Though it's currently number one in the streaming game, Netflix has lately been trying to rise above its humble beginnings as mere distributor of content and become a creator. With the site constantly churning out Original Movies alongside its other films and shows, it can be difficult to separate the good from the so-so to the oof, skip that. So to make your streaming selection a little easier, here's a list of the 27 best-reviewed Netflix Original movies.
This list is made featuring a triptych of aggregated reviews because, despite (false) claims that Rotten Tomatoes can make or break a movie, each system of review has its own biases and weaknesses. Even Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, two services that supposedly collate professional reviewers' thoughts, often have divergent opinions on the same film.
With that said, this list should most definitely get you intrigued about what original movies on Netflix are truly the ones worth checking out. The site first put the "Netflix Original" label on the highly-lauded war drama Beasts Of No Nation back in 2015. But much like Rodney Dangerfield, the digital streaming service still don't get no respect. After a debacle involving the Cannes Film Festival snubbing Netflix earlier this year, the site has doubled down on output, with plans to hit over 1,000 streaming originals total by the end of 2018, as THR reports. There's a lot to come, but these are some of the best-reviewed Netflix Original Movies so far.
8.2/10 IMDB, 96% Rotten Tomatoes, 90% Metacritic
Ava Duvernay's exploration of institutional racism in America is eye-opening for those unaware, and an infuriating relief for those who face it.
8.3/10 IMDB, 100% Rotten Tomatoes, 95% Metacritic
Rangers risking their lives to save the few remaining mountain gorillas, gorgeous natural imagery photographed beautifully, and the moving tragedy of conservation work in today's world.
3. 'My Happy Family'
7.5/10 IMDB, 100% Rotten Tomatoes, 86% Metacritic
When a woman moves out of her family home, no one understands what seems like her unmotherly and strange desires. Over the course of the film, her reasons and point of view are slowly shared, giving a larger picture of life as a woman.
4. 'Beasts Of No Nation'
7.8/10 IMDB, 91% Rotten Tomatoes, 79% Metacritic
Netflix's first original film follows a child soldier pressed into service without flinching from the horrors of war, his actions, or the actions of those around him.
5. 'The Little Prince'
7.8/10 IMDB, 93% Rotten Tomatoes, 70% Metacritic
The beloved children's story is animated in 3D and stop-motion, with an all-star voice cast (including Paul Rudd, Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, and Marion Cotillard, among others).
7.4/10 IMDB, 96% Rotten Tomatoes, 85% Metacritic
A gripping look at racism and PTSD following two families — one black, one white — with returning WW II veterans re-acclimating to farming life in Mississippi.
7.4/10 IMDB, 86% Rotten Tomatoes, 75% Metacritic
It's amazing something this earnestly anti-capitalist got made, but Netflix indeed gave money to this story of a girl determined to rescue her beloved genetically-engineered pet super-pig from factory farming and corporate mascot life.
8. 'Into The Inferno'
7.2/10 IMDB, 91% Rotten Tomatoes, 3/4 Roger Ebert
A meditation on human life and the violent, beautiful natural phenomenon of volcanoes around the world.
9. 'On Body And Soul'
7.6/10 IMDB, 91% Rotten Tomatoes, 77% Metacritic
Two meatpacking plant workers don't realize they're living a shared dream as deer in this quiet, unusual love story.
10. 'The Meyerowitz Stories'
7.0/10 IMDB, 92% Rotten Tomatoes, 79% Metacritic
Noah Baumbach, an all-star cast including Adam Sandler and Dustin Hoffman, music by Randy Newman — you're either sold already or can continue to scroll down the list for something more your speed.
11. 'Imperial Dreams'
6.8/10 IMDB, 91% Rotten Tomatoes, 67% Metacritic
John Boyega stars in this tale of a man returning from prison to the neighborhood that helped land him there. Devoted to family but conflicted by pressures and old habits, he also has to face added pressures of America's active policy against reintegrating those once incarcerated.
12. 'Sand Storm'
6.9/10 IMDB, 92% Rotten Tomatoes, 74% Metacritic
Following the lives of Bedouin mothers and daughters in a world where rebellion and boldness go directly against traditions kept for centuries.
13. 'I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore'
7.0/10 IMDB, 88% Rotten Tomatoes, 75% Metacritic
A nursing assistant teams up with her frustrated, angry neighbor to find and exact revenge on the guys who robbed her home in this oddball tale.
14. 'Catching Feelings'
5.3/10 IMDB, 100% Rotten Tomatoes, 89% Google Users
A rom-com without too much romance, the movie follows a couple already fraying at the edges when an irate professor moves in, throwing everyone off balance.
15. 'First They Killed My Father'
7.2/10 IMDB, 88% Rotten Tomatoes, 72% Metacritic
Producer and director Angelina Jolie tells the horrifying story of one young woman's life as a child soldier, pressed into service during the Khmer Rouge reign in Cambodia.
7.4/10 IMDB, 81% Rotten Tomatoes, 93% Google Users
Two girls hustling for money join their local glamorous drug dealer's gang, working their way up the chain — amazing lead performances make this story of girls gone awry anything but ordinary.
17. 'Amanda Knox'
7.0/10 IMDB, 84% Rotten Tomatoes, 78% Metacritic
The compelling documentary following the international case of a young woman accused of murdering the roommate she only knew for a few days is compulsive viewing. And unlike most true-crime series, it's made to be digested in one viewing.
18. 'Gerald's Game'
6.6/10 IMDB, 91% Rotten Tomatoes, 77% Metacritic
The terrifying movie based on Stephen King's novella follows a woman chained to a bed after her husband has a heart attack during a kinky weekend getaway.
19. 'Strong Island'
6.4/10 IMDB, 100% Rotten Tomatoes, 86% Metacritic
A documentary filmmaker examines a case of racial injustice hitting very close to home — the 1994 death of his brother at the hands of a white mechanic, who was set free by an all-white jury after pleading self-defense.
6.5/10 IMDB, 95% Rotten Tomatoes, 77% Metacritic
A shady crime-deal meet-cute leads a driver and a deliveryman to run all over New York City trying to get back the bag he handed off to the wrong person.
6.7/10 IMDB, 91% Rotten Tomatoes, 75% Metacritic
Childhood friends go on a hunting trip that quickly takes a turn for the dark in this tense Scottish thriller, endorsed by no less than Stephen King himself.
6.7/10 IMDB, 83% Rotten Tomatoes, 90% Google Users
In the future, a few human survivors subsist in an automated cybernetic labyrinth where automated cities and technology have nearly wiped out humanity. A mysterious loner named Killy arrives hoping to bring the human race back from near-extinction.
6.3/10 IMDB, 86% Rotten Tomatoes, 70% Metacritic
A farmer determined to keep life on his small farm exactly the way it is decides to murder his forward-thinking wife and convinces his teen son to help. But when rats start invading the house, are they just manifestations of his guilt, or something darker?
6.4/10 IMDB, 89% Rotten Tomatoes, 66% Metacritic
Taking place almost completely in the claustrophobic confines of the getaway car, this action-packed thriller follows the double-crossed driver as he struggles to find out who betrayed him before time runs out.
25. 'First Match'
6.2/10 IMDB, 84% Rotten Tomatoes, 68% Metacritic
A Brownsville teen stuck in foster care decides to join an all-male wrestling team as a way to reconnect with her father.
26. 'Pee-Wee's Big Holiday'
6.2/10 IMDB, 80% Rotten Tomatoes, 63% Metacritic
Pee-Wee's back and weirder than ever as he takes his first vacation, a cross-country journey to make the birthday party of best new pal Joe Manganiello.
27. 'Roxanne Roxanne'
6.2/10 IMDB, 76% Rotten Tomatoes, 75% Metacritic
The true story of rap battle queen from Queens Roxanne Shanté, who burst on the scene at 14 with mega-hit "Roxanne's Revenge" and had to deal simultaneously with life on the streets and within the nearly all-male music industry.
Currently 85% of Netflix's revenue is going towards original films and shows, and with CEO David Welles citing 700 new original shows and movies coming in 2019, it doesn't look like Netflix plan on slowing down anytime soon.