This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
While we can all agree that Netflix has been overall a great thing for movie lovers, it’s also true that scrolling through the ever-growing library searching for something to watch can be the biggest waste of time in our day.
Ever scrolled so long that it becomes too late to actually press play on anything? Or just decided to watch that thing you’ve seen a thousand times. Us too.
So we thought we’d make things a little easier ahead of your next session, gathering together some of the best Netflix Originals on offer, some high profile and others under the radar. They range from dramas and comedies to rom-coms and horrors and lots more in-between, so we hope you can stop the endless staring at the home screen, at least for a while.
The film follows a couple in their 40s (Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti) who, after years of failing to conceive naturally, navigate the impact of seeking alternative routes to parenthood on their relationship and their relationship to others. It’s a subject that doesn’t get explored very often and it’s done with so much good humor and emotional honesty here that Private Life has become one of the Netflix Originals most likely to be recommended by your friends.
The biggest film to come out of the streaming service since it began producing its own movies, finally securing Netflix Oscar glory after years of trying. The film follows Cleo, a domestic worker in Mexico City who, after a period of familial strife, is invited on vacation by her boss. Roma is Alfonso Cuaron’s love letter to the film’s time period and location, and a beautiful and considered portrait of the lives of the hundreds of “invisible” people existing alongside us.
A monster movie with a difference. Okja tells the story of a young girl living in South Korea who befriends and cares for the titular creature, before outside forces intervene and take Okja away. The film received huge buzz when it was released back in 2017 and, despite huge names like Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano among the cast, it’s really An Seo Hyun as Mija and, of course, Okja herself, who are the stars of this weird and touching adventure tale.
There have been a lot of Stephen King adaptations over the last few years (blame a society-wide sense of unease, we guess) but Gerald’s Game might have been the most under-the-radar. When a couple travel to a remote lake house in order to revitalize their marriage, wife Jessie is left fighting for her life when, during a sex game in which she is handcuffed to the bed, her husband dies suddenly. It’s a simple concept, but one from which the film mines horror gold.
To All the Boys I Loved Before
Netflix has been touted as the savior of the rom-com and, while To All the Boys I Loved Before wasn’t the first, it was the one that made it the go-to source of the kind of sweet, smart romantic comedies that were king back in the ’90s. It follows Lara Jean, an awkward teenage girl who makes a habit of writing unsent letters to her biggest crushes. Then the letters are leaked. The film made a movie star of Noah Centineo, and we can expect a sequel in 2020.
Netflix’s most recent foray into offbeat horror that probably wouldn’t be made anywhere else, The Perfection stars Allison Williams as a musical prodigy who develops a relationship with her closest rival. Then things get weird, really weird.
Though it leans into the body horror and just generally grossing its audience out, rather than character or story, it’s a great mood piece and truly like nothing you’ve seen before. Not one to watch with lunch.
The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs
Another Oscar contender, The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs repeated the trick of giving prestige filmmakers (The Coen brothers in this case) carte blanche and watching the acclaim roll in. The film is actually six stories in one, all set in the Old West and all differing from each other in key ways. Whether it’s a musical, a traditional western or a crime caper, it’s a ton of fun and a unique look at a genre(s) that’s ripe for new perspectives.
In post-WW2 Mississippi, a black family and a white family are challenged with co-existing one patch of land and, when two of their men who fought in the war return home, things come to a head. Mudbound is a stunning look at how prejudice manifests in different times and situations, and who individual acts of acceptance can triumph (or not) against institutional bigotry. It’s also a brilliant family drama, and Mary J. Blige thoroughly earns her best supporting actress nod.