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The 32 best movies on Netflix right now

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The best movies on Netflix right now, including the best horror movies, comedies, action movies, thrillers, and new movies you can watch on Netflix.
What’s the best movie I can watch on Netflix? We’ve all asked ourselves this question, only to spend the next 15 minutes scrolling through the streaming service’s oddly specific genre menus and getting overwhelmed by the constantly shifting trend menus. Netflix’s huge catalog of movies continues to expand day by day, week by week, month by month. This makes the challenge of keeping up to date with best the service has to offer — let alone finding something the best of what to watch after a long day — a task that feels herculean at best and impossible at worst for someone not plugged into its inscrutable rhythms.
We’re here to help. For those suffering from choice paralysis in February, we’ve narrowed down your options to not only our favorite current movies on the platform, but the best movies Netflix has to offer.
If you’re looking for a specific genre, we’ve got the best action movies on Netflix, the best horror movies on Netflix, the best thrillers on Netflix, and the best comedy movies on Netflix ready for you. And for our readers across the pond, we have a list of the best movies on Netflix U.K.
We’ll be updating this list weekly as Netflix cycles movies in and out of its library, so be sure to check back next time you’re stuck in front of the app’s home screen. Our latest update added Carol as our editor’s pick.This week’s editor’s pick: Carol
Director: Todd Haynes
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson
Todd Haynes’ most recent movie was the straight-to-Netflix gem May December, one of the best releases of 2023 and another movie on this very list. But this month, one of Haynes’ other masterpieces returns to Netflix after being away from the service for most of the year.
Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, Carol follows an affair between two women at very different points in their lives. Therese (Rooney Mara) is an aspiring photographer who works at a department store, where she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), a gorgeous older woman going through a difficult divorce. The two fall deeply in love in this lushly drawn, beautifully shot period romance that earned six Oscar nominations and kickstarted a stretch for Haynes of releasing a new movie every other year since. Haynes is an essential part of the New Queer Cinema movement, and Carol is an essential piece of 21st-century queer filmmaking. During this Pride month, or any other, don’t miss it. —Pete Volk
How we pick the best movies on Netflix
Polygon’s staff consistently keeps up with new Netflix originals and titles added to the streaming platform, adding to this list with the best movies across both Netflix productions and library titles. We prioritize quality, unique artistic vision, and variety — different genres, different eras, different vibes, different filmmaking nations — to make sure every reader finds multiple options that interest them, as well as movies they may have never encountered before.
The best movies on NetflixAlone
Director: John Hyams
Cast: Jules Willcox, Marc Menchaca, Anthony Heald
A taut spine-chiller from John Hyams (Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning), Alone is your classic woman-on-the-run thriller. Jessica (Jules Willcox), a recent widow, is in the midst of moving. If that wasn’t enough stress, a creepy man (Marc Menchaca) appears to be following her on the road. After he slashes her tires, she crashes and wakes up in his basement. What follows is a tightly crafted thriller with great performances, outstanding direction, and enough tension to keep your heart pounding throughout the 98-minute running time. —PVAthena
Director: Romain Gavras
Cast: Dali Benssalah, Sami Slimane, Anthony Bajon
One of the very best movies of 2022, Athena is an intense action thriller about the uprising of a French banlieue after repeated police harassment and violence. Told through the eyes of three brothers with very different perspectives on the conflict and how it should be resolved, Athena is a powerful story. But where it really shines is in its technical acumen. Music video director Romain Gavras, making his feature debut, brings breathtaking tracking shots, intricately choreographed blocking, and an absolutely electric energy. I have qualms with the ending, but I’ll never forget the jaw-dropping experience of watching Gavras cook on this movie. Whatever he does next, I’m there. —PVAtlantics
Director: Mati Diop
Cast: Ibrahima Traoré, Mame Bineta Sane, Amadou Mbow
It’s hard to talk too much about Atlantics without giving away what makes the experience of watching it so special. It’s a beautiful, haunting love story with a tangibly beating heart, touching on romance as well as grief, class, labor, and the lingering effects of oppression. Shot gorgeously by director Mati Diop and cinematographer Claire Mathon, it was the first movie directed by a Black woman to be featured in competition in Cannes (it won the Grand Prix award, losing out on the Palme d’Or to Parasite), and is one of the most remarkable feature film debuts for a director in recent memory. —PVBlackhat
Director: Michael Mann
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tang Wei, Viola Davis
A sleek and sexy thriller that makes hacking look extremely cool, Michael Mann’s unfairly maligned Blackhat stands tall as a high mark in digital filmmaking. It is peak Mann — if you’re not a fan of the Heat director’s work, your mileage may vary. In the film, Chen Dawai (Wang Leehom), a captain in the PLA’s cyber warfare unit, is tasked with getting to the bottom of a computer attack that melts down a nuclear power plant in Hong Kong. While liaising with the FBI investigation, Chen insists on the aid of his old friend Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth, who has never been hotter or cooler), an imprisoned genius hacker. When Hathaway and Chen’s sister (Tang Wei), a networking engineer also helping with the case, fall for each other, it adds an extra wrinkle to an already high stakes situation. Viola Davis and Holt McCallany feature as FBI agents who aren’t super happy to have to rely on a notorious criminal.
With sharp digital cinematography and unforgettable set pieces, Blackhat explores our changing global relationship to technology. Mann makes tangible the microscopic computer systems that run the world: an extreme close-up of internal wires leading to a motherboard like a vast interconnected highway; a computer fan that sounds like a jet engine. Events that in other films would be shown as a boring stroke of keys are instead depicted as hypnotic processes happening under the surface of the visible world. —PVDon’t Go Breaking My Heart
Directors: Johnnie To, Wai Ka-fai
Cast: Louis Koo, Daniel Wu, Gao Yuanyuan
Johnnie To is one of our great modern directors, equally adept in hard-boiled triad crime dramas and light-hearted romantic comedies alike. 2011’s Don’t Go Breaking My Heart falls in the latter category, and is one of the many high marks of the Hong Kong director’s legendary career. Fresh off the end of a long-term relationship, Chi-yan (Gao Yuanyuan) is an analyst for an investment bank who finds herself in the middle of a love triangle. On one side, there’s Sean (Louis Koo), a CEO who works across the street from Chi-yan and yearns for her through the tall corporate glass windows that separate them. On the other, there’s Kevin (the always-dreamy Daniel Wu), an alcoholic former architect who helps Chi-yan move on and is inspired by her to start creating again. What follows is a sincere, funny, and truly charming romantic time. —PVEega
Director: S.S. Rajamouli
Cast: Sudeepa, Nani, Samantha
Eega is a delightful slapstick romantic comedy from the director of RRR, about a fly and his human girlfriend conspiring to ruin a man’s life and then murder him for vengeance. If that doesn’t sound up your alley, I’m not sure what will.
Eega tells the story of a man who is murdered by a wealthy businessman. After being reincarnated as a fly, he makes it his mission to exact vengeance on the man who killed him. As a fly.
With groundbreaking visual effects that pushes digital filmmaking forward, Rajamouli injects a delightful energy and lighter tone into the genre of “dark revenge thriller,” with thrilling set pieces (stakes include “our hero gets stuck on a tennis ball being used in a cricket match” and “our hero causes a traffic jam by buzzing in the ears of a crossing guard”) and plenty of visual gags inspired by slapstick and screwball comedies alike. It’s all balanced by a compelling romance that sells you on the movie’s emotional stakes in the first half hour, culminating in an experience unlike any other. Rajamouli is just special. —PVEmily the Criminal
Director: John Patton Ford
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi, Gina Gershon
One of the smartest movies about the gig economy and our modern money struggles, Emily the Criminal was criminally (ayyy) underappreciated when it came out in 2022. The movie follows a debt-ridden woman (Aubrey Plaza) who gets involved in a credit card scam to pay off her student loans. This pulls her in the orbit of charismatic ringleader Youcef (the reliably handsome Theo Rossi), and also deeper and deeper into the world of crime, as she looks for a way out of her difficult situation.
It’s a career-best performance from Plaza, who is as funny and dry as ever, but Emily the Criminal’s script allows her to use her dramatic chops in ways we’ve rarely seen outside of White Lotus and Ingrid Goes West (and even those are primarily comedies with dramatic elements). Relentlessly paced, constantly tense, and always centered on the terrific leading performance at its core, Emily the Criminal is one of the best American films of the decade, and its potency will only grow as the problems it shines a light on continue to be exacerbated. —PVGhosts of Sugar Land
Director: Bassam Tariq
Director Bassam Tariq recently got replaced on Marvel’s upcoming Blade movie, and it’s as good a reason as any to catch up with his masterful 2019 short. Best known for the hip-hop drama Mogul Mowgli starring Riz Ahmed, Tariq’s previous movie is an enthralling documentary well worth the 21-minute running time.
Ghosts of Sugar Land is about a young group of friends in the suburbs of Texas, and what happens when one of them becomes radicalized by ISIS. A compelling portrait of an America we don’t often get to see depicted on screen, Tariq offers no easy answers, instead leaning on the shock and despair of the friends left behind, and on the dangers of isolation and loneliness in a country that often seems on the brink of collapse. A winner of multiple festival awards, including the 2019 Sundance Short Film Jury Award, Ghosts of Sugar Land is not to be missed. —PVGodzilla Minus One
Director: Takashi Yamazaki
Cast: Ryunosuke Kamiki, Minami Hamabe, Hidetaka Yoshioka
This month, one of 2023’s best movies is finally available to stream for Western audiences. Takashi Yamazaki’s Godzilla Minus One takes the franchise back to its roots: the disillusionment of Japan’s postwar era. The King of the Monsters is once again a metaphor for atomic weapons, but where Minus One really makes its mark is with the human characters who strive again annihilation.
Ryunosuke Kamiki plays Kōichi Shikishima, a former kamikaze pilot buried under a mountain of survivor’s guilt, with Minami Hamabe as Noriko, the woman he can’t bring himself to marry. Rounding out the cast are more adventure staples, like the trio of loyal and comedic co-workers, including the older scientist who has the right plan to defeat the monster (Hidetaka Yoshioka).

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