The 19 Best Drama Movies of 2024 (So Far)

It's going to be another year of powerhouse female performances.

still from challengers, one of the best drama movies of 2024
(Image credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)

2023 was an excellent year for movie buffs, from the communal celebration that was Barbenheimer, to the dozens of acclaimed drama films that will be commemorated this awards season. Though 2024 just started, it already seems primed to continue the streak of excellent films, with highly-anticipated dramas finally making its debut after industry delays. Plus, with each new report about upcoming films from superstars including Zendaya, Anne Hathaway, Lady Gaga, Daisy Ridley, and Regina King, it's becoming clear: this will be the year of epic female performances. Read on for the drama films that need to be on your list this year.

'Good Grief'

Himesh Patel and Daniel Levy in Good Grief

(Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

Releases: January 5, 2024

Starring: Daniel Levy, Ruth Negga, Himesh Patel, Celia Imrie, Arnaud Valois, and Luke Evans.

For his directorial debut, Schitt's Creek star Levy plays Marc, a man who's facing the one-year anniversary of the night he lost his husband Oliver (Evans) in a devastating accident. Per the film's description, Marc and his two best friends Sophie (Ruth Negga) and Thomas (Himesh Patel) decide to go on a "soul-searching trip to Paris that reveals some hard truths they each needed to face."

TrailerHERE

'Origin'

still from origin

(Image credit: Neon)

Releases: January 19, 2024

Starring: Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Jon Bernthal, Niecy Nash-Betts, Emily Yancy, Finn Wittrock, Victoria Pedretti, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Isha Carlos Blaaker, Vera Farmiga, Audra Mcdonald, Connie Nielsen, Blair Underwood, Nick Offerman, and Myles Frost.

Ava DuVernay wrote and directed this fictional movie based on Isabel Wilkerson's 2022 non-fiction book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. The moving drama follows Wilkerson in the wake of several personal tragedies, as she travels the world researching the thesis that will become Caste.

Trailer: HERE

'Sometimes I Think About Dying'

daisy ridley in sometimes i think about dying

(Image credit: Sundance Institute)

Releases: January 26, 2024

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Dave Merheje, Parvesh Cheena, Marcia DeBonis, Meg Stalter, and Brittany O'Grady.

Fran, a socially-awkward office worker in a small coastal town, lives an isolated day-to-day life that's broken up by intrusive fantasies of what it would be like to die. When a new employee shows up in the office and attracts her interest, she wonders if she's really suited for living this way or if there's something else to life that she's been missing.

Trailer: HERE

'How to Have Sex'

mia mckenna-bruce in how to have sex

(Image credit: Film4)

Releases: February 2, 2024

Starring: Mia McKenna-Bruce, Lara Peake, Samuel Bottomley, Shaun Thomas, Enva Lewis, and Laura Ambler.

Molly Manning Walker's directorial debut follows 16-year-old besties Tara (McKenna-Bruce), Skye (Peake), and Em (Lewis) as they go on a rite-of-passage holiday for what should be the best summer of their lives. In the middle of it all, Tara (the only virgin of the three) feels pressured to keep up with her more experienced friends.

Trailer: HERE

'The Promised Land'

still from the promised land

(Image credit: Henrik Ohsten, Zentropa / Magnolia Pictures)

Releases: February 2, 2024

Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Amanda Collin, and Simon Bennebjerg.

This Danish-historical drama stars Mikkelsen as a retired military captain who seeks to conquer the uninhabitable Danish heath in the name of the King. All that stands in his way is the merciless local ruler (Bennebjerg) who believes the land belongs to him. The two men become locked in a ruthless battle of revenge, in this 18th century tale.

Trailer: HERE

'Bob Marley: One Love'

kingsley ben-adair as bob marley

(Image credit: CHIABELLA JAMES/PARAMOUNT PICTURES)

Releases: February 14, 2024

Starring: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Lashana Lynch, and James Norton.

Barbie star (and former Ken) Ben-Adir portrays the musical legend in this biopic, which covers Marley's life and celebrates his revolutionary music. (The icon's children Ziggy and Cedella and widow Rita Marley served as producers.)

Trailer: HERE

'Spaceman'

adam sandler in spaceman

(Image credit: Netflix)

Releases: March 1, 2024

Starring: Adam Sandler, Carey Mulligan, and Paul Dano.

This Netflix drama follows an astronaut (Sandler) six months into a solo mission to the edge of the solar system, who "realizes that the marriage he left behind might not be waiting for him when he returns to Earth," per the film's description. "Desperate to fix things with his wife (Mulligan), he is helped by a mysterious ancient creature (voiced by Dano) he finds hiding in the bowels of his ship."

Trailer: HERE

'Shirley'

a woman (regina king as shirley chisolm) waves in front of a group of microphones

(Image credit: Glen Wilson/Netflix)

Releases: March 22, 2024

Starring: Regina King, Lance Reddick, Terrence Howard, Lucas Hedges, Michael Cherrie, Brian Stokes Mitchell, André Holland, and Christina Jackson.

King will make her welcome return to the big screen in John Ridley's biopic of Shirley Chisolm, the first Black female congressperson in the United States and the first Black woman to run for president. The film will focus on Chisolm's groundbreaking presidential campaign, with the help of exclusive behind-the-scenes details provided by the politician's estate, per Netflix.

Trailer: HERE

'Housekeeping for Beginners'

housekeeping for beginners

(Image credit: VIKTOR IRVIN IVANOV/FOCUS FEATURES LLC)

Releases: April 5, 2024

Starring: Anamaria Marinca, Alina Serban, Samson Selim, Vladimir Tintor, Mia Mustafi, and Dżada Selim.

This loving dramedy follows an unconventional family living in North Macedonia. Social worker Dita (Marinca) never wanted to be a mother, but circumstances force her to raise her partner Sauda's (Serban) rebellious daughters Mia (Selim) and Vanesa (Mustafa). "As their individual wills clash, a heartwarming story unfolds about an unlikely family's struggle to stay together," per the film's description.

Trailer: HERE

'Challengers'

still from challengers

(Image credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)

Releases: April 26, 2024

Starring: Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O'Connor.

Zendaya plays Tashi, a former tennis prodigy turned coach for her husband Art (Faist), in this dramedy from Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino. After Art ends up on a losing streak, he is forced to play against his childhood best friend and Tashi’s ex-boyfriend (O’Connor), rekindling a tense love triangle.

Trailer: HERE

'Back to Black'

marisa abela as amy winehouse

(Image credit: Courtesy of Focus Features)

Releases: May 10, 2024

Starring: Marisa Abela, Jack O'Connell, Eddie Marsan, Juliet Cowan, and Lesley Manville.

Industry star Abela will play Winehouse in this biopic about the "Rehab" singer's early career as a North London jazz musician and her intense rise to fame throughout the 2000s.

Trailer: HERE

'The Bikeriders'

austin butler in the bikeriders

(Image credit: ©20th Century Studios/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Releases: June 21, 2024

Starring: Austin Butler, Jodie Comer, and Tom Hardy.

This crime drama follows the rise and fall of a midwestern motorcycle club, the Vandals MC, over the course of a decade, as it "evolves from a gathering place for local outsiders into a more sinister gang, threatening the original group's way of life," per the film's description. The saga's shown through the eyes of the long-suffering wife (Comer) of one of the members (Butler), who embodies the club's original ethos.

Trailer: HERE

'Flint Strong'

Ryan Destiny at the 2023 Tribeca Festival

(Image credit: Jason Mendez/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival)

Releases: August 9, 2024

Starring: Ryan Destiny, Oluniké Adeliyi, and Brian Tyree Henry.

This sports drama based on the real-life boxer Claressa "T-Rex" Shields boasts an impressive filmmaking team, with Moonlight's Barry Jenkins serving as screenwriter and Black Panther cinematographer Rachel Morrison making her directorial debut. Destiny will portray Shields, a Flint, Michigan, native who at 2012 London Olympics made history as the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing.

Trailer: TBA

'Joker: Folie à Deux'

still from joker folie a deux

(Image credit: DC, Warner Bros.)

Releases: October 4, 2024

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Lady Gaga, Zazie Beetz, Brendan Gleeson, Catherine Keener, Jacob Lofland, and Harry Lawtey.

The sequel to Todd Phillip's harrowing 2019 movie will introduce another legendary baddie, as Gaga steps into the role of Harley Quinn. If Gaga isn't enough, Folie à Deux will also be a musical?! This trailer cannot come out fast enough.

Trailer: TBA

'Karate Kid'

ralph macchio and jackie chan

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Releases: December 13, 2024

Starring: Ben Wang, Jackie Chan, and Ralph Macchio.

The Karate Kid is the latest childhood classic to get a 2020s reboot, with both Macchio and Chan set to reprise their roles from the 1984 martial arts movie and the 2010 remake, respectively. All other details are in the works, though the film has found its new Karate Kid in American Born Chinese star Wang, per Variety.

Trailer: TBA

'Mufasa: The Lion King'

still from the lion king 2019

(Image credit: Walt Disney Studios)

Releases: December 20, 2024

Starring: Aaron Pierre, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, and John Kani. 

Disney's live-action (a.k.a mostly computer-generated) Lion King is getting a prequel film, directed by Oscar winner Barry Jenkins. The story of young Mufasa (Pierre) and young Scar (Harrison) will be narrated by Rafiki, as he tells Kiara—daughter of Simba and Nala—the story of her grandfather. (Of course, with Timon and Pumbaa offering color commentary.)

Trailer: TBA

'Kinds of Kindness'

Emma Stone at the 81st Golden Globe Awards

(Image credit: Gilbert Flores/Golden Globes 2024/Golden Globes 2024 via Getty Images)

Releases: TBA

Starring: Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Joe Alwyn, Jesse Plemons, Hong Chau, and Hunter Schafer.

Poor Things director Yorgos Lanthimos has already filmed his follow up to his awards season hit. Plot details are under wraps, but his third collaboration with Emma Stone is already on my must-watch list.

Trailer: TBA

'Mother Mary'

Anne Hathaway at Cannes

(Image credit: Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)

Releases: TBA

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Michaela Coel, Hunter Schafer, Kaia Gerber, Jessica Brown-Findlay, and Sian Clifford.

An A24 "epic pop melodrama" about a fictional musician (Hathaway) and her relationship with an iconic fashion designer (Coel), featuring original music by Jack Antonoff and Charli XCX. Inject it into my veins!

Trailer: TBA

'The Piano Lesson'

John David Washington and Denzel Washington backstage at The Piano Lesson

(Image credit: Bruce Glikas/WireImage)

Releases: TBA

Starring: John David Washington, Danielle Deadwyler, Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Fisher, Corey Hawkins, and Michael Potts.

After the success 2021's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, it seems Netflix and Denzel Washington are committed to bringing every play from August Wilson's Century Cycle to the big screen. For The Piano Lesson, Washington's son John David and Till star Deadwyler will play two siblings battling over whether to sell or keep their family’s precious heirloom of a piano.

Trailer: TBA

Quinci LeGardye
Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci LeGardye is a Contributing Culture Editor who covers TV, movies, Korean entertainment, books, and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.