There’s never been a better time to chill out on the couch and put on a great movie. People are ditching traditional free-to-air TV and cinema, instead staying at home both to save a buck and avoid the hassle of having to go out. This has given rise to subscription video on-demand (SVOD) services such as Netflix. But we all have horrific stories about searching for hours for something to watch on Netflix, and just because you’re strapped for time doesn’t mean you should be stuck watching something you hate. Frankly, Netflix’s huge log of movies makes it a nightmare for an indecisive person – such as this author – to decide what to sit down and watch.
Back in the day you paid $5 for an overnight video rental, so you were pretty much pigeonholed into watching it. Nowadays, Netflix gives you possibly too much choice, and all for a low price. Well, we endeavour to help people make better-informed decisions about what they’re buying, and movies are no exception. Here’s a list of the top 20 movies to watch on Netflix, and it’s unashamedly subjective. Hit the links below to go straight to a movie that interests you. Prefer to start a new series? See our list of the best Netflix shows here.
- The Trial of the Chicago 7
- Top End Wedding
- Call Me By Your Name
- The Half of It
- All the Bright Places
- Uncut Gems
- 6 Underground
- El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
- The Laundromat
- Falling Inn Love
- The King
- The Perfect Date
- Wanda Sykes: Not Normal
- Velvet Buzzsaw
- Unicorn Store
- Always be My Maybe
- Murder Mystery
If you loved Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name or Lily James in Mamma Mia! then you’ll be pleased to hear that the two of them have teamed up for the Netflix Original remake of the iconic 1938 gothic novel, Rebecca. James stars as a young, naïve and unnamed woman who, after a whirlwind romance in Monte Carlo, agrees to marry wealthy widower Maxim de Winter. She moves into his famous estate in England, where she finds herself trapped in the shadow of the former Mrs de Winter, Rebecca, whose mysterious death haunts the manor. Above all that, she also has to deal with the cruel Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas) who was obsessed with Rebecca and refuses to accept that there is a new lady of the house.
The Trial of the Chicago 7
Aaron Sorkin’s new Netflix production is one of his best — and he’s done a lot (The Social Network, The West Wing, just to name a few). The fourth film adaptation of one of the most publicised and well-known court trials, Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 is based on the true story of, yep, you guessed it, the trial of the Chicago 7. The 2020 American legal drama follows a group of activists on trial in 1969 for various charges relating to the riots that followed demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, Illinois. The film also boasts an impressive ensemble, including Eddie Redmayne, Joseph Gordon-levitt, Mark Rylance, Jeremy Strong, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and best of all, Sacha Baron Cohen. With whispers of Oscar nods already circulating, this is one not to miss.
Top End Wedding
There’s nothing better than a movie celebrating the beautiful country of Australia, and there’s not many movies that do it better than Top End Wedding, the rom-com from director Wayne Blair (The Sapphires). Set in the Northern Territory, the story follows Adelaide couple Lauren (Miranda Tapsell, The Sapphires, Love Child) and Ned (Gwilym Lee, Bohemian Rhapsody) as they plan to wed in Lauren’s hometown in the Territory. When the couple return home however, they discover that Lauren’s mother has pulled a runner, sparking a search hunt to bring her home before the wedding.
Call Me By Your Name
This coming-of-age romance was a low-budget Italian film based on the novel by André Aciman, released in 2017 and starring relatively unknown actors at the time, Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet. Flash forward a few months after its release, the movie has won an Oscar, is hailed as groundbreaking LGBTQI+ cinema and has made stars of its leads. Fans of the now-cult film have been thrilled to hear it’s making its way to Netflix, and for those who haven’t seen it, now’s your chance. Set in the summer of 1983, the film follows the love story of 17-year-old Elio (Chalemet), who is spending his holiday at his family’s Italian villa, along with Oliver (Hammer), who is working for Elio’s father as a research assistant. Directed by Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name will make you cry, fall in love with Timothée Chalamet, and make you want to pick up and move to Italy.
The Half of It
We already know Netflix is the King of rom coms. And we love a mushy romance (usually with Noah Centino as the lead) as much as the next person, but we’re pretty damn excited about The Half of It — a rom com celebrating diversity and friendship with a twist. Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) is a shy, lonely, Chinese-American straight-A student living in the small town of Squahamish. Strapped for cash, she agrees to help the school jock Paul (Daniel Diemer) woo over his crush by writing notes for her. The only trouble? Ellie just so happens to a crush on the same girl. The Half of It will pull on your heartstrings, especially after Ellie and Paul strike up an adorable friendship. We are here for it all.
A film directed by the iconic Spike Lee with Jordan Peele – the mastermind behind recent hits Get Out and Us – on the production credit was always going to be unreal, and BlacKkKlansman does not disappoint. Loosely based on actual events, the film follows Ron Stallworth’s infiltration of the local Klu Klux Klan chapter as he attempts to expose the individuals beneath the white hoods. As the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs police department, Stallworth sends his Jewish co-worker to the gatherings in his place.
All the Bright Places
Based on the bestselling YA novel of the same name by Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places tells the story of two people – a popular girl and an outcast ‘freak’ – who accidentally form a powerful bond as fate leads them to helping each other deal with grief and mental illness. Elle Fanning stars as leading lady Violet Markey, who is dealing with survivor’s guilt, and Justice Smith as Theodore Finch who is struggling with an undiagnosed mental illness and can’t stop thinking about death. Directed by Brett Haley, All the Bright Places is about two people, unsuspectingly falling in love while they unsuspectedly save each other.
This is Adam Sandler like you’ve never seen him before. Uncut Gems follows Howard Ratner (Sandler), a gambling addict and gemstone dealer who runs a jewelry store in New York’s Diamond District. His gambling addiction has left him with debt up to his eyeballs and a broken marriage – but after discovering a rare uncut rock of Ethiopian gems, he thinks he’s finally found the solution to all his problems. With an interest from Boston Celtic’s Kevin Garnett (who plays himself in the movie), Ratner is feeling confident and makes a chaotic and high-stake bet in the NBA playoffs, with disastrous consequences. Adam Sandler himself said this movie was snubbed at the Oscars this year – and to be honest, he’s not wrong – Uncut Gems will have you on the edge of your seat for its entirety. He also promised he would come back and make a movie “so bad on purpose just to make you all pay” if the movie didn’t win. So… Grown Ups 3?
From suiting up as everyone’s favourite mischievous superhero, Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds returns to the screen with a team of untraceable mercenaries on a “bold and bloody mission” to bring down a brutal dictator”. Directed by Michael Buy, 6 Underground follows an elite group of international operatives who fake their own deaths in an attempt to erase their past and begin work in the shadows to help save the world.
The agents recruited by the man behind it all, One (Reynolds), are all known by their code names. Two (Mélanie Laurent) is hired as the resident spy, Three (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) is enlisted as hitman, while Four works as the parkour runner and Five (Adria Arjona) as the team’s doctor. Dave Franco similarly joins the gang as the driver known as Six, with sniper Corey Hawkins also working as Seven.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Reunite with Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and get your Breaking Bad fix with El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. After the hit show aired its final episode in 2013, the writers have made a comeback with this sequel and will finally reveal what really happened at the end of the series when Pinkman was kidnapped by a drug gang and kept in captivity. The crime thriller is written and directed by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan.
The Laundromat is one of this year’s most anticipated movies, giving audiences a suitably big name cast to cover what is said to be the largest data leak in history. Steven Soderbergh’s fictional take on the Panama Papers follows a retired woman named Ellen (Meryl Streep) who gets caught up in all sorts of trouble when she starts investigating why she wasn’t able to sue those responsible for the terrible accident that led to her husband’s death. After finding out this was all due to a fake insurance policy and dodgy dealings involving two lawyers (Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman) from a Panama-based firm, Ellen quickly learns her problem is linked to a huge offshore tax scheme helping the world’s richest and most powerful get away with tax evasion. From then on, Ellen does everything she can to track down and expose the duo behind it all.
Falling Inn Love
If you love cheesy romantic comedies, get ready to eat up Falling Inn Love on Netflix. After dumping her non-committal boyfriend of two years, Gabriela Diaz (Christina Milian) wins a New Zealand inn and leaves her corporate job and insufferable boss to remodel an unexpectedly worn down property on the other side of the world. Thankfully though, there’s Jake Taylor (Adam Demos) — a handsome, and of course single, contractor available to help flip the inn and Gabriela’s life around.
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All hail King Henry in one of Netflix’s most anticipated films of recent years. Timothée Chalamet takes on the role of Hal, a reluctant heir to the English throne, who left his royal life and went to live among ‘the people’. But everything changes when his tyrannical father dies and he is forced to embrace the royal life as the newly crowned King Henry V. Follow the young king as he tries to deal with not just the palace politics and war he inherited, but also the emotional strings of his past life and relationship with his closest friend and mentor, the ageing alcoholic knight, John Falstaff (Joel Edgerton).
The King is directed by David Michôd and also features Ben Mendelsohn, Robert Pattinson, Lily-Rose Depp and Sean Harris. The military drama is expected to be released on Netflix later this year.
The Perfect Date
Some teens get a job at Woolies or McDonalds to earn money, while boys like Brooks Rattigan (Noah Centineo) pose as a stand-in date for young girls to rack up enough money for college. Like many high-schoolers, Brooks dreams of going to Yale in order to make a difference in the world. But he’s worried his good grades and after-school jobs isn’t enough, especially with the costly Ivy League fees. So, he creates an app where others can hire him for any event as their fake boyfriend. The girls can also pick his personality and mould him into the date of their dreams.
Like any romantic comedy, Brooks questions whether his school crush is the right person for him. Maybe it’s the girl who suggested the idea of being a rent-a-boyfriend all, Celia (Laura Marano).
Wanda Sykes: Not Normal
Get ready to belly laugh, silent laugh, and even the classic ‘wheeze and snort’. Wanda Sykes doesn’t hold back in her Netflix comedy special when she takes a hilarious and sharp-witted look at the state of the world. She tackles everything from politics and racism, to reality TV. The comedian is well-known for popular shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and Blackish. Wanda was also the first African-American woman to perform at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, as well as the first to star in her own sitcom, ‘Wanda at Large’.
If you’re a fan of the weird and wacky, Velvet Buzzsaw is a horror film which revolves around the art scene in Los Angeles, and a stash of paintings by a deceased artist that unleashes a supernatural force that “enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art”.
The Netflix Original stars Jake Gyllenhall as Morf Vandewall, a supposedly “feared critic, an icy gallery owner and an ambitious assistant” who quickly realises he got more than he bargained for when he purchased the artwork. It turns out Vetril Dease, the artist whose sinister paintings rose to fame after their death, was also a murder who never wanted his work to be seen or sold after he died. Dease’s spirit haunts anyone who goes against his wishes and hunts down each person in a range of ways.
Velvet Buzzsaw also features John Malkovich, Rene Russo, Billy Magnussen, Toni Collette and Daveed Diggs.
“Everybody needs some magic in their lives, even if they’re all grown-up.” After flunking out of art school and taking an unfulfilling job as an office temp, a whimsical painter (Brie Larson) receives a mysterious invitation that would make her childhood dream of adopting a unicorn come true.
Larson makes her director debut in Unicorn Store, a movie in which she plays a twenty-something woman named Kit who others are still yet to see properly ‘grow up’. After the aspiring artist is forced to move back in with her parents, played by Joan Cusack and Bradley Whitford, she encounters The Salesman (Samuel L. Jackson) in a unicorn store. But if Kit wants to finally get the pet she’s dreamed of, she’ll have to prove she’s worthy of one.
This comedy also stars Mamoudou Athie, Hamish Linklater, Martha MacIsaac, Karan Soni and Annaleigh Ashford.
Always Be My Maybe
Netflix’s season of love continues with the Internet’s latest obsession, Always Be My Maybe. Starring Ali Wong and Randall Park, this romantic comedy follows the journey of two childhood sweethearts who reunite after 15 years.
When Sasha (Wong), now a famous chef, returns to her hometown to open a new restaurant, she runs into her old friend, Marcus (Park). Despite being hesitant on reconnecting, it’s clear there are still some old sparks – but both of them have trouble igniting the fire as they struggle to adjust with each other’s new lives. Sasha’s romantic flames also provides some seriously hilarious obstacles. Whether it’s the heartthrob fiancé played by Daniel Dae Kim, or the overly affectionate and seemingly perfect boyfriend that is Keanu Reeves, you’re bound to fall head over heels with this Netflix film. Always Be My Maybe also features James Saito, Michelle Buteau, Vivian Bang, Susan Park, Karan Soni and Charlyne Yi.
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Beats begins on a heavy note, with August (Khalil Everage) becoming a recluse after the death of his sister Kari (Megan Sousa). With no intention of leaving his room, the soon-to-be discovered hip-hop prodigy stays inside his room producing music to deal with his PTSD and agoraphobia. But everything changes when Romelo (Anthony Anderson), a music manager turned security guard, visits August’s home to try to get him to return to school and ends up hearing what the young teen is capable of. Directed by Chris Robinson, the Netflix film also features Uzo Aduba, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Paul Walter Hauser, Dave East, Seandrea Sledge and Ashley Jackson.
Need a killer flick to pass the time? Keep one eye open for Murder Mystery, a Netflix Original which takes a comedic spin on Agatha Christie’s classic Murder on the Orient Express. Watch how everything unfolds after Nick (Adam Sandler) and his wife Audrey (Jennifer Aniston) unexpectedly find themselves in a modern whodunit after taking up a once-in-a-lifetime vacation opportunity offered by viscount Charles Cavendish (Luke Evans).
Despite leaving for a holiday intended to keep their marriage alive, it seems the couple must first survive their European trip and figure out what to do when they’ve been framed for the murder of an elderly billionaire on a yacht. The other prime suspects responsible for entertaining your night include Gemma Arterton, Adeel Akhtar, Luis Gerardo Méndez, Dany Boon and Terence Stamp.
What movie should I watch on Netflix?
While this list is incredibly subjective, we hope it gives you some idea as to what to watch next time you fire up Netflix. Though, it’s probably best to avoid watching most of these films on a stormy night alone, and they are best watched with the kids put to bed! Pairing your binge watching with a new unmetered internet plan may be an ideal way to get more ‘bang for buck’ and see your data go further. If you’ve got a spare weekend or three, these movies are well worth a look into. Fire up the telly, dim the lights and get comfy because you probably won’t want to move!