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The Best New Movies Streaming on Netflix

May 3, 202411 Mins Read

Other streamers, especially those with close corporate ties to major movie studios, might reel in a few more major theatrical releases than Netflix. Where Netflix outshines them, however, is in its slate of original movies produced specifically for the streaming service. At a glance, it might seem as though the streamer emphasizes quantity over quality, but they’ve released nine Best Picture Academy Award nominees since 2019. Oscars aren’t everything, of course—but they’re not nothing, either.

Here, then, are some of the best recent movies streaming on Netflix, whether wide theatrical releases you might have missed, or originals.

Society of the Snow (2023)

The true story of the 1972 Uruguayan rugby team lost in the Andes following a place crash has been the subject of multiple documentaries and two previous dramas. For all that, this would seem to be the best of all of them: a thoughtful and tasteful take on what’s sometimes been presented as a salacious drama, with director J. A. Bayona emphasizing both the physical perils faced by the team, but also the spiritual toll of survival.

Thanksgiving (2023)

Patrick Dempsey stars in this funny but bleak satire from Eli Roth, his first horror film since 2013. When an unruly mob storms a Walmart (sorry: RightMart) on Black Friday, violence and bloodshed ensue, leaving one of the victims of the incident to seek revenge. It’s wild and gory holiday fun.

Anyone but You (2023)

A loose spin on Much Ado About Nothing, Anyone But You stars Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell as a couple who meet, hit it off—and then immediately piss each other off such that neither really wants to see each other again. Until, of course, they need wedding dates and find themselves surrounded by scheming friends. It’s not wildly out there as rom-com premises go, but this one’s briskly directed and boasts strong chemistry between the leads.

Orion in the Dark (2024)

Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) wrote this DreamWorks animated adaptation of the Emma Yarlett novel. When Orion is visited by the literal incarnation of his fear of the dark, he’s taken on a whirlwind journey around the world to explore the world of night and help him to face his fears.

The Perfect Find (2023)

Numa Perrier’s film hits plenty of the traditional rom-com beats, but no matter: Lead Gabrielle Union provides the spark that ignites the whole film (based on the Tia Williams novel). She’s never been better than she is here, playing Jenna, a woman in her 40s making a clean break of a long-term relationship and taking on a high-profile, high-stakes career in beauty journalism—only to wind up in a one-night stand with Eric (Keith Powers), 15 years younger and the son of her boss.

Damsel (2024)

Netflix’s favorite action lead, Millie Bobby Brown, is back in this dark fantasy from director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later). Brown plays Elodie, the damsel of the title, offered into an arranged marriage by her family, only to discover that she’s marked as the sacrifice to a dragon. Which turns out to be bad news for her new in-laws.

Rebel Moon, Parts One and Two (2023/2024)

Zack Snyder, late of the entire DC cinematic universe, isn’t to everyone’s taste—but his Army of the Dead, also for Netflix, was a fun spin on the zombie formula, done as a heist movie. His followup is pure science fiction: a multi-part (it’s unclear how many parts that will be) space opera that blends Snyder’s distinctive visual style with Star Wars-style action. Sofia Boutella stars as a former soldier who rallies warriors from across the galaxy to join in a revolt against the imperial Motherworld on the title’s out-of-the-way farming moon.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (2023)

This short adaptation of the Roald Dahl story finally earned Wes Anderson his first Oscar. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the titular Henry Sugar, a man who uses his inherited fortune to fund his gambling habit. When he learns of a secret means of winning by seeing through the eyes of others, he comes to perceive more than he, perhaps, bargained for. It’s cute and sweet, and among one of Anderson’s most visually inventive works (which is saying quite a bit). At 39 minutes, it never has time to wear out its welcome—even if you’re not a huge fan of Anderson”s twee sensibilities. Ralph Fiennes, Dev Patel, Ben Kingsley, and Richard Ayoade also star.

American Symphony (2023)

Director Matthew Heineman’s film follows a year in the lives of writer Suleika Jaouad and her husband, musician Jon Batiste, during which she confronts a recurrence of a rare form of leukemia while he constructs his first symphony. It’s a moving film that goes beyond the obvious tropes to make the case that there are things that only music can say. It had a lot of Oscar buzz, while receiving just a single nomination for Best Song.

Scoop (2024)

The great Gillian Anderson plays real-life British journalist Emily Maitlis, who lead the BBC2 team that secured the disastrous (for the Prince) interview with Prince Andrew (Rufus Sewell) that laid bare his associations with sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Keeley Hawes and Billie Piper also star.

We Have a Ghost (2023)

Christopher Landon, writer/director behind innovative comedy-horror movies like Happy Death Day and Freaky (and, briefly, of the next Scream movie), helms this similarly fun but more family-friendly entry. Anthony Mackie is in the lead as Frank Presley, who, with his family, buys a cheap fixer-upper, only for his son Kevin (Jahi Winston) to discover a ghost (played by David Harbour) unliving in the attic. So far, familiar territory, but Kevin wants to help their new ghost while dad only wants to make money—and so, their ghost goes viral.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)

He may be America’s least favorite Chris, but Mr. Pratt still leads the voice cast for the year’s second highest-grossing movie: a colorful, goofy animated adventure pitting proudly Italian-American brothers Mario and Luigi against Bowser (Jack Black), King of the Koopas.

May December (2023)

Todd Haynes directs this insightful and moving, but also deliberately campy, story of an actress visiting the woman whom she’ll be playing in a film. The movie’s deft, and unexpected, blending of tones makes it pretty consistently fascinating, and the lead performances from Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, and Charles Melton are all top-tier.

Nyad (2023)

Annette Benning stars as the real-life Diana Nyad, who swam from Florida to Cuba in her 60s. The movie succeeds in large part because of the performances from and chemistry between lead Annette Bening and Jodie Foster, both of whom received Oscar nominations for their work here.

The Killer (2023)

David Fincher’s latest didn’t seem to generate his typical buzz, perhaps because it’s so thoroughly action-oriented (a far cry from his last Netflix original, the screenplay-writing drama Mank). Michael Fassbender plays the movie’s nameless hitman protagonist, a fastidious and ruthless killer who makes the first mistake of his career—accidentally shooting the wrong person—and then finds his carefully managed life crumbling faster than he can keep up.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)

The sequel to one of the very best superhero movies pretty much ever is also excellent, and even more visually innovative than the first. Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is back, joined by Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), herself on a secret mission that puts them both at odds with pretty much every Spider in the multiverse.

Rustin (2023)

Colman Domingo gives a stellar performance (earning a Best Actor Oscar nomination) as the title’s Bayard Rustin, the gay Civil Rights leader who planned the March on Washington. Not only is it a corrective to our very straight-centered vision of the Civil Rights Movement, it’s a stylish and moving biopic in its own right.

Nimona (2023)

Long in the making, and based on the similarly delightful graphic novel by ND Stevenson, Nimona is a heartfelt, joyful, and funny fantasy set in a futuristic world that’s also thoroughly medieval in its look and feel. Ballister Boldheart, alongside his boyfriend, Ambrosius Goldenloin, is about to be knighted by the queen, and he’ll be the first commoner ever to receive the honor. All good, until he’s framed for the queen’s murder and forced to flee, becoming the criminal that the snobs already took him for. Luckily (or not) he’s joined by Nimona, a teenager who’s an outcast because of her shapeshifting powers.

Wedding Season (2023)

Asha (Pallavi Sharda) just broke off her engagement and left her Wall Street investment firm in favor of a Jersey City startup. Her concerned mother sets her daughter up on a dating app, and Asha acquiesces to a single date with the first match: Ravi (Suraj Sharma). It doesn’t go particularly well, but they’re both under a lot of parental pressure to get married, and Asha has about a dozen weddings to go to over the course of the summer, most of them filled with busybodies who want to see her in a relationship. So, naturally (for a movie), Ahsa and Ravi decide to play at being a couple to get people off their backs—which works out fine, until it doesn’t.

They Cloned Tyrone (2023)

This smart, funny genre mashup spins plenty of plates, and mostly manages to keep them from crashing down. John Boyega stars as Fontaine, a drug dealer in a world just off to the side of our own (there’s definitely some Blaxsploitation influence in the dress styles). Following a showdown with one-time Pimp of the Year(!) Slick Charles (Jamie Foxx), Fontaine is shot dead before waking up in his own bed with nothing, seemingly, having changed. Teaming up with Slick Charles and sex worker Yo Yo (Teyonah Parris), he leads the three of them into an unlikely web of scientific conspiracy.

Leave the World Behind (2023)

Look at this cast: Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, Myha’la Herrold (Industry), and Kevin Bacon are all on hand for this apocalyptic thriller that has that Bird Box vibe without the alien implications—the monsters here are all human. As technology begins to inexplicably fail, our protagonists find themselves in a last-days-of-America scenario, including a scene of self-driving Teslas run amok. It’s occasionally a little on the nose, but still a pretty compelling thriller.

City Hunter (2024)

The City Hunter manga, about the titular detective agency, has been adapted several times in the past, with very mixed results. This latest looks like it might be the best: a candy-colored, high-action, appropriately goofy take starring Ryohei Suzuki as lead detective Ryo Saeba and Misato Morita as the daughter of his murdered partner, with whom he teams up to avenge that death and to find a missing teenage runaway with deadly superpowers.

Spaceman (2024)

Adam Sandler stars here in one of his occasional dramatic roles, here as a Czech astronaut coming to terms with the potential dissolution of his marriage. At the edge of the solar system. With some help from a spider-like alien creature trying to understand humanity. Carey Mulligan and Isabella Rossellini co-star.

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget (2023)

If it’s not entirely on the same level as the Aardman-animated original from way back in 2000, it’s still a delightful and cheeky return from the escapees from Mr. and Mrs. Tweedy’s Farm. Thandiwe Newton leads the impressive voice cast.

Down the Rabbit Hole (2024)

The House of Flowers creator Manolo Caro directs this quirky and thoughtful drama about meticulous, fussy kid Tochtli (Miguel Valverde), living in a palatial estate somewhere in rural Mexico. He’s old enough to start questioning his wildly privileged and sheltered life, slowly discovering that his father Yolcaut (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) is a major, well-connected drug lord. It’s a quietly stylish drama that avoids taking any obvious routes.

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