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The Best Movies on Netflix Nobody Knows About [Winter 2021]

The Best Movies on Netflix Nobody Knows About [Winter 2021]

Have you ever found yourself in a Netflix loop? You log onto the site, on your laptop or your television or even on your phone, to try to find a movie to watch at night, but Netflix keeps serving up the same content to you again and again. You’ve tried that, watched this, didn’t care for the other—all of the movies on your recommended list are old news, and you’re not sure what you should try next. Maybe all of this work even makes you give up on the hunt for a movie to watch, falling back on your old favorites instead of trying out new movies or shows.

One reason you might be struggling to find new movies to watch comes down to a shift in Netflix’s priorities. Loading up the main display on Netflix presents you with a whole list of content to choose from, some new and some not, but almost all of the featured content in 2021 will have a single thing in common: they all feature the Netflix logo on top of the poster. Netflix’s move into original programming started just five years ago, but it has since moved from a supplementary experiment into something far more substantial: Netflix’s future. Unfortunately, that can lead the company to often bury movies and other non-original content that might interest their subscribers. Worse, even some of their original shows and movies have been released in the past without fanfare.

So, we’re here to help. We’ve scoured the wilderness that makes up the Netflix library to try to find some of the best movies you haven’t seen yet. Whether it’s a cult-hit classic from a decade ago or a movie released by Netflix that you might have missed, we think we’ve found some of the best-kept secret titles on Netflix today. So, the next time you’re stuck in the dreaded Netflix loop, don’t run back to or Gilmore Girls—just refer back to this list. These are the best movies on Netflix that you don’t know about.

Roxanne Roxanne

Roxanne Roxanne

By Michael Larnell

star 6.2/10

by IMDb Rating

Roxanne Roxanne tells the story of Roxanne Shanté, a rapper who grew up in Queens and began rapping in 1979 at the age of nine. Five years later, after changing her name from Lolita to Roxanne, has become a member of the Juice Crew and is working to forward her rap career. Learning that rap trio U.T.F.O. had recently recorded a hit with their B-side “Roxanne, Roxanne,” a song detailing a girl named Roxanne who won’t return their advances, Shanté records a response from the point of view of the song. Titled “Roxanne’s Revenge,” Shanté immediately becomes one of the first female MCs to find fame. As she learns to navigate the 1980s rap scene, Roxanne must also struggle to balance the feeling of the weight of the world on her shoulders, providing for her family while also defending herself from the dangers of the streets in the projects.

Little Evil

Little Evil

By Eli Craig

star 5.7/10

by IMDb Rating

From the writer and director of horror-comedy cult-classic Tucker and Dale vs Evil comes this 2017 Netflix Original that premiered without much fanfare on the service. Little Evil stars Parks and Recreation‘s Adam Scott as Gary Bloom, who falls for Evangeline Lilly’s Samantha. They get married, and Gary becomes the stepfather of Lucas, Samantha’s five year old son. Something is a bit odd about Lucas, however; Gary has difficulty finding any sort of relationship with his new stepson, and becomes concerned when Lucas’ teacher violently dies after an interaction with him. Concerned that Lucas may have some evil within him, Gary goes about trying to find the cause for Lucas’ erratic behavior, and in the process, accidentally discovers a Satanic cult that may have a connection to his new stepson.

Icarus

Icarus

By Bryan Fogel

star 7.9/10

by IMDb Rating

The first Netflix Original film to win an Oscar, Icarus is directed by filmmaker Bryan Fogel, following the director as he explores the option to compete in a cycling race while doping. While researching illegal doping, he becomes friends with the Russian doctor that is helping him take performance-enhancing drugs that will prevent him from being caught using them. The doctor, Dr. Rodchenkov, eventually grows to trust Fogel enough to let it slip that Russia is planning on using a state-sponsored Olympic doping program that will allow their athletes to compete at higher levels than other nations. When word slips out to the public about the program, Fogel realizes his friend is in danger, leading to Rodchenkov giving a testimony in the United States once he is flown outside of Russia. The film is thrilling and eye-opening at the world of doping, and is great for fans of documentaries and political thrillers alike.

Seeing Allred

Seeing Allred

By

star 7.2/10

by IMDb Rating

tomato 100%

by RottenTomatoes

This Netflix Original documentary follows Gloria Allred, an attorney known for her cases fighting for women’s rights and for taking on high-profile cases that often see her in the press. Her legal career is one for the ages, spreading across four decades that rose in publicity when she began fighting for abortion rights in the early 1980s. Since then, Allred has represented numerous clients in lawsuits against celebrities for all sorts of outrageous behavior, and this doc happens to follow two of her most high-profile cases yet—Bill Cosby and Donald Trump. The documentary, which premiered earlier this year at Sundance to rave reviews, also follows Gloria as she talks, albeit reluctantly, about aspects of her own personal life, including becoming pregnant with her daughter at 19. Allred has lived an incredible life and has used her power as a lawyer to fight for hundreds of underdogs, making this documentary incredibly timely in the wake of #metoo.

The Invitation

The Invitation

By Karyn Kusama

star 6.6/10

by IMDb Rating

Mysteries and thrillers are perfect for dark and stormy nights, and The Invitation might be the ideal film to chill you to your core. The film stars Logan Marshall-Green as Will, a divorcee who drive his girlfriend Kira to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife at his old house in the Hollywood Hills. Will’s ex, Eden, alongside her new husband David, welcomes Will and Kira to the party, though immediately, something feels wrong. As Will continues to deal with the grief of his deceased son (the reason Eden and him split up), he begins to feel like something is wrong with his ex-wife and her husband’s motivations. The tale is dark and grim, and as the night advances, you’ll begin to put the pieces together in this thrilling tale of mystery and murder.

Lovesong

Lovesong

By So Yong Kim

star 6.3/10

by IMDb Rating

Directed by So Yong Kim, Lovesong follows Sarah (Riley Keough), a stay at home mother whose husband is often absent for work and dismissive of Sarah’s concerns about his absences. When she contacts an old friend, Mindy (Jena Malone), following feelings of isolation and loneliness, the two embark on a road trip together after years apart, bringing Sarah’s toddler daughter along for the ride. The two rekindle their friendship over stories of their past, as Mindy’s carefree and untroubled lifestyle and outlook begin to win over Sarah’s own heart. The film follows the relationship that grows between these two friends.

The Other Side of the Wind

The Other Side of the Wind

By Orson Welles

star 6.8/10

by IMDb Rating
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

By Noah Baumbach

star 6.9/10

by IMDb Rating
Mudbound

Mudbound

By Dee Rees

star 7.4/10

by IMDb Rating
Dumplin'

Dumplin'

By Anne Fletcher

star 6.6/10

by IMDb Rating
Private Life

Private Life

By Tamara Jenkins

star 7.2/10

by IMDb Rating
The most underrated Netflix Original of 2018, Private Life is the heartbreaking tale of Richard and Rachel (Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn, respectively), a middle-aged couple desperately trying to have a child together. After multiple failed attempts at artificial insemination, they learn that Richard has a blockage preventing him from producing sperm, forcing him to undergo a surgery that puts him $10,000 in debt to his brother Charlie. While this is happening, the couple also learn that the child they were looking to adopt, after being matched with a pregnant teenager from Little Rock who was looking to give up her child has stopped contacting them. The film, the third feature by director Tamara Jenkins (The SavagesSlums of Beverly Hills) was critically-acclaimed upon its release.
Burning

Burning

By Chang-dong Lee

star 7.5/10

by IMDb Rating
th Century Women

th Century Women

By Mike Mills

star 7.3/10

by IMDb Rating
Creep 2

Creep 2

By Patrick Brice

star 6.5/10

by IMDb Rating

tomato 100%

by RottenTomatoes
A Ghost Story

A Ghost Story

By David Lowery

star 6.9/10

by IMDb Rating
The Death of Stalin

The Death of Stalin

By Armando Iannucci

star 7.3/10

by IMDb Rating
Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

By Danny Boyle

star 7.2/10

by IMDb Rating

When Steve Jobs passed away in 2011, the race was on to release a film based on Walter Isaacson’s acclaimed biography. Four years later, with a script from Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) and direction from Danny Boyle (Trainspotting), Steve Jobs was released into theaters. And although the film was ignored by audiences, the film received critical acclaim, thanks in part due to Sorkin’s script and Michael Fassbender’s performance as Jobs. The film is set over fourteen years, set prior to three different keynotes held by Jobs, as he deals with personal issues related to his ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan and their daughter Lisa. The film also stars Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak and Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman.

The Guest

The Guest

By Adam Wingard

star 6.7/10

by IMDb Rating

Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett impressed with their 2011 film You’re Next, and when they got to make a follow-up just three years later, they crafted one of the best horror-thriller hybrids of the 2010s. The Guest follows a mysterious US soldier named David, who brings it upon himself to visit the mourning Peterson family. David introduces himself as a friend of their late son Caleb, who died in combat in Afghanistan. Invited into the family home, David slowly improves the lives of each member of the family, but when a series of unexplained deaths occur, daughter Anna (Maika Monroe, It Follows) begins to suspect David is connected.

American Honey

American Honey

By Andrea Arnold

star 7.0/10

by IMDb Rating

It’s rare to see a film described as an epic road drama, but that’s exactly what American Honey is. Released in 2016 to critical acclaim by indie studio A24, American Honey follows Star (Sasha Lane), an adolescent girl from a troubled home, who runs away with a traveling sales crew making their way across the American Midwest, selling subscriptions door-to-door. Mixed up in a group of young adults just trying to find their way in life, she finds herself enjoying the gang’s lifestyle of partying, lawbreaking, and young love. The film, directed by Andrea Arnold (Wuthering Heights, Wasp), also stars Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough.

Uncut Gems

Uncut Gems

By

star 7.4/10

by IMDb Rating

Not only is Uncut Gems one of the best films of 2019, it’s also one of Adam Sandler’s best on-screen performances of his career. After wowing audiences with his turn in Punch-Drunk Love back in 2002, Sandler returns to drama for the first time since The Meyerowitz Stories. In the film, directed by the Safdie Brothers (Heaven Knows What, Good Time), Sandler plays Howard Ratner, a jeweler in New York who is addicted to gambling and has found himself under a pile of debts he can’t pay. After scoring a rare Ethiopian black opal that promises to sell for millions of dollars at auction, Ratner loses control of the situation after lending the gem to NBA star Kevin Garnett. As the tension rises, Ratner has to make a series of high-risk bets to get back on top of the situation.

Lupin the 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro

Lupin the 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro

By Hayao Miyazaki

star 7.6/10

by IMDb Rating

If you haven’t heard of The Castle of Cagliostro, you probably aren’t an animation nerd. The first film from legendary director Hayao Miyazaki, and one of two films directed by Miyazaki not released under the director’s own Studio Ghibli. The film, an adaptation of the classic Lupin III manga, it a must-watch now that it’s on Netflix, especially for fans of Miyazaki who have yet to visit the director’s early works. The film follows Lupin III, a master thief who discovers the money he robbed from a casino is counterfeit. He heads to Cagliostro to find the source of the forged cash, only to find himself on a mission to rescue a princess from capture.

I'm Thinking of Ending Things

I'm Thinking of Ending Things

By Charlie Kaufman

star 6.6/10

by IMDb Rating
Carol

Carol

By Todd Haynes

star 7.3/10

by IMDb Rating

Director Todd Haynes brought the famous 1952 novel The Price of Salt to the big screen in 2015 with an adaptation in Carol, one of the most-acclaimed films of 2015. Featuring an all-star cast in Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy, and Kyle Chandler, the film follows Therese Belivet (Mara), a woman working at a Manhattan department store in the 1950s who spots Carol (Blanchett) looking at doll displays. The two women quickly become friends, and more, with dangerous results that spawn as Carol’s ex-husband begins to spy and pry on the life of the two women.

Dick Johnson is Dead

Dick Johnson is Dead

By Kirsten Johnson

star 7.4/10

by IMDb Rating

tomato 100%

by RottenTomatoes
The Bling Ring

The Bling Ring

By Sofia Coppola

star 5.6/10

by IMDb Rating
The Florida Project

The Florida Project

By Sean Baker

star 7.6/10

by IMDb Rating

The highest-profile snub for Best Picture in 2017, Sean Baker’s 2017 film The Florida Project is an excellent drama, a character study looking at both childhood and adulthood alike. The Florida Project follows six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her mother Halley (Bria Vinai) over the course of the summer, as Mooney is home for vacation. The two live week-to-week at “The Magic Castle,” a budget hotel managed by Bobby (Willem Dafoe, at his best and most light-hearted here), whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness and compassion. The film is episodic for much of its runtime, following Moonee as she hangs out with her friends throughout endless afternoons and grand adventures, exploring the unique world set just outside Disney World. Unbeknownst to Mooney, Haley is forced into darker ways of making money, risking her daughter while nevertheless attempting to care for her.

Wildlife

Wildlife

By Paul Dano

star 6.8/10

by IMDb Rating
Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station

By Ryan Coogler

star 7.5/10

by IMDb Rating

If you’re a fan of Michael B. Jordan’s high-profile outings with filmmaker Ryan Coogler (CreedBlack Panther), you need to see where their creative partnership began. Fruitvale Station follows Oscar Grant (Jordan), a 22-year-old fresh out of San Quentin who experiences the last day of his life. As Oscar tries to piece his life back together, he’ll deal with his girlfriend (Melonie Diaz) and young daughter (Ariana Neal), struggle to get his job back, and find himself the target of BART police. Based on the tragic real-life story of Oscar Grant III, Fruitvale Station doesn’t hide the story it’s telling you—and manages to crush you regardless.

High Flying Bird

High Flying Bird

By Steven Soderbergh

star 6.2/10

by IMDb Rating

Steven Soderbergh hasn’t met a movie genre he doesn’t want to play in. From crime thrillers to medical mysteries, biopics to science-fiction, Soderbergh operates on a scale only rivaled by filmmakers like Richard Linklater. High Flying Bird sees him enter the world of sports, following sports agent Ray Burke (André Holland), whose company is losing clients during an NBA lockout. Faced with a rare opportunity, Burke pitches a rookie on a controversial plan that could save the company at the potential risk of that rookie’s career. The film was shot on an iPhone 8, the second Soderbergh film to do so after Unsane in 2018.

I Lost My Body

I Lost My Body

By Jérémy Clapin

star 7.6/10

by IMDb Rating

One of the most inventive animated films of the last decade, I Lost My Body is an acclaimed French-language fantasy film that managed to score a nomination for Best Animated Feature Film at the 2020 Academy Awards. The film follows a hand cut off from its body, that manages to escape from a dissection lab with a single goal: get back to the body to which it was previously attached. As the hand scrambles throughout the streets of Paris, it flashes back to the life it has with the young man it was once attached to, until the man met Gabrielle. The film wasn’t just critically acclaimed, but it also managed to win the Nespresso Grand Prize from the 2019 Cannes festival.

William Sattelberg

Feb 7, 2021

201 Articles Published

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