Movies about teenage girls, racism, infertility, demons, and the apocalypse were the festival’s highlights.

The 2018 Sundance Film Festival didn’t yield any true standouts — nothing like last year’s Call Me By Your Name or The Big Sick — but a general lack of buzz doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of movies worth watching. Horror, high school stories, infertility comedies, post-apocalyptic dramas, and more ensured that the festival was a succession of startling and sometimes unsettling delights.

Here are nine films in particular that we’ll all be talking about later this year.

Madeline’s Madeline

Helena Howard and Molly Parker in Madeline's Madeline
Sundance Institute
Helena Howard and Molly Parker in Madeline’s Madeline.

Madeline’s Madeline is the story of a teenager named Madeline (the outstanding Helena Howard, in what’s sure to be a breakout role) who, after spending time under medical supervision for mental health issues, is finding new life and a community away from her obsessive, codependent mother (Miranda July). She finds solace in a theater group — but even though the woman who leads the group (Molly Parker) presents herself as a supportive collaborator for Madeline, it starts to become clear that she’s gleaning more from the relationship than may be healthy for the girl.

Writer/director Josephine Decker forgoes a straightforward telling of the story, opting instead for something that feels woozy and original from the start, disorienting by design, drawing us into Madeline’s muddled and sometimes overheated headspace in a way that feels more governed by dream logic than reality. It’s a stunner of a work from Decker and a new twist on the well-trodden theater troupe subgenre.

Madeline’s Madeline is awaiting distribution.

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