Given that there are at least 4,000 films currently streaming on Netflix, finding just one to settle down with for the evening could well prove daunting. And coming to a decision will likely prove to be even more of an ordeal if you’re not even sure what type of movie you’d like to see. Are you in the mood for a flick with plenty of mystery and excitement? Perhaps you’re craving a true-life tale of cops and robbers. Or maybe you just want a picture that’s lighthearted and warm. If you’d also prefer to watch one of the latest movies to hit the streaming service, though, you’re in luck. You see, all of the following films were released either in theaters or on Netflix in 2018 or 2019. Here, then, are the very best new movies available to watch on Netflix as of May 29, 2019.
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If you’re a fan of jaw-dropping stunts and thrilling fight scenes, then check out our list of “The 25 Best Action Movies On Netflix Right Now.” If you need a film that ought to entertain every generation, on the other hand, then take a look at our list of “The 25 Best Family Movies On Netflix Right Now.” Or do you just want to laugh your socks off? Then check out our list of “The 25 Best Comedy Movies On Netflix Right Now.” If you prefer fantasy, meanwhile, then there’s our guide to “The 25 Best Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix Right Now.”
Fancy a fright? Head to our list of “The 25 Best Horror Movies On Netflix Right Now.” If you’re more up for nailbiting tension, though, then check out “The 25 Best Thriller Movies On Netflix Right Now.” Those wanting love should also take a look at “The 25 Best Romance Movies On Netflix Right Now.” And then there’s our definitive guide to “The 50 Best Movies On Netflix Right Now” for the true cream of the drop.
To establish which movies should be included on this list, we first turned to New on Netflix USA’s ratings of films currently available on Netflix. We then selected the 25 new films with the highest scores on that site. In addition, we conducted our own independent research to ensure that we featured only the very best movies out there.
To establish our ranking, we then gathered ratings for those 25 movies from each of the following touchstone sites: IMDb, Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. Any film for which only an IMDb rating was available was subsequently disqualified; and this was also the case for any movie with a Rotten Tomatoes rating based on fewer than 15 reviews.
The ratings were then combined to give each movie an average score out of 100; and the 25 new films with the highest average scores were concluded to be the best currently streaming on Netflix in the U.S. These scores also, of course, determined the final ordering of the movies.
25. Cam (2018)
Cam may have been a different film entirely if writer Isa Mazzei had gone ahead with her first idea. Initially, you see, Mazzei considered creating a documentary about camgirls – although she ultimately changed her mind after deciding that audiences would be more engaged by a fictional protagonist. Even so, there’s a healthy dose of – somewhat disturbing – reality in the psychological horror, which sees Madeline Brewer star as a sex worker who is mysteriously replaced online by a doppelgänger. These nods to true life certainly didn’t go unnoticed by observers such as Brian Tallerico, either. The critic enthused, “[Cam provides] the kind of clever jolt to the system we want from horror thrillers: an unexpected commentary on today’s society burrowing its way through an intense story.” The chiller is also certainly among the best movies on Netflix.
24. The Night Comes for Us (2018)
Timo Tjahjanto’s The Night Comes for Us isn’t for the fainthearted. Certainly, that’s what can be surmised from Variety’s 2018 review, which claims the Indonesian thriller displays “the most inventive, gory and dazzlingly choreographed screen violence in recent memory.” And, naturally, there’s blood by the bucketload during those fight scenes, too, with enough red liquid spilled on screen to put many a horror movie to shame. So, if you have the constitution, sit back, relax and watch the exploits of a onetime Triad member – portrayed by up-and-coming star Joe Taslim – who abandons his life of crime in order to look after an orphaned child. Of course, though, the man’s former employers won’t let him go easily, and hence they unleash all kinds of hell to put a stop to him.
23. The Other Side of the Wind
Though The Other Side of the Wind was filmed intermittently throughout the 1970s, it didn’t actually make it to movie theaters until 2018. You see, the film’s director died some 33 years before its release, and he wasn’t able to finish piecing the feature together within his lifetime. But what led an editor and two producers to pore over 100-plus hours of takes to complete the task? Well, essentially, The Other Side of the Wind represents the final work of legendary auteur Orson Welles. And it appears that Welles mined real-life experience for the mockumentary, which sees a struggling director try to win around Tinseltown with his audacious new picture. Whatever the filmmaking icon’s original vision, though, the Herculean effort put into the drama paid off, and it ultimately earned spots on both The Hollywood Reporter and Vanity Fair’s respective lists of the best movies of 2018.
22. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Following Scott Lang’s mysterious absence from 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel fans were left wondering as to Ant-Man’s whereabouts. They didn’t have to wait long for the diminutive superhero to return, however; Ant-Man and the Wasp – a follow-up to 2015’s Ant-Man – hit movie theaters just months after its MCU predecessor. And this time around, Lang (Paul Rudd) is joined by Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), whose promotion from sidekick to co-lead made her alter ego, the Wasp, the first female hero ever to be named in an MCU movie title. What’s more, Marvel’s decision apparently paid off at the box office; the Peyton Reed-directed film went on to bring in more than $622 million worldwide.
21. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Chiwetel Ejiofor didn’t just star in The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind; he also chose to script and direct the picture. And it certainly seems that the true-life tale of teenager William Kamkwamba – who produced electricity from spare parts to save his Malawian village from famine – struck a chord with the filmmaker. What particularly resonated was the bond between Kamkwamba and his dad that’s at the heart of the work – even though the British actor and director’s father had passed away decades beforehand. “It’s still an evolving relationship [with my dad], and it still has a strong space in my life,” Ejiofor explained to The Guardian in 2019; but whatever the precise personal background, his efforts paid off. The Los Angeles Times’ Robert Abele, for instance, wrote that the movie “feeds our hunger for inspiring tales in these desperate times with a beautifully engineered narrative latticework of hardship, hope and know-how.”
20. Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)
In 2012 Wreck-It Ralph scored what was once the biggest opening weekend of any Disney animated flick. A follow-up film was almost inevitable, then, although Ralph Breaks the Internet actually only marks the third occasion on which the Mouse House has released an animated sequel in movie theaters. Still, given that the family-friendly adventure ultimately pulled in a mighty $529 million at the worldwide box office, the smart money is on Disney reprising yet more of its future hits. This time around, John C. Reilly-voiced Ralph and Sarah Silverman’s Vanellope burst out of their respective video games to explore the exciting – and occasionally frightening – world of the internet. And as well as bringing in the big bucks, Phil Johnston and Rich Moore’s picture also earned an Oscar nomination.
19. The World Is Yours (2018)
In a tantalizing piece of movie trivia, The World Is Yours takes its title from the blimp that sports the very same phrase in Scarface. And while this may be one of a few parallels between the French film and Brian De Palma’s classic, the protagonist of Romain Gavras’ work is certainly no Tony Montana. “It was interesting to play out almost the anti-Scarface,” Gavras told Little White Lies in 2019. “Montana wants the world, but our guy just wants a little house with a little swimming pool.” So, what’s The World Is Yours actually about? Well, in time-honored crime-caper style, two-bit crook Farès – played by Karim Leklou – needs to pull off one last job in order to escape from his criminal lifestyle. Complications ultimately arise, though, not least thanks to Farès’ own mother.
18. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)
Fortunately for Netflix, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was a pretty sizeable success. Yes, although the streaming service is often coy about revealing just how many people sit down to watch its content, in October 2018 it was happy to declare that the romantic comedy is among its “most viewed original films ever.” The movie also apparently benefitted from “strong repeat viewing”; and not only that, but it practically catapulted its stars into the limelight. One of said leads is Lana Condor – here portraying a teenager who is mortified to discover that her clandestine love letters have somehow been sent to her secret crushes. Condor’s character, Lara, then finds herself up against lies, betrayal and – inevitably – love as she deals with the fallout. Oh, and if you find yourself smitten with Susan Johnson’s flick, good news: a sequel is on the way too.
17. Time Share (2018)
After Sebastián Hofmann’s second feature-length movie, Time Share, premiered at Sundance in 2018, it scooped a Special Jury Prize for screenwriting. Further honors followed later that year, too, as the haunting mystery subsequently grabbed two prizes at the Ariel Awards – the Mexican counterpart of the Oscars. All in all, then, snapping up the picture’s distribution rights may well have been a no-brainer for Netflix execs. But Time Share probably isn’t one to watch before embarking on a dream vacation. You see, the two patriarchs at the film’s center convince themselves that their idyllic holiday resort is somehow poisoning their relationships with their nearest and dearest. And while the men start out at loggerheads, they ultimately band together to save their respective families. As for the end product, well, as The Hollywood Reporter wrote in a 2018 review, it’s a “cinematically arresting psychological thriller that succeeds in keeping viewers on edge.”
16. High Flying Bird (2019)
As the man behind the camera for such massive movie hits as Magic Mike and the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy, Steven Soderbergh has proven more than capable of making a blockbuster or two. But after a brief retirement from directing features, the auteur decided to film his projects in a novel way – and definitely not one typical to your average popcorn flick. You see, shooting for both 2018 horror Unsane and the following year’s High Flying Bird took place entirely on iPhone. Naturally, though, this was a calculated move. “If I had to [shoot High Flying Bird] in a more traditional way, it would have actually hurt the film,” Soderbergh told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019. And the drama – about a sports agent hoping to shake up the basketball industry – was certainly lauded; currently, it holds an impressive 92 percent “certified fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
15. The Kindergarten Teacher (2018)
When talking to Entertainment Weekly in 2018, Maggie Gyllenhaal revealed that the team behind The Kindergarten Teacher didn’t coerce young co-star Parker Sevak into being anything other than a typical child. Yet in Sara Colangelo’s movie, Gyllenhaal’s character, Lisa, demands far more of her precocious charge than that. In fact, the teacher seemingly becomes consumed by her desire to push Sevak’s Jimmy into being a poetry star. And as the film goes on, Lisa turns to ever more dubious methods to achieve her goal. It’ll probably come as no surprise to hear, then, that Gyllenhaal’s nuanced performance earned her considerable critical praise. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, for example, called the actress “gripping” in her role, with the reviewer adding, “It’s the best [we’ve seen] from [her] since her breakthrough performance in Steven Shainberg’s 2002 cult classic Secretary.”
14. Paddleton (2019)
While Mark Duplass and Alex Lehmann may be credited as the writers of Paddleton, the movie never actually had a screenplay to shoot from; instead, the filmmakers set about the production with nothing more than a treatment. And for star Ray Romano, the lack of a script certainly represented something of a challenge. “The dramatic scenes were a mystery,” the Everybody Loves Raymond actor confessed to SlashFilm in 2019. Nevertheless, he rose to the occasion, delivering a performance that earned no small amount of acclaim – not least from Entertainment Weekly’s Chris Nashawaty, who in his 2019 review wrote, “Romano has proved to be not just a real actor, but a remarkably subtle one as well.” Paddleton sees Duplass and Romano play neighbors Michael and Andy, respectively, with the duo traveling cross-country to buy pills that will allow Michael to die with dignity in the face of terminal cancer.
13. Outside In (2018)
In Lynn Shelton’s Outside In, Jay Duplass assumed the role of Chris – a guy who has just been released after spending the past two decades in prison. Then as the ex-con attempts to acclimate to life outside the big house, he also falls for his former teacher Carol – played here by Edie Falco. But there’s one small problem: Carol has a husband, meaning that Chris’ affections threaten to ruin her marriage. Plot aside, though, the drama succeeds in a big way thanks to its stars – at least according to Vulture, which opined, “Falco and Duplass’ complicated, nakedly searching performances are [Outside In’s] main event.” Newsweek applauded the film, too, in the magazine’s case for “never accepting a pat resolution of the frictions” between its two leads. All of this, then, makes Outside In one of the best new movies on Netflix.
12. Calibre (2018)
Nearly a decade passed before Matt Palmer’s first feature-length movie, Calibre, was transformed from mere concept to fully fledged big-screen thriller. And yet according to the director, this drawn-out timeline wasn’t down to production delays or problems with casting. Rather, as Palmer told The Scotsman in 2018, he’s just “not a very prolific writer” – meaning the script took quite a while to get down on paper. In any event, though, the filmmaker was at least fortunate enough to land rising star Jack Lowden for his picture, with the Dunkirk actor having gone on to portray Calibre’s Vaughn – an ordinary guy who goes hunting with his best pal, Marcus, prior to the birth of his first child. But when Marcus and Vaughn’s excursion goes drastically wrong, the locals begin to turn on them – and the duo end up in a fight for their very souls.
11. The Endless (2017)
No one could accuse Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead of not putting work into The Endless. After all, the pair each took on five different roles during production – including turns as the film’s co-directors, co-stars and co-producers. Benson penned the script himself, too, while Moorhead kept himself busy with the cinematography. So, it seems only right that the duo were singled out for critical plaudits. Empire, for instance, labeled The Endless an “attention-grabbing calling card” for the movie-making team, adding, “It surely can’t be long before they’re invited to bigger things.” The sci-fi horror tells the tale of two brothers – played, of course, by Moorhead and Benson – who revisit the cult from which they had previously escaped. Then as the siblings spend more time with the strange group, they realize that there may be something disturbing afoot.
10. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
After Iron Man made its debut back in 2008, fans had a further ten years to wait before they saw the colorful cast of the MCU finally come together on screen. The consensus, though, is that Avengers: Infinity War was worth the delay, as it’s among the best films on Netflix. And that’s despite the fact that the movie was undeniably a huge undertaking. A cool 76 characters assemble to defeat the villainous Thanos, in fact – a feat that led Marvel to dub the film “the most ambitious crossover event in history.” Directors Anthony and Joe Russo rose to the challenge, mind you, with the pair ultimately creating the most successful superhero movie ever made. Avengers: Infinity War broke box-office records upon its 2018 opening before going on to gross an astonishing $2 billion worldwide.
9. Pad Man (2018)
Inspired by the true-life exploits of Arunachalam Muruganantham, R. Balki’s comedy Pad Man hinges on the efforts of an Indian man to bring cheap sanitary pads to the women of his country. But in order to achieve this, the budding entrepreneur – portrayed on screen by Bollywood A-lister Akshay Kumar – has to overcome the prejudices of a population who are not used to talking about such matters openly. And if you think this premise may sound far-fetched, it’s apparently nothing compared to what the real Muruganantham had to go through. In 2018 the innovator told The Guardian, “The community thought I was a pervert. They wanted an exorcism because they thought I was possessed by demons.” Ultimately, though, Muruganantham succeeded, and his products are now available across almost three-quarters of India’s states.
8. We the Animals (2018)
After We the Animals’ 2018 debut at Sundance, IndieWire drew clear parallels between Jeremiah Zagar’s film and critical favorite Moonlight. There’s definitely some substance to that comparison, too. After all, much like Barry Jenkins’ Oscar winner, We the Animals features a boy coming to terms with life and his own sexuality. And there’s also a similarly strong sense of intimacy between the characters – one that Zagar and his team sought to foster not only through creative filming techniques, but also by convincing the movie’s young stars and their parents to live for a while in the same home. In the end, though, the drama stands up on its own. Variety was certainly impressed, anyway, labeling the film a “sensitive and richly evocative cinematic reimagining of Justin Torres’ poetic novel.”
7. Private Life (2018)
When Tamara Jenkins penned the script for Netflix original Private Life, she had her own life to mine for inspiration. In real life, you see, the writer-director likewise once found herself struggling to start a family, and it was these fertility issues that subsequently wove their way into the fabric of Jenkins’ movie a few years down the line. In Private Life, then, Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti play a couple who try everything “short of kidnapping” to have a child of their own. Yet despite these efforts, things aren’t working out as intended – and the pair’s attempts to grow their household by one begin to strain their relationship. All in all, though, the flick is funnier than this précis suggests. Us Weekly, for instance, dubbed the tale “often hilarious,” with the mag adding that as a whole the dramedy is a “richly rewarding experience.”
6. Incredibles 2 (2018)
To say that Incredibles 2 made a lot of money upon its release is rather an understatement. It is, after all, the second highest-grossing animated flick of all time, with more than $1.2 billion in box-office receipts. Furthermore, Brad Bird’s superhero comedy has the critical plaudits to justify that astounding sum. The Guardian claimed, for instance, that Incredibles 2 “is as thrilling and just as much fun” as the first film; and the movie also earned an Academy Award nod for Best Animated Feature. This time around, then, we join the super-powered Parr family right where we left them – only this time it’s matriarch Helen, voiced by Holly Hunter, who has to go out and set the world to rights.
5. Happy as Lazzaro (2018)
In 2014 Alice Rohrwacher’s film The Wonders scooped the Grand Jury Prize at that year’s Cannes Film Festival. Suffice to say, then, that the pressure was probably on to make an equally accomplished follow-up. And yet the writer-director evidently delivered the goods; after all, in 2018 she walked away with a Cannes Best Screenplay award for movie Happy as Lazzaro. It seems unlikely that The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw would have begrudged the accolade, either, as the critic was full of praise for the fantasy drama. “Happy as Lazzaro… is a weightless enigma – an unfathomable promise of happiness,” Bradshaw raved in his 2019 review. So if such purple prose inspires you to cue up Rohrwacher’s work during your next Netflix session, expect to be charmed by the tale of an optimistic Italian man who is manipulated by a wealthy baroness – to begin with, anyway.
4. Sunday’s Illness (2018)
In a 2018 review of Sunday’s Illness, The Guardian lauded the drama as “among the year’s most exquisite revelations.” High praise indeed, but what’s the film all about? Well, on the surface, the Spanish movie tells the tale of a woman spending ten strained days with the mother who had abandoned her 35 years before. And yet there may be more going on in Sunday’s Illness than first meets the eye. When speaking to The Daily Dot in 2018, director Ramón Salazar explained that his film is in fact designed to “create several layers of thought.” He elaborated, “You can choose to be more realist and to follow just the facts of what is actually happening, or [you can track] the idea and the desires that that encounter brings to the characters.”
3. Black Panther (2018)
For years, audiences waited for black characters to take center stage in a Hollywood blockbuster. Then, film fans finally got their wish in 2018 with Marvel’s Black Panther, which features a predominantly black cast. Director Ryan Coogler also apparently used Afrofuturist themes to help create the world of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa – the king and protector of the fictitious African nation Wakanda. And the movie’s astounding success may in fact mark the beginning of a change in Hollywood. Indeed, as Rolling Stone put it in 2018, Black Panther appears to point “to a new direction for depicting not only black superheroes but also how we imagine our heroes.” Nicely put. It’s certainly worth its place among the very best new movies on Netflix.
2. Burning (2018)
In a Sight & Sound poll, a collection of 164 film specialists voted Burning the third-greatest movie of 2018. More specifically, the magazine’s consensus praised Burning as being “masterful and unclassifiable.” And it’s in fact this latter quality that seems to have most captivated viewers of Lee Chang-dong’s mystery drama. This is a film, after all, in which you rarely discover what’s going on beneath the surface of the narrative. Said cryptic tale begins with Jong-su agreeing to take care of a cat for a woman with whom he has recently become obsessed. But after the woman returns from vacation with a new pal (The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun), she suddenly disappears, leaving Jong-su to frantically pick up the pieces – and fall deep into the rabbit hole.
1. Roma (2018)
After having won the prestigious Golden Lion at the 2018 Venice International Film Festival, Roma went on to enjoy a short theatrical release before heading onto Netflix. And the drama – which is based in part on director Alfonso Cuarón’s early life in Mexico City – has since become an awards darling too. Indeed, the movie earned ten Oscar nominations – the highest number ever for a Spanish-language film – as well as a pair of Golden Globes and the Best Film honor at the 2019 BAFTAs. And such acclaim may well have helped convince audiences to flock to see the film. IndieWire has in fact estimated that Roma’s movie theater takings will ultimately surpass $3 million – a feat not achieved in the U.S. by a non-English language picture since 2013’s Ida. It’s richly deserved, too, as Cuarón’s work is undoubtedly top of the best new Netflix releases.
Not to be forgotten…
The following were previously on our list of the 25 best new movies on Netflix, but they’ve either now left the streaming service or have since been pushed out of the top 25. Even so, these films are still very much worth watching.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)
At first, little time appeared to be wasted in bringing The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to the big screen. After all, the script for the movie adaptation was reportedly completed mere months after the book upon which it is based became a bestseller. That screenplay attracted two big-name stars, too; Kenneth Branagh once intended to sit in the director’s chair, and Kate Winslet also initially signed up to the romantic drama. However, Winslet and Branagh subsequently jumped ship, putting the production on – temporary – pause. So in the end, Mike Newell came on board as director, while Lily James took the role of protagonist Juliet Ashton – a writer living in 1940s London. And when Ashton heads to Guernsey to talk to a man who had lived under German occupation during WWII, the pieces are in place for what The Hollywood Reporter has dubbed a “handsome tearjerker.”