5 Must-See Parallel Universe Movies

We go over the five best movies about parallel universes that we know about... in this reality.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

With the craziness that is the world around us, sometimes it’s necessary to get lost in the different universes that cinema has created for us. While some may go beyond the stars and travel to the cosmos with The Guardians of the Galaxy or anywhere in Star Wars canon, we here at Giant Freakin Robot are happy to set you on an adventure of a different kind with our top five parallel universe movies. Prepare to blast off!

5. Another Earth (2011)
parallel universe movies


Coming in at the number 5 place in our favorite parallel universe movies is 2011’s Another Earth. We here at GFR are giving it a 5.32 while IMDB went a bit higher with a 7.0 and Rotten Tomatoes critics clocked it at 64 percent.

Directed by Mike Cahill, the Brit Marling-led movie sees the leading lady freshly released from prison and on the hunt for the man (William Mapother) whose life she forever changed through a car accident. A festival favorite, the sci-fi drama celebrated its premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and nabbed two nominations at that year’s Saturn Awards. 

4. The Discovery (2017)
parallel universe movies


Next up on our trippy journey into parallel universe movies is Charlie McDowell’s 2017 Netflix film, The Discovery. Dipping its toe into the much talked about and speculated-on afterlife, this sci-fi story hits audiences with twists and turns after Dr. Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford) discovers that there is beyond a doubt a life beyond death.

With this groundbreaking discovery, many people want to take a chance to start things over by committing suicide while others hope to dig deeper into the world surrounding them and better understand their purpose.

Boasting a star-studded cast that not only includes Robert Redford, but also features Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Riley Keough, and Jesse Plemons, The Discovery received a GFR Score of 5.365, with Rotten Tomatoes being a little less sure at 44 percent.

3. Donnie Darko (2001)
parallel universe movies


No list of the finest parallel universe movies would be complete without 2001’s classic Donnie Darko landing a spot towards the top. Crashing into the number three spot on our list with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 85 percent and a GFR score of 6.425, the star-studded Richard Kelly flick with one of the best soundtracks around is a must-see for any fan of psychologically thrilling movies.

The film follows Jake Gyllenhaal’s titular character who sleepwalks into a menacing, human-sized rabbit named Frank who tells him that the world will end in 28 days.

What happens throughout the movie is Donnie’s journey to uncover the truth about the apocalypse or just his inner mental health demons. A family affair, Donnie Darko also featured Jake Gyllenhaal’s sister Maggie Gyllenhaal and an ensemble including the likes of Seth Rogen, Drew Barrymore, and Patrick Swayze.

2. The One I Love (2014)
parallel universe movies


Leave it to filmmaker Charlie McDowell to land not only one but two films on our list of the best parallel universe movies out there. In 2014, the director combined the talents of Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, and Ted Danson to make the beautiful comedy The One I Love about love with a sci-fi twist.

In the feature, Duplass and Moss star as a couple on the fritz. After their therapist (Danson) suggests they take a long weekend at the perfect getaway home, the duo finds themselves in a strange setting where their memories begin to escape them. Rotten Tomatoes hit this one with 80 percent while we here at GFR landed on 6.55.

1. Coherence (2013)


If you’ve made it this far, you may have a clue what title made it to the number one spot on our list counting down the best parallel universe movies. Marking his directorial debut, James Ward Byrkit also penned the script for Coherence. A complete mind meld, the Emily Foxler-led feature took audiences on a thrill ride when eight dinner friends bit off more than they could chew at a dinner party.

With a comet passing by Earth, things get weird quickly for the gang as their very reality is pushed to the brink. Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum Nicholas Brendon also stars in the feature along with Maury Sterling (Homeland) and Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World). One of our favorites, Coherence landed a 7.6 with us and 88 percent with Rotten Tomatoes.

  • GFR Score calculated using averages of audience and critical reactions across multiple platforms.