Indie Fresh List

The Indie Fresh List: A Classic Romance, a Modern One, and a Killer Mystery

Check out the latest Fresh indie releases, including what's still in theaters and what's coming soon.

by | February 19, 2020 | Comments


Join us weekly as Rotten Tomatoes reports on what’s opening, expanding, and coming to the specialty box office. From promising releases from new voices to experimental efforts from storied filmmakers – or perhaps the next indie darling to go the distance for end-of-year accolades – we will break it all down for you here each week in Fresh Indie Finds. 

This week at the specialty box office, we have a Jane Austen adaptation, a romantic drama, and a Stephen King-styled horror thriller. In our Spotlight Section, we stay with last week’s cinematic romance, which returned to theaters, and this week in Indie Trailers, we have new clips from Wes Anderson, Danny Trejo, and James Norton.

Opening This Weekend

EMMA. (2020) 86%

Emma, Jane Austen’s classic novel about a privileged heiress who takes it upon herself to play matchmaker, is headed back to the theaters, this time lead by Split star Anya Taylor-Joy. A colorful and comedic take on the beloved novel, Autumn de Wilde’s new version is more akin to Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette than the traditionally reserved Austen adaptations. Taylor-Joy shines as our heroine alongside a stellar cast that includes Bill NighyJohnny Flynn, and The Crown star Josh O’Connor. “A great cast of young British talent, jaw-droppingly stunning costumes and an enjoyable interplay of music and comedy – this is a land that you will want to escape to, again and again,” writes Fiona Underhill of JumpCut Online.

Playing Select Theaters.

Premature (2019) 93%


Rashaad Ernesto Green heads back to theaters this week with Premature, his sophomore effort, a poet love story about a teen falling desperately in love with a music producer. In her last summer in Harlem before heading to an out-of-state college, high schooler Ayanna begins a reluctant love affair with the handsome musician Isaiah, who quickly prompts her to re-evaluate her plans. Chronicled by the poetry she writes (the film was  co-written by poet and lead Zora Howard) during the narrative, each step of their relationship treats the audience to vivid descriptions of her desire, heartbreak, and despair. Lauren Humphries-Brooks of Citizen Dame calls Premature “an intense and lyrical film, as much in love with the images of Harlem as it is with the music that Isaiah produces and the poetry Ayanna writes.”
Playing New York and Los Angeles, expanding to more screens on February 21.

True Fiction (2019) 91%

Braden Croft, who impressed horror fans with his 2012 debut Hemorrhage, returns this week with a tense new horror mystery. The film centers on a young writer who is hired to assist her favorite horror author but soon discovers that she is unknowingly participating in a terrifying psychological experiment. Critics have praised Croft’s subtle homage to suspense masters like Stanley Kubrick and Stephen King. “The tense interplay of writer and Muse offers constant reflexive commentary on the way in which horror is at its most effective when it gaslights, manipulates and misdirects before revealing its true face,” writes Anton Bitel of Sight and Sound.

Playing New York and Los Angeles, expanding to more screens on February 21.

Fresh and Still in Theaters

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) 97%

Spotlight Pick
Valentine’s Day weekend was a winner for distributor NEON, as Portrait of a Lady on Fire raked in $2 million at the specialty box office. Sidelined from many awards contests by the arcane rules governing International features, Céline Sciamma‘s brilliant and haunting love story about a painter and her muse will finally hit theaters for its official run, in case you missed its one-week limited release last December. Starring Noémie Merlant as artist Marianne and Adèle Haenel as her reluctant subject, writer-director Sciamma’s period drama is a cinematic wonder and a Cannes Film Festival prize winner that Katie Walsh of the Tribune News Service called “not just a film about love between women, but a rumination on the sacredness of a feminine space and the nature of art created by and for women.

Playing Select Theaters.

Along with…

  • And Then We Danced (2019) , about two male dancers who compete against each other and fall in love in repressive Romania.
  • Buffaloed (2019) , following a woman desperate to escape her life in Buffalo who becomes a debt collector.
  • Weathering With You (2019) , a new anime tale about a Japanese boy living in a remote village who leaves home to travel to Tokyo and find himself.
  • Come as You Are (2019) , a road comedy about a trio of disabled men travel to a brothel that caters exclusively to people with disabilities.
  • Les misérables (2019) , about a Paris riot that breaks out suddenly and pits the local cast of characters against the police.
  • Clemency (2019) , about a prison warden grappling with the morality of her profession after years of presiding over death row executions.
  • Pain and Glory (2019) , a drama about an aging director who reflects on his films, collaborators, and legacy after he’s sidelined by severe back pain.
  • Ordinary Love (2019) , about a long-term couple remembers to appreciate their love for one another when the wife is diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Jojo Rabbit (2019) , a satire about a naive Hitler youth who discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl during World War II.
  • Color Out of Space (2019) , a psychedelic horror film about an eerie meteorite that falls in a family’s back yard and wreaks havoc.
  • The Lodge (2019) , a thriller about a woman who is left to care for her boyfriend’s kids at their wintry cabin when unseen forces descend upon them.
  • Come to Daddy (2019) , a horror-comedy about a man whose estranged father invites him to reconnect at a remote coastal cabin.

New Indie Trailers

Final Kill (2020)  

A heavy for hire has a sudden crisis of conscience that prompts a host of mercenaries to go after him in this new clip from Final Kill, starring Billy Zane and Danny Trejo.

The French Dispatch (2021) 75% 

The Royal Tenenbaums director Wes Anderson returns with his latest star-studded cinematic tale, which centers on a fabled newspaper that bares a striking resemblance to the early days of The New Yorker magazine. 

Mr. Jones (2019) 86% 

McMafia’s James Norton leads this historical spy thriller about the man who first broke the story about the Russian famine in the 1930s.

Thumbnail images by Focus Features, IFC Films, 775 Media Corp.