The rankings game is difficult, trying and painful for moviegoers. But it is also funny, stimulating and irresistible. Widescreen had the crazy, silly idea of sorting through the best Netflix original movies, to come up with a top 25, numbered from worst on the list to best (but let’s be honest, if they’re there, they’re are already very popular).
Obviously, Netflix releasing a myriad of feature films per year, there is a huge lack of films that had the potential to integrate our top 25. But who says ranking, necessarily says choice and therefore sometimes disillusion (even within the team). Moreover, Netflix has not left to stop, we will have every opportunity to redo this classification in a year, a month, a day or even five minutes, when a new feature film will have integrated the catalog of N rouge.
In the meantime, here is our ranking of the 25 best Netflix original films, considering among the Netflix original films, all the films being released directly on Netflix in France (hence the presence for example of Annihilation , produced by Paramount, but bought by Netflix for distribution, particularly in France).
The forest of love
The one-line summary : A charismatic killer manipulates a trio of filmmakers and a young girl, not into shooting porn, but into committing murder.
Why it’s disturbing: Impossible to really sum up, The Forest of Love is conceived above all as a formidable mix of everything that makes Sono Sion’s style. Certainly, the work is visually more sober than the rest of the filmmaker’s filmography, but it still manages, faithful to its author, to violate its audience. Alternating the unhealthy and the poetic , the film works to suffocate characters and spectators by gradually closing its narrative structure on itself.
Through his story, split into two chapters, Sono Sion paints the portrait of a paradoxical society, entangled in its aging dogmas and victims of its own impulses, here transcribed by the sadomasochistic tendencies of the characters. Because yes, if the title could give the spectator the feeling of attending a romantic and light comedy, it will not be. The Forest of Love is rather the story of a vast descent into hell, from which no one escapes.
The one-line summary : A wealthy widow hires an archaeologist to search her garden (no pun intended).
Why it’s heartbreaking : Yes, there is a movie that’s about archeology that isn’t Indiana Jones , is about love, and stars Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan. What more ? For his second feature film, Simon Stone borrows his idea of the fresco from Terrence Malick to deliver a work that is as visually impactful (thank you, English countryside) as it is thematically . While in the sky the beginnings of war are taking shape, the heroes strive to stay down to earth and flourish in this archaeological dig mission, inspired by a true story.
Contemplative at times, The Dig is never tearful . If the filmmaker has fun filming wide open spaces, with great virtuosity moreover, he never leaves aside his characters, whose restraint breaks the heart. The Dig is one of those movies that sticks around long after you watch it.
Apollo 10½: The Rockets of My Childhood
The one-line summary : The young Stanley, living in Houston in 1969, imagined himself as an astronaut with the crew of the Apollo 11 mission.
Why it’s a film that feels good : Once again, Richard Linklater proves that he is certainly a talented filmmaker, but above all, the master of nostalgia . He who loves to talk so much about the passage of time and the transition to adulthood, delivers with Apollo 10½: The Rockets of My Childhood a sweet and sincere work inspired by his own childhood in Houston in the 1960s. After having transcribed the years 90 in Slacker , 80 in Everybody Wants Some!! and 70 in Génération Rebelle , it depicts a new decade, and it’s wonderful. Although Apollo 10 ½ is basically about the dreams of a child, it is alsoa great work on the memory and the past that we always fantasize a little .
Linklater dwells on insignificant details, the little things in life , such as the evenings spent in front of programs watched on cathode-ray television which, revisited more than forty years later, are charged with emotion . Even though the film is about a specific era, it in no way excludes its viewers. A fresco as complex as it is gentle and as moving as it is sincere.
Beasts of no nation
The one-line summary : Agu, a young African orphan, finds himself recruited by the rebel army of a commander and becomes a child soldier in the middle of a civil war.
Why it’s a can’t -miss : Simply because Beasts of No Nation is the first Netflix original movie and started the unprecedented streaming movie movement. Directed by Cary Fukunaga, the feature film was bought by Netflix a few months before its presentation at the Venice Film Festival 2015 where its young actor, Abraham Attah, will also receive the prize for best hope. And this acquisition was obviously a hell of a deal for the N rouge since Fukunaga’s third film has a lot of character.
Through a violent and dark story, the young filmmaker delivers a great sensitive drama on the scourge of child soldiers, manipulative gurus and in extenso, the inaction of Western nations to help their countries in difficulty to fight. Already extremely talented, Fukunaga also deploys a myriad of impressive sequences, between a muddy sequence shot or a surreal massacre. Beasts of No Nation then fascinates as it skilfully juggles between the brutality and harshness of its subject and the touching innocence of its overwhelmed young hero.
The one-line summary : A rebellious young prince is finally forced to pass on his crown, in order to face Robert Pattinson and his terrible French accent.
Why it’s a sovereign film: Far from historical considerations, David Michôd rather focuses on portraying the Homeric story of a sadly idealistic Henry V condemned to disillusion. Carried by the harsh formalism of its author, the film throws his character, embodied by a simultaneously candid and animal Timothée Chalamet, into the throes of political corruption.
The youthfulness of its leading actor, hitherto known to spectators for his roles as romantic teenagers, is subsequently exhausted to the bone by David Michôd’s cinematographic device. The message is unmistakable: power debases, uses, abuses anyone who touches it. In this sense, the footage engulfs the viewer as much as it annihilates their character. By its (felt) length, its atmosphere afflicted, even infected, by the Evil it depicts, and its underlying violence , Le Roi is intended as a testament to an affection that is sinisterly topical.
The one-line summary : The trial of seven men charged with conspiracy and incitement to revolt following demonstrations on the sidelines of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.
Why it’s a great movie : While you’d think The Chicago Seven was directed by a seasoned filmmaker, it’s only Aaron Sorkin’s second feature after the disappointing The Big Game . While he could have chosen to illustrate the very famous demonstration that made famous those who were nicknamed the “Chicago Seven”, the filmmaker preferred to tell the events through the trial that ensued. Thus, like Twelve Angry Men or Autopsy of a Murder , The Chicago Sevenis a film that relies almost entirely on dialogue, so if it’s action you want to see, you can skip it.
But just because it’s set almost entirely in a courtroom doesn’t mean The Chicago Seven isn’t an exciting and, above all, fast-paced film. We never get bored for a second watching this mastered feature film from start to finish which, in addition to showing remarkable performances, like that of Sacha Baron Cohen, resonates more than ever with current events .
Hand of god
The one-line summary : The portrait of the young Fabietto, between his first sexual emotions, his complex relationships with his large family and his admiration for Maradona, in the Naples of the 80s.
Why it’s a pretty love letter : Paolo Sorrentino has been divisive since the beginning of his career, because of his very bombastic style, his ambiguous view of women, even his love of the vulgar and exuberance. But with The Hand of God, the Italian filmmaker has probably convinced some of his haters and a little more impressed his aficionados.
Much less frivolous than the gentleman’s previous films, The Hand of God is a sublime little pearl. An intimate, solar and melancholic work, of a rather striking grace, embracing an almost fantastic beauty to better help its young hero to confront the harsh reality. Because this young Fabietto is ultimately Paolo Sorrentino himself, depicting the fresco of his life to the spectators. The result is a love letter to Naples at first, but even more an ode to the power of cinema , an escape that allowed him to forget his loneliness, fulfill his desires and mourn his sad memories.
Pieces of a woman
The one-line summary : A couple must recover from the most terrible drama, the death of their baby following a home birth.
Why it’s impactful : With Pieces of a Woman , Hungarian filmmaker Kornél Mundruczó enters the intimacy of a couple, consisting of Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf, during the moment that will change their lives: birth and death sudden death of their infant . The film opens with a powerful sequence shot that retraces the young woman’s childbirth without cuts , from the first contractions to the expulsion. With his on-board camera, the filmmaker organically films this moment which was supposed to be the most beautiful moment of their lives.
The other strong point of Pieces of a Woman is to deal with the subject of home birth and above all, the responsibility of midwives in the event of a tragedy. While non-medical deliveries are becoming more and more trendy, Kornél Mundruczó decides to show the risks and illustrate the consequences of an infant death on the couple . After illustrating the drama, the filmmaker is interested in the aftermath, in the effects of such upheaval on a love life. Mundruczó skilfully films this post-partum that has become post-mortem .
The one-line summary : Mija and fat pig Okja are inseparable, at least until a multinational tries to turn his breed into sausages.
Why it hits where it hurts : There was only Bong Joon-ho to take on the oh so delicate and crucial theme of animal welfare and more particularly the question of the mass industrialization of the slaughter , with a big funny pig like McGuffin. Many of his colleagues would have contented themselves with making people cry in the cottages with a lot of violins.
Except that the filmmaker is the absolute master of the break in tone . And in Okja, it is thanks to this process, which he has never pushed to such extremes, even in The Host , that he manages to capture all the complexity of the situation, without sacrificing humanity. which is precisely lacking in this industry. Okja and his mistress are tossed about from big benevolent companies to not always virtuous associations, with an unshakeable friendship as a red thread, just as the director takes us from laughter to tears to better impose on us an ultimate vision of dread than any studio Hollywood would not have dared to finance.
The Good Apostle
The one-line summary : Thomas Richardson goes in search of his sister, kidnapped by the inhabitants of an island with a way of life that is to say the least troubled;
Why it’s a great horror film : When it was released, The Good Apostle was not particularly well received, the fault of the CV of its director Gareth Evans, artist adored by fans of fight for his two The Raid . Here, he steps out of his comfort zone, with a pure horror movie. Except that in fact, he is only rearranging his approach to the seventh art. The absolute savagery of his Homeric fights becomes ritual, but no less brutal .
And in this explosion of misanthropy emerges a terrifying study of fanaticism, its codes and how it can sweep away an entire community. The genius of his point of view being to concede just enough to the antagonists to make their ideology as deep as it is chilling. In this, it joins the pantheon of folk horror , despite an excessive duration for some (including the editorial staff), however necessary for its demonstration.
I just want to get it over with
The one-line summary : On the brink of breaking up with her boyfriend, a young woman meets her future ex-in-laws, and sinks into a kind of surreal nightmare.
Why It’s an Exciting Hallucination : Why I Just Want to End It Is So Weird? Because Charlie Kaufman. A genius screenwriter ( Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind , Adaptation ), he had already lost half of his audience when he moved on to directing with the grandiose Synecdoche, New York , and the animated film Anomalisa co-directed with Duke Johnson. And this adaptation of Iain Reid’s novel has certainly not helped.
Nothing prepared you for this funny and tragic existential trip , which takes malicious pleasure in losing its audience and twisting its head. Scene after scene, the ground and meaning slip away from underfoot, forcing us to face the absurdity of this little world that turns in circles. With a cold sense of humor and a maddening thoroughness, Charlie Kaufman plays with breaks in tone and disconnections, to create the strange in the most familiar things. Hence an often destabilizing film (risk of going from laughter to shivers and discomfort in 15 seconds), but always fascinating, as if Heredity or The Visit and American Beauty had met to copulate in the snow.
No Man No God
The one-line summary : A wolf specialist is commissioned by a mother to find her little boy in the depths of Alaska.
Why it’s a brutal journey : When he unveiled No Man No God on Netflix, Jérémy Saulnier accustomed his viewers to violence and darkness with his three previous films: Murder Party, Blue Ruin and Green Room . So obviously, his fourth feature film is no exception to his rule and turns out, as the story progresses, to be a good big nag and bloody trip.
By quickly diverting the story from its starting point, Jérémy Saulnier has fun probing the soul of his characters, their horrible inner conflicts and their terrible fears of others. Placed in the middle of such a hostile nature, populated by wolves as well as wild men, the character of Jeffrey Wright (and the spectator) is then confronted with a mysterious and spiritual journey, between mystical traditions, ancestral oppositions, family tragedies. and desperate revenge. And so, more than just a thriller, No Man No God turns into a visceral experience of toxic masculinity and human horror. A little shock.
The one-line synopsis : Former Special Forces soldiers struggling to make ends meet reunite for a risky mission: plunder a South American drug lord.
Why it’s a great film about America : With Margin Call and A Most Violent Year , JC Chandor has established himself as an exciting filmmaker about America, its paradoxes and its capitalist DNA. Triple Frontier allows him to extend his reflections on a fake and illusory American dream with this troop of soldiers abandoned by the system. Beyond its five-star cast (Ben Affleck, Pedro Pascal, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam and Garrett Hedlund), the film is above all driven by its staging of rare elegance.
By shaping its South American vistas like a new Wild West, Triple Frontier morphs into an anti-western , where the influence of the United States keeps being pushed further back into the continent. JC Chandor locks up his characters in this nothingness that escapes them, and weaves a beautiful film of characters, hoping at all costs to escape the anonymity reserved for them by society. A somewhat particular rise and fall, which leads one to wonder if this narrative scheme does not globally define America and its demons.
The one-line summary : Jesper is a lazy postman from a good family and Klaus a taciturn lumberjack who lives reclusive in the forest. Nothing destined them to become friends or to invent Christmas.
Why it’s a feel-good movie : On paper, yet another Christmas story wasn’t necessarily a very ambitious or promising idea on Netflix’s part. We could have expected a nice first animated film, but nothing more, like the algorithmic productions that usually hit the platform. And yet, Klaus deconstructs the Christmas myth with inventiveness and mischief to reshape it from all angles and make it a comical series of misunderstandings and little lies.
Even if the film does not refuse any form of sentimentality and does not escape a few predictable turns, the script is clever, sometimes even insolent, in the sense that it humorously assumes the consumerist and hypocritical dimension of Christmas . Yes, children are nice for the sole purpose of getting gifts and yes, the famous “list of naughty children” is just a good pressure tactic to keep them quiet. At a time of standardized 3D productions, the feature film also surprises with its 2D plasticity which gives it the more traditional touch of traditional animation.
THE power of the dog
The one-line summary : A slightly crazy cowboy gets even crazier when his brother gets married, and brings a wife and her teenage son (also a little crazy) into the house.
Why it’s an extreme western : From Sweetie to Top of the Lake , including the inevitable The Piano Lesson , Jane Campion’s gaze has most often been on women. The Power of the Dog marked his entry into male territory, with a western centered around a cowboy. The encounter was fierce.
Adapted from Thomas Savage’s book, The Power of the Dog is ultimately a fake western and a real dark puzzle , which gradually reveals its monstrous face, confirmed at the very end. Benedict Cumberbatch is a sweaty mountain of charisma, but the film relies as much on him as it does on Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst (whose thrilling character gets sidelined a bit too much) and Kodi Smit-McPhee. Jane Campion, she never loses herself, and appropriates the framework of the western to purify it, and bring all the dose of ambiguous sensuality that she masters so well (this scene with Benedict in a field, with a scarf and music by Jonny Greenwood).
Don’t Look Up
The one-line summary : Two astronomers embark on a gigantic media tour to warn humanity that a comet is heading for Earth and is about to destroy it.
Why It’s Perfect Satire: Event Satirical Comedy, Don’t Look Up: Cosmic Denial has already been picked up again and again as a somewhat too authentic mirror of scenes that can sadly be seen in our reality. Both very funny – even if the film hardly bothers with much subtlety – and chilling, Adam McKay’s feature film seems to have hit the mark and still resonates now with its apocalyptic reflection of human vanity .
Helped by an amazing cast (Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet, Jonah Hill, we’re going on…), Don’t Look Up has the immense quality of not trying to warn us (since we already know , somewhere), but to note. Replacing the greed, stupidity and superficiality of men on a cosmic scale , it is ultimately a very dark and very successful fable.
The night comes for us
The one-line summary : A legendary triad assassin cuts half the population of Jakarta to pieces after rescuing a young girl.
Why it’s pure carnage : Co-director of thrilling Killers , then sub-sub The Raid Headshot , Timo Tjahjanto made his solo mark with another Gareth Evans ersatz saga. Its originality? Replace the narrative efficiency of the diptych with an even greater dose of ultra-violence . The result, as dumb as his feet, turns almost into a choreographed slasher when his hero, camped by a mega-venerable Joe Taslim, gets it into his head to use just about anything he can get his hands on to smash the slightest part of the bodies of his opponents.
Fists are no longer enough. So much so that The Night Comes For Us and its mass killings appeal to the most rapacious of Hong Kong bis or the most enjoyable of video games. How not to think of Story of Ricky while the body count is getting longer, creating jobs in the forensic medicine sector, or at Hotline Miami after the 89th fatal machete blow? By far the most radical stress relief available on the platform.
The one-line summary: Natalie Portman and her colleagues will explore a mysterious, not-at-all-creepy area, where an alien thing begins to spread and transform everything.
Why it’s fantastic: Annihilation has its flaws, most notably in the sloppy writing of the supporting cast, a few wanderings along the way, and unnecessary flashbacks. But Annihilation especially has the best qualities of its director and screenwriter Alex Garland ( Men , Ex Machina ), who here adapts the novel by Jeff VanderMeer.
It’s an amazing journey beyond reality, overflowing with ambitions and ideas . Annihilation oscillates between the delicious B series (this mutant bear who utters human cries), the pure horror film (some very dirty and bloody images), the fanciful poetry (the end of Josie), and finally the almost experimental film. When the destination finally reveals itself, Annihilation swings into a staggering and perfectly mesmerizing beauty , where Natalie Portman launches into a deadly waltz with her alien mirror, before observing a landscape in flames. Just for this end, slightly crazy and totally bewitching (notably thanks to the brilliant music of Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury), the trip deserves to be seen, and lived.
The one-line summary : The chronicle of a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico City. That may sound boring. It is not.
Why It’s A Staging Gem: From And… Your Mother Too! in Gravity , Alfonso Cuarón is one of the most valuable working filmmakers. The precision of its realization is always centered on the textures and the feeling of its characters. With Roma , his long static shots and subtle pans scrutinize the life of a Mexican family through the prism of their servant. Immersed in sumptuous black and white, the visual universe of Cuarón takes us into a whirlwind of emotions , which never forgets to develop in the background a country on the verge of implosion.
As often with the filmmaker, the elements are even at the center of his device to talk about bodies and their interactions. Here, he lingers on the water, and its passages in the solid and gaseous state, until a return to the ocean in a moving finale. The world changes and time passes, but we always come back to the source, to birth and to amniotic fluid. Roma is a stunning jewel, and an essential part of the Netflix catalog.
The Mitchells vs. the Machines
The one-line synopsis : The Mitchells, a loving but dysfunctional family must save the world after an uprising of an artificial intelligence.
Why it’s irresistible : The Mitchells Against the Machines is a hyperactive and purposefully chaotic animated feature , which doesn’t mean it spends an hour and a half making noise and fussing in all the meaning to maintain the attention of the young audience for which it would primarily be intended. On the contrary, the feature film takes up the visual codes of YouTube and more generally of Internet culture (GIFs and memes) to create a new comic tempo and a visual dynamic close to Spider-Man: New Generation (the previous film produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller who took over the graphic codes of the comic book).
If we could expect a speech of a boring old idiot on new technologies or addiction to screens, the film wants above all to make the imperfect that we are all feel guilty , to advocate the hilarious and encourage passion (as bizarre as it may be). appear). The script also knows how to settle down and stop the outpourings of all kinds for more melancholy and tenderness, which is all that is expected of a good film.
The one-line summary : In 1930s Hollywood, screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, an inveterate alcoholic with acerbic eyes, tries to complete the script for Citizen Kane by Orson Welles in time.
Why it’s a beautiful tribute to cinema: David Fincher signs with Mank a film that did not go at all in the direction of what many of his admirers could expect. Far from the thriller, this parenthesis of cinephilia and melancholy never wants to seize by force the one who will be resilient to it . On the contrary, it is a wandering intended for the “happy few” who have in their hearts and minds this fascination for a lost cinema, but also for the ethereal feelings that belong to it.
A tribute to Citizen Kane, but also, and above all, to a screenplay written by his father Jack, David Fincher accomplishes with Mank not his most emblematic film, but undoubtedly his most personal. Gary Oldman is literally drunk to the core of his Herman Mankiewicz , a total genius and Hollywood misfit eclipsed by more colossal figures. Here though, he completely steals the show from all his past ghosts. To remember: the sweet conversations between Mank and the character of Amanda Seyfried which add to the ironic bite of the film the charm of candor.
The one-line summary : Martin Scorsese is back with a great mafia fresco, seen through the eyes of Frank Sheeran, a former soldier turned hitman in post-war America.
Why it’s monumental : With Scorsese, as we know, his gangster films centered on charismatic characters always hide an unsuspected magnitude. If he remains on a human scale, the filmmaker never forgets to shape, via a subtle replica or an element of scenery, a reconstitution of the United States as a political and social system to be examined.
Therefore, some might see The Irishman as a simple update of Scorsese’s obsessions. However, Netflix allowed the filmmaker to spend lavishly, and to sign a film as colossal as his budget (the biggest of his career). The director has not only put the kings of this type of cinema back on the front of the stage (Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino are imperial), he has reclaimed their bodies in an exciting experiment on the de- aging.
Whether or not we judge the approach successful, The Irishman is driven by the desire to condense almost all of a life into a little over three hours , focusing as much on the major events of Frank’s life. Sheeran only on spellbinding floating moments. By blurring and accentuating the wrinkles on their faces, Scorsese makes his characters self-assured relics of their importance, as the world continues to spin without them. Fundamentally testamentary, The Irishman is also overwhelming in view of its bittersweet melancholy approach, magnified in a brilliant last part which calls into question everything we have seen so far. Masterpiece !
The one-line summary : A young composer panics at not having the expected success before his thirtieth birthday. As he struggles to complete his first musical, the latter juggles between illusions, love, friendship, and the weight of the seconds, which are ticking away.
Why it’s moving: A figurehead of the new golden age of musical comedy in cinema, Lin-Manuel Miranda had never tried to handle the cinematograph before. And then finally, one fine morning, the songwriter had a great desire: to adapt the semi-autobiographical work of one of his idols, the late Jonathan Larson. The obvious is assumed: on the one hand Miranda, obsessed as hell with the passage of time ; on the other, Larson, thrown headlong into an incessant race against the clock .
From Tick, tick… Boom! will result an exalted love letter to Art with a capital A, but above all, to artists who despair of fully enjoying their passions. Subsequently, the work is haunted. By the coming death of its title role, inevitable, but also by the ghosts of unfulfilled, latent, refused dreams. Brilliant Andrew Garfield emotionally conveys the angst of nearly thirty and still unfulfilled ambitions, and, like the footage, gives Larson a new, luminous and incredibly lively breath . All in all, a nice tribute.
Our review that Tick, tick… Boom! who explodes the musical on Netflix
The one-line synopsis : With debt piling up and tax collectors swarming him, a talkative New York jeweler risks everything in hopes of staying afloat…and alive.
Why this thriller is a hidden gem: An absolutely frenetic, breathtaking and thrilling thriller, Uncut Gems is a must . Inhabited by an Adam Sandler better than ever (yes, he is indeed capable of the best) in the role of a hero both pathetic and oddly touching, the film always knows how to use empathy and unease to connect its viewer to an unbearable pace and a superbly conducted plot from start to finish.
Uncut Gems is a dizzying, grueling, yet exhilarating drop that escalates non-stop. An acceleration in the void rich in cold sweats, twists and a last act as frantic as it is brilliant . Without saying too much, because we must of course preserve all the experience of such a cinematographic sprint, Uncut Gems is this kind of film whose finale takes our breath away and from which we come out wide-eyed, amazed and stunned.
The one-line summary : Charlie and Nicole fell in love, madly, but their marriage is falling apart. Nicole therefore decides to hire a divorce lawyer.
Why it’s heartbreaking : Even though it revolves around a rocky divorce, Marriage Story is primarily about love, and that’s what makes the script both beautiful and cruel . With a look as incisive as it is empathetic, Noah Baumbach dissects the life of a couple and examines the daily ills that put it in danger after being inspired by his own separation (definitely a bottomless well of inspiration). But if resentment and bitterness gradually set in, motivated by lawyers who push them to play bellicose exes, it is their mutual and unchanging affection that survives their civil union ., justifying a little more the paradox according to which it would be necessary to leave each other to better find each other (it’s silly, but you will still cry).
The opportunity for the two characters to face each other again in the same shot, without shot-reverse shot to physically separate them and mark their distance. It is this subtlety, coupled with the fair and poignant acting of Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, which makes Marriage Story a sober, but relentless tale.