama films coming out in 2019, here to distract you from the too-real drama of, you know, life.

1. 'Serenity'

Release date: January 25

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane, Jason Clarke, Djimon Hounsou, and Jeremy Strong

Originally slated for last fall, this star-studded "sexy-noir" flick will finally hit theaters later this month. The gist: A fishing boat captain is approached by his ex-wife to murder her current husband. Words we would use to describe it: twisty, mysterious, thrilling. 

2. 'Miss Bala'

Release date: February 1

Starring: Gina Rodriguez, Ismael Cruz Córdova, and Anthony Mackie

An LA makeup artist (Rodriguez) is kidnapped in Tijuana and forced to smuggle money for a drug cartel. But maybe she's also a mole for the DEA? Watch and find out.

3. 'Fighting With My Family'

Release date: February 14

Starring: Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn, and Dwayne Johnson

This movie has a little of everything—drama, comedy, real-life inspo. It's based on 2012's documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family, and tells the life story of WWE professional wrestler Paige. 

4. 'The Aftermath'

Release date: March 15

Starring: Keira Knightley, Alexander Skarsgård, and Jason Clarke

Keira Knightley in a gut-wrenching costume drama? Yes. Please.

5. 'Five Feet Apart'

Release date: March 22

Starring: Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse

This is 2019's addition to the "sick teens fall in love" drama subgenre and it's pretty much guaranteed to make us all sob so many tears.

6. 'The Best of Enemies'

Release date: April 5

Starring: Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell

The true story of what happened when a a Civil Rights activist and a Ku Klux Klan leader co-chaired a committee on desegregation in 1971 Durham, North Carolina, brought to life by two of the most talented actors of our time.

7. 'After'

Release date: April 12

Starring: Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes-Tiffin

Started as One Direction fan fiction, this movie version of the Wattpad sensation stars Josephine Langford (sister of Katherine, of 13 Reasons Why fame) as Tessa, whose life is changed after she hooks up with a cute boy name Harry Hardin. Think of it as Forever by Jude Blume, reimagined for Gen Z.

8. 'Tolkien'

Release date: May 10

Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Colm Meaney, and Derek Jacobi.

This biopic tells the life story of fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien (pronounced, according to the film, as Tolk-een not Tolk-in, for what it's worth). If you're a fan of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, this movie offers insight into the real life events that served as inspiration for the classic fantasy tales. 

9. 'The Professor and the Madman'

Release date: May 10

Starring: Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, Natalie Dormer, Eddie Marsan, Jennifer Ehle, Jeremy Irvine, David O'Hara, Ioan Gruffudd, Stephen Dillane, and Steve Coogan.

Another biographical drama, The Professor and the Madman tells the story of famous professor Sir James Murray, the man who oversaw the compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary in the 1850s and W. C. Minor, a doctor who submitted more than 10,000 entries for the dictionary—all while undergoing treatment at Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum.

10. 'The Third Wife'

Release date: May 15

Starring: Le Vu Long, Tran Nu Yen Khe, Mai Thu Huong Maya, Nguyen Phuong Tra My, and Nguyen Nhu Quynh

The Third Wife tells the story of May, a 14-year-old girl in 19th century Vietnam who must marry a wealthy landowner and finds herself quickly balancing her relationships with his other wives, impending motherhood, and revelations about her own sexuality.

11. 'Rocketman'

Release date: May 31

Starring: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Steven Mackintosh

It's Elton John's life story, dramatized and committed to film. Already tearing up thinking about any Princess Diana scenes.

12. 'The Lion King'

Release date: July 19

Starring: Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and James Earl Jones

Yes, it's a Disney movie. Yes, it's animated. But The Lion King is based on Hamlet, so the drama runs HIGH. 

13. 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

Release date: July 26

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie

This movie is Quentin Tarantino's take on the Charles Manson murders, so prepare for a lot of violence, blood, gore, and profanity.

14. 'Hustlers'

Release date: September 13

Starring: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart ,Lizzo, and Cardi B

Based on the true story of a group of strippers who turned to conning their clients during the financial crisis, Hustlers is one of the funniest, most heartfelt, and, yes, most dramatic movies of the year. 

15. 'Downton Abbey'

Release Date: September 20

Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, and Penelope Wilton

This one is pretty self-explanatory. It's a follow up to the hit BBC drama of the same name. The movie will be set in 1927 and focus on a visit to Downton Abbey by King George V and Queen Mary.

16. 'Ad Astra'

Release date: September 20

Starring: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler, and Donald Sutherland

An astronaut goes searching for his father who disappeared during a trip into space 30 years earlier.

17. 'Joker'

Release date: October 4

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix

This controversial origin story of the iconic DC villain is said to humanize the character in a way that honestly didn't seem possible.

18. 'The Irishman'

Release date: November 1

Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci

Organized crime? Check. Martin Scorsese? Check. A cast that screams gritty drama? Check.

19. 'Little Women'

Release date: December 25

Starring: Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, James Norton, Laura Dern, Emma Watson, Louis Garrel, Bob Odenkirk, Chris Cooper, and Abby Quinn

Greta Gerwig's Little Women adaptation is as anticipated as it is full of A-list talent, which is to say: VERY.


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Weekend Editor at Cosmopolitan

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with over 10 years of professional experience covering entertainment of all genres, from new movie and TV releases to nostalgia, and celebrity news. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.