The Best Films on Netflix

Whatever deadline you are avoiding, you want to make sure you spend your time actually watching something you enjoy, not scrolling through a bewildering amount of Netflix categories deciding what to watch. By no means an exhaustive list, these are just some of the best feature films the online platform has on offer. From huge blockbusters to independent gems, here’s a few suggestions to make the selection process a little easier.

 

Pride

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This comedy tells the true story of a group of young gay and lesbian activists in 1980’s London, who decide to raise money for the miners. The inhabitants of a tiny Welsh mining town must overcome their prejudices and band together with the activists to defeat a common enemy, Margaret Thatcher. Pride is set in 1984, 4 years after Thatcher proposed controversial legislation which banned the promotion of homosexuality to children, while the miners are in the throes of one of the most bitter industrial disputes of the 20th century. It is filled with 1980s quiffs and drum machines that evoke nostalgia. Despite the bleak issues it deals with, the dialogue is compelling and has some genuine comic moments. Bill Nighy puts in an unusually understated performance as Cliff, Imelda Staunton is fantastic as Hefina, and George MacKay shines among the younger cast members as Joe, the photographer who wants to help the cause but is forced to hide his identity from his parents.

 

City of God

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This academy award-winning drama was released in 2002 to world-wide critical acclaim. Shot in a grim housing project just outside of Rio De Janeiro, City of God explores life in the favelas over three decades. The drama is gripping from the outset, as it becomes clear that the only way to survive in this neighbourhood are to embrace corruption and crime. It is an electrifying thriller filled with frantic editing that doesn’t pause for a moment. Both of the films protagonists, one a photographer and the other a drug dealer, experience the extreme violence of the city from early childhood in this coming-of-age story.

 

Sense and Sensibility

Sister act: Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet in the 1995 film of Sense and Sensibility.
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Is there anything Emma Thompson can’t do? She wrote the script for this 1995 Jane Austen adaptation and stars as Elinor Dashwood. When their father passes away, the women of the Dashwood family are left with nowhere to go and barely any money to their names, forcing them to move in with their cousin. Kate Winslet portrays the fiery and passionate Marianne, who is torn between Colonel Brandon, an older man and the younger, sexier John Willoughby. Her older sister Elinor is her polar opposite, too afraid to let her emotions get the better of her, even when she finds herself falling in love with Edward Ferrers, played by Hugh Grant in his trademark bumbling, British style. Watch out for Hugh Laurie who absolutely steals every scene as Mr. Jennings. Alan Rickman makes the older Colonel Brandon, a somewhat creepy character in Austen’s original novel, seem endearing. The 19th century costumes and shots of Victorian ladies trying to avoid stepping in horse poop are the little touches that really make this film.

 

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

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When two loveable idiots go on vacation to a dilapidated mountain cottage, they accidentally get caught up in a series of bloody and murderous events, but it is clear from the get-go that this is not a typical horror flick. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is a hilarious send-up of every tired horror cliché in the book, coated in buckets of fake blood. The plot takes a series of far-fetched turns, each more ridiculous than the last. The brilliance of this film is its sheer stupidity, and the main characters are delightfully naïve. An absolute must-see for fans of films like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland which turn the horror genre on its head.

 

Joy

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David O’Russell directs this biopic about the woman who invented the miracle mop. It’s described as a drama-comedy, but this dark comedy is definitely drama-heavy. Joy is a capable woman who is stuck in a poor domestic situation: her ex-husband is in the basement, her father (Robert DeNiro) shows up demanding a room after his new wife kicks him out, and her mother has been in bed watching the same soap opera for 18 years. There are some unusual style choices, especially for a mainstream production. However, Jennifer Lawrence puts in a stellar performance as the titular character and it’s your investment in her that makes this a worthwhile watch. You really want her to uncover her potential and succeed.

 

Sarah Roberts

 

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