Best Netflix Original Movies

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Some balked at the announcement of Netflix original movies and series circa 2012. They expected cheaply made content with stilted acting. However, after the release of Netflix’s successful House of Cards, subscribers changed their tune.

Today, Netflix original movies and shows make up a huge portion of the streaming platform’s library, with over 1,500 titles and counting. Not all are worth watching, though.  And there’s nothing worse than getting hyped for a movie, only to discover those 2 hours could have been put to better use watching paint dry.

Here the best Netflix original movies, to ensure you never waste those precious viewing hours again.

The Irishman


This rather long drama is, without a doubt, one of the best Netflix original movies on the platform.

Starring Robert DeNiro as Frank Sheeran, The Irishman chronicles a truck driver-turned-hitman. He eventually finds himself working with the big kahuna himself, Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pachino).

Directed by Martin Scorcese, this is a powerful movie about family, life, death, and the deals made in shadows.

The movie spans a whopping 3.5 hours, so be prepared to take a break—though you’ll definitely be rushing back, dying to see what happens next.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

Da 5 Bloods


Da 5 Bloods is directed by another acclaimed name in Hollywood: Spike Lee.

The film follows African-American Vietnam veterans, attempting to retrieve a treasure buried during their service…while preparing to spread the ashes of their fallen leader.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

I’m Thinking of Ending Things


Charlie Kaufman directs a complicated film here, and continues his history of making movies that examine the male mind.

The film features a couple who, according to the narrator, is thinking about breaking up during an icy drive to and from the male’s (Jesse Plemons) parents’ house.

Throughout I’m Thinking of Ending Things, the couple engage in long bouts of dialogue, examining both their relationship and themselves.

As a caveat: the movie is a bit confusing. More than one reviewer has confessed to multiple rewatches in order to understand the plot.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs


This unusual movie from the Coen brothers features 6 short films about the Old West.

The whole film is rather violent, in somewhat typical Old West-style. It includes a singing cowboy who shoots disagreeables, Liam Neeson as a hard-drinking traveling showman, and James Franco as a bank robber for whom things don’t work out.

Each story is deep, interesting, and somewhat bizarre.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

Mank


From the director of Gone Girl comes a brilliant look at pre-WWII Hollywood—not as the dreamy, glitzy dreamland most would picture, but as it actually was.

Herman Mankiewiza (Gary Oldman) takes shots at Citizen Kane, and the production companies themselves, exposing the ugly relationship between art and money.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

Private Life


Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Han star in this adaptation of the Tamara Jenkins book.

The pair play a married couple who are having issues getting pregnant. As they struggle to create a life, they share their thoughts on their own lives and humanity.

Paul’s session at a sperm clinic is as sterile one would expect, and quite funny. The movie blends comedy and drama well, for such a serious and heartbreaking subject as infertility.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

My Happy Family


Manana, fed up with her multi-generational household—a time-honored and respected tradition in her culture—decides to leave her family and go live alone. This helps her realize her family has their own struggles, while paying due respect to her own.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

A Fortunate Man


If you’re looking for feel-good Netflix original movies, steer clear of A Fortunate Man. If, however, you want a brilliant era drama, dive into this one ASAP.

A Fortunate Man follows an engineer as he falls in love—and embarks on a lifelong affair—with a Jewish woman in an anti-semitic world.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

Mudbound


Mudbound is about two families, one black and one white, living in 1940s Mississippi. Based on a novel by Hillary Jordan, the movie is directed by Dee Rees, and successfully tackles the Jim Crow south and post-war American themes.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

First They Killed My Father


Director Angelina Jolie surprises audiences with this film uncovering the horrors of Cambodian genocides.

For casting, Jolie chose exclusively locals, who use the Khmer language for authenticity and a raw, unflinching look that standard actors and English wouldn’t have come close to achieving.

Many were nervous about Jolie’s depiction of a very serious moment in history, but she doesn’t hide the pain felt by the country and its destroyed past.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

I Lost My Body


In this animated feature, the audience follows an unspeaking, severed hand as it escapes a Parisian lab.  It then attempts to find the rest of its body. The hand lives through memories of being usable by its young owner, from feeling sand to a cool breeze.

I Lost My Body is, ultimately, about feelings of being attached, and potentially lost.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

Bird Box


Bird Box is a tense, zombie-like thriller in which unseen forces cause people to kill themselves, often in violent ways.

Sandra Bullock is outstanding as the main protagonist. With two young children in tow, she embarks on a perilous journey to find sanctuary from the invisible forces.

The kicker?  She does it all while keeping herself, and the kids, blindfolded.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

Dolemite is My Name


Starring Da’Vine Joy, Wesley Snipes, and Craig Robinson, Dolemite is the true story of late comedian Rudy Ray Moore. The movie delivers plenty of energy and fun, along with side-splitting humor, with Snipes as the lead character and Eddie Murphy directing.

Watch it on Netflix here.

 

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Certainly, not all Netflix original movies can be hits—but the company’s consistency in churning out good and great films leaves viewers eager to binge more and more original content.

For more Netflix recommendations, check out the best TV shows to binge on the platform right now, the best Netflix original series, or the best horror shows now streaming.