What is a masterpiece? In O’Henry’s short story The Last Leaf, Behrman, the artist, is obsessed with painting his masterpiece, leading to his subsequent demise in the cold.
A masterpiece is a piece of art or work that is created by an artist at their prime. It is usually considered to be the most outstanding work of one’s career as it reflects the profound talent one possesses.
Netflix has a wide variety of films amidst which beautiful ones often get lost. Last time, we made a list of arthouse films that are a must-watch on Netflix. Every director has created a masterpiece once in their lifetime or, like Behrman, has died trying. Every artist wants to leave their footprint in the sands of time, and masterpieces help cement their legacy.
Here are five such masterpiece movies that are now available for streaming on Netflix:
5 masterpiece movies available on Netflix right now
Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019)
A poignant tale of rocky marriages and ensuing divorces that shatters families and causes heartbreaks, the film focuses on an estranged couple featuring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. They try to navigate parenthood while dealing with the vicious clutches of divorce.
In his masterpiece, Baumbach elaborates on the intricacies and nature of human relationships. It also delves deep into the emotional pain and anguish followed by isolation caused by contentious divorce proceedings. With growing anxiety, conflict and heartache, the film preserves the most intimate and delicate moments of separation with immense sanctity.
Available: All regions
Roma (Alfonso Cuaron, 2018)
The first Mexican entry to win Best Foreign Language Film and the Best Cinematography and Best Director awards at the 91st Academy Awards, Alfonso Cuaron’s slow, artistic and emotionally resonating masterpiece employs intimacy and clever use of shadow and light to affect the viewers profoundly. Roma’s monochromatic tone is an intricate combination of slapstick comedy and personal hardships. A poignant commentary on the class and power dynamics that existed in the society, the film focuses on the humble acceptance of fate and disempowerment by the indigenous people.
Set in 1970-71 Mexico, ridden with the horrors and hardships of a student massacre, the film chronicles the life of an indigenous housekeeper, Cleo, who lives a simple life, caught between her duties as a devoted nanny and anxieties of impending motherhood.
Available: All regions
The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017)
Like Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, The Florida Project is human, heartbreaking and beautiful to watch. The narrative focuses on poverty and the desire to move up the social ladder. It is realistic and individualistic; Baker’s docudrama-like-filmmaking adds a hint of realism to the film. Tender and raw, it deftly captures lost innocence quite vividly. The setting is simplistic, but the anxiety and terror rooted in the people’s lives in the film make it an astonishing indie masterpiece.
Six-year-old Moonee is a motel resident in Florida with her reckless single mother. Via the manager’s lens, the viewers get an insight into their life and that of other tenants that are bogged down by abject poverty and an unquenchable thirst for a better tomorrow.
There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
Referred to as “one of the best movies made in this decade” by none other than Quentin Tarantino, this Academy Award-winning film is Paul Thomas Anderson’s magnum opus. It takes the audience on a harrowing and remorseless journey coupled with the haunting compositions of Johnny Greenwood.
In Anderson’s exploration of the problems of ambition and extreme hunger for success, Daniel Day-Lewis portrays a ruthless, mercenary oilman. He is on a relentless drive and refuses to stop at anything on his quest to become an oil mogul. He even goes to extreme lengths of manipulating his adopted son.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Watiti, 2016)
Juvenile errant Ricky Bakerrelocates to live with his foster aunt and uncle; the latter is distant and ignorant. However, following his aunt’s death, they form a connection and are soon forced to be on the run after a series of misadventures. Inseparable, they venture into the wilderness to escape the clutches of authority.
The beauty and poignance of the film are conveyed in a subtle tone of heartwarming hilarity that is complemented by the simplistic yet infectious background music. The beautiful bond that the unlikely duo forges amidst the rugged wilderness and their sheer desperation and vulnerability, as they hold on to each other for emotional support, is the revelatory highlight of the film.