15 Films for Modern Architecture and Design Lovers

Over the past few months, odds are you’ve found yourself sitting in front of your television or laptop, wracking your brain for something to watch. While our favorite streaming platforms and channels suggest titles for us, sometimes nothing stands out. The actors, story, and director are, of course, major components of what makes a film great; but there is no denying that the setting is a major factor in building a movie’s mood and visuals. If you, like us, appreciate gorgeous modern architecture and interiors as film sets, selecting a movie with a stellar eye for design is sure to bring you out of your what-to-watch funk.

Next movie night, take a look at our list of suggestions below.

 

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

Where to Watch: Rent on Amazon

Genre: Comedy

A New York City executive and his wife move to Connecticut, but home ownership proves to be a real nightmare.

 

The Fountainhead (1949)

Where to Watch: Rent on Amazon

Genre: Drama

Based on the novel, the black and white film follows a young architect as he struggles with his artistic vision. With the focus of the movie set within the design world, “The Fountainhead” features unforgettable spaces, and muses on individualism, modernism, and creativity in society.

Mon Oncle (1958)

Where to Watch: Rent on Amazon

Genre: Comedy

This French slapstick film about a quirky uncle visiting an ultramodern home. This classic film explores topics of consumerism and modernism while showcasing an eccentric character and world.

 

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Where to Watch: HBO Max

Genre: Science Fiction

This reality distorting sci-fi epic by Stanley Kubrick blends Renaissance art, light-up tiles, and spaceships to craft its beloved interiors.

The Fifth Element (1997)

Where to Watch: Showtime, Rent on Amazon

Genre: Science Fiction

Luc Besson’s stylish sci fi classic takes place on a stony, electric twenty-third–century earth. Many of the mild blowing sets used during are actually miniature models, with cinematography from Thierry Arbogast.

The Money Pit (1986)

Where to Watch: Netflix

Genre: Comedy

This Tom Hanks-starring remake of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is a goofy reimagining of the original.

 

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Where to Watch: HBO Max

Genre: Thriller, Drama

Starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow, and set in oceanside Italy, “Mr. Ripley” tells the story of a cunning young man who assumes the identity of someone else. The twisting and turning story takes viewers around the modern, luxurious streets and homes of Venice.

A Single Man (2009)

Where to Watch: Netflix

Genre: Drama, Romance

Colin Firth plays a single gay professor seeking companionship with a student in this solemn but gripping drama. The set alternates between a John Lautner house in California and Ambassador College in Pasadena. The subtly stylish film also stars Julianne Moore and was directed by fashion designer Tom Ford.

 

Tron: Legacy (2010)

Where to Watch: Disney Plus, Rent on Amazon

Genre: Science Fiction

This remake of the 1982 hit, directed by architect Joseph Kosinski, is a video-game thriller boasting some of the most mind-bending architecture seen in recent years. If you’re fascinated by all things reflective, neon, and sleek, give “Tron” a try.

 

Nightcrawler (2014)

Where to Watch: Rent on Amazon

Genre: Thriller 

In present day Los Angeles, a strange man (Jake Gyllenhaal) films car crashes and crimes at night to sell footage to news networks. While critiquing modern media, its explosive scenes take place in a gorgeous, sleek nighttime LA.

Ex Machina (2014)

Where to Watch: Netflix

Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

A tech company worker wins an opportunity to stay with his company’s enigmatic founder. Hidden behind a waterfall, the “home” where the film takes place is the Juvet Landscape Hotel in Norway.

 

High Rise (2015)

Where to Watch: Hulu

Genre: Thriller

This dystopia revolves around a doctor who moves to a high rise building designed by an esteemed architect. The building seems to contain everything its inhabitants need: grocery stores, pools, gyms, and schools, but the small society is far from perfect. The film is set entirely in the building, whose Brutalist coldness and grace perfectly frame the eerie story.

 

Carol (2015)

Where to Watch: Free on TUBI

Genre: Romance

“Carol” is the story of a department store worker who falls in love with an older customer. Starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, the movie is set within the luxurious and retro world of 1950’s Manhattan.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Where to Watch: Rent on Amazon

Genre: Science Fiction

The Oscar winner for Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects, “Blade Runner 2049” is Denis Villeneuve’s sequel to the 1982 original, and follows an assassin (Ryan Gosling) through a futuristic Los Angeles filled with striking and stoic Brutalist structures.

Parasite (2019)

Where to Watch: Hulu

Genre: Thriller

The Oscar Best Picture winner from South Korea examines what happens when a wealthy family and a poor family’s lives intertwine, with deadly consequences. Almost all of the movie takes place in a central, extremely modern mansion, designed from the ground up by visionary director Bong Joon Ho and production designer Lee Ha Jun. The set garnered the international film a Best Production Design Oscar nomination.