No one could have foreseen the success of Netflix. In recent years, the streamer has become one of Hollywood’s most successful studios, rivaling the output of the likes of Disney, Warner Brothers and more. They’ve released movie after movie, with a selection ranging from mainstream rom-coms like To all the boys I’ve loved before to acclaimed indie award winners such as Rome. It’s safe to say that when it comes to movies, there’s something for everyone on Netflix.
While some of the most watched movies on the streamer are: Red notification, the Irishmanand birdhouse, there are many underrated movies buried deep in the Netflix catalog that deserve just as much love as these blockbuster titles. The company has produced films from all over the world and has supported unique filmmakers by supporting their projects. So forget Netflix’s Top 10 because it’s time to discover these hidden gems.
‘First they killed my father’ (2017)
Angelina Jolie is not only a remarkably talented actress, but also a gifted director. The proof is in her 2017 film First they killed my fathertelling the harrowing true story of the Cambodian author and activist Lounge Ungexperience as a child soldier under the Khmer Rouge rule.
The film is a slow but brutal portrayal of the horrors Ung faced as a child during the deadly group’s reign over Cambodia. There is minimal dialogue and it relies heavily on his performances and tension to tell this disturbing piece of history.
‘The Harder They Fall’ (2021)
Cowboys, action and an all-star cast in The harder they falla refreshing western that radiates style and tight production. Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, Zazie Beetz, and LaKieth Stanfield are just some of the players in this impressive ensemble piece.
The film follows outlaw Nat Love (Majors), who rounds up his gang when his enemy Rufus Buck (Elba) is released from prison. In addition to the cast and spectacle, the film features an amazing soundtrack and score composed by Jeymes Samuelwho also wrote, produced and directed.
Everyone loves a good Christmas movie, but even more so when they are beautifully animated and full of charm, humor and heart. Klaus fits that description perfectly. A sort of origin story for Santa Claus, it follows mailman Jesper (Jason Schwartzman), who befriends toymaker Klaus (JK Simmons).
Their unlikely friendship brings laughter and magic back to the desolate and warring island where Jesper is stationed, showing that one simple act of kindness always leads to another. With its heartwarming message and unique 2D animation, this should be a Christmas classic by now.
‘The Hand of God’ (2021)
As Alfonso Cuaron did with RomeItalian director Paolo Sorrentino brings his childhood to the screen with his semi-autobiographical drama The hand of God. An Academy Award nominee set in 1980s Naples, it’s the story of young Fabieto (Filippo Scotti) coming of age.
Based on a young Sorrentino, Fabietto has an affinity for football, love, family and tragedy – all of which influence his future as a filmmaker. Beautifully shot, with breathtaking views over the city of Naples, the film is an intimate and rewarding experience.
‘Dolemite is my name’ (2019)
Dolomite is my name is a classic underdog story disguised as a flashy and wild romp. Draw similarities with the disaster artistthe film is based on the true story of performer Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy), whose outrageous character Dolemite becomes a 1970s Blaxploitation icon.
The comedy features a great comeback performance from Murphy and is full of delicious energy from start to finish. Moore is a protagonist you can’t help but plead for, and the audience will be drawn into the film’s groovy and raunchy 60s setting.
‘The Forty Years Old Version (2020)
Not to be confused with Steve Carrell‘s The 40-year-old virginthis indie drama is a great achievement from producers Lena Waithe and Radha Black. Black is also the star, writer and first director here in a confident and compelling debut.
Black plays a hapless playwright who turns to rap as she struggles to find her voice on the cusp of turning 40. Shot entirely in black and white, the film is a moving, recognizable and witty introspection into identity crisis and figuring out what to do.
The rural Australian landscape provides the perfect setting in cargoNetflix’s emotional and exciting zombie film. Martin Freeman plays a father who becomes infected during an epidemic and needs someone to take care of his daughter before he is gone.
The film’s lack of gloss and CGI works in its favor to create a grounded and rough experience. If a zombie apocalypse were to happen, it could look like this. It’s a unique addition to the genre, aided by Freeman’s fantastic performance and horribly practical effects.
‘The life ahead’ (2020)
Italian screen legend Sophia Loren returns in The life ahead of us, a heartbreaking and moving drama set on the coast of Italy. Loren plays a Holocaust survivor who runs a daycare center and bonds with a young immigrant boy (Ibrahima Gueye) who initially robbed her.
Loren is magnetic as always, but it’s newcomer Gueye who steals the show. He brings tremendous charisma and heart to his performance, and the relationship between him and Loren’s character is a joy to watch unfold. An understated film that is heartwarming and devastating at the same time.
Based on a true story, Kevin Hart shows his lesser seen emotional side in the dramedy Paternity. The comedian plays a father who, after the death of his wife, has to raise his daughter as a single parent just a day after birth.
Hart successfully leans more into his dramatic chops and, combined with his comedic prowess, gives an endearing yet heartbreaking performance in one of his most mature roles to date. It’s a tearjerker, but it has the warmth, humor and heart to balance it.
‘Through Mud’ (2017)
The ensemble drama muddy looks at the aftermath of World War II from the perspective of two families who share a farm, one black and one white, as they try to adjust to life after the war. They struggle with PTSD, racism and poverty as they try to maintain a struggling stretch.
Set against a muddy Mississippi as a backdrop, the film tackles the consequences of war and racism head-on and leaves a strong impact after the credits roll. The all-star cast features Carey Mulligan, Rob Morgan, Garrett Hedlund, and musician Mary J. Blige in an Oscar-nominated performance.
KEEP READING: Musicians Who Delivered Oscar-Worthy Acting Performances