Netflix is chockablock with pretty much every kind of genre and movie for you to enjoy.
But, as with anything, there's the good stuff and the bad stuff - and that's where we come in. Every so often, we pluck gems from the Netflix library in a specific genre - for example, horror - for you to watch. This time around, it's drama.
We kick things off with...
You can hardly call 'Room' an easy watch, but it is a rewarding one. Brie Larson stuns as a young mother trapped in a room with her young son (Jacob Tremblay, also fantastic), in the captivity of "Old Nick". Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, it is a film of two halves, when the pair are in the room and the aftermath of their escape. Both sections are equally heart rendering. Trust us when we say, this movie is worth the hype.
You've probably heard much about 'The Irishman', directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, by now. De Niro plays the titular killer-for-hire, whose life and career are tracked across multiple timelines. It's no easy feat dedicating over three hourse to watch something in a single sitting on Netflix. But we assure you it's worth it. The crime drama is Scorsese's most introspective feature yet. It's also as entertaining and thought-provoking as we've come to expect of the auteur.
One of Netflix’s best movies to date is a simple story at its heart. 'Marriage Story' follows a stage director, Charlie (Adam Driver) and his wife, actress Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), as they go through a divorce. Driver and Johansson give the performances of their careers and there are some great supports in the cast including Laura Dern, Alan Alda and Julie Hagerty. It’s smart and heart-rending with humorous and compassionate instances. Its subject matter could easily turn repugnant. But because the love and care between Charlie and Nicole is so clear, it’s impossible to not be moved by their plight.
Based on a true story, this is the movie that finally turned Julia Roberts in Oscar-winning Julia Roberts. Her turn as Erin found the actress at her most charming and down to earth since 'Pretty Woman'. It relates how an unemployed, single mother gets caught up in a lawsuit with her new boss (Albert Finney), eventually leading them to take on a massive Californian power company who may have been polluting the city's water supply.
While her role was limited to the film's first act, Saoirse Ronan makes a major impression as the pre-teen Briony that it would be up being a star-making role. 'Atonement' is based on a novel by Ian McEwan (Ronan would later star in another McEwan adaptation, 'On Chesil Beach'). It sees Briony falsely accuse her sister's (Keira Knightley) lover (James McAvoy) of a terrible crime. This one act causes all three of their lives to be utterly changed forever.
'The Social Network'
With all the changes that have been happening to Facebook of late, why not watch the movie that depicts how the whole social media platform started? The film’s great cast boasts Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin, Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, and Armie Hammer as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Aaron Sorkin’s incisive script earned the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
'Sense and Sensibility'
Another star-filled cast populates 'Sense and Sensibility' between Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, the late, great Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant. Thompson also penned the Academy Award-winning screenplay which is expertly adapted from Jane Austen's renowned novel. A good one to check out again ahead of watching Netflix series 'Bridgerton', one imagines.
There aren’t many memorable Netflix original films, but ‘Mudbound’ truly is a gem. The movie earned four Oscar nominations, including Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Song (both for Mary J. Blige), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography. Based on a novel by Hillary Jordan, the film relates how two World War II veterans, one white and one black, struggle with racism and PTSD when they return home to farm in rural Mississippi.
Likely the darkest entry on our list, ‘Prisoners’ focusses on the abduction of two young girls in Pennsylvania. It then tracks the subsequent search for the abductor by the police. Dissatisfied with the police’s efforts, the father of one of the missing girls takes matters into his own hands. Starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, the film is directed by the extraordinary Denis Villeneuve. Villeneuve also helmed ‘Sicario,’ ‘Arrival’, and ‘Blade Runner 2049’ (as well as the upcoming ‘Dune’ remake).
'Gone Girl' confirmed that yup, David Fincher's still got it in buckets and spades. Based on the Gillian Flynn bestseller (Flynn also adapted the screenplay), it follows the aftermath of Nick Dunne's (Ben Affleck) wife Amy's (Rosamund Pike) disappearance. If you haven't seen this or read the book, that summary will suffice as the twists and turns the plot takes will shock and astound you.
If you're a fan of 'Creed' and 'Black Panther' star Michael B. Jordan, then you should check out the film that launched his career. Interestingly enough, like 'Creed' and 'Black Panther', it has the same director in Ryan Coogler. Based on a true story, 'Fruitvale Station' depicts the events leading to the death of Oscar Grant. Grant was killed in 2009 by a police officer at the titular Fruitvale district station in Oakland. It's a succinct and very powerful feature.
'12 Years a Slave'
Michael Fassbender's most terrifying role to date is his performance as slave owner Edwin Epps in '12 Years a Slave.' The multi-Academy award winning movie follows Solomon Northup. Solomon was a free African-American man who was kidnapped by con men and sold into slavery in 1841. Brilliant performances are given by Chiwetel Ejiofor as the lead, Luipa Nyong'o as Patsey (who won an Oscar for her performance), and Paul Dano as the cruel John Tibeats.
Another stellar performance from Christian Bale leads this revisionist western that recalls the likes of 'Bone Tomahawk' and 'Unforgiven'. An army captain named Joseph Blocker working at Fort Berringer, New Mexico, in 1892, is tasked with bringing a Cheyenne chief and his family back to their tribe in Montana, thus he assembles a team for the assignment, confronting his prejudicial tendencies and the many dangers of the west along the way. 'Hostiles' is a compelling, poignant drama with phenomenal performances (from Rosamund Pike as well as Bale). It has a script that sizzles and a stunning backdrop. It helps that the director is Scott Cooper, whose past works include 'Out of the Furnace', 'Black Mass' and 'Crazy Heart' (the latter of which earned Jeff Bridges an Oscar). He brings something special out in the actors he works with.