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The 10 best movies on Netflix for 2021

Netflix logo on a smart TV in a living room
Bogdan Glisik/Shutterstock

Netflix is ​​packed with movies, from studio releases to the service̵

7;s original productions, that it can be tricky to figure out what to watch. Get started with 10 of the best movies to stream on Netflix.

The best movies on Netflix

RELATED: The 10 Best Comedy Movies on Netflix

Crimson Peak

Director Guillermo del Toro creates his own take on vintage gothic horror in Crimson Peak. Set in 1887, the film stars Mia Wasikowska as a young, aspiring writer who is immersed in her own ghost story when she marries an English baron (Tom Hiddleston) and moves to his remote, dilapidated estate.

Jessica Chastain plays a delightfully villainous role as the Baron’s jealous sister. Del Toro and his collaborators perfectly capture the old-fashioned creepiness of classics like Wuthering Heights and Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca.

Enola Holmes

The kind of Netflix original that plays like a large-scale theatrical blockbuster, Enola Holmes is a lively and charming story about the as-yet-unnamed younger sister of brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill). Strange things star Millie Bobby Brown brings humor and charisma to the role of Enola, who defies her time expectations for young women by starting her own investigative efforts.

The film is full of action and humor, making for the kind of crowd-pleasing entertainment that will suit almost everyone in Netflix’s target audience.

A ghost story

It’s hard to believe that a ghost in a literal white sheet with eye holes can make you cry, but that’s the effect of David Lowery’s beautiful haunting drama A ghost story. Casey Affleck spends most of the film under that sheet as the ghost, a musician who dies in a car accident and can’t bring himself to let go of the material world or his wife (Rooney Mara).

He remains tethered to his former home for what seems like decades, or maybe millennia. Lowery offers a poignant, beautifully rendered meditation on grief and the passing of time.

the kindergarten teacher

Maggie Gyllenhaal Gives a Career-Best Performance as the Title Character in Netflix Original the kindergarten teacher. A remake of an Israeli film, the kindergarten teacher Starring Gyllenhaal as a teacher frustrated with her own life and clinging to the supposed talents of one of the kids in her kindergarten class.

She is determined to bring the boy’s brilliant poetry to the world, even if it means destroying her own relationships and possibly breaking the law. It is a fascinatingly emotional train wreck that is impossible to look away from.

wedding story

Writer-director Noah Baumbach drew on painful personal experiences for the intense, emotional drama of wedding story. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver play an apparently happy couple who have drifted apart and decide to an amicable divorce. But the trial brings long-running tensions and resentments to the fore, and Baumbach pays equal attention to both sides’ grievances. It’s a heartbreaking drama that retains sympathy (and responsibilities) on both sides.


From the well-known stop-motion animation studio Laika, paraNorman is a spooky but heartwarming story about a boy who can communicate with the dead. Norman is a clumsy outcast who discovers that he is the only person who can break a 300-year-old curse on his city. He learns to believe in himself and to celebrate what makes everyone unique. It’s a sensitive, family-friendly story with a lot of humor, wrapped in an intricately animated world full of ghosts and witches.

Scott pilgrim against the world

One of the best comedies on Netflix, that of Edgar Wright Scott pilgrim against the world is an ingenious tribute to video games and comic books that incorporates stylistic elements from both. Michael Cera plays the title character, a mushy musician who must defeat the “seven evil exes” of his future girlfriend Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) before he can date her.

Scott takes on the colorful and powerful exes in video game style fight scenes, and the inventive stories mimic the aesthetic of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic book source material.

The social network

David Fincher’s 2010 drama about the founding of Facebook is proving to become more and more relevant as time goes by. The social network presents Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) as a ruthless narcissist desperate for attention and will do anything to promote his business. Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay contains plenty of sharp, cutting dialogue, and the story focuses equally on the process of building a business and the fleeting personalities behind it.


Winner of multiple Oscars (including Best Picture), director Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight tells the powerful true story of the Boston Globe‘s investigation into child abuse by members of the Catholic Church. Spotlight puts the spotlight on the reporters who devoted themselves to detailed, sometimes tedious investigations to uncover the truth about the cover-ups and denials that went on for decades.

The star cast, including Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Michael Keaton, show the human side of the high-profile battle between monolithic institutions.

Total Recall

Arnold Schwarzenegger is at his best in Paul Verhoeven’s over-the-top sci-fi action movie Total Recall. The twisty story (based on a story by Philip K. Dick) finds an average man entangled in spying between warring factions on Mars. Or is he?

Memory implants mess with the lead character’s mind, and the film leaves viewers guessing whether Quaid (Schwarzenegger) is a spy whose memory has been erased, or an unfortunate dupe done to think he’s a secret agent. Either way, Quaid takes out a lot of bad guys in amusingly violent ways.

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