The 10 Best Original Netflix Movies
Netflix has a sizeable chunk of quality original programming, with its television series carrying much of the momentum as the company reinvented the phenomenon of binge-watching. With the announcement that Netflix intends to release 80 more original films this year, up a bit from 2017’s “slate of about 50 film titles,” we take a look at the 10 best original movies the streaming site currently has to offer.
The Fundamentals of Caring
This buddy comedy stars Paul Rudd as a man reeling from a personal tragedy who becomes a caretaker for a disabled teenager disillusioned about life. An impromptu road trip connects them with people and experiences that opens their eyes to the importance of hope, friendship, and their overall perspective on life.
Beasts of No Nation
This powerful war film, adapted from the novel written by Uzodinma Iweala, tells the story of an African boy, Agu, torn away from his family due to a civil war in an unnamed African country. He is then forced to become a child soldier in a unit of guerilla fighters led by a vicious warlord (Idris Elba). The film is a powerful yet brutal look on manipulated loyalty, the loss of innocence, and the tragic horrors of war.
An all-star cast (Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun) join the young An Seo Hyun as Mija, a girl who has invested in raising and taking care of a gentle giant, Okja, and now has to face possibly losing her friend. Okja is taken away by a corporation ran by a narcissist CEO (Swinton), forcing Mija into action to save her companion. Mija’s rescue mission has her crossing paths with various groups, such as demonstrators, capitalists, and consumers, each with their own idea for what should be done with Okja.
To the Bone
This Netflix original puts a spotlight on eating disorders, specifically anorexia, by following the story of Ellen (Lily Collins) and her experiences at a group home run by an unconventional doctor (Keanu Reeves). The comedy drama provides a sensitive insight into Ellen’s journey as she tries to learn how to face her addiction, accept herself for who she is, and finally embrace her life.
Spectral is one of the best science fiction thrillers on the site, with a plot that is meant to be simply entertaining complete with stunning visuals and action sequences. An elite Special Ops unit calls upon an engineer to help them figure out what supernatural beings have been wreaking havoc on a war-torn European city in Moldova. The enemy’s greatest strength lies within their ability to remain invisible to the naked eye, making them far deadlier than the insurgents the soldiers were originally dispatched to engage. If you’re looking for a good time with impressive visual effects, this movie is a good start.
The Siege of Jadotville
Considered by many fans to be one of the best war original movies on Netflix, this film is inspired by the true story (and adapted from the book by Declan Power) of an Irish commander Patrick Quinlan (Jamie Dornan) and the 150 men in his battalion that withstood a siege of 3,000 Congolese troops in order to defend their outpost during their U.N. peacekeeping mission.
In what many critics considered to be Ellen Page’s best performance since Juno, Tallulah is a dark comedy that begins with a Beverly Hills housewife, tired of caring for her toddler, hiring a stranger (Page) to babysit for her. Things take a turn when the stranger, Tallulah, who is actually a young drifter, impulsively kidnaps the baby and pretends the child is her own in order to remove the baby from the neglectful mother’s care.
First They Killed My Father
This film tells the true story of Loung Ung, a Cambodian author and human rights activist, and the horrors she suffered as a child when the Khmer Rouge assumed power over Cambodia in 1975. In the midst of genocide, resulting in the death of about two million Cambodians, Ung was forced from her home and her family, trained as a child soldier as her remaining six siblings were sent away to labor camps. The movie was directed by Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie, who wrote the screenplay alongside Loung Ung herself, basing it off of the author’s memoir. Since its release, First They Killed My Father has been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language.
This original film centers on Bambi (John Boyega), a 21-year-old reformed gangster who faces conflict after being released from prison. After returning to his old neighborhood, Bambi, devoted to his family and a better future, wants to just take care of his son and become a writer. But the odds (crime, poverty and a flawed system) threaten to dismantle everything.
Easily the most controversial release, (and one of Netflix’s biggest budget claimers at $90 million) with audiences and critics massively disagreeing on the quality and content of the film, Bright stars Will Smith and Joel Edgerton as partners in a cop thriller/drama with a twist: The world is full of orcs, fairies, elves, wizards, and other mythical beings that live alongside humans. Think The Lord of the Rings in a modern setting where the elves are the rich demographic and the orcs are hated because of the “evil” choices they or their ancestors made.
Smith’s character is the human partner struggling to trust his orc partner (Edgerton). While the two have to learn how to overcome their differences and interpersonal conflicts, they also find themselves in the middle of corrupt cops, vicious enemies, and desperately trying to save a magical girl. With its massive premiere week and currently maintaining the #1 movie spot on Netflix, a Bright sequel was officially greenlit by Netflix, with Smith and Edgerton expected to return.
What do you think are the best original Netflix movies? Let us know in the comments!