The Best Movies on Netflix

The days of sitting long hours in front of our cable TVs are long gone, and now come the age of online streaming. Netflix has been on the steady rise for years, and now that they have claimed a spot in actually producing hit films, their popularity is now at an all-time high. People turn to Netflix for their daily doses of entertainment, particularly movies. While we have the old times to thank for producing all of the beloved classic movies, thankfully, even with so much change, storytellers still come up with riveting and moving motion pictures for us to bask in. And the best part is they’re so much more accessible now. If you’re looking for films with rich stories and teeming with culture, here are some of the best movies on Netflix right now:

Outlaw King

The latest addition to the medieval period films is Outlaw King, and has been received by audiences rather well. The story is based on the story of Robert the Bruce, a Scottish King from the 14th century who made a mark in history by launching a war against the more powerful English army. King Bruce, choosing to rebel against the rule of King Edward I, earned the title “outlaw” until the Battle of Loudoun Hill. Directed by David Mackenzie, the film promises of the old charms of medieval films we know so well, enriched by touches of history. And yes, there are plenty of those good old battle scenes.

A still from David Mackenzie's Outlaw King.

To the Bone

To the Bone is a haunting portrayal of the horrors of anorexia, earning a place as one of the best movies on Netflix. We follow the story of Ellen, a 20-year-old college dropout battling with anorexia. She returns home to her father and stepmother, after much of her in-patient program and treatments failed to make her see any progress. Much of it has been inspired by Marti Noxon’s story, the director of the film. An epidemic all around the world, the movie reminds us of the truth about anorexia as a mental disease, and the extent of its effects on the human life – especially the young.

Lily Collins as Ellen, who battles with anorexia.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The directorial debut of Chiwetel Ejiofor took the world by storm, which tells of the true story of a boy who helped build a wind turbine for his village in Malawi. When a terrible drought hit his village, starvation ensued. Armed with his fondness for physics and an incredible mind, he turns to the only place he knows holds knowledge – the library - to build a generator. Intricately made, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind mirrors the truth of our times; widespread starvation in poverty-stricken countries, along with the lack of opportunities despite strong potential. All of those do not stop young William, though. Guided by the love for his people and his family, he continues on – the perfect depiction of human resilience, making it one of the best movies on Netflix.

A still from The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, a story of hope.

First They Killed My Father

First They Killed My Father is a recount of Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung’s childhood. Here, she suffered under the cruel and bloody genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in the 1970s, and Ung finds her comfortable life and family shattered. They are forced into a working camp, where she witnesses her father’s murder. Directed by Angelina Jolie, the film depicts of the spoils of war in the eyes of a child and all its haunting effects that manifest in adulthood. Chillingly accurate, this is one of the best movies on Netflix to see. 

Young Loung Ung fleeing.

1922

Stephen King’s stories are hard to pull off, but critics are convinced that director Zak Hilditch’s work does 1922 the justice it deserves. Based on 131 pages of a story, the tale begins from the narrative of Wilfred James, who admits to murdering his wife with the help of his son. After burying the body, he soon finds his life turned upside down, completely convinced that his wife is back to haunt him. More than focusing on the horror, 1922 lingers on the menacing tale of human guilt, which burrows deep into the skin and damages more than fear ever can, in more ways than one. While not entirely embracing horror, 1922 holds promise as one of the best movies on Netflix.

Wilfred after his wife's murder.

Velvet Buzzsaw

Velvet Buzzsaw certainly leaves a strange aftertaste, and it will take a ton of dissecting and digging to figure it out. If you look at it closely, though, you’ll see the film depicting the ugly reins of capitalism through the art curators, who have put themselves above by buying and selling art for commercialization, and not art itself. A slasher movie, Dan Gilroy’s Velvet Buzzsaw tells the story of art seeking revenge on these money-hungry monsters. It’s silly to the point of not making sense, utilizing dark comedy to point out a single message: value art for art, and not commercialization. Velvet Buzzsaw may leave you dizzy, but it deserves a spot on one of the best movies on Netflix.

A still from Velvet Buzzsaw.

ROMA

Academy Award Winner ROMA is directed by Alfonso Cuarón, who is well known for his compelling command of visual craft. The story is close to Cuarón’s heart, as it serves as a love letter to the women who raised him. The story follows a young domestic worker named Cleo, working in Mexico City. Here, Cuarón draws inspiration to depict the image of societal hierarchy and domestic turmoil. The story is set in 1970s Mexico, and the black and white charm of the film adds a touch of authenticity. The raw depiction of a woman’s struggle, coupled with being a person of color and destitution, is enough to hail this as one of the best movies on Netflix.

A still from Alfonso Cuarón's masterpiece, ROMA.

Paris Is Burning

Paris is Burning is an ode to the art of the drag queens, which depicts not just the glamour that comes with being a drag queen, but the struggles that outsiders actually fail to see. The documentary is seen as a history lesson, providing dialogue on the issues plaguing gender, race, class, and sexuality. While considered controversial because of the belief of exploitation as motivation for the documentary, the story that resounds from these drag queens lives on and echoes the community’s struggles we still witness today.

Pepper LaBeija in Paris is Burning.

There are plenty left to watch, but these are the best movies on Netflix at the moment. There are more to films than just being entertaining, though, and plenty of them carry life intricacies and truths, mirroring the true state of the human condition. While it’s true that we’re continuously advancing and changing, one thing remains intact – humanity. And change doesn’t have to mean total eradication of anything familiar; sometimes they blend together. Stories of old and new, packed with the refreshing accessibility brought by online streaming sites such as Netflix, will live on.