The Best Movies on Netflix to Watch Right Now (October 2021)

210929 noonegetsoutalive - The Best Movies on Netflix to Watch Right Now (October 2021)

It’s always movie night thanks to Netflix and its never-ending bounty of fine films and not-so-fine flicks, but what movie should you watch? Our list of the best movies to watch on Netflix right now will help you decide. Brand new to our list is the Antoine Fuqua suspense thriller The Guilty, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a cop who becomes obsessed with saving a 9-1-1 caller. Also new to the Best Movies on Netflix list this week is the horror movie No One Gets Out Alive, a fantastic (and scary!!!) directorial debut from Santiago Menghini. Other new movies on the list include the Romanian drama The Father Who Moves Mountains, the classic Jaws, and the tween horror film Nightbooks

This is a list of the best movies to watch on Netflix right now. To keep things relevant, we’re specifically highlighting the best recent releases (whether they’re new to the world or just Netflix), Netflix originals, and some of our own personal favorites. 

Looking for the 50 best movies and TV shows to watch on Netflix or the best TV shows on Netflix? Or more recommendations of what to watch next? We have a ton of them! We also have hand-picked selections based on shows you already love.

Last updated Oct. 1, 2021; newer additions are at the top

The Guilty

For fans of: One-man plays, Jake Gyllenhaal, thrilling phone conversations

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Jake Gyllenhaal, The Guilty

Joe Bayler/Netflix

Jake Gyllenhaal plays a cop sent to desk duty at a 9-1-1 call center and becomes embroiled in a case when a woman being held against her will calls to ask for help. An adaptation of a 2018 Danish film, The Guilty is the rare intense thriller without any of the action as it’s mostly set in the call center with Jake on the phone and only voices coming from the other end. But director Antoine Fuqua and Gyllenhaal keep things mesmerizing. –Tim Surette [Trailer | Review]

No One Gets Out Alive

For fans of: The class division, the immigrant experience, spooks

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Cristina Rodlo, No One Gets Out Alive

Teddy Cavendish/Netflix

A Latin American immigrant seeking work and housing in America shacks up in a boarding house where things aren’t not haunted, if you get my drift. It’s a great horror gem that taps into the immigrant experience and the difficulties the poor have with basic needs. –Tim Surette [Trailer | Review]


For fans of: Red water, scar talk

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Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw, Jaws


Steven Spielberg’s classic about a great white shark that terrorized a tourist community still holds up today as one of the greatest horror movies ever. All of the Jaws movies are now on Netflix, but you’re on your own if you want to watch any of the disappointing sequels. [Trailer]

The Father Who Moves Mountains

For fans of: Cinematography, the battle between sanity and madness, fast snow & slow burns

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The Father Who Moves Mountains


This Romanian film follows a powerful man of means desperate to find his son after he goes missing on a mountain trek. It’s not an action film, but rather a contemplative exploration of how far a man will go to save his son and at what cost to others. You’ll understand why he does what he does, but you might not like him for it. [Trailer]


For fans of: Kids horror between Goosebumps and Fear Street, Krysten Ritter. hairless cats | Is it good?: It’s pretty cool for kids and tweens who can handle scares

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Krysten Ritter, Nightbooks

Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix

This adaptation of the 2018 children’s fantasy-horror book by J.A. White is the perfect movie for the young horror fan in your life who is too old for things like Goosebumps but not quite ready for the teen-slasher gore of the Fear Street movies. It follows a young boy who is captured by a witch (a delectable Krysten Ritter) and bargains for his life by agreeing to tell her a new scary story that he writes each night. While there’s no real blood and gore, there are definitely some creepy things — Sam Raimi is a producer — that will give some young ones nightmares for weeks, so make sure your kiddo is mentally prepared before they sit down to watch this. –Tim Surette [Trailer]


For fans of: Incredibly difficult questions about life, sentimental biopics, Michael Keaton

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Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci, Worth

Monika Lek/Netflix

Michael Keaton plays lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who was assigned the task of formulating how money was distributed through the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, which the government granted to families whose loved ones were killed in the 9/11 attacks. It essentially asks how much a life is worth and whether they’re all equal. Strong acting and directing overcome some pretty melodramatic moments. [Trailer]

Wind River

For fans of: Yellowstone, Marvel stars in other things, snowy shootouts

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Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner, Wind River

Taylor Sheridan, who created the Paramount hit drama Yellowstone, sticks to the wilderness for this 2018 movie starring Jeremy Renner as a sharpshooting game official and Elizabeth Olsen as an FBI agent trying to solve a rape and murder on a Native American reservation in Wyoming during the winter. It’s a character-driven whodunnit in America’s untamed land. [Trailer]

The Old Ways

For fans of: Witchcraft, Latin American demonology, creepy crawlies

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The Old Ways


A young journalist goes deep into the jungles of Veracruz, Mexico, for a story on indigenous people who practice ancient witchcraft, only to be kidnapped by them when they believe she is possessed by a demon. It’s full of terrifying imagery, as is expected, but it’s the claustrophobia of being imprisoned that really drives the horror. On top of that, there are themes of cultural identity that take it to a smarter level than your typical horror film, and visually, it’s aces. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Edge of Seventeen

For fans of: Remembering how much high school sucked

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Hailee Steinfeld, Edge of Seventeen

STX Entertainment

One of the best teen comedies of the last decade, The Edge of Seventeen has everything you want in a coming-of-age movie. After finding out her best friend is hooking up with her popular older brother, awkward outsider Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is thrown into crisis mode. Meanwhile, Nadine is navigating a strained relationship with her mother (Kyra Sedgwick) and a crush on an older boy by herself, with her only friend being her teacher, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson), who barely tolerates her existential ramblings. It’s a funny, sweet movie that will remind you of the classics you already love, like Clueless and Mean Girls, while standing totally on its own. [Trailer]

The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf

For fans of: The Witcher, animated gore

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The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf


This anime Witcher prequel film follows Geralt’s mentor, Vesemir (voiced here by Theo James). The film, set several years before the events of the series, explores Vesemir’s origin story, showing him as a young lad who is only concerned with monster slaying and getting paid for monster slaying.

The Fear Street trilogy

For fans of: Gruesome horror, not wanting to wait for the sequel

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Fear Street Part Two: 1978


R.L. Stine, the guy who wrote the Goosebumps books, set his sights on a slightly older crowd with his Fear Street novel series, which are now the foundation for one of Netflix’s biggest film experiments yet. The three teen-slasher horror films, which all tell the origin story of a cursed town, were each released over three consecutive Fridays in July 2021. Each film is set in a different year (1994, 1978, and 1666), culminating in a flashback to witch trials in the 1600s, and feature carryover cast members and plenty of gory deaths. Let’s just say you’ll be extra careful around a bread slicer. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Blood Red Sky

For fans of: Monstrous surprises, small-space horror

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Peri Baumeister and Carl Koch, Blood Red Sky


This German-English language action-forward horror film is set on a Transatlantic flight between Berlin and New York City that is besieged by hijackers. But they don’t know that one of the passengers on board possesses supernatural powers, and will do anything to protect her young son, which sometimes means eating the bad guys. It’s a taut thriller with a paranormal twist that’s one of Netflix’s better original horror films. –Tim Surette [Trailer]


For fans of: The internet, vampires, seeing how Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart got famous

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Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, Twilight


What is there to say about Twilight that hasn’t already been said? The first adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s teen vampire romance books was a true moment, introducing us to human Bella (Kristen Stewart) and her undead boyfriend Edward (Robert Pattinson), but most importantly, it’s the film that inspired a thousand memes. When people say “so bad it’s good,” they’re talking about Twilight. The other four films in the series — which rejoined Netflix in July 2021 — are as perfectly stupid as the first, but nothing will ever quite beat the novelty, and the absurdity, of the O.G. [Trailer]

Army of the Dead

For fans of: Zombie gore, Tig Notaro

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Omari Hardwick, Army of the Dead

Clay Enos/Netflix

Say what you want about Zack Snyder, but the movie that put him on the map, 2004’s remake of the classic zombie flick Dawn of the Dead, was pretty frickin’ great. Snyder returns to the undead with this Netflix original film starring former pro wrestler Dave Bautista as a soldier planning a casino heist in a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas swarming with zombies who have evolved to be smart, faster, and more organized than their numb-skulled ancestors. Snyder. Bautista. Zombies. And somehow Tig Notaro? You know what you’re getting with this movie: dumb fun. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

For fans of: Celebrity voices, families saving the world

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The Mitchells vs. The Machines


On a road trip to drop eldest child Katie (Abbi Jacobson) off at film school, the dysfunctional Mitchell family is interrupted by a technology uprising. Seriously! Everyone’s actual worst fear comes true when all the electronic devices in the world come to life to push back against the humans, and due to a variety of reasons I won’t spoil for you here and also because this is a movie that needs a plot, the Mitchells are the only ones who can save the planet. Few other movies will give you Olivia Colman doing the voice of a bitter robot, and you’ll also recognize the vocal stylings of Maya RudolphDanny McBrideEric Andre, and Fred Armisen[Trailer]

Bo Burnham: Inside

For fans of: Existentialism, music

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Bo Burnham: Inside


Indie auteur and certified bad movie boyfriend Bo Burnham surprised his fans when he announced he had orchestrated a return to his comedic roots during the pandemic. With Inside, which Burnham wrote, directed, and edited without a crew or an audience while stuck at home, he lets out his feelings through music, delivering a setlist of very catchy, very meme-worthy songs that have titles like “White Woman’s Instagram” and “FaceTime with My Mom (Tonight).” The special gets in touch with the collective mood 2020 inspired in all of us — the anguish, the despair, the horniness. Burnham’s comedy has always touched on the existential, but he goes deeper than ever here. [Trailer]

Gunpowder Milkshake

For fans of: Stylish violence by female heroines, Kill Bill

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Karen Gillan and Chloe Colman, Gunpowder Milkshake

Reiner Bajo/Studiocanal SAS

If you are a fan of women shooting bad guys, breaking bad guys’ necks, and just overall bringing pain of all sorts to bad guys, then the Netflix original movie Gunpowder Milkshake is for you. Karen Gillan stars as a female assassin who teams up with her estranged female assassin mom (Game of Thrones‘ Lena Headey) and her female assassin friends (Angela BassettCarla GuginoMichelle Yeoh) to rescue a young girl from kidnappers, and the action is frequently put in slow-motion to soundtrack-ready songs like Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” It’s a fun film even if it’s just more apery of Tarantino’s catalog. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Pray Away

For fans of: Realizing that the horrors of the past are still effecting the present

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Pray Away


Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum executive produce this documentary about Exodus International, an Evangelical group formed in the ’70s that claims it could turn gay people straight through prayer and conversion therapy. What’s most interesting about this film is that it features interviews with ex-leaders who are now speaking out against the movement they were part of for so many years. [Trailer]

Bad Trip

For fans of: Eric Andre, the Sacha Baron Cohen effect

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Eric Andre and Lil Rey Howery, Bad Trip


How in the world is Bad Trip as great as it is? There is no plausible reason why a prank movie was able to feel so fresh and hilarious in the year 2021, and yet here I am, writing about the greatness of Bad Trip. It has a pretty loose plot (two listless best friends take a road trip so one can reunite with his high school crush), which is sort of unnecessary to the film’s broad comedy, but does help with providing structure and emotional beats when needed. Anyway, that’s not really why it’s on this list. Bad Trip shines thanks to its many interactions with the unsuspecting public, who have no idea they’re being filmed or that they’re part of a movie. The way the film’s stars, Eric Andre, Lil Rel Howery, and Tiffany Haddish, drag poor strangers into the bizarre world they’ve created and get them invested in their characters’ fictional problems (a particularly memorable scene in which Haddish recruits the patrons of a restaurant into helping her track down Andre and Howery becomes an instant classic thanks to the passionate reaction from one woman), ends up producing the best comedic moments. Clocking in under 90 minutes, Bad Trip is a quick, wholeheartedly joyful watch. [Trailer]

The Forty-Year-Old Version

For fans of: The struggles of hitting the big 4-0, the artist’s life

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The Forty-Year-Old Version


Soon-to-be household name Radha Blank writes, directs, and stars in this poignant comedy about a playwright who is approaching her 40th birthday but still has nothing to show for it, even after winning a coveted “30 under 30” award nearly a decade before. To reinvent her life, she breaks into rapping, spitting rhymes from her unique viewpoint and fighting to stay true to her own artistic vision. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Concrete Cowboy

For fans of: Idris Elba, riding horses

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Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin, Concrete Cowboy


The era of horse girls has made its natural progression into the era of horse boys. This film, based on the real-life Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club, centers on a Detroit teen (Caleb McLaughlin) who’s sent to Philadelphia to live with his dad (Idris Elba), a cowboy who spends his time hanging out with other cowboys. It’s about fathers and sons, it’s about Black horse-riding culture, and it’s about coming of age. [Trailer]

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

For fans of: The Coen brothers, dark comedy

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Tim Blake Nelson, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs


The Coen brothers strap on their spurs for this collection of short stories from the Wild West, all peppered with that trademark Coen absurdism made famous in their films Fargo and Raising Arizona. The stories range from a singing cowboy (Tim Blake Nelson) who’s quick on the draw to a mumbling prospector (Tom Waits) tracked down by an opportunist to an outlaw (James Franco) who’s no stranger to the gallows. It’s a gorgeous film about opportunity in a land where there’s nothing but opportunity. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

Da 5 Bloods

For fans of: Spike Lee, being reminded that war is bad

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Da 5 Bloods


Spike Lee‘s latest is a sprawling drama split between two timelines: the first during the Vietnam War, where a group of Black soldiers band together, and the second during the present, where the surviving members, now aging veterans, return to the country in the hopes of recovering the remains of their fallen squad leader (Chadwick Boseman, in one of his last performances) and locating the gold they buried years ago. It’s a dazzling, stylized adventure, and the kind of movie that will make you walk away feeling like you learned something without skimping on character development. [Trailer]

My Octopus Teacher

For fans of: Unlikely friendships, cephalopods

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My Octopus Teacher


This film about the intimate relationship between a man and his octopus won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2021. Craig Foster, a diver, buddies up with an octopus in South Africa for a year, documenting her life as she sleeps, eats, and battles sharks. The whole experience teaches Foster about life and moves him to gain appreciation for humanity’s relationship with nature, as well as form a closer bond with his son. The whole thing feels a little like a more wholesome version of Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, but I’m not here to knock anyone who dares to explore interspecies friendships. [Trailer]

The Trial of the Chicago 7

For fans of: Aaron Sorkin’s whole thing, watered down history

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The Trial of the Chicago 7


In 1969, a group of anti-war activists were charged with conspiring to start a riot at the Democratic National Convention, and in 2019, Aaron Sorkin told an extremely Hollywood version of their story. Although Sorkin really simplifies a lot of the more radical politics people like Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong) actually had, a big, showy courtroom drama — full of grandstanding and dramatic speeches and quippy dialogue — is a perfect vehicle for his style. It’s grounded by the performances of its sprawling, star-studded cast (which also includes Mark RylanceFrank Langella, and Michael Keaton) and the writing, which earned Sorkin a Best Original Screenplay nod at the Oscars, and it’ll teach you something about the injustices of the American justice system, which, spoiler, has always been pretty bad! [Trailer]

Wish Dragon

For fans of: Aladdin, but with dragons

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Wish Dragon


The story of Aladdin gets updated to modern-day Shanghai in this animated movie about a college student (Jimmy Wong) who meets a magical dragon (John Cho) and makes a wish to reconnect with his childhood best friend (Natasha Liu Bordizzo). The plot is familiar, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. -Tim Surette [Trailer]

His House

For fans of: Haunted houses, immigrant horror stories

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Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dìrísù, His House

Aidan Monaghan/NETFLIX

A refugee couple from South Sudan find their new housing in England is not what it seems in this chilling and stylish horror movie from writer-director Remi Weekes. If you love ghosts and grief but are ready for a little more intensity, His House is a must-watch; it’s a haunted house story that blends serious scares with thoughtful commentary on immigration and trauma. Plus, it’s anchored by unmissable performances from stars Wunmi Mosaku and Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù. –Kelly Connolly [Trailer]

I Am Not Your Negro

For fans of: Social justice, visual poetry, hard truths

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I Am Not Your Negro


Raoul Peck’s 2016 documentary that’s an adaptation of James Baldwin’s manuscript about racism in America through the eyes of Black people — specifically civil rights activists Martin Luther King Jr. Malcolm X, and Medgar Evans — is a visual masterpiece with a clear message: America has failed the Black community. The powerful 2016 film brims with energy through old footage of segregation and current shots of protests in the streets in the wake of police violence against minorities. It’s an essential watch to better understand America’s shameful past and present. –Tim Surette [Trailer]


For fans of: Oscar winners, art films

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Carlos Somonte

Sorry Mank, you aren’t the best black-and-white film on Netflix. Not even close. Alfonso Cuaron‘s 2018 personal tale of a housekeeper in Mexico to a wealthy Mexican family won Best Foreign Film, Best Director (Cuaron), and Best Cinematography (Cuaron) at the 91st Academy Awards, but could have won tons more. It’s both quiet and epic in scope, balancing a fascinating relationship between a hard-working woman named Cleo and the family that relies on her, unforgettable shots involving hundreds of extras, and a sensitive story on life bubbling under the surface. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Skater Girl

For fans of: Young girls rebelling from cultural traditions, skateboarding

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Rachel Saanchita Gupta, Skater Girl

Kerry Monteen

This sweet film follows Prerna (Rachel Saanchita Gupta), a teen who gains new passion for life after meeting Jessica (Amy Maghera), a Londoner who introduces her to the world of skateboarding. Both girls have complicated relationships with their fathers — Prerna’s greatest desire is for her to get married, while Jessica has come to India in the hopes of gaining answers about hers — and bond over exploring their interests together. It’s a really heartwarming movie, and Gupta is a total scene-stealer every time she’s on screen. [Trailer]


For fans of: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, insane metaphors for class struggles

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CJ Entertainment

Bong Joon-ho‘s 2013 cult classic is set years in the future when climate change has turned the Earth into a giant snowball, and the last of humanity lives on a train that perpetually circles the globe. While the rich wine and dine in the cars at the front, the poor are crammed into the rear of the locomotive, where Chris Evans plays a man who sparks a dangerous revolution. [Trailer]

Uncut Gems

For fans of: Anxiety, the year 2012

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Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems


I have one piece of advice for you if you decide to hit play on Uncut Gems: Don’t go in with any Adam Sandler-related expectations. Josh and Benny Safdie‘s frenetic crime thriller, in which he plays Howard, a gambling-addicted jeweler in New York’s Diamond District, is the Sandman’s way of reminding us that he has pretty incredible range as an actor. Howard’s a guy whose lifestyle is becoming increasingly unmanageable — he’s in the middle of separating from his wife (Idina Menzel), trying to keep his girlfriend (Julia Fox) happy, and has recently come into possession of an item he believes will save him from his many debts: a rare black opal from Ethiopia, which is allegedly worth millions. Uncut Gems isn’t technically a horror film, but it keeps you on the edge of your seat like one, and you’ll probably yell at your screen watching Howard try to fast-talk his way out of yet another confrontation. Come for the sight of Adam Sandler in transition lenses, stay for an excellent performance from first-time actor Kevin Garnett. [Trailer]

Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé

For fans of: Beyoncé, of course… and who isn’t?

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Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé

Larry Busacca

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Homecoming is perhaps the best, most impactful concert film of at least the past few years. This is Beyoncé at the absolute top of her game, showing not only her historic performance at Coachella 2018, but the emotionally and physically taxing preparation that led up to it. It’s just a pleasure to watch, not only because Beyoncé’s unparalleled work ethic and commitment to precision, but because of how dedicated she and her team of artists, dancers, and musicians were to making sure the performance was a celebration of Black culture. It’s called Homecoming because of the way it evokes traditions made popular by homecoming concerts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and it’s maybe the most entertaining history lesson you’ll ever get. Also, there’s a pitch-perfect Destiny’s Child reunion. We love to see it. [Trailer]

The Half of It

For fans of: Fun spins on

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Leah Lewis, Alexxis Lemire, The Half of It

KC Bailey/Netflix

Alice Wu‘s teen dramedy will surprise you in all the best ways. It starts out familiar: Outsider and introvert Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) begrudgingly agrees to help dumb jock Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) woo the pretty and popular Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire) by writing her love letters in Paul’s name, but what Paul doesn’t know is that Ellie is also in love with Aster (yes, this is more or less the premise of Cyrano de Bergerac). Of course eventually the ruse is exposed and feelings hurt and hearts mended. In the end, however, The Half of It is less a movie that cares about who ends up with who and more about Ellie finally opening herself up to the world, letting people like Paul and Aster and her very sweet dad in, and well, living. It’s a smart and heartwarming coming-of-age story (that final train scene!) that uses well-worn rom-com tropes to its advantage. -Maggie Fremont [Trailer]

The To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy

For fans of: Teen rom-coms, John Hughes references

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Noah Centineo and Lana Condor, To All the Boys: Always and Forever


Based on Jenny Han’s young adult trilogy, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before took the Netflix world by storm when it debuted in 2018. The teen rom-com stars Asian American actress Lana Condor as Lara Jean Covey, a hopelessly romantic high schooler who pens letters to all her crushes in order to get her abundance of emotions out. But when those love letters are mailed out to the crushes by her younger sister, she’s mortified — especially because one is delivered to her older sister’s boyfriend, Josh (Israel Broussard). To cover up her feelings for Josh, Lara Jean begins fake dating the popular and charming Peter (Noah Centineo) — another love letter recipient who wants to make his ex jealous — but old feelings die hard. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has an inherent sweetness to it that calls back to classic ’80s films like Say Anything… or Sixteen Candles. Once you’ve finished it, check out its sequels, P.S. I Still Love You, which introduces yet another recipient of Lara Jean’s letters, and Always and Forever, the third and final film in the saga. –Kaitlin Thomas [Trailer]

Always Be My Maybe

For fans of: Keanu Reeves doing the most

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Randall Park and Ali Wong, Always Be My Maybe


Ali Wong co-wrote this 2019 romantic comedy in which she stars as Sasha, a celebrity chef who returns home to the Bay Area to open a new restaurant and runs into her former childhood friend, Marcus (co-writer Randall Park). The romantic chemistry from their teenage years still remains, and after she breaks off her engagement to her fiancé after he delays their wedding yet again, Sasha attempts to embark on a new relationship with Marcus. However, his fears and her fame — and a great guest spot from Keanu Reeves — create obstacles that first have to be overcome before true happiness can be found. –Kaitlin Thomas [Trailer]

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

For fans of: The idiosyncrasies of Taika Waititi, unlikely friendships

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Julian Dennison and Sam Neill, Hunt for the Wilderpeople

The Orchard

Before he got recruited by the Marvel machine, Taika Waititi made Hunt for the Wilderpeople, an adventure dramedy about a young delinquent (Julian Dennison) and his reluctant foster dad (Sam Neill) who, after a series of mishaps and misunderstandings, become the targets of a manhunt. They go into survival mode as they hide out in the New Zealand wilderness, running into a cast of oddball characters as they evade the police. As is the case with these things, the longer they stay out on their own, the closer they get. Waititi’s signature comedic style is what makes the whole thing really shine. [Trailer]

Yes, God, Yes

For fans of: Female-focused coming-of-age sex comedies

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Yes, God, Yes

Vertical Entertainment

There are a lot of teen comedies on this list, but to be fair, this is the only one that stars Stranger ThingsNatalia Dyer as a Catholic high school student in the year 2000 who has an eye-opening experience in an AOL chat (again, it’s the year 2000), both sexually and about how the world works. In line with Pen15, Lady Bird, and Booksmart, this is one of those great, smart movies that let teen girls be weird and gross and hilarious. [Trailer]

The Irishman

For fans of: Impressive de-aging CGI, looooong movies

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Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Ray Romano, The Irishman


Martin Scorsese loves telling stories about almost-great men undone by their own hubris, and The Irishman is the latest example of that. A lot was made of its three-hour runtime, and its use of CGI to de-age its stars, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino, but those aren’t the only things this film has to offer. De Niro plays Frank Sheeran, the titular Irishman, who works as a hitman alongside Russell Bufalino (Pesci) and famous Teamster Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino), both of whom are tied to organized crime. It’s an epic about power and betrayal, and contains easily the best performance De Niro’s given in years. [Trailer]

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

For fans of: Family politics, seeing Adam Sandler in a rare dramatic role

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Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Atsushi Nishijima/Netflix

Much like The Royal Tenenbaums and Succession, The Meyerowitz Stories is about dysfunctional adult siblings who have grown up in their father’s shadow and are now struggling to function because of it. The siblings in question are Danny (Adam Sandler), a divorced, unemployed father whose daughter has recently started college, Jean (Elizabeth Marvel), an unhappy Xerox employee, and Matthew (Ben Stiller), a successful financier who’s separated from his wife. Their flighty, eccentric father is Harold (Dustin Hoffman), an artist. It’s very much one of those movies Noah Baumbach loves to make, where you simply follow the characters around for a while and get a look inside their weird lives. If you’re into that, you’ll be all over this. [Trailer]

Marriage Story

For fans of: Laura Dern memes, Adam Driver memes, being sad

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Laura Dern and Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Wilson Webb/Netflix

A marriage unravels in Noah Baumbach’s latest, as Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) try to keep themselves afloat during their divorce. Yes, there’s definitely a lot movie going on in this movie emotionally, but isn’t the most important takeaway that we got two great memes out of it? I think so. [Trailer]

Dolemite Is My Name

For fans of: Underdog stories, Eddie Murphy doing something different

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Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

Francois Duhamel/Netflix

In 1970s Los Angeles, struggling musician-comedian Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) decides to create a raunchy alter ego named Dolemite in effort to get noticed. The movie highlights the way, through his work, Moore was able to help pioneer rap as a musical genre, provides wider commentary on the blaxploitation phenomenon, and touches on some of Murphy’s own feelings about the critics who have commented on his films. Spoiler: He doesn’t care! [Trailer]

The Social Network

For fans of: Betrayal, billionaires

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The Social Network

Columbia Pictures

David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin teamed up to tell the real-life villain origin story of a guy named, oh, what was it? That’s right, Mark Zuckerberg. Spanning from the initial inception of Facebook (when it was nothing more than a site where gross dudes at Harvard could rate how hot their female peers were) to its inevitable ascension as the billion-dollar internet monster it has become, the film focuses largely on the friendship and falling out between Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), one of the original co-founders of Facebook. There are few movies I think about more than The Social Network, and I’m always shocked by how relevant it continues to be, despite being made in 2010, before Zuckerberg was testifying in front of Congress every other week. [Trailer]


For fans of: Seeing Jake Gyllenhaal act insane, being convinced to go vegetarian

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Tilda Swinton and Ahn Seo-hyun, Okja

Barry Wetcher/Netflix

Bong Joon-ho makes a strong case against the food industry in this film about Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun), a young girl who goes up against a powerful company in order to keep them from killing her best friend, an enormous, genetically-engineered pig. She teams up with a group of animal rights activists, lead by Jay (Paul Dano) and K (Steven Yeun), and encounters theatrically evil characters like Jake Gyllenhall‘s deranged TV personality Johnny Wilcox, and Tilda Swinton‘s eccentric CEO Lucy Mirando. Tonally, it has a different energy that separates it from Bong’s other films, like Snowpiercer and Parasite, but it contains similar themes, like class divides and the harsh realities of capitalism. [Trailer]

Stranger Than Fiction

For fans of: Will Ferrell in a rare serious role

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Stranger Than Fiction

Sony Pictures

Emma Thompson plays Karen, an author with writer’s block who can’t think of a way to kill off her main character. That all sounds pretty normal, until you find out her main character, Harold Crick (Will Ferrell), is a real person, who realizes he is living inside a novel when he begins to hear Karen’s disembodied voice narrating his every move. This is such a zany premise for a movie that it almost shouldn’t work as well as it does, but it does, in fact, really, really work. [Trailer]


For fans of: The comedy stylings of Seth Rogen, going inside the minds of teen boys

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Columbia Pictures

If you tell me you can listen to The Guess Who’s “These Eyes” without hearing Michael Cera‘s rendition of it, I’m going to just assume you haven’t seen Superbad and politely ask you what you’re waiting for. Following two best friends, Evan (Cera) and Seth (Jonah Hill), who get invited to a party a few weeks before graduation, things naturally spiral out of control when they agree to supply the party with alcohol. For a movie that came out in 2007, its jokes still hit (“McLovin” as a concept is still very funny to me, I have to be honest) and it’s almost impressive how many members of its young cast have gone on to become huge stars in the years since. Have you ever heard of this up-and-coming actress named Emma Stone? She’s going places. [Trailer]

Set It Up

For fans of: Tried and true romantic comedy tropes

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Glen Powell, Zoey Deutch, Set It Up


In this rom-com, our unsuspecting lovebirds, Harper (Zoey Deutch) and Charlie (Glen Powell), enter into a Parent Trap-type situation: To get their overbearing bosses (delightfully played by Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs) off their backs so they can actually have lives, the two assistants manipulate schedules and situations and Yankee Stadium kiss cams to get Kirsten (Liu) and Rick (Diggs) to fall for each other. It doesn’t take long to realize that it’s Harper and Charlie who are actually perfect for each other. It doesn’t much matter that you can predict where this whole thing is going: The ride there is fun and sweet, and you’re traveling with two leads who have a ton of chemistry together. If you love rom-coms, you’ll enjoy Set It Up, a movie that feels like one big modern homage to all the rom-coms that came before it. –Maggie Fremont [Trailer]

Athlete A

For fans of: Learning about the horrifying truth behind professional sports

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Athlete A


This powerful documentary follows the two-year investigation by reporters from The Indianapolis Star who uncovered one of the greatest sports scandals in history: the abuse of hundreds of gymnasts at the hands of doctor Larry Nassar. Athlete A is a reference to Maggie Nichols, who first brought complaints about Nassar to USA Gymnastics in 2015. The film is about a program rotten to its core, the sacrifice of young athletes to uphold an image, and the brave survivors who came forward. [Trailer]

Dick Johnson Is Dead

For fans of: Crying!

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Dick Johnson Is Dead


You should break out a box of tissues before checking out Kristen Johnson‘s tender documentary about her father. When we’re introduced to the 86-year-old Dick, the frightening, heartbreaking effects of his dementia are starting to show, marking what both Dick and Kristen accept to be the beginning of the end of his life. What makes this film unique is the way it blends fiction and reality: Kristen imagines ways for her dad to die that he gamely acts out, from falling down a flight of stairs to bleeding out from a head wound. The two have such an easy rapport that it’s easy to laugh at their antics one minute and be horribly upset the next when Dick describes the pain of feeling his memory slip away from him in real time. It’s a beautiful film quite unlike anything else. [Trailer]

Lady Bird

For fans of: The realities of being a teenage girl, Timothée Chalamet

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Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird


Like a lot of women who endured the pain of high school, I count Lady Bird as one of my favorite movies. Saoirse Ronan stars in Greta Gerwig‘s directorial debut as an opinionated Catholic school student who lives out her final year before college in the way one should: crushing on the cool boys, lying about how much money her family has in order to fit in, and clashing with her mom. In fact, it’s Lady Bird’s complicated relationship with her mom, Marion (Laurie Metcalf), that makes the movie what it is. It’s fraught and loving all at once, and the two butt heads in just about every scene, only to make up just as quickly. I recommend watching this movie with your mom for the moment she inevitably looks at Marion and says, “I wasn’t like that, was I?” [Trailer]

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

For fans of: Feeling confused and vaguely unsettled

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Jesse Plemons and Jessie Buckley, I’m Thinking of Ending Things


It should be said straight up that I’m Thinking of Ending ThingsCharlie Kaufman‘s haunting adaptation of Iain Reid’s novel, is probably not for everyone. It’s also not the kind of movie that will tell you exactly what it’s about; it doesn’t really follows a linear, cause-and-effect plot, and the story unfolds according to dream logic. I’ll describe it in the best way I can, though: A woman (Jessie Buckley) goes on a trip with her boyfriend (Jesse Plemons) to visit his parents, all while she’s considering breaking up with him. It only gets trippier from there! The only things that are really made clear to the audience is that the woman is a wholly unreliable narrator and nothing is as it seems. If you like your movies a little out there, this one’s totally worth checking out. [Trailer]

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

For fans of: Great performances from great actors, monologues

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Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom


Chadwick Boseman‘s final film role was in this Netflix original, which is based on the Tony-nominated August Wilson play. Viola Davis stars as Ma Rainey, a powerhouse blues singer in 1927 Chicago who holds up a recording session to butt heads with her white manager, and Boseman plays a trumpeter in the recording session angling to get a foothold in the music business. On its own, it’s a good film that has a lot to say about race and music ownership, but the performances from Davis and Boseman elevate it. [Trailer]

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