When you watch a film, sometimes you want an escape from reality, so run-of-the-mill romcoms and dramas about ordinary premises are out of the question. Whether you're looking for a movie set in a parallel universe, an alternate timeline, or a unique society, these 15 movies will transport you out of everyday life.
1 – Logan's Run (1976)
In a future society where people must die at the age of 30, Logan (Michael York) is a Sandman who hunts down those who try to escape their fate. But when Logan decides to run himself, he discovers a world beyond his wildest dreams, full of beauty and wonder.
2 – Gattaca (1997)
In a world where genetic engineering has created a society of genetically perfect people, Vincent (Ethan Hawke), a naturally-born “in-valid,” dreams of becoming an astronaut. To achieve his goal, he assumes the identity of a genetically superior person and faces a dangerous race against time to prove his worth.
3 – Dreams (1990)
Directed by Akira Kurosawa, Dreams is a collection of eight short films that explore the meaning of life, nature, and humanity. One of the segments, “The Peach Orchard,” is a surreal vision of a perfect, idyllic world where people live in harmony with nature.
4 – The Island (2005)
In a society where human clones are created to provide spare parts for their originals, Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) and Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson) escape to discover the truth about their existence and the outside world.
5 – Star Wars Franchise (1977-2019)
Set in a galaxy far, far away, the Star Wars franchise follows the epic journey of heroes like Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Rey as they battle against the evil Empire and other dark forces. The films are known for their immersive world-building, futuristic technology, and diverse range of alien races.
6 – The Martian (2015)
After being stranded on Mars, astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) must use his scientific knowledge and ingenuity to survive on the barren planet until he can be rescued. The film showcases the potential of human exploration and colonization of other planets.
7 – Inception (2010)
In a world where technology allows people to enter and manipulate dreams, a group of skilled thieves are hired to plant an idea in someone's subconscious. The film's intricate, multi-layered plot explores the boundaries of the human mind and the power of the imagination.
It introduces some interesting concepts such as “Limbo,” which is when someone is stuck inside a dream within a dream — a space of raw, infinite subconscious. Cobb describes how once you get stuck in it, you may never wake up again, and those who become trapped there lose their grip on reality, should they ever return.
8 – Interstellar (2014)
In a future where Earth is dying, a team of astronauts travels through a wormhole to find a new home for humanity. The film explores themes of time, space, and the nature of human existence. Astrophysicists have praised it for its accurate portrayal of wormholes, black holes, and the laws of physics.
9 – Annihilation (2018)
In Annihilation, a mysterious force known as “The Shimmer” appears on Earth, and scientists enter the zone to investigate. The film explores the boundaries of science and nature and questions what it means to be human.
10 – The Beach (2000)
Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio), a young backpacker searching for adventure, discovers a secret island paradise in Thailand. The film is a tale of paradise lost, exploring the tension between the desire for utopia and the inevitable realities of human nature.
11 – The Land Before Time (1988)
In this classic animated film, a group of young dinosaurs band together to search for the Great Valley, a utopian paradise where they can live in peace and safety. The film follows the young dinosaurs as they journey through a dangerous and changing world, facing challenges such as natural disasters, predatory animals, and the loss of loved ones, all while learning valuable lessons about friendship, courage, and perseverance.
12 – Elysium (2013)
In a future where the wealthy elite live on a luxurious space station called Elysium while the rest of humanity struggles on a decaying Earth, Max (Matt Damon) embarks on a dangerous mission to bring equality to both worlds. The film explores class, inequality, and the consequences of a divided society.
13 – Vivarium (2013)
This horror film starts off in a world we recognize, but when Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) and Gemma (Imogen Poots) look to buy their first home together, they get stuck in a suburban prison that controls their every move and forces them to live lives dictated by their new, terrifying world.
14 – Pitch Black (2000)
When a space transport vehicle crashes on a desert planet, the survivors are forced to survive on this difficult planet, where it's too hot with the planet's three suns and of course, the flesh-eating beings that live on the planet.
15 – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
In the twenty-eighth century, a team of special agents is charged with making sure there's peace throughout the planets that host human life. When the two agents arrive in the city of Alpha, there is a dark force that threatens this city with a vast collection of lives and cultures from different planets.
Jaimee Marshall is a writer who hails from the suburbs of Philadelphia but has spent the past few years living abroad in Australia. She considers herself a bit of a movie buff with a knack for horror and clever sci-fi flicks. When she isn't watching or writing about movies, she's probably either posting political memes, cooking vegan food, or being active. She covers entertainment news, and reviews films and television for Wealth of Geeks. You can also catch her deep dives on sociopolitical issues at Evie Magazine, Katie Couric Media, and Her Campus or watch her appearance on Popcorned Planet, where she discusses heated issues like due process in our current social climate.