It's rare that a movie about science is actually scientifically accurate. Movies involving the sciences either take too many liberties with facts — think Gravity — or disregard them altogether. I mean, science fiction has "fiction" in the genre name for a reason. This isn't not necessarily a bad thing, though. After all, there are no absolutes in science. By definition, science is a field constantly in flux, with results constantly being tested. Even movies made with complete scientific accuracy could be proved wrong just a few years later (see: The Martian). Making a film about science has got to be hard, and making a movie that will please science lovers sounds even harder. Science movies that actually please scientists are few and far between, but as I show in the list below, there are a few out there.
Science movies tend to fall into two categories: documentaries or science fiction. Very rarely is there an in-between, unless it's a biopic. That said, the below 23 movies for science lovers cover a wide range of genres and a wide range of scientific topics. There's something for the environmentalist, the biologist, the chemist, hell, even the budding astronomer in your life. No matter what you love about science, there's a movie on Netflix for you.
1. My Beautiful Broken Brain
From executive producer David Lynch, Netflix's My Beautiful Broken Brain is a documentary that follows filmmaker Lotje Sodderland's rehabilitation after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke. Over the course of the documentary, Sodderland has to, essentially, relearn how to live her life.
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick's classic sci-fi thriller about man vs. machine (and space) might not be all that scientifically correct, but it's a classic for a reason.
3. Promised Land
In Promised Land, actors Matt Damon and John Krasinski face off over fracking, a risky way gas companies are mining resources across the world. Directed by Gus Van Sant, Promised Land is more political than scientific, but it does manage to put chemistry into a larger context.
4. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
OK, this one isn't a movie, but the 13-part documentary miniseries hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson brought astronomy to the masses when it aired in 2014. The entire series of Cosmos is streaming on Netflix, and it's definitely worth a look.
5. Chasing Ice
Climate change is explored in this documentary that sets out to expose how rising temperatures are affecting glaciers in the Arctic.
Before he starred in Interstellar, Matthew McConaughey appeared in Contact, a 1997 sci-fi movie starring Jodie Foster as a scientist determined to communicate with alien life. The nature of the science in Contact is very creative, but it does feature an intriguing visualization of black holes, if you're into that kind of thing.
Switching gears to psychology, Experimenter is a biopic about Stanley Milgram, the infamous psychologist who experimented on people's willingness to obey authority figures using electric shocks.
8. Jurassic Park
If you're a science lover, then you know that the premise of Jurassic Park is ridiculous, but it does pose an interesting question about the advancement of technology, our understanding of biology, and the complicated morals of scientific advancement. It's also a really fun movie.
9. Good Will Hunting
Matt Damon is a tortured genius in Good Will Hunting, making it more of a drama than a movie driven by science. Still, science lovers can appreciate the dedication Will has to learning, and the sacrifices he has to make to pursue science.
10. Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
For kids who have already watched every episode of The Magic School Bus, there's Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. While not scientifically correct on any level, Jimmy Neutron is a fun movie that encourages young scientists to experiment without limits.
11. Isabella Rossellini's Green Porno Live!
Love science, but love weirdness more? Isabella Rossellini's Green Porno Live! is a very strange, yet scientific exploration of the mating rituals of bugs. (No, I'm not kidding.)
Virunga, which earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary, combines may different sciences to tell a tangible story about mountain gorillas and their habitat in Congo. If anyone in your life doubts the importance of science in "real life," watching Virunga will definitely change their mind.
Before Gerard Butler led an army in 300, he played a time-traveling history professor who gets stuck in the past, causing his students, including Paul Walker, to travel back and get him.
14. Star Trek: First Contact
Yes, I know that not all science lovers love Star Trek, but the overlap is large, right?
15. Tesla: Master Of Lighting
This historical documentary explores the life of Nikola Tesla and explores his absolutely electric scientific discoveries.
16. The Blue Planet: A Natural History Of The Oceans
Dive deep into marine biology with this BBC documentary.
17. Tyke Elephant Outlaw
This documentary on a Circus elephant that killed her trainer and escaped in 1994 will definitely make science lovers think about the morality of keeping and training wild animals.
Because all science lovers secretly want to watch Ashton Kutcher play Steve Jobs, right?
19. The Incredible Bionic Man
Produced by the Smithsonian, The Incredible Bionic Man follows a group of scientists determined to use prosthetics to create a robotic human body.
20. Print The Legend
Print the Legend brings tech-obsessed scientists inside the competitive world of 3D printing technology, and shows how science, technology, and consumerism come together.
Calling all environmentalists and engineers! DamNation explores the system of dams, both functioning and broken down, in the United States.
22. Fantastic Four
'Cause every scientists secretly dreams of being a superhero.
23. Fringe (Honorable Mention)
OK, Fringe isn't a movie, but it's kind of an epic science-fiction experience. And all seasons are on Netflix.
If these 23 movies aren't enough to keep science lovers in procrastination heaven, I don't know what will. Enjoy your Netflix and chill, scientists.