When it comes to Netflix and its long list of original programming, it’s easy to get lost in the titles and think you’ve seen just about everything. We’ve all been there. But the truth is, there is a very little chance that you have seen “everything.”
With new titles being released every week, Netflix has an average of 7,000 films at any given time in its extensive catalog. From critical darlings to fan favorites, some of Netflix’s most hidden gems might not have made a splash at the box office, but they are definitely worth watching.
Because they are not the easiest to find, to help you thumb your way through the library, we’ve assembled a list of some of the best films currently available for streaming — and trust us, when we say they will guarantee to keep you interested every minute of the way. From festival and indie favorites to international releases, crime dramas and sci-fi, there is always a handful to mine through and pull out.
Whether they’ve received a good rating on IMDb or a fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, these little-known titles with a provocative story and superb casting, are available to stream for that solid and thoughtful night-in.
“Z for Zachariah”
Receiving a solid freshness on Rotten Tomatoes and boasting an amazing cast of actors, including Chiwetel Ejiofer, Chris Pine and Margot Robbie, you definitely haven’t heard of this gem. Based on the book of the same name by Robert C. O’Brien, Z for Zachariah, is a sci-fi drama about a young woman who fears she is the last woman on earth, until she discovers a distraught human being, driven to the brink by radiation exposure.
While the two form a relationship, a stranger who enters the valley then threatens their bond. Compelling, quiet and simplistic in premise, it’s one that is worth a watch if you’re into that apocalypse genre with a bit of romance, albeit at a pace that might test the patience of viewers.
In this sweet dramedy, the inimitable Bill Murray plays an aged, downhearted war veteran named Vincent who can’t stand most people and only gives his attention to things like, alcohol and horse racing. Living on his own and occasionally, with a pregnant prostitute (Naomi Watts), his life changes when he meets a young single mother (Melissa McCarthy) and her son, who move in next door.
Agreeing to watch over Oliver when Maggie is at work, the two have a heartwarming relationship that seems a bit formulaic to that “down-on-his-luck” character, but has the charm and stylings of a Wes Anderson film. With clever dialogue, characterization and a touching finale, it’s one to watch immediately.
If you needed proof that Kristen Stewart was more than just a vampire-loving teenager with an alarming lip-bite routine, this is the film to watch. Reactive and emotional, Stewart doesn’t disappoint. Instead, she delivers an electric performance as a young woman who joins the military to be something bigger than herself, but ends up as a guard at Guantanamo Bay, with a very black and white mission.
Surrounded by intimidating jihadists and antagonistic squad mates, she strikes up an unusual friendship with one of the detainees. As a film perfect for the times and featuring two characters on the opposite side of war, struggling to find through the ethical quagmire of Guantanamo Bay, it is an emotional poignant film, which questions what freedom really means.
Bollywood actress, Priyanka Chopra is making a name for herself in Hollywood and doing fine job with her role on ABC’s Quantico. But if you are looking to see what else Chopra is capable of aside from the assumption every Bollywood film is all “singing and dancing,” then you need to watch the sports film, Mary Kom.
The film is based on the true-life story of Indian boxer, Kom, who went through several hardships to become a boxing champion. Not only did the film become a commercial success, grossing more than $220 million at the box office, but it was a record breaker for a female-led Indian film. The film not only won several Indian film awards, but garnered Chopra several that year for Best Actress.
Produced by Academy Award winner, Forest Whitaker, this film chronicles the last day of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old black man in 2008, who was challenged by his past, surroundings and the police. With the way the news has been today, it’s a groundbreaking film with a deeply compassionate and powerful message, that it actually surpasses the sadness of the subject matter.
With a high score on Rotten Tomatoes, the film is beautifully acted and is one that truly has actor, Michael B. Jordan shining in the role. Moreover, it’s won an astonishing number of awards, including the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
“All Good Things”
Netflix has some amazing crime dramas and documentaries, but one film you might have overlooked was one starring Ryan Gosling. While it’s not exactly a critical darling, it was one Netflix viewers appreciated for its subject matter.
Inspired by the story of Robert Durst, scion of the wealthy Durst family, the film follows the life of the wealthy son (Gosling) of a New York real estate tycoon (Frank Langella) who is at the center of a series of murders, including the subsequent unsolved disappearance of his wife played by Kristen Dunst. It’s a compelling film that captures the emotion and complexion of this real-life unsolved mystery with incredible intrigue.
Photo credit: Parisa Taghizadeh / Roadside Attractions