Netflix: 40 of the absolute best movies to watch

Netflix: 40 of the absolute best movies to watch ...

The Edge of War (2022) in Munich

The library of movies has a tight deadline, and as each week brings new content, it becomes a challenge to distill the best of the bunch.

To save time, you'll find highlights of new content below, as well as CNET's full list of best movie Originals on Netflix.

This week, we talk about what is new (Jan. 17-23)

Here are some of the most notable highlights of this week.

Monday is the first Monday of the week.

  • After We Fell (2021) -- Rom-com starring Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes Tiffin.

Friday is the day of the Friday.

  • Munich -- The Edge of War (2022) -- British drama starring Jeremy Irons.Set in the fall of 1938, Hitler prepares to invade Czechoslovakia and the government of Neville Chamberlain desperately seeks a peaceful solution. A British civil servant and a German diplomat -- former classmates -- travel to Munich to discuss peace.
  • Amandla (2022) -- Crime drama. Years after surviving a childhood tragedy, two brothers fall on opposing sides of the law as a gang-linked crime tests their loyalty to one another.

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The full list of best Netflix Original movies

All of these films have reached at least 70 on Metacritic at the time of publication.


Passing (2021)

Rebecca Hall makes her directorial debut in a great manner with her novel Passing, which tells the story of two light-skinned Black women. One of them chooses to "pass" as white, according to Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga.

Tick, Tick, and Boom! (2021)

This biographical musical drama about Jonathan Larson, the late composer of Rent and Tick, will be released by Andrew Garfield in August.

The Dig (2021)

This fine British drama excavates a whole lot of buried treasure with a distinguished cast in Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, and Johnny Flynn. It's based on the true events around the 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo, yielding a priceless trove of Anglo-Saxon artefacts hidden in a burial ship.

Mank (2020)

The story of David Fincher about Orson Welles' Citizen Kane is a unique cast of filmmakers. Step back into Old Hollywood, in terms of amazing cinematography and footage of how studio systems function in different times.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

What is the story about Aaron Sorkin's Trial of the Chicago 7? Following the real-life trial of a group of anti-Vietnam War protestors charged with conspiracy to incite riots

High Flying Bird (2019)

Steven Soderbergh used an iPhone to film a feature film in 2018, the first ever being Unsane. High Flying Bird is a stunning piece designed to expose the tumultuous events of professional sports.

Marriage Story (2019)

The marriage story for Noah Baumbach will be a must-see as a couple who travels along the way through emotional and logistically difficult legal processes. The story is a happy-sad at its best.

The Two Popes (2019)

This biographical film focuses on Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in the aftermath of the Vatican leaks scandal. It's as fascinating as it sounds. The Two Popes draw up a slice of real-life thriller with a first-class two-hander featuring Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins.

Roma (2018)

In an album that breathes fresh air into the Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, Alfonso Cuaron exposes intricately gorgeous scenes with unmistakable results.

As Lazzaro (2018) (2018) comes out, it's all good.

The film from Bong Joon-ho is so well-written and so you can add it to this list. Lazzaro, set in the '70s, is a tobacco farm, where a nobleman convinces him to help him in their kidnapping, and a story of friendship, innocence, and social commentary is revealed.

Sunday's Illness (2018)

The cinematography here in this eminent Spanish film will delight those who are partial to deliberately paced meditations on pain, love, and loss. Masterful.

(2018) The Kindergarten Teacher

Maggie Gyllenhaal gives a career best performance in The Kindergarten Teacher, a drama about, yep, a kindergarten teacher. Lisa is dissatisfied with her own life, which leads her to make some questionable decisions regarding one of her young students.

Mudbound (2017)

With a cast of Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell, Mudbound's tempest will rivet you to the spot.


The Power of the Dog (2021)

Jane Campion has emerged as the director of The Power of the Dog again, which focuses on Phil Burbank, a rancher who uses toxic masculinity to have his way, mocking his brother for falling in love.

News of the World (2020)

Tom Hanks is played in a Western directed by Jason Bourne's Paul Greengrass. Enjoy him continuing his Mandalorian single dad mode as Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a Civil War veteran who discovers a young girl years after she was captured as a baby.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

The Coen Brothers kick up the western dust with an anthology film that gives you six vignettes all set on the American frontier. One of them is about the titular Buster Scruggs, a chipper singing cowboy who casually sets off a shoot-up in a cantina. But there's a dark twist that keeps you on your toes.


Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020)

The Bronx's Vampires are a funny match in more ways than one. Set in the New York borough of the Bronx, it follows Miguel Martinez, a big-hearted kid who raises money for his local bodega.

His House (2020)

His House is a horror flick that hits close to home. Featuring supernatural features, it follows Bol and Rial, a refugee couple from Sudan, who struggle to adapt to their new life in an English town. Don't expect straightforward jump scares -- It is a heartbreaking, powerful piece.

1922 (2017)

The horror drama based on the novella 1922 is a slow-burn, with a mesermizing performance at its core. Thomas Jane, who you'll also know from Boogie Nights and 2004's The Punisher, is giving one of his career's greatest performances as the ever proud Wilfred James, a farmer who makes the total wise decision to murder his wife with the help of their teenage son.

Gerald's Game (2017)

Gerald's Game is a tale of Mike Flanagan's melancholy-suffused horror that has turned into a quiet triumph for its characters.


Paddleton (2019)

Michael (Mark Duplass) and Andy (Ray Romano) have terminal stomach cancer, but Andy is forced to take away his treatment before they become too painful. Paddleton simplifies the touching friendship at its core into deftly-affecting locations

Dolemite Is My Name (2019)

Eddie Murphy has returned from his acting career with a performance as Rudy Ray Moore, a comedian who played Dolemite in stand-up movies and blaxploitation films from the 1970s. Dolemite Is My Name recognizes Moore's and Murphy's abilities.

Private Life (2018)

In a comedy-drama, are there anything to say about modern marriage? Private Life is a unique and relatable slice of a New York middle-age couple's struggles with different avenues to have a child. But because Hahn and Giamatti are in it, it sparkles with wit and charm.

Win It All (2017)

Jake Johnson co-writes this comedy from prolific indie director Joe Swanberg (he was on Netflix as well) and takes the money to make one of the most questionable decisions ever. Win It All is a pleasure that draws out Johnson's humor and charisma.

Meyerowitz Stories (2017)

The Meyerowitz Stories is a bittersweet comedy-drama about dysfunctional adult siblings, who try to live in the shadow of their father. A dwindling cast, including Dustin Hoffman, is assisting the protagonists in weaving their utterly poignant tales.

Tramps (2016)

Tramps might have fanned under the radar, so give it a listen. Danny and Ellie are a sincere young kid who seeks to negotiate a deal for a little cash. Tramps will effortlessly win your heart


I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

I'm Thinking of Ending Things certainly won't be for everyone, but it connects you to the frustrations of the young woman (Jessie Buckley) at its heart, who grapples with breaking off her seven-week-long relationship with her boyfriend Jake (Jesse Plemons)

The Call (2020)

The Call is coming out in 2020, with a wild cat-and-mouse chase that makes it a must-watch.

Calibre (2018)

Calibre is a slick thriller set in the remote Scottish Highlands, so prepare for a stressful weekend in which their protagonists are desperate to wake up.

The Fathers Tossing Is Killing Is Killing Is Killing Is Too Much Dead (2017)

The fifth and most recent film on Angelina Jolie's directing CV tipped the audience to be her best. Based on Loung Ung's memoir, the film recounts the horrors Ung suffered as a child under the rule of the Khmer Rouge.

In This World I Don't Feel At Home Anymore (2017)

The movie I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore highlights everyday life's idiosyncrasies before escalating it into dark places with even darker humor.


The Platform (2019)

The Platform, a Spanish sci-fi horror company that offers food to people on each of its many levels, is accompanied by social commentary all the way to the bottom.


The Half of It (2020)

The Half of It is a joy. A story of self-acceptance is told with a delicate touch.

Jessica James, The Incredible (2017)

The Incredible Jessica James introduces a wonderfully self-possessed main character characterised by Jessica Williams. This is a safe weekend for anyone who wishes to have a laugh.


The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)

The best family movie has just hit Netflix. From some of the same people who made Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, it's about a strained relationship between the movie-loving daughter Katie and her technophobe father. The technology-inept parent gags are rife, the colors are frenetic and the character growth is moving. A near-perfect package with the timeless message that embracing your weirdness is a superpower.

I Lost My Body (2019)

This award-winning film features a severed hand escapeing a refrigerator in a laboratory in Paris, and attempting to search for the rest of its body. What an opening! This strange, satisfying story explores loss, both physical and emotional, in the most poetic of ways.


Okja (2017)

Okja comes from Parasite director Bong Joon-ho -- who should be rewarded enough to watch it. Part cheeky dark comedy, part surreal environmental thriller, Okja follows a young South Korean farmer girl whose pet pal is a genetically enhanced super-pig. But Okja is the target of a big corporation that wants her delicious flesh. With an English supporting cast including Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, Okja sucks you in with its sweetness before showing you


Da 5 Bloods (2020)

Spike Lee's fierce war battle follows a group of aging Vietnam War veterans returning to the country to recover their valuables. With a frenzied energy passing through it, Da 5 Bloods gives you a look at the Vietnam War through Black experiences, delivering an all-too-timely critique of racism and warfare.

The Irishman (2019)

The Irishman has spawned a three-and-a-half-hour crime story. But don't worry -- you can break up this tour de force if you do it. Always clever and entertaining, with Martin Scorsese favorites Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci leading the screen, The Irishman takes you in, giving a close look at their problems.

Beasts of No Nation (2015)

A ruthless commandant as well as the astonishing Abraham Attah are among the most talented people in the West African Civil War.

Marvel, Netflix, and more are coming in 2022.

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