Elizabeth Olsen’s characters face challenges even when they aren’t contending with a fragmented multiverse. Dakota Fanning, Aubrey Plaza, and Jessica Lange have all appeared alongside her on screen. This isn’t to say that her male co-stars, many of whom have been plucked from the MCU, aren’t familiar. Olsen has created a reputation for herself by never sticking to one genre, directing everything from a slice of life indie to a Netflix dramedy to a neo-western. Here are nine of her best flicks that aren’t part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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1. Silent House (2011)
Director- Chris Kentis, Laura Lau
Sarah is packing up her lakeside getaway with her father in preparation for the sale. Her uncle also contributes to the preparation of the venue. Sara hears noises and sees what she believes are strangers inside the house while her uncle is out getting an electrician to examine the wiring. Soon after, she and her father are ambushed by someone – or something – and find themselves in a life-or-death struggle. But something ominous is afoot.
2. Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)
Director- Sean Durkin
After years of living with a cult, Martha finally breaks out and seeks help from her estranged sister, Lucy. Martha arrives in Lucy’s calm Connecticut house with her new husband, Ted, but the memories of her time in the cult make finding serenity difficult. Martha can’t ignore the feeling of dread she has about the cult’s manipulative leader as the flashbacks continue to torture her.
3. Very Good Girls (2013)
Director- Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal
Lilly and Gerri, two best friends, get the chance to shed their good girl personas during the summer before college. Both of them desire to lose their virginity and discover a different part of themselves. However, their gloomy and varied family circumstances, as well as the introduction of a terrible boy, threaten to shatter their friendship, preventing the two girls from having the pleasant coming-of-age summer they had envisioned.
4. In Secret (2013)
Director- Charlie Stratton
Set in the lower strata of 1860s Paris, Therese Raquin, a sexually inhibited attractive young woman, is forced by her dominating aunt, Madame Raquin, into a loveless marriage to her ailing cousin, Camille. Therese works behind the counter of a small business during the day and spends her evenings watching Madame play dominoes with an eclectic bunch. She starts on an illicit romance after meeting her husband’s alluring friend, Laurent, which ends tragically.
5. I Saw The Light (2015)
Director- Marc Abraham
Audrey Mae Sheppard has a strained relationship with country musician Hank Williams. Williams rose to prominence in the 1940s, but he died before reaching the age of thirty. Olsen, on the other hand, sings off-key. Audrey Mae had to put up with Hank’s drunkenness and continual adultery, as well as her own desires to be a well-known singer, thanks to her southern twang and feisty manner. This is despite her lacklustre singing abilities.
6. Oldboy (2013)
Director- Spike Lee
Joe Doucett, an impolite, alcohol-dependent advertising executive, gets locked up for no apparent reason on a rainy night in 1993. Joe has spent the previous two decades of his life confined in a filthy hotel room, attempting to figure out why he was kidnapped, until his sadistic unknown captor chooses to release him. With a new set of combat skills, cash in his pockets to get back on his feet, and serious claims levelled against him, a befuddled Doucett sets off on a desperate hunt for answers, hoping to uncover the truth in the process. Joe begins to comprehend what it’s like to lose everything with each little puzzle he solves.
6. Wind River (2017)
Director- Taylor Sheridan
Cory Lambert, a seasoned game tracker, discovers the frozen body of Natalie, a young Native American, east of Boulder Flats, deep into the vast and forbidding white land of the Wind River Indian Reservation. Because this is a federal crime, the FBI sends inexperienced but brave agent Jane Banner to oversee the investigation; however, the unprepared outsider will soon partner up with Cory to solve Natalie’s murder mystery. Cory will have to confront his own past sooner or later, and both he and Jane are desperate for justice to be served.
7. Ingrid Goes West (2017)
Director- Matt Spicer
Ingrid Thorburn is a psychotic stalker who has a habit of mistaking “likes” for serious relationships. Taylor Sloane is an Instagram “influencer” whose impeccably manicured boho-chic lifestyle has become Ingrid’s new passion. When Ingrid moves to LA and tries to infiltrate the social media star’s life, their friendship swiftly devolves into a #WTF situation.
8. Kodachrome (2017)
Director- Mark Raso
When Matt’s estrange father’s nurse shows up in his workplace unexpectedly, his world is gets upside down. Matt’s father, a notorious bad-boy photojournalist, is dying of cancer, and his last desire is for Matt to accompany him on a road trip from New York to Kansas . In order to develop his final rolls of Kodachrome film before the last lab closes and he lose all those treasure moments forever.
9. Liberal Arts
Director- Josh Radnor
Jesse Fisher, a 35-year-old admissions officer at a New York City post-secondary institution who enjoys English and literature, has recently lost his zest for life, which includes being unceremoniously left by his most recent partner, who may no longer be able to support him emotionally. When he is invited to the retirement luncheon of his second-favorite Ohio University college professor, Peter Hoberg, he gets a chance to rediscover that passion, as his time there was when his life was most passionate. Jesse’s interactions with five people there could influence whether or not he rediscovers his passion.
They are Hoberg, who is resisting retirement; Judith Fairfield, Jesse’s favourite professor for a different reason than Hoberg; Nat, a free spirit who navigates life at the institution on his own terms; undergraduate student Dean, whom Jesse sees as a younger, more destructive version of himself; and nineteen-year-old undergraduate student Zibby, with whom Jesse embarks on a relationship despite his reservations.