In the ever-expanding universe of streaming services, Netflix consistently keeps delivering original films that redefine storytelling norms. Each film on this list encapsulates a unique facet of storytelling, challenging norms and pushing boundaries—an ethos Netflix has always boasted of.
Of course, the streaming platform is also home to plenty of mindless action juggernauts, silly, cheesy romcoms as well as stories of the raunchy kind. But this curated selection of ten Netflix originals is as diverse and enriching as it gets. These films are written and directed by some of the most stellar storytellers in the world right now, with plenty generating buzz at prestigious awards.
From Bong Joon-ho’s heartwrenching exploration of friendship and environmentalism in Okja to Ivan Ayr’s poignant portrayal of female police officers navigating societal expectations in Soni, these films transcend mere entertainment, offering a profound lens into the human experience.
Then we have Alfonso Cuarón’s visually striking Roma, which intricately weaves personal and political narratives, while Martin Scorsese’s epic crime saga, The Irishman, reflects on the nuances of loyalty and regret.
In 2019, the Safdie brothers delivered a relentless cinematic experience with Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler as a New York City jeweller entangled in a high-stakes world that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods masterfully explored the enduring impact of the Vietnam War on a group of African American veterans, offering a poignant reflection on brotherhood and sacrifice.
Jumping to 2021, Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog mesmerised with its psychological depth and atmospheric tension, particularly in Benedict Cumberbatch’s stellar performance. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter (2021), navigates the complexities of motherhood and identity, driven by Olivia Colman’s compelling portrayal.
Edward Berger’s reimagining of the classic novel All Quiet on the Western Front offers a sobering look at the harsh realities of World War I, providing a fresh perspective on the timeless theme of war’s impact on young soldiers. The film ended up becoming the most-awarded foreign language film at the Oscars.
And finally, looking ahead to the fantastical, Guillermo del Toro’s animated Pinocchio is just what the doctor would order—if doctors recommended films that is—for a visually stunning and emotionally resonant gem. This is a reimagining of the classic tale loaded with the goddess of del Toro’s unique blend of fantasy and dark charm.
There are many more originals on Netflix, whether produced by the streaming giant or acquired by them exclusively, but these ten should be where you can start things off if you are testing the cinematic waters with the platform. So, happy watching!
10 best Netflix original films to stream right now:
- Okja (2017)
- Soni (2018)
- Roma (2018)
- The Irishman (2019)
- Uncut Gems (2019)
- Da 5 Bloods (2020)
- The Power of the Dog (2021)
- The Lost Daughter (2021)
- All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)
- Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022)