The Best Movies Where Nothing Really Happens

Over 26.7K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Movies Where Nothing Really Happens
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It’s not like absolutely nothing happens in these movies; it's just that there are no big displays of action, obvious plots, gut-wrenching excitement, or character arcs that seem larger than life. These movies (most of them independent films) feature no discernable story or plot points, but rather offer a more abstract approach to filmmaking. So, even though the meaning may not be obvious, you may enjoy them because it's all about the feel of it, right? Right. These are the best movies where nothing may happen, but they will entertain you anyway. 

Most theatrical releases feature at least one main plot that drives the narrative forward to achieve a single goal. Every scene, bit of dialogue, and character is placed to progress towards the movie's climax and subsequent ending. That goal may be to find the gold, win the big game, solve the case, make it off the island, finish the musical to a standing ovation, or save the day.

However, there is a small set of films, usually independent, that defy this formulaic Hollywood structure. The films on this list are not defined by one single plotline or result that achieves a singular goal. They are not interested in the same generic stories shown repeatedly in cinema. Rather, this list is full of movies that examine abstract concepts, such as exploration of the human condition or the deconstruction of complicated interpersonal relationships. 

Even though several movies on this list are critically acclaimed films, they did not see the big box office grosses of blockbuster hits despite all the awards and positive buzz. So, how does a film with so much hype under-perform in theaters? It's simple - there's not enough meat to bring in large audiences. There are no major catastrophes, there is no case to solve, and there is no evil villain. Many indie films are made for audiences that appreciate depth over destruction.

This list represents the best movies where high-octane effects aren't necessary. The moviegoers that enjoy these flicks instead look for the inspiration, the underdog's storyline, and the representations of real life. These movies are relatable and reflect deeper experiences outside of the action-packed Hollywood format. 

Upvote the best movies in which nothing happens below and start the discussion about these films' themes and ideas in the comments section.

Most divisive: Diner