What are the best Netflix movies? Many rivals have entered the streaming space, but the mix of acquisitions and in-house originals make Netflix top of the pile for sheer value. If you want the best movies, and best TV series, it’s still an essential platform.
An aggressive push for streaming rights has given Netflix an extensive library of films from some of the finest filmmakers, alive or dead. Orson Welles, Martin Scorsese, Charlie Kaufman, Guillermo del Toro – the list of directors with exclusive projects either out or in the works is long and growing.
Throw in the monthly turnover for what’s new on Netflix, which routinely provides a chance to catch up on an old favourite or cross something off the queue, and the Netflix price is hard to argue with. We’ve been through the library as it currently stands for the best Netflix movies you can watch right now. We’d like to think there’s something for everyone, but on the off-chance there isn’t, check back after we’ve updated, and you’re bound to find something to try.
What are the best Netflix movies?
- Uncut Gems
- Da 5 Bloods
- His House
- The Mitchells Vs The Machines
- I’m Thinking of Ending Things
- The Irishman
Fans of Paul Thomas Anderson had known of Adam Sandler’s dramatic abilities since 2002’s Punch-Drunk Love. Uncut Gems, from directors Josh and Benny Safdie, should be evidence enough for anyone else who needs convincing.
The anxious, twisting drama follows Howard Ratner, a jeweller with a gambling addiction, as he struggles to dig himself out of a deep hole of debt. A short time frame only exacerbates the knot in one’s stomach, watching Howard sink further and further towards a stunning all-or-nothing final play. Sandler delivers the performance of a lifetime, guided by the naturalist touch of the Safdies.
Da 5 Bloods
Delroy Lindo gives a monologue straight to the camera in Spike Lee’s post-Vietnam reflection that’s worth a try alone. That the rest of the feature makes for a thoughtful, meditative look at trauma, race, and male camaraderie is an added bonus.
Lindo is one of the ‘Bloods’, along with Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, and Isiah Whitlock Jr, a group of Black soldiers who served together in Vietnam. Their squad leader, Norman, was killed in action near some buried treasure. Decades later, they find out there’s a chance to retrieve Norman’s body, and all that gold, and decide to return.
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Filming took place across Vietnam, China, and Thailand, and Lee frequently surrounds his actors with lush greenery, to demonstrate the inescapable nature of their experiences. Johnathan Majors joins in, as Lindo’s son, a supporting turn that almost rivals Chadwick Boseman’s brief, poignant appearance. Top form, all the way around.
In which ghosts living in the walls are only marginally worse than an imminent visit from the council. Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dirisu are Rial and Dol, Sudanese refugees that find themselves at the wills of Britain’s asylum programme. Their small house, which they have to maintain under strict rules unless they’ll be deported, begins to exhibit odd noises that get progressively worse.
All the while, Dol and Rial navigate barriers in language, culture, and medical access. The ghost movie keeps the frights gradual without losing focus on our two leads and their dehumanising journey toward building a new life. Rarely will a visit to the local authorities seem so chilling.
The Mitchells Vs The Machines
Sony has, on occasion, put out some of the most creative animated movies around, such as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the masterpiece that is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The Mitchells Vs the Machines pits a suburban family against rogue AI hellbent on world domination in a colourful, heartwarming adventure movie that’s always got another visual gag up its sleeve.
Katie Mitchell is a filmmaker about to study her craft in college. Her father Rick is disappointed about the move, and on a roadtrip to her new dorm, they, along with mother Linda, and brother Aaron, find the excursion disrupted by evil robots – typical! A gigglesome script is bolstered by a charming aesthetic that merges Katie’s perspective with our own, to wonderful results.
Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Oscar Isaac – Alex Garland’s adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel boasts a stunning cast. Each is put through their paces by the psychological horror that unfolds, confronted with monsters beyond comprehension.
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Lena (Portman) leads a group of scientists into the ‘Shimmer’, the area around a meteorite that keeps mysteriously expanding. What they find within the beautiful, mutated overgrowth yields little answers, except for the universal truth that we can outrun just about anything else except ourselves.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
The first in a three-picture deal with Netflix has Charlie Kaufman crafting one of his most surreal movies yet. We start with Jessie Buckley as a nameless woman on her way to meet her partner Jake’s parents. She’s pondering breaking it off with him, but never gets a good chance to do so.
Kaufman writes and directs the feature, imbuing it with the same unease found in Anomalisa and Synecdoche, New York. Something as simple as a dog shaking its fur becomes unsettling when it goes on for too long. That’s just the start: Jake’s family home is a true liminal space that swallows Buckley, and us with it.
The film that drew Joe Pesci out of retirement. Maybe he did it because it’s Martin Scorsese; maybe it was for Al Pacino and Robert De Niro; maybe it was the screenplay – whatever the case, The Irishman presents several legends proving exactly why they’re revered so much.
De Niro and Pacino’s temperaments are played off each other: De Niro is the quiet, sheepish trucker-turned-hitman Frank Sheeran, while Pacino goes loud with charismatic union leader Jimmy Hoffa. Frank’s employed by Russell (Joe Pesci), but his loyalties become split over time when Jimmy and Russell irreconcilably disagree.
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Internal conflict and burgeoning alienation from his family are threaded through Frank’s life story. It’s a spiritual slow-burn that seems to ask us for penance. Or maybe The Irishman just wants us to hear Frank’s side of it all. It’s Scorsese – make your own mind up.