35 Best Movies Like Inception You Should Watch

Are you looking for mind-bending movies like Inception that will force you to concentrate and understand what’s happening on the screen? Well, Christopher Nolan has provided us with some of the best movies like Interstellar, The Prestige, Memento, and more. One of his most celebrated movies is Inception, a science fiction action film that deals with dreams and will leave you thinking about the nature of reality. It leaves a lasting impact on people’s minds, making them crave more movies that will melt their minds. Therefore, we have created this long list including movies like Inception to fulfill your thirst for similar great films. So, without any further ado, let’s begin.

The Best Movies Like Inception in 2022

The following list consists of movies similar to Inception in various genres such as horror, science fiction, thriller, psychological drama, and more. It connects to the theme of Inception in one way or another, like having a mind-bending plot, an open ending, or a similar visual and art style. You can use the table below to quickly read about the movie that appeals to you the most.

Science Fiction Movies Like Inception

1. Tenet (2020)

  • IMDb: 7.3
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 69%/76%
  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Writer: Christopher Nolan
  • Cast: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth, Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine
  • Runtime: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Tenet is a sci-fi spy film that deals with an out-of-the-box time travel concept. Similar to other Christopher Nolan movies like Inception, Tenet uses time manipulation to build a mind-bending plot. The story revolves around the Protagonist (Washington), a CIA operative who saves the world by changing the flow of time selectively with the help of a few agents.

In Tenet, there are many open-ended plot points left for people to make sense of the story. It was one of the most talked-about movies by Nolan and proved to be a huge success commercially and critically. It also won the Best Visual Effects award at the 93rd Academy Awards.

Watch trailer here

2. Interstellar (2014)

  • IMDb: 8.6
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 72%/86%
  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Writer: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan
  • Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Caine
  • Runtime: 2 hours, 49 minutes

When it comes to science fiction movies, Interstellar is my absolute favorite. It is one of the greatest works by Nolan, showcasing his talent in an epic space travel movie. The story takes place in a dystopian future where crops on Earth are dying, and the air is contaminated with dust particles. The plot follows Joseph Cooper (McConaughey) as he leads a team of astronauts through a wormhole to find inhabitable planets for humans.

The movie has stunning visual effects and the most accurate rendering of a black hole. Interstellar won the 87th Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects for literally portraying out-of-the-world visual elements. You can check our dedicated list showing movies like Interstellar to find more such gems to watch in 2022. 

Watch trailer here

3. The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix
  • IMDb: 8.7
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 88%/85%
  • Director: The Wachowskis
  • Writer: The Wachowskis
  • Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving
  • Runtime: 2 hours, 16 minutes

If you prefer philosophical ideas in a science fiction action flick, then watch The Matrix. The movie takes place in a dystopian future where machines have created a simulated reality to distract humans and use them as a power source. We follow Thomas Anderson (Reeves), aka Neo, a hacker who uncovers the truth and joins a rebellion against the machines with the help of other people freed from the Matrix. 

The Matrix blurs the line between reality and simulation, similar to Inception, where people can get confused between reality and a dream. The movie won numerous awards and is preserved by the National Film Registry. It is considered one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time. Its outstanding success led to two more installments in the franchise titled The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions in 2003. A fourth movie titled The Matrix Resurrections continuing the story released in 2021. 

Watch trailer here

4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • IMDb: 8.3
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 93%/94%
  • Director: Michel Gondry
  • Writer: Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry, Pierre Bismuth
  • Cast: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a must-watch if you like romance dramas. The movie not only brings the warmness of romance, but it also has a science fiction storyline. Now, add that with the ensemble cast, and you got yourself a masterpiece. The plot follows Joel (Carrey) and Clementine (Winslet), who start a relationship after an impulsive train journey. However, things don’t work out, and they go their separate ways only to realize they have done this before.

The movie has garnered a cult following and is highly appraised for the screenplay and acting performance by the ensemble cast. A plot point of the movie where Joel is surfing through his memory in a dreamy state while implanting an idea makes it similar to Inception in a way.

Watch trailer here

5. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow
  • IMDb: 7.9
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 91%/90%
  • Director: Doug Liman
  • Writer: Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth
  • Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Edge of Tomorrow is a science fiction action movie that takes place in a dystopian future. An alien race has taken over the Earth, and his superiors force Major William Cage (Cruise) to go on a landing mission despite his limited combat experience. But, Cage soon realizes that he is stuck in a time loop living the same day again and again. The movie is a huge success both critically and commercially and is praised for the visual effects, acting, direction, and more. 

Watch trailer here

6. Donnie Darko (2001)

Donnie Darko
  • IMDb: 8.0
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 86%/80%
  • Director: Richard Kelly
  • Writer: Richard Kelly
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Duval
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Donnie Darko is a science fiction psychological thriller that will keep you engaged throughout the movie. The movie follows the titular character Donnie (Gyllenhaal), an awkward teenager who befriends a figure wearing a bunny costume only he can see. After an accident at his house, the bunny informs him that the Earth will end in about a month.

As the plot progresses, Donnie tries to understand what the bunny had to say and the strange visions he is seeing. The movie garnered a cult following, leading to an infamous sequel titled S. Darko (2009). Director Kelly hinted at another sequel in the coming few years. It is one of the best movies like Inception and will leave you thinking about the ending long after the movie has finished. 

Watch trailer here

7. Source Code (2011)

Source Code
  • IMDb: 7.5
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 92%/82%
  • Director: Duncan Jones
  • Writer: Ben Ripley
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 33 minutes 

Source Code is a science fiction action thriller, where the plot follows an army pilot Stevens (Gyllenhaal), who is recruited for a top-secret operation that involves a digital recreation of a real-life train explosion. Stevens wakes up in an unknown person’s body and has to discover the culprit behind the attack while the system resets every eight minutes. The movie deals with complicated scientific theories and requires multiple viewings to understand the story entirely.  

Watch trailer here

8. Primer (2004)

  • IMDb: 6.8
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 73%/79%
  • Director: Shane Carruth
  • Writer: Shane Carruth
  • Cast: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 17 minutes

Primer is an independently-made psychological science fiction about inventing time travel accidentally. The movie focuses on two genius friends who work on entrepreneurial tech projects after their day jobs. The duo accidentally invents time travel in one such attempt and creates a stable machine to perform the experiments. While making a fortune using the device, they learn about some dark consequences.

Primer is appreciated for Shane Carruth’s efforts in making the independent film. The movie keeps the visual and sound effects real without using any digital medium to create effects. Meanwhile, the scientific concepts aren’t dumbed down for common people, making it look like an everyday talk between well-educated people. It is one of the top movies like Inception that leave you with burning questions by the end.

Watch trailer here

9. The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

The Adjustment Bureau
  • IMDb: 7.0
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 71%/67%
  • Director: George Nolfi
  • Writer: George Nolfi
  • Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, Michael Kelly
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 46 minutes

The Adjustment Bureau is a science fiction romantic thriller based on Philip K. Dick’s short story Adjustment Team. The plot follows David (Damon), a politician about to win a seat in the US Senate. He falls in love with Elise (Blunt), a ballet dancer. However, a mysterious group that seems to be controlling his life events asks him to keep a distance from the girl.

Even after being promised a bright future, David finds it hard to believe the mysterious people. The film received a positive response from critics and audiences. It talks about philosophical ideas like free will, making it similar to Inception. 

Watch trailer here

10. Predestination (2014)

  • IMDb: 7.4
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 84%/75%
  • Director: The Spierig Brothers
  • Writer: The Spierig Brothers
  • Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 37 minutes

Predestination is a science fiction thriller dealing with time travel and paradoxes. The plot revolves around a time-traveling agent who saves people by stopping attacks that happened in the past. In his last assignment, the agent is tasked to travel back in time and then prevent a bomb attack in New York in 1975. Despite his efforts, he could not stop the bomber. Meanwhile, a subplot interconnects with his life in surprising ways. 

Watch trailer here

Mind-bending Movies Similar to Inception

11. The Truman Show (1998)

The Truman Show
  • IMDb: 8.2
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 95%/85%
  • Director: Peter Weir
  • Writer: Andrew Niccol
  • Cast: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 43 minutes

The Truman Show is a science fiction comedy movie with a unique concept that raises philosophical questions. The film follows Truman Burbank (Carrey) as a salesman living a normal life. However, he does not know that his whole life is a TV show and his family is mere actors. Once he realizes the truth, he tries to escape. The movie was a commercial and critical success for outstanding performance and a fantastic story. The film is highly praised for raising questions about existence and reality, similar to Inception.

Watch trailer here

12. Mr. Nobody (2009)

Mr. Nobody
  • IMDb: 7.8
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 68%/76%
  • Director: Jaco Van Dormael
  • Writer: Jaco Van Dormael
  • Cast: Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Linh Dan Pham
  • Runtime: 2 hours, 21 minutes

Mr. Nobody is an underrated science fiction drama film. The movie revolves around Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto), a 118-year-old man and the last mortal person after humanity has achieved anti-aging techniques. In the film, Nemo tells a doctor and a journalist the story of the three main loves in his life, his parent’s divorce, and the hardships he went through in life. While reminiscing, Nemo also imagines the paths that could have been if he had made different life choices. 

Mr. Nobody is one of the most confusing movies we have ever seen. The plot is weak for a science fiction drama, but the concept makes this movie a worthwhile watch. It will leave you scratching your head and thinking about how a single choice can ultimately lead to a completely different life. 

Watch trailer here

13. Paprika (2006)

  • IMDb: 7.7
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 85%/87%
  • Director: Satoshi Kon
  • Writer: Seishi Minakami, Satoshi Kon
  • Cast: Megumi Hayashibara, Tōru Emori, Katsunosuke Hori, Tōru Furuya
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Paprika is an animated sci-fi psychological thriller film based on a Yasutaka Tsutsui novel. The plot follows Dr. Atsuko Chiba, who works as a research psychologist by day and becomes a dream detective named Paprika by night. Atsuko and her colleagues work on a machine that helps people share their dreams. However, a terrorist steals the machine, putting al people’s lives in danger. The movie showcases the Japanese animation technique with an appealing plot. 

Watch trailer here

14. Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange
  • IMDb: 7.5
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 89%/86%
  • Director: Scott Derrickson
  • Writer: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
  • Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 55 minutes

Doctor Strange is a superhero movie based on a Marvel Comics character. This is the 14th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. The plot follows Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch), a famous neurosurgeon who loses the ability to use his hands after an accident. He tries every treatment and ends up in Nepal to heal using spiritual ways.

The knowledge from the spiritual place leads him on his path to protect the world from mystical threats. Doctor Strange is one of the most prominent characters in the MCU, appearing in multiple movies. A sequel titled Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was released in May 2022. If you liked the mind-boggling visual effects in Inception, you will surely like Doctor Strange.

Watch trailer here

15. Psycho (1960)

  • IMDb: 8.5
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 96%/95%
  • Director: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Writer: Joseph Stefano
  • Cast: Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 49 minutes

Psycho is a psychological horror thriller based on Robert Bloch’s eponymous novel. The plot follows an on-the-run embezzler who takes shelter in a motel. However, she is murdered in the night, and an investigation begins to find the truth behind it. The movie was a huge success and won four Academy Awards along with several other accolades. Psycho is considered one of the most influential movies ever made and changed the way cinema was perceived earlier. 

Watch trailer here

16. Us (2019)

  • IMDb: 6.8
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 93%/60%
  • Director: Jordan Peele
  • Writer: Jordan Peele
  • Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 56 minutes

Us is a horror movie that will confuse you with recurring reveals and twists. The movie follows Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong’o) and her family as they go on a vacation. A family wearing red dresses attacks them, who are soon revealed to be doppelgangers of the Wilson family. The movie is highly praised for its direction, story, and acting performances. It was a massive success at the box office as well. 

Watch trailer here

17. Oldboy (2003)

  • IMDb: 8.4
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 81%/94%
  • Director: Park Chan-wook
  • Writer: Hwang Jo-yun, Lim Jun-hyung, Park Chan-wook
  • Cast: Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Kang Hye-jung
  • Runtime: 2 hours

Oldboy is a Japanese action thriller movie loosely based on the eponymous manga comics. The story follows Oh Dae-su (Min-sik), who has been imprisoned in a cell resembling a hotel room for 15 years. However, he does not know anything about the captor or their motives. He receives a cell phone, money, and expensive clothes on his release, which confuses him even more. He meets an even worse fate as he tries to find out about his captor. The movie has some great scenes and single-shot action sequences like Inception.

Watch trailer here

18. Enemy (2013)

  • IMDb: 6.9
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 71%/64%
  • Director: Denis Villeneuve
  • Writer: Javier Gullón
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Enemy is a Canadian psychological drama film loosely adapted from José Saramago’s 2002 novel “The Double.” The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal in two roles of identical men with different personalities. One is a college professor named Aadam, and another is a D-list actor named Anthony. When they find out about each other, they become obsessed with their lives differently.

The movie’s unique storyline and unexplained elements make it a must-watch if you prefer a mind-bending film like Inception. The intense plot and psychological drama also make this film similar to Black Swan.

Watch trailer here

19. Looper (2012)

  • IMDb: 7.4
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 93%/82%
  • Director: Rian Johnson
  • Writer: Rian Johnson
  • Cast: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 58 minutes

Looper is a 2012 American sci-fi action-thriller film about contract killers killing people from the future. The movie takes place in a reality where tracking systems are so advanced that killing someone and disposing of their body is impossible. Therefore, people from the future send back their enemies in the past to be killed by Loopers. The loopers get silver bricks as their payment. Every looper’s job ends when they close the loop by killing their future self and getting gold bars as payment. The story begins when a looper cannot kill his future self, and chaos erupts. 

Looper has received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike and is also a box office hit. The movie presents an original idea when it comes to time travel movies and gives an old-style action theme to a futuristic film. 

Watch trailer here

20. The Prestige (2006)

The Prestige
  • IMDb: 8.5
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 76%/92%
  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Writer: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
  • Cast: Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall
  • Runtime: 2 hours, 10 minutes

The Prestige is a mystery thriller movie based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Christopher Priest. The magical movie is about two rival magicians, Robert Angier (Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Bale), in late 19th century London. A fatal onstage incident creates a grudge and leads them to try and hurt each other in several ways. The rivalry evolves when they try to create the best illusion to beat each other in magic.

The Prestige is a one-of-a-kind movie, and it will blow your mind on the first viewing. It also has references to real-life events and people from Nolan’s perspective. Lastly, the movie has a great plot, character arcs, and one of the most brilliant directions you can witness.

Watch trailer here

21. Dark City (1998)

Dark City
  • IMDb: 7.6
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 76%/85%
  • Director: Alex Proyas
  • Writer: Alex Proyas, Lem Dobbs, David S. Goyer
  • Cast: Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, Richard O’Brien, Ian Richardson
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Dark City is a science fiction movie that questions reality and its nature, much like Inception. The film follows John Murdoch (Sewell), a person with partial memory loss who learns he is wanted for some murders. While trying to erase the accusation and find his real identity, John understands that the city is controlled by aliens known as Strangers. The film serves a confusing plot and is rather hard to understand in the first viewing. Critics appreciated the movie’s direction, special effects, art style, and more.

Watch trailer here

22. Being John Malkovich (1999)

Being John Malkovich
  • IMDb: 7.8
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 94%/87%
  • Director: Spike Jonze
  • Writer: Charlie Kaufman
  • Cast: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, Orson Bean, Mary Kay Place, John Malkovich
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Being John Malkovich is a fantasy comedy movie. The story follows Craig Schwartz (Cusack), a puppeteer who takes up a clerical job to support his family. One day while working late, he discovers a portal leading to the head of the Hollywood actor John Malkovich directly. You will have to watch the film to know what happens next. The movie performed well at the box office and is highly praised by the critics and the audience. 

Watch trailer here

23. Requiem For a Dream (2000)

Requiem For a Dream
  • IMDb: 8.3
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 79%/93%
  • Director: Darren Aronofsky
  • Writer: Hubert Selby Jr., Darren Aronofsky
  • Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 41 minutes

Requiem for a Dream is a psychological drama film based on the 1978 novel by Hubert Selby Jr. The movie places focus on the extreme effects of drug addiction. The 4 main characters find themselves in a delusional reality when excessive drug use alters their emotional and physical states. In the end, the story leads to catastrophe as each character loses their grip on reality. The movie will make you wonder if the happenings are real or imaginary and shares a concept similar to Inception. 

Watch trailer here

24. The Butterfly Effect (2004)

The Butterfly Effect
  • IMDb: 7.6
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 34%/81%
  • Director: Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber
  • Writer: Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber
  • Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Eric Stoltz, William Lee Scott
  • Runtime: 2 hours 

The Butterfly Effect is a science fiction thriller that found a sweet spot for viewers but isn’t critically acclaimed. The movie’s title refers to the theory of the Butterfly Effect, according to which even tiny changes can lead to massive changes. The film follows Evan Treborn (Kutcher), who has experienced memory blackouts throughout his childhood.

He discovers that he can revisit those gaps in his younger body and change the things according to his liking. However, the slight changes he makes result in significant changes in the present day. The movie jumps between flashbacks and alternate present-day scenarios making it a treat for people who love time travel paradoxes.  

Watch trailer here

25. Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club
  • IMDb: 8.8
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 79%/96%
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Writer: Jim Uhls
  • Cast: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter
  • Runtime: 2 hours, 19 minutes

If you liked the confusing screenplay of Inception, you would fall in love with Fight Club. The film is based on the eponymous 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk. The movie starts with the narrator (Norton) describing his insomnia. He is discontent with his white-collar job and feels hopeless. Then, he meets Tyler Durden (Pitt), a devil-may-care soap salesman, and together they form a fight club.

The movie initially bombed at the box office but soon earned a cult following after its DVD release. Besides mentioning mental illness, the film also has a great plot, fantastic acting, and thoughtful dialogues.

Watch trailer here

26. Get Out (2017)

Get Out
  • IMDb: 7.7
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 98%/86%
  • Director: Jordan Peele
  • Writer: Jordan Peele
  • Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Get Out is a horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele in his directorial debut. The plot follows Chris(Kaluuya), an African-American man who visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s parents during a weekend getaway. Everything seems fine at the beginning, but soon he discovers some shocking secrets. The movie is highly praised for its screenplay, direction, and acting. It has won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and several other accolades. 

Watch trailer here

27. Upstream Color (2013)

Upstream Color
  • IMDb: 6.5
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 86%/69%
  • Director: Shane Carruth
  • Writer: Shane Carruth
  • Cast: Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 36 minutes

Upstream Color is a 2013 American experimental science fiction film created by Shane Carruth. The movie revolves around a parasite that has a three-stage life cycle. A man and a woman are drawn to each other after ingesting the parasite because of its effect on their mental conditions. As the plot progresses and the pair tries to make sense of the situation, their identity becomes an illusion.

Carruth is known for making a movie all by himself, from acting and writing to editing and composition. He made the film on a minimal budget, and it proved to be a commercial success. 

Watch trailer here

28. The Machinist (2004)

The Machinist
  • IMDb: 7.7
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 77%/83%
  • Director: Brad Anderson
  • Writer: Scott Kosar
  • Cast: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, John Sharian
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 42 minutes

The Machinist is a psychological thriller film focusing on mental illness troubles like guilt, paranoia, and delusion. The movie stars Christian Bale in the lead role of Trevor, who’s a machinist at a factory. Trevor is an emaciated man with a year-long insomnia. The story revolves around his struggles to work correctly in the factory while something disturbs him every once in a while.

The movie got praise for Christian’s performance and dedication. He lost 28 kg for the role, which was appreciated both by critics and the audience. The film blurs the line between reality and hallucination, making it similar to the subplot from Inception.

Watch trailer here

Movies Like Inception with Open Endings

29. Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan
  • IMDb: 8.0
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 85%/84%
  • Director: Darren Aronofsky
  • Writer: Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John McLaughlin
  • Cast: Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 48 minutes

Black Swan is a psychological thriller that talks about mental illness compellingly. The plot revolves around Nina (Portman), a ballerina who gets a chance to play the White Swan, which is a perfect fit for her. However, she also has to play the Black Swan, which a newcomer Lily (Kunis), fits better. When she finds out the director may cast her rival, she tries to embrace the role and descends into madness. The movie raises a few questions about reality and hallucinations, making it similar to Inception. Meanwhile, it lets the audience interpret the ending. If you like psychological dramas, you can check our detailed list of movies like Black Swan.

Watch trailer here

30. Total Recall (1990)

Total Recall
  • IMDb: 7.5
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 82%/78%
  • Director: Paul Verhoeven
  • Writer: Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, Gary Goldman
  • Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, Ronny Cox
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Total Recall is a science fiction action movie based on a short story titled “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick. The film follows Douglas Quaid (Schwarzenegger) as he gets recurring dreams about a fantastic trip to Mars. He soon discovers the memory is a false implant, and the people behind it are trying to kill him.

Total Recall shares the concept of implanting others with false ideas like in the movie Inception. The movie also leaves the audience with an open ending about the reality of Quaid’s mission. The film received mixed reviews from the audience but was a commercial hit at the time of release. Its success led to a television series titled Total Recall 2070 and a 2012 remake which didn’t perform well.

Watch trailer here

31. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey
  • IMDb: 8.3
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 92%/89%
  • Director: Stanley Kubrick
  • Writer: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke
  • Cast: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood
  • Runtime: 2 hours, 22 minutes

2001: A Space Odyssey is an epic science fiction film inspired by Arthur C. Clarke’s short story The Sentinel. The movie follows a group of archeologists who re-discovers a monolith after four million years. It sends a strong signal in space after being struck by sunlight. Humans then go on a mission towards Jupiter along with a sentient AI named HAL to know more about the monolith. However, things take an ugly turn just when they are about to reach their destination.

The movie is highly praised for its ahead-of-the-time visual effects and accurate depiction of how space flights might look. 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the first films to use eye-pleasing visuals and create a confusing story. It will leave you thinking about the ending for days after the first viewing.

Watch trailer here

32. Prisoners (2013)

  • IMDb: 8.1
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 81%/87%
  • Director: Denis Villeneuve
  • Writer: Aaron Guzikowski
  • Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard
  • Runtime: 2 hours, 33 minutes

Prisoners is a thriller film starring an ensemble cast of actors. The plot follows the abduction of two girls. When the police fail to find the culprit quickly, the father of one of the daughters decides to take matters into his own hands. His effort brings him close to the truth but also jeopardizes his own life. The movie was a critical and commercial success and is highly praised for its cinematography. 

Watch trailer here

33. Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

Martha Marcy May Marlene
  • IMDb: 6.8
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 90%/71%
  • Director: Sean Durkin
  • Writer: Sean Durkin
  • Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson, Hugh Dancy
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 42 minutes

Martha Marcy May Marlene is a thriller film dealing with mental conditions. It focuses on Martha(Olsen), a young woman suffering from delusions and paranoia after spending time with an abusive cult. Even after returning and living with her sister’s family, she struggles to differentiate between reality and dreams. You can think of it as a standalone movie about Mal’s character from Inception. The film won critical acclaim, especially for Elizabeth Olsen’s performance.

Watch trailer here

34. Shutter Island (2010)

Shutter Island
  • IMDb: 8.2
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 68%/77%
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Writer: Laeta Kalogridis
  • Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams
  • Runtime: 2 hours, 19 minutes

Shutter Island is a neo-noir psychological horror film based on Dennis Lehane’s 2003 novel of the same name. The film centers on Deputy US Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels (DiCaprio). He is investigating a missing person case in a psychiatric facility at Shutter Island prison facility. However, he soon finds out something unusual is going on at the island. 

The movie is unsettling and will keep you on the edge of your seat thinking about what’s happening on the prison island. Shutter Island was acclaimed for its music score, which uses a mixture of classical and modern music. This mind-bending film is similar to Inception, showing philosophical ideas like accepting the truth and letting the audience interpret the ending.

Watch trailer here

35. Memento (2000)

  • IMDb: 8.4
  • Rotten Tomatoes: 93%/94%
  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Writer: Christopher Nolan
  • Cast: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
  • Runtime: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Memento is a neo-noir mystery thriller film about a patient with memory loss. The movie revolves around an anterograde amnesia patient named Leonard Shelby (Pearce). Due to his condition, he can not form new memories and has short-term memory loss. He is on a mission to find and kill the murderer of his wife, for which he uses polaroid photos and tattoos on his body.

The movie is considered Nolan’s best work for its non-linear narrative and out-of-the-box concept. The film shows black and white clips as a linear story and colored clips for the lead’s memories depicting how it feels to be in Leonard’s shoes. Memento was a commercial success and kicked off Nolan’s career. 

Watch trailer here

Watch Movies Like Inception Right Now!

Inception is one of the most loved movies by Christopher Nolan. It talks about dreams and reality and depicts them on screen in a natural way. Meanwhile, the science fiction movie has a mind-bending plot, stunning visuals, and leaves it to the audience to make what they want of the film’s ending. Honestly, it is impossible to find any movie that resembles Nolan’s work. Still, I have listed some of the best films with at least one element similar to Inception. I hope you liked the article and found a few new films to add to your watchlist. Moreover, feel free to comment down any movie you think should make it to the list.

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