Will & Harper, A Real Pain, A Different Man

For all the challenges the world of independent film now faces (the rise of streaming, the still-stubborn comeback of theatrical, the ongoing ocean of content that can swallow up…anything), the measure of the Sundance Film Festival begins with a simple and enduring metric: How good were the movies? At Sundance 2024, the festival’s 40th year, there was a prevailing feeling that this was the strongest lineup in quite a while. The festival was peppered with films that popped, that mattered, and that looked like they could have a vibrant life beyond Sundance — which, let’s not forget, is really the whole point. Here are the 16 Sundance films that Variety’s critics fell for.