Netflix: Best Ranked Movies of 2020
What’s the best movie I can watch on Netflix? We’ve all asked ourselves the question, only to spend the next 15 minutes scrolling through the streaming service’s oddly specific genre menus, then put on The Office again. Netflix’s huge catalogue of movies, combined with its inscrutable algorithm, can make finding something to watch feel more like a chore than a way to unwind. When really, what you want, are the good movies. No actually, the best movies.
We’re here to help. If you’re suffering from a case of choice paralysis, we’ve narrowed down your options to 16 of our favorite movies on the platform.
1The Half of It
When smart but cash-strapped teen Ellie Chu agrees to write a love letter for a jock, she doesn’t expect to become his friend — or fall for his crush. Gorgeously shot, expertly paced, and filled with characters you can’t help but learn to love, The Half of It is a knockout self-aware teen romance that’s as bittersweet as the real thing.
2Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story
This investigative documentary follows the complex case of Cyntoia Brown. At 16, she killed a man after feeling threatened by him during a sex work exchange. She was sentenced to life in prison, but years later, her case gained national attention, eventually garnering the support of celebrity figures. The documentary follows her request for clemency.
3To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You
The 2018 Netflix original romcom To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before took audiences by storm, so anticipation was high for the second entry in this trilogy, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You. And while the sequel may not be quite as magical as the first go-around, Lana Condor continues to be an absolute delight as high schooler Lara Jean Covey, Noah Centineo continues his bid to become the next Mark Ruffalo with his charm offensive, and Jordan Fisher marks a terrific new addition to the ensemble as a new potential suitor for Lara Jean. This is very much a high school romcom, but what sets this franchise apart is how it takes the time to dig into the emotional headspace of its young lead character. There’s a reason these movies connect so deeply with audiences, and P.S. I Still Love You is a treat of a film.
Netflix’s recently released action movie has proved so popular that a second instalment is already in the works. From first-time feature director Sam Hargrave, with Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Antony Russo serving as executive producers (and Joe also having written the script), Extraction stars Thor’s Chris Hemsworth and tells the story of black-market mercenary Tyler Rake, who is sent to Bangladesh to rescue the kidnapped son of a drug lord. It’s tense, well paced, a solid star vehicle for Hemsworth and contains just the right amount of genuinely exciting action to keep most viewers firmly glued to their seats.
5Da 5 Bloods
Four African American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen squad leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide. The film—with a powerhouse performance by Delroy Lindo—is a stunning response to decades of Vietnam films that have ignored the stories of Black heroes.
On the face of it, Marriage Story shouldn’t be as an enjoyable watch as it is, given that it’s about a relationship falling apart and all the emotions that come with that. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver play the couple who decide to get divorced in this award-winning masterpiece from writer/director Noah Baumbach and put in some of the best performances of their career, which really deserved more award attention than they got.
It will make you laugh. It will make you smile. And if you are married, it will make you pray that you never get divorce
A charismatic jeweller makes a high-stakes bet that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime. In a precarious high-wire act, he must balance business, family and adversaries on all sides in pursuit of the ultimate win.
8El Camino: a Breaking Bad Movie
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (or simply El Camino) is a 2019 American neo-Western crime thriller film that serves as a sequel and epilogue to the television series Breaking Bad, which followed chemistry teacher Walter White partnering with a former student Jesse Pinkman to become kingpins in the production of crystal meth.
9The Two Popes
Here’s a mouthwatering prospect: two veteran British thesps in a barnstorming, virtual two-hander based on a play by screenwriter Anthony McCarten.
Anthony Hopkins plays doubt-ridden, conservative Pope Benedict XVI as a wounded bear during his meeting with his reluctant and progressive successor Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) – later Pope Francis – at the former’s Italian retreat in 2013… The film was nominated for two Oscars.
10Fighting with My Family
Born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Paige and her brother Zak are ecstatic when they get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try out for the WWE. But when only Paige earns a spot in the competitive training program, she must leave her loved ones behind and face this new cutthroat world alone. Paige’s journey pushes her to dig deep and ultimately prove to the world that what makes her different is the very thing that can make her a star.
Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani star as a couple whose fractured relationship hits another snag when they witness a murder and become the top suspects for the crime. This turns into a hilarious adventure with two comedians at the top of their talents as they attempt to solve the crime and clear their names.
12The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
A 13-year-old boy is thrown out of the school he loves when his family can no longer afford the fees. He sneaks into the library and learns how to build a windmill to save his village from a famine. A genuinely life-affirming tale.
13Circus of Books
This documentary looks into a decades-old establishment in West Hollywood. In 1976, the book store became known as a salacious underground purveyor of gay pornography, but the secret continued to grow. Eventually, this mom and pop shop run by a nice Jewish couple became the largest purveyor of gay male pornography in the United States and solidified its place within the annals of adult entertainment history.
14All Day and a Night
Jeffrey Wright and Ashton Sanders star in this deeply affecting film about a young man named Jahkor who ends up in the same prison as his father. Leading up to his initial incarceration, the film takes a look at Jahkor’s life and how the system and environment he grew up in contributed to his ill-fated future.
15A Secret Love
Move over A League of Their Own; this touching documentary about two women in love is one of the sweetest features currently available on Netflix.Pat Henschel and pro baseball player Terry Donahue formed a relationship over seven decades and for nearly the entirety of it, they kept their love hidden from those around them. Seeing all different shades of prejudice and hardship, the two prove that love runs deeper than hate.
While some of Netflix’s original films have been hit and miss this year, Horse Girl is a welcomed walk on the wild side. The psychological drama, starring Allison Brie, Debby Ryan, and Molly Shannon, is a slow burn look into mental illness that leaves viewers questioning whether the truly bizarre film they’ve just watched is a meditation on stability or a treat of a sci-fi movie. Hot take: neither answer is bad.