15 Best Movies Like Life Is Strange

The episodic adventure video game Life is Strange first took the world by storm in 2015 upon its release. Controversial in its gameplay and story mechanics, players tend to either adore or dislike its portrayal of young adults with newfound superpowers. Nonetheless, the game’s fantastical elements continue to draw audiences in, in the anticipation of what strange dialogue or twists there are to be had.

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Throughout the game, many a reference is made to other works, such as films, books, and television shows which make for exciting easter eggs and help indicate the games’ influences. If anyone is craving the same quirky odd-ball vibes or to explore similar subject matters, these films and others are the perfect continuations of the Life Is Strange experience.

Updated on July 17th, 2021 by Mark Birrell: Whether it’s time travel movies or just good old-fashioned coming-of-age stories, there’s quite a lot out there for fans of Life is Strange who want to see more of the same ideas and characters in a cinematic experience. The best movies like Life is Strange share a lot of compelling qualities, whether they be a relatable romantic tone or darker explorations of seemingly normal suburban life. In either case, fans of the original game need not feel starved for more of the same defiant energy and wide-eyed wonder.

15 The Jacket (2005)

● Available for purchase on Prime Video 

A movie that uses time travel in a very similar way to Life is Strange is this incredibly well-cast sci-fi drama that focuses much more on the emotionality of the characters than it does the rules or reasoning behind the time travel.

The Jacket follows a military veteran who is falsely convicted of murdering a police officer, ending up in a mental health facility in which he is improperly treated, his extremely unorthodox treatment inadvertently causing him to travel through time. Coming across a young woman with a connection to his past during his uncontrolled voyages through time, he gets a chance at some kind of redemption and Life is Strange fans will have a lot of love for the outsider characters fighting back against authority.

14 Run Lola Run (1999)

Franka Potente in Run Lola Run (1998)

● Available for purchase on Prime Video 

One of the coolest movies about the butterfly effect ever made, Run Lola Run follows a young woman desperately trying to raise a huge sum of money in order to save her boyfriend with only a matter of minutes for her to think of a plan as she runs through Berlin to somehow get the money and reach him before time runs out.

The breakneck pace of the movie keeps the story moving along briskly but it still has plenty of time to really explore some of the same ideas at play in Life as Strange, particularly the butterfly effect and how seemingly small actions can snowball into much larger results.

13 About Time (2013)

About Time

● Available on Netflix

Being written and directed by Love Actually mastermind Richard Curtis, About Time has a much greater emphasis on comedy over tragedy, but it also deals with darker moments and the more heartbreaking aspects of growing up.

Domnhall Gleeson stars in the movie as a young man who discovers that he has inherited his father’s ability to travel through time and, though the movie never travels to the darkest parts of Life is Strange‘s story, the protagonist and their struggles are as relatable as Max Caulfield and hers.

12 Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

● Available on Netflix

Though it never comes close to dealing with any of the darkest subject matter in Life is Strange, which is by no means a mark against it, Safety Not Guaranteed taps into all of the sweetest parts of the game with its quirky characters and fun with time travel as a concept.

The story follows a group of journalists who investigate an ad searching for a partner to travel through time with but the real heart of it lies in each character’s search for happiness, no matter how far-fetched their ideas for getting it might be. Life is Strange fans should find the feel-good indie sensibilities of this romantic comedy impossible to resist.

11 The Clovehitch Killer (2018)

● Available on Netflix

A movie that definitely deals with the darkest and most serious aspects of Life is Strange‘s story–and little else–is this often-underrated coming-of-age serial killer thriller.

RELATED: 10 Terrifying Serial Killer Thrillers (That Have Nothing To Do With Hannibal Lecter)

Following a young man who steadily comes to suspect that his outwardly upright and strictly conservative father is an elusive murderer, The Clovehitch Killer dissects the evil lurking behind calm and conventional exteriors, and Life is Strange fans will appreciate both the mystery and adolescent defiance at play.

10 Paper Towns (2015)

● Available on Prime Video

Adapted from the novel of the same name by The Fault in Our Stars author John Green, Paper Towns revolves around one young man’s search for the enigmatic local girl who stole his heart before mysteriously disappearing, leaving a cryptic trail of clues to find her.

With all the angst of teenage love and a catchy indie soundtrack to match the energy of every big life-changing moment, Paper Towns has its own tough lessons about growing up to teach, and Life is Strange fans should recognize more than a few of them.

9 The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

● Available for purchase on Prime Video 

An unabashedly lifting movie experience, this 2006 Japanese anime centers around a teenage girl who finds herself in a time-related conundrum, much like Life is Strange’s Max Caufield.

17-year-old Makoto realized the weight of the butterfly effect after finding she can literally leap through time, though only has a certain number of leaps as she finds that every time she changes the timeline, it can have adverse consequences.

8 Hard Candy (2005)

● Available on Tubi, Pluto TV, Vudu, and Prime Video

Life is Strange wasn’t a game to stray away from darker elements, one of which including a plotline involving murder and kidnapping. All of these dark facets are involved in the 2005 mystery thriller Hard Candy, starring Elliot Smith and Patrick Wilson, who also happens to resemble one of Life is Strange‘s characters.

The movie follows a young teen who is seemingly about to be taken advantage of by an adult man who has been grooming them over the internet, only for him to have the tables turned on him.

7 Horse Girl (2020)

● Available on Netflix

A trippy Netflix Original, Horse Girl features Alison Brie as Sarah, a woman distraught as she becomes convinced that she’s traveled through time and has been abducted by aliens.

The storytelling brings the viewers into a disoriented state as they try to understand the narrative through Sarah’s mind. Like Life is Strange, this film also plays with time travel and has a similar sort of spooky and nostalgic small-town feel to it.

6 Palm Springs (2020)

● Available on Hulu

Another time-travel/time-loop scenario that also plays on the Groundhog Day concept is the unique rom-com Palm Springs. The story follows a woman named Sarah as she’s suddenly drawn into a loop with Nyles in which they wake up on the same day every time they fall asleep or die.

RELATED: 15 Cool Time Loop Movies, Ranked (According To IMDb)

Seeing as they have all the time in the world, they fall in love until they decide to break out of the repetitive prison. It’s a hilarious comedy that, like Life Is Strange, weaves an affecting and down-to-earth romance out of a high-concept sci-fi concept.

5 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)

Laura Palmer in Fire Walk With Me

● Available on HBO Max

Life is Strange actually makes quite a few references to Twin Peaks, including an owl as an indicator of danger. Like the game, Twin Peaks’ scariest moments feature a fantastical edge and confront themes of fate and death.

Fire Walk With Me shows the events that lead to the murder of the original TV series from the victim’s perspective as she pieces together her eventual doom and what that means for those around her.

4 The Craft (1996)

● Available on HBO Max

Showing what happens when a group of teenagers takes advantage of their powers, much like in Life is Strange, the cult classic The Craft has continued to inspire generations of witches and Halloween lovers.

The Craft follows a young coven of newborn witches as they use their magic to right the wrongs of others and improve the value of their lives until it starts getting to their heads and chaos ensues. Also like Life Is Strange, this movie takes place in a small town and concerns themes of coming-of-age, loneliness, and responsibility.

3 Lucy (2014)

Scarlett Johannson in Lucy

● Available on DirecTV and TNT

Like Max Caufield, Lucy was just a normal person before an inciting incident caused her to acquire powers beyond anyone’s comprehension, though, unlike Max, Lucy’s capabilities are much more transformative and powerful.

RELATED: Scarlett Johansson’s 10 Most Badass Characters, Ranked

This 2014 action-thriller movie stars Scarlett Johansson follows a woman as she grows into a powerful being with psychokinetic abilities due to her using more and more of her previously-untapped brainpower and though it’s much more action-heavy than Life Is Strange ever is, Lucy shares a lot of the games eclectic personality.

2 The Butterfly Effect (2004)

● Available for purchase on Prime Video

The closest movie to Life is Strange in terms of narrative, mechanics, and plot, The Butterfly Effect is a 2004 science-fiction thriller about a college student who has struggled with flashbacks his entire life only to find out these are due to his ability to go back in time.

The protagonist, Evan, can look at memorabilia such as writings, photos, and videos and use them as launching points to rewrite history. Like the game, The Butterfly Effect also discusses the futility of messing with time and the theory that if the original timeline is disturbed, then “doom” is destined in spite of someone’s best efforts. Blue butterflies are referenced in both works as well.

1 Donnie Darko (2001)

Jake Gyllenhaal in Donnie Darko

● Available on Pluto TV, Tubi, and Prime Video

One of the “original” psychological mystery thrillers concerning time management, Donnie Darko has had a hand in inspiring both The Butterfly Effect and Life is Strange. Also concerning the “butterfly effect” philosophy, Donnie Darko follows the titular high schooler who escapes being crushed by a plane in his bedroom. Following the event, he finds that he is being spoken to by an evil-looking rabbit and is told that the world will end soon.

In both the video game and film, the characters are motivated by their abilities and the threat of some sort of natural disaster caused by the disturbance of their timeline and every fan of the most mindbending qualities in Life is Strange should Donnie Darko out.

NEXT: 15 Best Quotes From Donnie Darko

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