15+ Highly Conceptual Movies Meant Only For The Smart Ones

Highly Conceptual Movies For Smart

Do you eagerly look for mind-bending, twisted movies like Inception? Then the list of highly conceptual movies will make your day!

No matter how much the low concept movies enchant you, there is always a wide audience for high concept movies. Why not? After all, highly conceptual movies have a straightforward plot, clear, easily-communicable premise.

High concept movies are unique and universal, and have a hook to spark your imagination and generates audience appeal.. They are easy to explain, can easily be summarized in one line but may or may not be a big budget or complex.

However, in this post, we’ve covered highly conceptual movies that require a great deal of effort to understand. Some of them may be deliberately confusing but all the movies on the list are alluring and fascinating.

Here is the list of 15+ best high concept movies for all the smart brains there:

18. Tenet (2020)

Highly Conceptual Movies

IMDb: 7.6/10

The movie is based on the concept of time inversion.

A secret agent embarks on a dangerous mission to prevent World War 3, but the journey turns to something beyond real-time. However, inverted technology, the most complex form of science fiction, is tackled smoothly.

The unexpected twists and turns in the movie will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time and the great ending makes everything worth it.

17. The Man from Earth (2007)

Highly Conceptual Movies

IMDb: 7.9/10

A clever and intriguing movie plot that force you to look deeper and find those complexities,

Based on the novel by Jerome Bixby, the movie focuses on young looking John Oldman, a departing university professor, who claims to be a Magdalenian caveman and has secretly survived for more than 14,000 years. Though hard to believe for his students, John gives the reasonably logical answer for each of their questions,

A perfect blend of simplicity and complexity, this is a must watch for not just smart ones but anyone who is a free thinker or a philosopher.

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16. Truman Show (1998)

IMDb: 8.1/10

The science fiction comedy drama film presents the concept of a false reality for the first time.

The movie is about an insurance salesman adopted and raised by a corporation inside a simulated television. He realizes and tries to escape the fake world and cruel deception. Will he be successful?

The classic comedy will make the viewers think twice.

15. Groundhog Day (1993)

Groundhog Day (1993)

IMDb: 8.0/10

The movie introduces the concept of living the same day over and over again.

TV weatherman Phil Connors visits Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities, but realizes he is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in the same place, spend time with same people and repeat the same thing every day.

Groundhog Day is a funny, witty, clever film that exists on multiple levels to deliver a valuable life lesson.

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14. Donnie Darko (2001)

IMDb: 8.0/10

The science fiction psychological thriller with loads of creepy elements and spooky scenes unravels the truth of Tangent universe theory

The epic mystery movie chronicles the life of a mentally unstable young man Donnie Darko.

Donnie has an imaginary friend called Frank who appears in a large rabbit suit setting the stage of parallel universes and the impact on decisions we make in alternate realities.

13. Lucy (2014)


IMDb: 6.4/10

The movie is about human potential, brain capacity and humanity’s need to access it.

An American woman Lucy is tricked into working as a drug mule and was assigned a simple task of delivering a mysterious briefcase to Mr Jang. But this dark deal turned her into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic with only 24-48 hours to live.

Watch it to know when you use 100% of your brain!

12. Vanilla Sky (2001)

vanilla sky

IMDb: 6.9/10

David Aames, a 33-year-old tycoon inherits publishing empire after his parents were killed in a car crash. As the movie unfolds, David goes through an unexpected roller-coaster ride of romance, comedy, suspicion, love, sex and dreams in a mind-bending search for his soul.

The thriller is more than just about David’s life and loves, there are surprises on top of surprises. Tight directing and clever twists will give you a colourful, surreal experience.

11. Mr. Nobody (2009)

 Mr Nobody (2009)

IMDb: 7.8/10

A  science-fiction drama film is about choice and nature of choice. Nemo Nobody, a 118-year-old man who is the last mortal on Earth and going down the memory lane, he found himself standing at the railway station. The train is about to leave and he has to make a tough decision whether to stay with his mother or father after their divorce.

An infinity of possibilities rise from this decision. As long as he doesn’t choose, anything is possible. Sure, no one wants to regret later “would I have been better if I had made any different choices”

It is easy to choose between right and wrong but really very daunting when you have to choose between two right paths.

 10. Coherence (2013)

IMDb: 7.2/10

The American psychological science fiction thriller is about a group of eight friends reunite at a dinner party on an evening, but mysterious things begin to happen due to the hostile influence of a passing Miller’s Comet.

The movie directed by James Ward Byrkit is based on the  Schrödinger’s cat theory devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. In life we all dream of becoming an alternative self irrespective of the path we choose in life.

Watch out to know if it is possible for multiple simultaneous realities to exist at the same time.

Read 25 Movies To Watch When You Feel Depressed

9. Pi (1998)

IMDb: 7.4/10

The movie is all about a genius mathematician Maximillian Cohen, who believes that everything in nature can be understood and represented through numbers and that if you graph the numbers properly patterns will emerge.

Max eagerly tries to figure out the system that can predict the stock market scenario with the help of his homemade supercomputer.  Profit-oriented Wall Street traders and a Chasidic Torah scholar, who believes there is a mathematical code sent from God – chase Max for his results.

After all the challenges, massive headaches and psychological delusions of paranoia, can Max find one mathematical key to religion, stock market, history and everything happening in the universe? 

8. Source Code (2011)

Source Code

IMDb: 7.5/10

The Sci-Fi time-travel thriller is about Colter Stevens, who’s a soldier but wakes up in someone else’s body and later realizes that he is chosen to fulfil a government mission. He has to find the culprit behind the Chicago train blast and prevent the second attack.

However, the project requires him to enter the male passenger’s body for 8 minutes before the man is killed. Considering the time constraints and with many things at stake, will he be able to prevent another deadly attack? 

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7. The Butterfly Effect (2004)

IMDb: 7.6/10

The Butterfly Effect is the idea used in the chaos theory according to which a small incident can lead to much bigger changes far away.

Evan Treborn  (Ashton Kutcher) suffers from severe headaches and blackouts and is transferred into the past to undo unpleasant events in his life and others too.

The movie wonderfully covers an array of dark themes like prison rape, animal cruelty, child molestation, suicide, prostitution, drug addiction and mental illness.

Will Evan be successful in his attempt or end up making his life more chaotic? 

Read 15 Emotional Movies That Will Make You Cry Your Heart Out

6. Predestination (2014)

IMDb: 7.5/10

The movie directed by Michael and Peter is based on the concept – predestination paradox. A temporal agent travels between 1945 to 1993 in search of the fizzle bomber to prevent a bomb attack in New York in 1975.

The mind-bending exploration of love, identity, fate and time travel taboos makes it watch-worthy. But, you’ll need a lot of brainstorming to understand this entrancingly strange time-travel saga.

5. Upstream Color (2013)

Upstream color

IMDb: 6.7/10

An experimental American cinema explores the symbiotic relationship between man, animal and nature. To individuals who are caught in the life cycle of an ageless organism move ahead in the journey of self-discovery.

The film beautifully depicts how sometimes life takes us to a point where things are outside and beyond our control. Watch out to know what’s these two individuals will do with their wrecked lives?

4. Inception (2010)


IMDb: 8.8/10

Describing the beauty, brilliance and popularity of this mind-bending, action-packed movie are beyond any words can encompass.

Although very intense and complex, you’ll not regret pushing the boundaries of your mind to understand Christopher Nolan’s concept of dream-sharing.

Even if you watch umpteenth times, the ending will always be arguable. And, that’s why our highly conceptual movie list is incomplete without this movie. 

3. 2001: Space Odyssey (1968)

Highly conceptual movies

IMDb: 8.3/10

This classic movie, directed by Stanley Kubrick takes us through the journey of a crew of scientists along with the sentient computer HAL 9000 and beautifully displays the connection between the past and the present.

The film covers the theme of artificial intelligence vs mankind. The exploration of human evolution using science and space travel concept is altogether a thrilling plot.

Read 30 Mind Blowing Puzzling Movies You Should Never Miss

2. Primer (2004)

highly conceptual movies

IMDb: 6.9/10

Aaron (Shane Carruth) and Abe (David Sullivan)  with the help of other friends invent a form of time travel, but soon their excitement turns to obsession over their creation.

In the quest to make money out of the new technology, they create overlapping timelines and are caught up in dark consequences. The movie is no less than a scientific puzzle and is a good challenge for all the brainiacs out there. 


1. The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix

IMDb: 8.7/10

The ground-breaking, philosophical sci-fi classic introduced the concept of simulated reality.

Computer hacker Neo enters a forbidding underworld and discovers that the life he knows is the elaborate deception of an evil cyber-intelligence created by sentient machines to subdue the human population.

He then plans to fight against the machines to free humanity from the lives of computerized brainwashing.

Which of these highly conceptual movies is your favorite?

Share it in comment below.

10 Highly Conceptual Movies Meant Only For The Really Smart Ones
10 Highly Conceptual Movies Meant Only For The Really Smart Ones
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Highly Conceptual Movies For Smart Ones pin

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  1. Mike Avatar

    Ah thanks so much for sharing these, I was looking for some new movies to watch this weekend xo

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