18 Movies from the Past Decade That Went Overboard with Wokeness

Over the past decade, cinema has completely changed, thanks in part to filmmakers daring enough to tackle issues head-on. These “woke movies” have led to conversations and controversy. For some, these movies represent everything wrong with today’s media landscape, while for others, they’re talking about things we need to address. No matter your opinion of them, here are 18 of the wokest films from the last decade.


Get Out (2017)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Jordan Peele’s directorial debut turned the horror genre on its head with its analysis of race and societal norms. He would continue addressing similar themes in his latest work, but this was definitely his wokest work of all. While some people argued it started necessary conversations, others criticized it for being racist. Who knew a teacup could be so deadly?


Moonlight (2016)

Photo Credit: A24.

Moonlight breaks the mold by exploring the life of Chiron, a character whose life from childhood to adulthood in a rough Miami neighborhood is anything but stereotypical. The film’s portrayal of black masculinity and queer identity, along with its incredible cinematography, sets it apart. It’s a groundbreaking film that challenges your expectations at every turn.


Barbie (2023)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, the film explores Barbieland and the real world after Barbie herself has an existential crisis. It’s a commentary on patriarchy and feminism, showcasing Barbie’s evolution beyond her stereotypical image. Despite the criticisms, the film was definitive proof that ‘go woke go broke’ doesn’t always hold up.


Black Panther (2018)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Black Panther goes beyond its superhero roots to become a celebration of African heritage and a criticism of Afrofuturism. Its portrayal of Wakanda, a technologically advanced yet culturally rich nation, challenges the often singular representation of Africa in Hollywood. The film focuses on elevating black voices by showing the importance of community and power.


Parasite (2019)

Photo Credit: CJ Entertainment.

Parasite combines an intense plot with a scathing criticism of capitalism and the class system. Its dark humor and increasing tension show the desperation that drives the film’s characters. It’s a powerful statement about the invisibility of the lower class and the superficiality of the social mobility dream that not everyone agrees with.


Jojo Rabbit (2019)

Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

For Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waitit decided to mix satire with the sensitivity of World War II to make a statement about propaganda and war. Some people argued that it actually criticized modern-day movements like the MAGA group. Through the innocent eyes of a young boy, we learn about human nature and the power of love to dismantle even the worst prejudices. 


Promising Young Woman (2020)

Photo Credit: Focus Features.

Promising Young Woman takes a flamethrower to the cultural narratives around consent and assault. The filmmakers gave us a story that is both cathartic and tragic. It’s a neon-drenched critique of the “nice guy” idea and societal ignorance in the face of injustice, making it a timely piece in the #MeToo era.


Nomadland (2020)

Photo Credit: Searchlight Pictures.

Nomadland gives us a sad look at the American dream turned sideways, focusing on those living on the road as a response to economic collapse. It shows how freedom doesn’t always come from youthful adventure but from a choice of necessity and resilience. At the same time, it also criticizes American capitalism in typical woke fashion.


Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

“Judas and the Black Messiah” focuses on Fred Hampton’s charismatic leadership within the Black Panther Party. It looks at the FBI’s aggressive tactics to undermine their activism, specifically through COINTELPRO, and shows the government’s fear of a figure who could help unite people against racial injustice. Race and government criticism – could there be anything more woke?


Minari (2020)

Photo Credit: A24.

“Minari” explores the Yi family’s journey and the rifts that prevent them from becoming truly American. The film focuses on the Korean-American determination to achieve the American dream while being alienated in rural Arkansas. It also challenges the myth of the American Dream and what truly makes someone successful in America.


The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

Photo Credit: Netflix.

Sorkin takes a look at history with this explosive recap of the ’69 trial of seven anti-war defendants, serving justice with a side of theatrical flair. The film is a legal chess game where every move is a protest chant, and you better be paying attention! This courtroom drama is a history lesson with the volume cranked up to eleven.


The Hate U Give (2018)

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

The Hate Give looks at the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement, tackling controversial issues like police brutality and racial injustice head-on. It’s a film that doesn’t shy away from showing the impact these issues apparently have on certain communities. No wonder many people think it’s the wokest film ever!


Booksmart (2019)

Photo Credit: United Artist.

This film flips the script on the typical high school experience. It offers a fresh take on female friendship and sexuality that’s right for the 21st century. With its witty dialogue and clever plot twists, the film is as hilarious as it is insightful. It’s a true standout in the recent explosion of coming-of-age films.


Wonder Woman (2017)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Wonder Woman soared into theaters and smashed box office records, along with centuries-old gender norms. Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Diana showed how a woman can save the world without needing to be saved herself. Under Patty Jenkins’ direction, the film proved that female-led and directed blockbusters can still be wildly successful.


Sorry to Bother You (2018) 

Photo Credit: Annapurna Pictures.

This film is like a fever dream of social commentary on steroids. Lakeith Stanfield’s transformation from down-on-his-luck telemarketer to corporate puppet master is as hilarious as it is horrifying. It serves up a no-holds-barred critique of capitalism gone wild. The film challenges viewers to reflect on the uncomfortable truths about race and the American Dream.


Frozen 2 (2019) 

Photo Credit: Walt Disney.

Who would’ve thought a Disney animation could be so woke? This next installment in the franchise looked at darker themes than its predecessor, such as colonialism and environmentalism. Elsa and Anna try to save their kingdom while also confronting harsh truths about their past and learning from them.


BlacKkKlansman (2018)

Photo Credit: Focus Features.

Spike Lee’s half-humor and half-horror flick takes the absurd true story of a Black detective infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan and uses it to reflect on America’s ongoing struggle with racism. It’s a hilarious film that also shows the dangers of unchecked hatred and bigotry. With its unflinching look at the past and present, it’s a call to action against racial injustice.


The Big Sick (2017)

Photo Credit: Amazon Studios.

Based on the real-life love story of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the film shows an interracial couple dealing with cultural differences and family expectations. The film examines immigrant family dynamics and the complexities of becoming part of a very different country like America. It’s very much a woke film.

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William Tyler

Writer & Blogger

William Tyler is a prolific movie writer hailing from the vibrant state of Florida. Growing up amidst the lush landscapes and diverse communities of the Sunshine State, Tyler developed a deep appreciation for storytelling from an early age. With a knack for crafting captivating narratives and memorable characters, Tyler’s screenplays captivate audiences with their blend of heart, humor, and insight. Drawing inspiration from the unique experiences and colorful personalities he encountered in Florida, his work reflects a deep connection to the region’s culture and identity.

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