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5 Films to Watch if You Liked Saltburn

Barry Keoghan looks at the estate from the balcony in the film Saltburn

Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn has taken the world by storm! Ever since its World Premiere at Telluride in August 2023, the Promising Young Woman filmmaker’s new movie has continued to captivate audiences and critics, earning many nominations including 5 BAFTAs. The film has also been divisive, but if you appreciate Fennell’s unique sense of humor and stories about twisted, aristocratic characters, you’ll find plenty to love here.

Saltburn revolves around a young Oxford student named Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan), who has no friends at uni and doesn’t really fit in with the wealthy elite all around him. One day, he meets the popular Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), a fellow student, and a friendship is born. Soon, Felix invites Oliver to his estate for the summer, having learned about his father’s death. And that’s where our adventure begins, as Oliver enters a world of eccentric aristocrats, each with their own quirks, and is plunged right in the middle of all the chaos.

Needless to say, many of Saltburn‘s fans are students: after all, the film takes place at Oxford and many of the movie’s protagonists attend the university. If you’re one of them and don’t have enough time for movies because of all the assignments, asking yourself “Who can write my paper for me?,” you might want to look for expert writing services. If you loved Saltburn and you’re looking for recommendations of what to watch next, here’s a list of 5 films to watch if you liked the movie, from Oxford-set films to stories about the wealthy and with captivating power dynamics in them! Find them all below, in alphabetical order.

Brideshead Revisited (2008)

Brideshead Revisited (BBC)

Let’s start with a film that has a similar premise. Adapted from Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 novel of the same name, Brideshead Revisited is also set in Oxford, where a student named Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode) becomes friend with an aristocrat named Sebastian Flyte (Ben Whishaw). Charles is immediately drawn to Sebastian’s family and wealth, and the privilege that comes with that, even more so when he visits the titular Brideshead, Sebastian’s family estate. There, he becomes even more infatuated with them and their lifestyle, and even falls in love with Sebastian’s sister, Julia (Hayley Atwell). But things are destined to change for our naive protagonist, who soon discovers how manipulative the Flytes can be.

Brideshead Revisited has a lot in common with Saltburn, but it’s also a much more complex story, where the dynamics between the characters are only one of the themes explored. The pre-World War II setting of the story grounds the film at a specific moment in time, and make its exploration of Catholicism one of its central themes. Even if it’s not as in depth as the book, this 2008 BBC film is worth a watch if you’re not familiar with the novel, and is brilliantly brought to life by a fantastic cast. Emma Thompson and Michael Gambon join Matthew Goode, Hayley Atwell and Ben Whishaw in this surprisingly entertaining tale.

The Riot Club (2014)

The Riot Club (BBC)

Here’s another British film, this time a thriller adapted from Laura Wade’s 2010 play “Posh”. Wade also writes The Riot Club, directed by Lone Scherfig, which revolves around the titular club: an all-male dining club at the University of Oxford. The film mainly revolves around two first-year students, Alistair (Sam Claflins) and Miles (Max Iron), who join the Riot Club and soon discover that their reputations aren’t safe, as it’s the club that dictates all the rules. And so, we meet the other students and navigate through the Club’s excesses, until Alistair and Miles find out – just like Oliver in Saltburn – that, to the club, appearances will always come before individual people.

The satire is strong in The Riot Club, a film that will remind you of Saltburn in its depiction of the excesses of the aristocracy, but that also has a message to send about the state of Britain. “Filthy. Rich. Spoiled. Rotten,” reads the movie’s tagline, and that should already give you an idea of what you’re in for.

Promising Young Woman (2020)

Carey Mulligan stands holding a seringue in Promising Young Woman
Promising Young Woman, a Focus Features release (Merie Weismiller Wallace / Focus Features)

If you’re unfamiliar with writer-director Emerald Fennell’s unique brand of humor and gorgeous aesthetics, why not start with her feature debut? Promising Young Woman was a sensation upon release, back in 2020, and it’s because it has the perfect combination of ingredients: a compelling premise, a talented cast giving it their all, and a twist you absolutely won’t see coming. It’s best not to say too much to avoid spoilers, but the movie revolves around a very smart girl named Cassie (Carey Mulligan) who lives a double life.

During the day, Cassie’s life is pretty normal, but at night she has made it a habit to go to night clubs and pretend to be drunk. Inevitably, each time, a man turns up who tries to take advantage of her, and she waits till the very last minute to turn the tables on them, showing them how sober she really is and how pathetic they really are. But this is only the premise in a film that will keep on surprising you till the very end. The star of the film is the one and only Carey Mulligan, but look out for fantastic turns from co-stars Laverne Cox, Bo Burnham, and Jennifer Coolidge.

The Favourite (2018)

Emma Stone points a rifle at the sky as Abigail Masham in The Favourite
Emma Stone as Abigail Masham in The Favourite (Fox Searchlight) 

If what you’re looking for is a film with complex, ever-shifting power dynamics and mind games, look no further than Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite. The Poor Things director’s first costume film is set in the 18th century. On paper, it tells the story of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), Great Britain’s last monarch of the Stuart House. But it really is about two ladies who constantly manipulate the queen to try to take control of the country and defeat one another. Said ladies are Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz), Duchess of Marlborough and lover to the Queen, and newcomer Abigail Masham (Emma Stone), of humbler origins.

When Abigal arrives to the Queen’s court to be a servant – though she used to live in the castle before her family went into bankrupcy, and she is actually Sarah Churchill’s cousin – the dynamics at court completely shift. The Queen takes a special interest in Sarah, and this sparks a competition between Sarah and Abigail, who show us just how cruel and calculating – but also how human – people can be. The Favourite is another exquisitely deviant character study from Yorgos Lanthimos, and it also happens to be stunning. If you like the look and character dynamics in Saltburn, you will love it.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow look at the camera in the film The Talented Mr Ripley
The Talented Mr. Ripley (Paramount Pictures)

When you watch Saltburn for the first time, The Talented Mr. Ripley will probably come to mind, due to certain similarities between Saltburn‘s protagonist and the titular Mr. Ripley. Just like Oliver, Tom Ripley (Matt Damon, in a career-defining role) does indeed meet a wealthy millionaire, and becomes obsessed with him and his lifestyle. This time, we’re in Italy, in the 1950s, and the millionaire is charismatic playboy Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law). But when Dickie’s father summons his son and his girlfriend (Gwyneth Paltrow’s Marge) back to the States, Ripley devises a plan to get his share of Dickie’s wealth.

There are certain twists in Saltburn that you’ll probably see coming, and that’s mainly because Fennell’s movie doesn’t excel for the twists themselves but for the message it sends about the nature of its protagonist. But in writer-director Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, so much attention has been put into the screenplay (co-written with Patricia Highsmith) that your eyes will be glued to the screen till the very end, as you uncover each piece of the puzzle. It’s also a fantastic acting showcase for its three leads and their co-stars (Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Jack Davenport, among others), set in some of Italy’s most gorgeous locations.

Saltburn is a fantastic movie, and if you wanted to keep watching it on repeat and dance along a certain familiar tune, we wouldn’t blame you. But if you’re looking for more films to watch if you liked Fennell’s tale of the aristocracy, the list above should do the trick! Happy watching!

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