Overwhelmed by endless choice? Tired of aimlessly scrolling? Let us do the heavy lifting for you with this roundup of the most acclaimed movies on Netflix according to Rotten Tomatoes. Across comedy, drama, action, romance, documentaries and animation, these flicks are certified fresh by critics and loved by audiences, making them tried and tested winners for movie night in.
The Best Movies on Netflix: Comedy
Hilarious and heartwarming rom-com The Big Sickproves there’s plenty of life in the genre yet. Unlikely leading man Kumail is an Uber-driving comedian whose traditional Pakistani parents hope to set him up with an arranged marriage. Instead, he falls in love with bubbly American grad student Emily, but their blossoming relationship is soon strained by cultural differences and Emily’s chronic illness. Just as things are about to reach breaking point Emily falls into a coma, forcing everyone to reckon with their heart’s true desires.
Featuring an ensemble cast more star studded than the night sky, Midnight in Parisexplores the power of our nostalgia for the past. Creatively unfulfilled screenwriter Gil discovers a portal that allows him to travel back in time to 1920s Paris, where he socialises with everyone from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Gertrude Stein, while navigating his instant attraction to a mysterious muse named Adriana. Buoyed by the romance of this fantastical experience, Gil is forced to confront the shortcomings of his real life. Whip smart dialogue, charismatic performances and glamorous costuming make this an instantly lovable comedy.
Simon Pegg’s widely-loved zombie comedy skewers horror movie cliches while paying fond homage to the genre. Bored and aimless Shaun is lost in both life and love when a zombie apocalypse descends, presenting him with an opportunity to become a hero and win back his girl. The film deftly balances genuine thrills with British wit, quickly becoming classic that never lets down on a rewatch.
Our very own Margot Robbie puts in a powerhouse performance as Tonya Harding, the talented figure skater best known for dashing her career with an ill-fated plot to attack her archrival. Funny, wild eyed, tragic, it’s a can’t-look-away look at the life of a trainwreck figure who’s revealed to be much more a victim than the world gave her credit for.
The Best Movies on Netflix: Drama
Dreamy arthouse aesthetics combine with deeply moving performances in this acclaimed coming-of-age drama. Moonlight tells the story of Chiron, a young man growing up poor, black and gay in a rough Miami neighbourhood. The film visits him at three points in his life as he tries to find a place in the world to belong in and be loved, despite suffering physical and emotional abuse at the hands of those around him. The film, which won the Academy Award for best picture, supporting actor and adapted screenplay, is widely considered one of the best pictures of the 21st century to date.
This based-on-a-true story drama follows a relentless team of Boston Globe reporters who uncover a shocking child abuse coverup by the Catholic Church. Told in tight, procedural style and anchored by stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams, it’s a powerful reminder of the role that journalism has in holding power to account.
Got a lazy three-and-a-half hours to spare? Settle in for epic mafia saga The Irishman, in which heroes of the genre Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci reunite with legendary director Martin Scorcese. In 1950s Pennsylvania, truck driver Frank Sheeran gets involved with the Bufalino crime family, becoming top hitman and ally to a powerful union boss. But as power falls in and out of hands over the decades, his loyalty will be tested with tragic results.
Only with the charm of Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill could a niche story about the ins and outs of baseball managers become a blockbuster hit. This biographical sports drama taps into our universal desire to see the underdog win, depicting the pair’s math-based strategy for building a champion team with a tiny budget.
In Good Time,Robert Pattinson well and truly shakes off his Twilight-era image with a leading role as a bank robber that will stop at nothing to free his brother from prison. This film is a heist thriller taken to new heights, with smart direction creating so much nerve-wracking tension it’s almost as uncomfortable as it is exhilarating.
The Best Movies on Netflix: Action
Thrills and spills abound in this slick heist movie about a music-obsessed teenage getaway driver. Ansel Elgort plays the eponymous Baby, who dreams of escaping his life of crime with his beautiful new girlfriend, played by Lily James. Promised freedom by his boss in exchange for one last job, there’ll be twists, turns, heartstopping car chases and a thumping soundtrack along for the ride in this blazingly fun action picture.
You’ll catch yourself holding your breath throughout this tight thriller with all its brilliant plot twists and performances. Emily Blunt plays a principled FBI agent tasked with an undercover operation targeting a Mexican drug lord, but her ethics are challenged as the operation begins to cross brutal lines. Blisteringly suspenseful, it’ll throw into stark light the savage consequences of the international drug trade.
This South Korean blockbuster became a hit around the world for its top-notch special effects, acting and storyline. The film centres on a high-flying corporate executive looking to make amends to his lonely young daughter. As he accompanies her on a long distance train to Busan, a zombie apocalypse breaks out, and it’s not long before those in the train start becoming infected. It’s a tense ride from start to finish, anchored by impactful subplots and side characters
Steven Spielberg’s epic war saga redefined the genre with powerfully realistic recreations of World War II battles in all their huge, tragic scale. The story follows eight US army rangers as they penetrate German territory to bring home a fellow soldier. Unforgettable and uncompromising battle sequences brilliantly pitch the humanity of its characters against the inhumanity of war.
The Best Movies on Netflix: Romance
Timothee Chalamet’s breakout role strikes right into the heart of anyone who remembers the pain and ecstasy of first love. Amid the gorgeous backdrop of the Italian countryside, 17-year-old Elio forms a deep bond with his father’s charismatic research assistant, played by Armie Hammer. As the summer progresses his desire awakens, resulting in an affair that will change the pair's lives forever.
One of the most charming films in memory, La La Land sees dynamo pair Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone give us more of the chemistry that had us swooning inCrazy Stupid Love. This musical romantic comedy follows a jazz pianist and aspiring actress drawn together by their creative dreams. As time passes, those same dreams threaten to push them apart. Expect gorgeous musical numbers, slick dancing and maybe a few tears.
Marriage Story might more accurately be described as an anti-romance - a movie that begins with a love story before tracking a bitter divorce and custody battle. Scarlett Johanssen and Adam Driver are utterly convincing as a smitten young couple, then confused and desperate parents, portraying with tenderness and realism the fact that as much as you might love someone, sometimes life has other plans.
This refreshing recent rom-com is full of charming characters and hilarious high jinks. Overworked personal assistants Harper and Charlie devise a scheme to make their workaholic bosses fall in love so that they can catch a break. Needless to say, their bosses won’t be the only ones flirting with romance, but it’s only a matter of time before the jig is up. Witty banter, meet cutes and Lucy Liu as a badass sports editor – what’s not to love?
The Best Movies on Netflix: Documentaries
Joyful, inspiring and entertaining all at once, Crip Camp is a must-see for documentary lovers. The film tells the story of a summer camp in New York for young people with disabilities, a place where teens overlooked by society finally find a place where they are treated as complete people. Empowered by their experience, they bring their determination back to the city and launch a disability rights revolution that will change laws, hearts and minds across the country.
All hail Queen Bey. This behind-the-scenes look at Beyoncé’s journey to her unforgettable 2018 Coachella performance is intimate, illuminating, and confirms the superstar’s status as the hardest working person in entertainment. Charting the long process from creative concept to cultural moment, Homecomingreveals the emotional toll of a difficult pregnancy and the history that motivates her, interspersed with jaw dropping footage from her two Coachella sets.
Ava Duvernay’s critically acclaimed documentary 13th is a shocking interrogation of the racial injustices perpetuated by American mass incarceration. Using a forensic examination of history, law and social phenomena, she draws illuminates the link between pre-civil war era slavery and the modern day prison industrial complex, in which corporations make huge profits from prison labor, all while imbalanced laws target minority communities.
What happens when a thriving Chinese manufacturer reopens a shuttered factory in Ohio? Initial hopes are high among a workforce grateful for a new chance, but cultural clashes soon threaten to derail this new American dream. The filmmakers introduce us to intriguing, funny and utterly human characters all just trying to do their best while preserving the way of life they hold dear.
Asif Kapadia’s moving portrait of the life, career and death of Amy Winehouse showed the world that despite the unending media coverage that hounded her, the public didn’t know the real Amy at all. Extensive archival footage and personal interviews reveal her precociousness, vulnerability and extraordinary talent, from her beginnings as a bright-eyed prodigy to a tortured global star.
The Best Movies on Netflix: Family
This delightful frolic of a film, about an anthropomorphic bear from Peru sporting a posh accent and a marmalade addiction, will win over viewers of all ages. Paddington tells the story of a lost bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) taken in by the Brown family. Facing dissent from neighbours and the villainous Nicole Kidman, Paddington’s struggle is one of belonging – ultimately learning that “If you’re kind and polite, the world will be right.”
Considered by many to be legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki’s greatest work, Spirited Away is a magical tale that will captivate you from start to finish. Fantastical creatures, beautiful animation and emotional touchpoints feature in the story of 10-year-old Chihiro, who becomes trapped among supernatural beings in a mysterious otherworldly realm, and must act quickly to save herself and her family.
How to Train Your Dragon is one Dreamworks’ most loved animations ever. An all-star voice cast brings to life the story of Hiccup, a young viking who must capture and kill a dragon to be accepted into his tribe. When he ends up befriending one instead, his loyalties are tested and preconceived notions of right and wrong are challenged. Funny, thrilling and surprisingly emotional, this is a movie that’ll stick with viewers of all ages.
This charming adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved story has become a steadfast classic in the 24 years since it was released. Curious schoolgirl Matilda is mistreated by her parents and cruel principal, but as she grows older, discovers she has telekinetic powers. After meeting the kind-hearted Miss Honey, she begins to use her powers to help her friends and seek justice for herself. A black comedy with a sweet heart, this story of youthful independence is a lasting favourite.
The hits don’t end there with our pick of the best movies on Netflix according to Rotten Tomatoes– check out our favourite feel good movies and binge worthy TV shows, or switch it up with one of these addictive, educational and inspiring podcasts. Don’t forget to stretch your legs after a solid couch sesh too, perhaps with one of the gorgeous walks around Melbourne.