The quintessential Natasha Lyonne films and series to watch on Netflix
(Credit: Netflix)


The quintessential Natasha Lyonne films and series to watch on Netflix

With roles spanning from cult indie favourites like But I’m a Cheerleader to critically acclaimed series such as Orange is the New Black and Russian Doll, Natasha Lyonne has become synonyms with a certain kind of idiosyncratic talent that is uniquely spellbinding to watch. 

Born on April 4th, 1979, Lyonne turns 45 this year. The star has carved a niche for herself with her comedic timing, offbeat charm, and raw vulnerability. She first captured our collective attention in the late ’90s with her breakout performances in films like But I’m a Cheerleader and American Pie. These early roles showcased her knack for portraying quirky, unconventional characters with an underlying kookiness. Her role in American Pie may have been minor, but it was the film that allowed her to thrive in the indie circuit later on.

On an episode of PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing, Lyonne confessed why she accepted the role after rejecting it multiple times, “I think it was money,” went on Lyonne. “Just for the sake of honesty, I’m also very grateful to it because it allowed me to have a substantial independent movie career for decades.” She was also candid to admit that she was “confused by the movie”.

She elaborated on the cultural dissonance that caused her to feel this way, “I think that frankly, that was something that was already starting to bump for me then, just this idea of these like straight, white, middle-class kids having this kind of suburban, fratty experience.” Lyonne concluded, “Speaking as a city kid and a bit of a troublemaker, I did not identify with the experience.”

Lyonne truly thrived in the realm of independent cinema, collaborating with acclaimed directors and fellow indie darlings to create vibrantly vivid characters. In recent years, Lyonne has found success on the small screen, with two out of her three defining roles—Orange is the New Black and Russian Doll—available for streaming on Netflix. 

In Orange is the New Black, she portrayed Nicky Nichols, a queer, sharp-tongued, and fiercely loyal inmate navigating the complexities of life behind bars. Lyonne brought an aching depth and humanity to the character, earning critical acclaim and multiple award nominations for her performance.

However, it is Lyonne’s role in Russian Doll that truly ushered in a new era for the actor in pop culture. As Nadia Vulvokov, a cynical New Yorker stuck in a time loop, Lyonne delivered a tour de force performance that balanced humour, pathos, and existential dread. The series, which she co-created and co-wrote, serves as a showcase for Lyonne’s singular talent.

With her latest project, Peacock’s Poker Face, Lyonne continues to push boundaries and defy expectations, playing Charlie Cale, a casino worker with an uncanny ability to detect lies. This one may not be available to stream on Netflix, but the streaming library is full of gems starring Lyonne. Here are just a few of them that you can enjoy as she rings in her 45th birthday.

Natasha Lyonne films and series to watch on Netflix:

  • Russian Doll
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Honey Boy
  • A Futile and Stupid Gesture
  • American Pie
  • Everyone Says I Love You
  • Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie
  • Girlfriend’s Day