Netflix has been a trusty source of entertainment throughout lockdown, and although cinemas are finally allowed to reopen once more, we’re unlikely to see movie-goers buying tickets in their droves whilst social distancing requirements are still in effect.
In reality, it seems as though we’ll continue to turn to the big streamers for our film and TV needs and with Netflix‘s ever-growing movie library just a click of a button away, leaving the screen is a struggle even with shops and restaurants returning to a sort-of normality.
From crime thrillers and Hollywood classics, to side-busting comedies and weeping dramas, Netflix is packed full of content to keep you entertained on a rainy day. New releases, such as Will Ferrell’s Eurovision movie and Guy Ritchie’s mobster classic Rocknrolla have recently landed on the platform for you to peruse.
Other noteworthy additions to the streamer include the thought-provoking Truman Show – a rare glimpse at a dramatic Jim Carrey – as well as Margot Robbie’s turn as Tonya Harding in biopic I, Tonya.
With so much to choose from, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best flicks Netflix has to offer so hopefully you wont spend half of your evening deciding what to watch, and with the list being updated regularly, you can revisit to read about newer films that the platform has to offer.
There really is something for everyone on the service – with secret codes to help you explore the different genres.
If you’re after even more great movies to watch, you can sign up to Disney+ for £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year, and indulge in so many films you won’t want to leave the house for months.
And if you’re looking for something a bit shorter to watch, why not check out our handy list of Netflix’s best TV series.
Last updated 8th July 2020
If you loved Guy Ritchie’s most recent mobster movie The Gentlemen, you’re bound to enjoy his first self-produced flick – 2008’s Rocknrolla. Starring Gerard Butler as Scottish gangster One-Two, this crime classic follows the low-ranking criminal as he makes a powerful enemy of Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson), the reigning real estate mobster.
With an iconic cast, including Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong and even Ludacris, Rocknrolla is a cockney treat in line with some of Ritchie’s more successful endeavours – Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
The Green Mile
In this hard-hitting 1930’s crime drama, Tom Hanks plays death row officer Paul Edgecomb who forms an unlikely friendship with condemned black prisoner John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), who was sentenced to death for murdering two little girls.
Adapted from Stephen King’s 1996 novel, The Green Mile is an emotionally powerful look at capital punishment with a supernatural twist and an absorbing effort from director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption).
The drama is a must-watch and with Michael Clarke Duncan’s heartbreaking performance as misunderstood and gentle Coffey, it’s impossible to leave the film without shedding a tear.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
While the seventh Tom Cruise Mission Impossible movie may be delayed due to COVID-19, in the meantime we can reminisce with Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, as they (mostly Cruise) defy the laws of gravity as they attempt to save a mission that’s gone wrong – and prevent a nuclear disaster – in 2018 instalment Mission Impossible Fallout.
The film, which also co-stars Rebecca Ferguson and Superman actor Henry Cavill, includes Cruise’s real-life death-defying jump from one building to another in London – which saw the actor break his ankle.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020)
Yes, the world’s biggest (and weirdest) musical event may have been cancelled this year due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. But it’s going to take more than a global pandemic to completely halt Eurovision, as is evident from this Will Ferrell comedy.
The movie follows Icelandic singers Lars Erickssong (Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdóttir (co-star Rachel McAdams) as they try to live out their Eurovision dreams as pop duo Fire Saga – with mixed results. It’s a journey that involves some hilarious musical numbers (see: Volcano Man), some very questionable staging choices and – most importantly – a great big singalong featuring the brightest stars from previous Eurovision years.
Also starring Pierce Brosnan as Lars’ father, the actual Graham Norton and a hysterical Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as a tiger-obsessed Russian entrant, it gets douze points from us.
Netflix’s recently released action movie has proved so popular that a second instalment is already in the works. From first-time feature director Sam Hargrave, with Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Antony Russo serving as executive producers (and Joe also having written the script), Extraction stars Thor’s Chris Hemsworth and tells the story of black-market mercenary Tyler Rake, who is sent to Bangladesh to rescue the kidnapped son of a drug lord. It’s tense, well paced, a solid star vehicle for Hemsworth and contains just the right amount of genuinely exciting action to keep most viewers firmly glued to their seats.
Read our full Extraction review
Da 5 Bloods (2020)
The latest Spike Lee joint seems to have flown somewhat under the radar, but that’s a crying shame as it truly is a superb and timely watch.
Da 5 Bloods follows a group of Vietnam war veterans as they return to the country in the present day, searching for the remains of their fallen commander and the treasure he left behind. It’s an emotional journey that will see them confront their traumatic memories of the brutal conflict and the men it turned them into, while also exploring broader themes about the experiences of black people in the United States.
Delroy Lindo (The Good Fight), Clarke Peters (The Wire), Norm Lewis (Scandal), Isiah Whitlock Jr (BlacKkKlansman) and Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) play the original Bloods, with Jonathan Majors representing the next generation. It’s a fantastic ensemble cast that provide strong performances across the board, some of which could well be recognised during this year’s awards season – so get ahead of the curve and watch Da 5 Bloods now.
The Truman Show (1998)
There’s little question about it: This funny, thought-provoking genre-defying classic is perhaps Jim Carrey’s finest performance of the 1990s (sorry, Ace Ventura). However, that’s largely due to the film’s intriguing set-up: Carrey plays Truman Burbank, a seemingly everyday man who slowly learns his life is the subject of a live 24-hour reality show. And don’t worry: that’s not a major spoiler. It’s just the basic synopsis of the film, with the real surprise coming in what Carrey’s character does with the newfound knowledge.
Complete with stunning visuals, sharp dialogue and ahead-of-its-time satire on the reality TV industry, The Truman show represents a much watch for film buffs and philosophers alike.
I, Tonya (2017)
I, Tonya tells the thrilling true story of American figure skater Tonya Harding, whose talent was overshadowed by her association with an attack on rival athlete Nancy Kerrigan. This biopic moves at an energetic pace as it pokes fun at the conflicting accounts given by each of the people involved. Meanwhile, it showcases stunning performances from Birds of Prey star Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, the latter winning an Academy Award for her role as Tonya’s cold mother.
Read our full I, Tonya review
The Irishman (2019)
A passion project long in the making, Netflix’s The Irishman sees director Martin Scorsese reunited with Robert De Niro for their ninth collaboration. The gangster biopic centres on Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (De Niro), who recalls his involvement in the disappearance of his longtime friend Jimmy Hoffa (played by Al Pacino). The film was constantly in the news up to its release; from its CGI de-aging used on De Niro, Pacino and Joe Pesci, to the sheer unwieldy length of this epic (it’s a whopping 3 hours 30 minutes, so you’ll need plenty of popcorn).
The Irishman review: Scorsese’s film is a meditative, remorseful gangster epic
Following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests across the world, Netflix recently made racial inequality documentary 13th free to watch to non-Netflix subscribers, which has seen a 4,000% increase in streams.
The title of this potent film refers to the 13th Amendment: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” “Punishment for crime” is the key qualifier here, as Ava DuVernay’s (When They See Us) documentary explores the injustices at the heart of America’s penal system.
13th secured Netflix its first BAFTA.
Read our full 13th review
Marriage Story (2019)
On the face of it, Marriage Story shouldn’t be as an enjoyable watch as it is, given that it’s about a relationship falling apart and all the emotions that come with that. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver play the couple who decide to get divorced in this award-winning masterpiece from writer/director Noah Baumbach and put in some of the best performances of their career, which really deserved more award attention than they got.
It will make you laugh. It will make you smile. And if you are married, it will make you pray that you never get divorced…
Read our full Marriage Story review
Uncut Gems (2020)
We should probably start by warning you you’re in for a tense and stressful two hours if you choose to watch Uncut Gems in one sitting. The Safdie brothers’ film takes funnyman Adam Sandler and turns him into a New York City jeweller risking everything to banish his debts and escape the collectors after him. Sandler is unrecognisable, but that’s no bad thing. We’d go as far as to say he was robbed this award season.
Winner of three Oscars, Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical film about a maid working for an upper-middle class family in Mexico City in the 1970s is visually stunning, deeply moving and well worth your time. The director, known for Gravity and Children of Men, brings this beautiful story to life as we follow housekeeper Cleo as she, and her family, face societal and political issues. Largely touted as one of the best films of 2018 – and applauded by critics globally – it also scooped two Golden Globes, for best director and best foreign language film. Unmissable.
Read our full Roma review
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)
A new addition to Netflix, which received a lukewarm reception from some critics but was a huge hit with fans of the first film. It’s five years since Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) invited her three possible dads to her wedding, and now most of her family are reunited as she prepares for the grand reopening of the Hotel Bella Donna. Along the way, she learns more about her mother’s past…
Meryl Streep, Cher, Pierce Brosnan and the gang are back to deliver a familiar fairy-tale formula, but if you like Abba, spandex, glitter dust, 70s kitsch and holiday romances, it’s a musical worth taking a chance on.
Read our full Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again review
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
A sweet, precisely executed romcom, which serves as an homage to the best films of the genre from the 1980s and 90s. Lana Condor stars as Laura Jean Covey, a Korean-American high-schooler whose world is turned upside-down when a box of private love letters that she penned to her crushes is distributed to its intended recipients. Based on the YA trilogy by Jenny Han, it became one of Netflix’s most successful original films in 2018. Watch out for a break-out performance from mini Mark Ruffalo, Noah Centineo (as Peter Kavinsky).
Once you’ve watched this, the long-awaited sequel PS I Love You is waiting for your attention, and there’s a third and final instalment on the way.
Prepare to cry if you watch this heartwarming tale from Bong Joon-Ho (if he sounds familiar, that’s because he recently dominated award season with his latest film Parasite).
Okja is a slightly odd story following a girl and her best friend, a huge, weird animal called Okja. Soon the pair find themselves battling the CEO (Tilda Swinton) of a huge company who wants to take Okja away. There’s a clear agenda underlying the story, animal activism is a strain throughout, and the film doesn’t shy away from that. Joon-Ho’s wonderfully refreshing odd style blends with slight preachy notes, but it comes together to give you a beautiful film.
Read our full Okja review
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
This was meant to be six individual episodes for a Netflix TV series, but when you get movie legends the Coen brothers you kinda have to see where they take you. The result is this, an elegant anthology of frontier tales that affectionately celebrates the Western in inimitable style. Although the opening comic yarn starring Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Syriana) as a singing prairie hero in a white Stetson gives the film its potentially misleading title, it’s hardly typical of what follows, but then again nothing is…
Read our full The Ballad of Buster Scruggs review
Beasts of No Nation (2015)
Idris Elba is best known for star-making turns as a drug dealer in US TV series The Wire and as troubled cop John Luther in the acclaimed BBC drama, but this role is altogether more sinister. He plays a commander of child soldiers in West Africa for this extraordinary Netflix film from the director of the first season of HBO’s True Detective. Based on the highly acclaimed novel by Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala, the movie brings to life the gripping tale of Agu, a child soldier torn from his family to fight in the civil war of an African country.
Read our full Beasts on No Nation review
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The Disaster Artist (2017)
This bromantic comedy takes an affectionate and eccentric look at the making of Tommy Wiseau’s cult catastrophe The Room, a film so staggeringly terrible it became a phenomenon. Directed by and starring James Franco as the ostentatious enigma Wiseau, it co-stars Franco’s brother Dave as Greg Sestero, a fledgling actor whom Wiseau whisks off to Los Angeles after the pair meet at acting class. Based on Sestero’s memoir, The Disaster Artist is sympathetic to Wiseau and frank about his demons. An often hysterical laugh-fest.
Read our full The Disaster Artist review
Few horror movies in recent times have petrified audiences quite as much as Ari Aster’s feature debut, which boasts an exceptional turn from Toni Collette in the lead role and some of the most memorable – and terrifying scenes – of all time.
The film is at once an exploration of grief, a discussion of the legacy of family and just a good old-fashioned horror movie, with a masterful command of mood and atmosphere. It draws on classics of the genre including Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and The Shining – and just a year later Aster would prove that he was by no means a one-hit wonder, writing and directing an arguably even greater horror movie in Midsommar.
Read our full Hereditary review
Controversial and divisive, Annihilation had a rocky start in life. After struggling to find a distributor, Netflix picked up the international rights to Ex_Machina director Alex Garland’s film. The sci-fi/horror film is based on book series The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer and follows a group of scientists as they head into Area X, a quarantined area of the planet, where a lot of weird things have started happening. They have no idea what they’ll find, and they’re not all being honest as to why they’re going. Natalie Portman stars and puts in a convincing performance when everything around her is, well, beyond comprehension.
Read our full Annihilation review
Always Be My Maybe (2019)
Named after a Mariah Carey song, this Netflix romcom deserves a watch just for its dynamite soundtrack alone, featuring as it does D’Angelo, David Bowie and Lizzo, among others.
The film centres on two estranged childhood friends (played by Randall Park and Ali Wong, who also wrote the movie), who reunite 16 years after they lost their virginity to one another. Watch out for a brilliant and shocking cameo from none other than John Wick himself, Keanu Reeves.
Every song featured in Netflix romcom Always Be My Maybe
Ex Machina (2014)
In the directorial debut of screenwriter Alex Garland (The Beach, 28 Days Later…), computer programmer Domhnall Gleeson goes through the looking-glass when he wins a competition to spend a week residing with the reclusive creator of the world’s top search engine (Oscar Isaac). Gleeson’s purpose once there is to perform a variation of the Turing test on an advanced AI (a strikingly sensitive Alicia Vikander) to determine whether it has consciousness. Things don’t go to plan…
Read our full Ex Machina review
While it would be fair to say that Melissa McCarthy comedies are rather hit and miss, with noticeably more misses in recent years, Spy stands out as one of her rousing success stories. She teams up with Bridesmaids director Paul Feig for this story about a desk-bound CIA employee who is thrust into dangerous fieldwork when her partner is killed and many more active agents are put at risk. What follows is a truly hilarious take on a Mission: Impossible-style action flick, with McCarthy on top form as well as Jason Statham in a brilliantly utilised supporting role.
Read our full Spy review
Hugh Jackman isn’t playing Mr Nice Guy any more, but then he is pushed to the limit in this deeply haunting thriller. He stars as the father of a kidnapped daughter, while Jake Gyllenhaal is the cop who, in his eyes, fails to put away the chief suspect: a young man with learning difficulties, played by Paul Dano. Jackman takes it upon himself to do his own questioning, and his tactics are heavy-handed to say the least…
Read our full Prisoners review
Director and screenwriter Dee Rees gathered together a potent cast, including singer/actress Mary J Blige, British star Carey Mulligan and rising Hollywood heavyweight Jason Mitchell, to tell the story of two families in 1940s rural America – one black, one white – who struggle to live and work together in post-Second World War America.
The movie created a lot of buzz at the time of release and was nominated for four Oscars, including best supporting actress for Blige. A moving and powerful exploration of bitter race relations.
Read our full Mudbound review
El Camino: a Breaking Bad Movie (2019)
Can a movie ever live up to the hype of one of the greatest TV shows of all time? Aaron Paul leads this satisfying spin-off film from beloved crime series Breaking Bad, as we finally find out what happened to Walter White’s partner-in-crime Jesse Pinkman after his escape from captivity in the series finale. And you might just recognise some of the old faces that crop up…
Read our full El Camino: a Breaking Bad Movie review
The Two Popes (2019)
Here’s a mouthwatering prospect: two veteran British thesps in a barnstorming, virtual two-hander based on a play by screenwriter Anthony McCarten.
Anthony Hopkins plays doubt-ridden, conservative Pope Benedict XVI as a wounded bear during his meeting with his reluctant and progressive successor Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) – later Pope Francis – at the former’s Italian retreat in 2013… The film was nominated for two Oscars.
Read our full The Two Popes review
No Country for Old Men (2007)
There’s a lot of money being chased in this masterful, multi-faceted thriller from the Coen brothers, but it’s not really what’s at stake. When hunter Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) makes off with a case full of cash linked to a drugs deal gone bad, it’s not the police he has to worry about. Psychopathic killer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) leaves a trail of bodies in his wake in pursuit of the money – and the man who stole it. World-weary sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is on the case, trying to get to Llewelyn before the genuinely terrifying Chigurh does…
Watch on Netflix
Read our full No Country for Old Men review
The Martian (2015)
Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in this sci-fi thriller. A manned mission to Mars is abruptly abandoned and one crew member (Damon) is left for dead. But he survives and discovers it will take many years to get home but he only has enough resources for one month…
At times, The Martian can be really breathless and it will leave you racing towards the end to see if our plucky hero can make it home. And director Ridley Scott brings vivid life to the drama.
Read our full The Martian review
What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)
A Netflix Original, this biographical documentary film charts the volatile life and fluctuating fortunes of jazz legend Nina Simone, featuring interviews with family and friends, diary entries and previously unseen footage. It’s a wholly satisfying portrait of a formidable talent and was unsurprisingly nominated for an Academy Award – a must for fans of the genre.
Read our full What Happened, Miss Simone? review
Fighting with My Family (2019)
This feel-good charmer following the true journey of superstar wrestler Paige (Florence Pugh) from her humble beginnings in Norwich to becoming the youngest ever Divas Champion is an unqualified smackdown success. Written/directed by Stephen Merchant and executive produced by Dwayne Johnson, it’s an unapologetic soap opera in spandex…
Read our full Fighting with My Family review
American Psycho (2000)
In 1991, Bret Easton Ellis’s novel American Psycho shocked those that read it. Wall Street broker Patrick Bateman’s cool attitude to his day job and night-time pursuits left people shaken up. The murderous character was brought to life in 2000 in the film of the same name. Co-scripted by Mary Harron and Guinevere Turner, the film is perhaps a less shocking take on the tale, but no less gripping. Christian Bale goes all out to flesh out killer Bateman, capturing that crazy-eyed sociopath perfectly. Those eggshell business cards, though…
Read our full American Psycho review
La La Land (2016)
If ever there was a film to banish the blues, it’s La La Land. Writer/director Damien Chazelle’s toe-tapping follow-up to the Oscar-winning Whiplash sees him trade the abusive relationship between a hot-headed mentor and an aspiring drummer for the high and low notes of a love affair, played out against the backdrop of Tinseltown itself. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling play antagonists-turned-lovers Mia and Sebastian – she’s a barista and jobbing actress; he’s a pianist eager to open a jazz club – with them both suffering countless setbacks as they strive to make it big. It may not have won the best picture Oscar – but it is guaranteed to make your heart soar.
Read our full La La Land review
Primal Fear (1996)
Hotshot lawyer Richard Gere chases fame as much as justice in this enjoyably involving courtroom drama from director Gregory Hoblit, based on William Diehl’s bestselling novel. But when Gere takes on the high-profile case of a bewildered altar boy (an Oscar-nominated Edward Norton) accused of murdering an archbishop, his cut-and-dried life begins to unravel…
It’s tense and exciting, with a jaw-dropping ending (we’ll say no more).
Read our full Primal Fear review
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and based on a true story, Dallas Buyers Club is a rare drama that shows HIV-positive characters as heroes rather than victims or martyrs. Matthew McConaughey’s painful transformation into AIDS sufferer and illegal meds dealer Ron Woodruff won him the best actor Oscar in 2014. Jared Leto’s performance is arguably even more tortuously engrossing, and bagged him the best supporting Academy Award.
Read our full Dallas Buyers Club review
The Revenant (2015)
An astonishing piece of film-making from director Alejandro González Iñárritu. Leonardo Di Caprio finally won the best actor Oscar for his role as a frontiersman leading a hunting party through the wilderness in the 1800s. There’s a horrific bear attack in this no-holds barred weather-beaten look at what life was like at the time. It can be quite bleak and grim at times, but it’s undeniably a classic. Tom Hardy fans might want to take a look, too.
Read our full The Revenant review
Why is The Revenant such a gruelling watch? A body language expert reveals all…
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Often regarded as one of the best movies of all time, this Oscar-winner from 1969 has at its heart two incredible performances from Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman. It’s a tragic, character driven story that tells of an unlikely friendship between two hustlers – Joe Buck (Voight) an optimistic new arrival in New York City who works as a prostitute, and “Ratso” Rizzo (Hoffman) an jaded and cynical con-man who is suffering from poor health.
The film was released during something of a turning point in film history – when classical American cinema was making way of for the New Hollywood cinema which came to dominate the 70’s – and remains the only X-rated film ever to win Best Picture.
Read our full Midnight Cowboy review
The Great Hack (2019)
Data is now the world’s most valuable commodity. In this terrifying documentary, New York design school professor David Carroll is a man on a quest to acquire his own data. His journey takes him to London and Cambridge Analytica – the consultancy closed down in 2018 after a scandal involving unsuspecting Facebook users having their data harvested and then used for political gain. Think twice about clicking away your personal details…
Read our full The Great Hack review
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)
12 Years a Slave actor and Oscar winner Chiwetel Ejiofor has adapted William Kamkwamba’s memoir that’s set in a small village in Malawi in 2001 when the 13-year-old William overcame school expulsion and parental mistrust to create a crop-saving wind turbine with the aid of a library book and a bicycle dynamo. A genuinely life-affirming tale.
Read our full The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind review
Here’s another mind-bending movie from Memento Christopher Nolan, but it has the capacity to make your brain hurt, so you’ll need to remove all distractions. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a talented thief uses hi-tech devices to enter other people’s dreams so he can steal their secrets. An industrialist hires him to perform a far more challenging job – to implant an idea into a corporate heir’s mind, so he will think it is his own. However, the mission is compromised by the thief’s own troubled psyche…
Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine and Cillian Murphy also feature in the all-star cast.
Read our full Inception review
Letters for Juliet (2010)
New arrival to Netflix in May. Vanessa Redgrave, Amanda Seyfried and Gael Garcia Bernal occupy the starring roles in this romcom, in which a writer on holiday in Italy discovers a 50-year-old letter from a woman describing her regret at rejecting a man she was in love with. She is moved to reply, prompting the writer to turn up in person with her grandson in tow, and together they set out in search of her lost love to put things right. In these times of restricted movement, worth tuning in for the beautiful Italian setting alone.
Read our full Letters to Juliet review
A Quiet Place (2018)
Part heartfelt Spielbergian family drama, part quirky Carpenter-esque creature feature, writer/director/star John Krasinski’s sensational shocker A Quiet Place was an instant sci-fi horror classic. A Quiet Place II may have been delayed thanks to coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the original starring Emily Blunt and Krasinski while we wait.
Regarded as one of the best horror movies in recent times, it became a smash hit when first released. In a post-apocalyptic very near future, blind insectoid monsters with super-sensitive hearing have wiped out most of humanity. A family has to survive along with a few survivors, whispering and using sign language to communicate as creatures chase them down solely on the noises they make. Expect tense situations, and a few heart-stopping moments in this must-see movie.
Read our full A Quiet Place review
12 Years a Slave (2013)
A free black man living in pre-Civil War New York is abducted and sold into slavery. He spends the next 12 years struggling to survive and maintain his dignity in the face of brutal treatment, while clinging to a desperate hope that he can return to his family. This Oscar-winning historical drama based on Solomon Northup’s autobiographical book, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt, is not an easy watch, but gets five stars from us.
Read our full 12 Years a Slave review
This extraordinary story from writer/director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent) – which centres on a group of journalists in Boston investigating children being molested within the Catholic church – is brought vividly to life in a riveting, serious-minded drama that sticks mindfully to the facts. Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams star.
Read our full Spotlight review
The Breakfast Club (1985)
The John Hughes teen movie classic has finally made its way to Netflix, allowing a whole new generation to be introduced to the gang of Sherman High School misfits stuck together in detention who gradually learn they have more in common than they realised.
Starring Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy and Paul Gleason, this is an absolute must-watch if you haven’t seen it already – and if you have, well, there’s no time like the present to be reminded that we’re all “a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal”.
Read our full The Breakfast Club review
This unusual war film was named one of the best of last year by a host of critics. It stars Julianne Nicholson and Moisés Arias and tells the story of a group of commandos who are tasked with guarding a captured American engineer in an unnamed country in Latin America. The film won notable praise for its lyrical and often surreal style and for the uniformly tremendous appearances from its cast – as the group of guerillas are plunged further and further into a downward spiral.
Read our full Monos review
I Am Mother (2019)
The majority of this dark, twisty sci-fi thriller takes place in a high-tech bunker (so you’ll feel right at home if you’re spending a lot of time indoors at the moment). Inside, an artificially intelligent robot named Mother (voiced by Rose Byrne) is raising a young woman known as Daughter (Clara Rugaard). The rest of mankind is extinct, and Mother insists that nothing can survive on the outside. However, everything changes when a mystery woman (Hilary Swank) bangs on the door…
Read our full I Am Mother review
The Post (2017)
In the mood for something a little more challenging? Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks star in this brisk, decent telling of the leaking of the so-called Pentagon Papers in 1971, the nickname for a secret US Department of Defense report covering United States-Vietnam relations from 1945-1967. Steven Spielberg’s latest slice of liberal history was made in admitted haste to meet awards-season deadlines and retrospectively hymns good old-fashioned print journalism from the perspective of the compromised “fake news” age.
Read our full The Post review
A director at the top of his game, Christopher Nolan takes on British wartime history with this tour-de-force treatment of the miracle of Dunkirk. This utterly immersive epic plunges the viewer into a three-pronged story that unfolds on land, sea and air with the life-and-death ordeals. Starring Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance and Harry Styles, proving there’s more to the former One Direction singer than his vocals. What really makes Dunkirk stand out is it’s all immersive approach taking you from quiet moments to sweeping set pieces back to intense emotional interactions.
Dunkirk review: “a glorious, breathtaking triumph from director Christopher Nolan”
Darkest Hour (2017)
A near-perfect companion piece to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, Joe Wright’s account of the lead-up to the 1940 evacuation not only fills in some of the political background of that now infamous wartime debacle but also reclaims Winston Churchill (played to perfection by Gary Oldman) from the dusty pages of history books.
Darkest Hour review: “Oldman is never less than sensational”
When Harry Met Sally… (1989)
Can a man and a woman ever be just friends? That is the age-old question at the heart of this much-loved 80s romantic comedy. And even if you’ve never watched, you’ll surely be familiar with Meg Ryan’s star turn in the diner, a scene that that has been spoofed a thousand times over. Billy Crystal was the perfect choice to star opposite Ryan, while Rob Reiner directs Nora Ephron’s Oscar-nominated screenplay. Guaranteed to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside…
Read our full When Harry Met Sally… review
My Neighbour Totoro – and more Ghibli films
If you’re stuck at home and looking for something to watch with the kids – or simply by yourself – then Netflix’s range of Studio Ghibli movies are just the ticket. Arguably more pleasing to adults than some of the Disney offerings (yes, it’s possible sometimes), there are some many great stories to choose from. My Neighbour Totoro follows two girls and spirits in the forest near their home. If you’re looking for your next Studio Ghibli film there’s Spirited Away, which is probably more well known, Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Only Yesterday.
Funny Girl (1968)
A recent arrival on Netflix, Barbra Streisand stars in this beloved musical biopic of 1920s singer and comedienne Fanny Brice, who rose from poor beginnings in New York’s slums to become an overnight star and the toast of Broadway. By all accounts, Streisand ran the show on set – in his autobiography, Charlton Heston recalls asking director William Wyler if he had any problems with Barbra Streisand on Funny Girl. “Nah, not really,” said Wyler, “considering it’s the first film she ever directed.” But her performance bagged her a joint best actress Oscar (shared with The Lion in Winter’s Katharine Hepburn), and the film earned seven more nominations. A marvellous musical comedy, not to be missed.
Read our full Funny Girl review
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