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18 Best Netflix Original Movies 2021- Most Anticipated Netflix Original Films 2021
Picture this: it’s Sunday night (still in a pandemic, naturally). You just had your leftover pasta for dinner, and you’re looking for something to watch to entertain your beleaguered brain and get your thoughts off the upcoming work week (and everything else) for a while. You scroll through Netflix, rife with those endless moving boxes of content to click, but you’re paralyzed by choice. It’s the modern Goosebumps dilemma. Should you go with a familiar comfort show, something you can have on in the background while your mind continues to wander? Or perhaps that award contender that everyone said was so good? Maybe the old classic you’ve been meaning to re-watch? You don’t know. You’re tired. You just want something fresh and easy. Something fun. Enter: the Netflix original film.
Back in January, Netflix announced they’d be bringing audiences a new movie every single week of 2021. And they’re delivering on that promise. There’s truly something for everyone: mystery, romance, comedy, horror, you name it. Plus all the stars your heart desires, from Leonardo DiCaprio and Zendaya to Eric Andre, Octavia Spencer, and more. So where should you begin? Here are our picks for the best Netflix original movies available now or premiering soon.
Pieces of a Woman
This is arguably one of Netflix’s best first outings of the year. Starring Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBoeuf, and Ellen Burstyn, Pieces of a Woman is the heartbreaking story of a tragic pregnancy whose aftermath cuts through a marriage like a sharp knife. Bonus: it’s already out.
The Dig transports us to early 20th century Britain on the verge of World War II, where a wealthy widow (Carey Mulligan) enlists an archeologist to excavate the burial mounds on her land. What he unearths is a medieval ship, discovering all the secrets of history held within it.
If you’re looking for a kid-friendly movie that you might actually enjoy, Finding ‘Ohana seems like a solid bet. Picture The Goonies but in modern-day Hawaii, where two Brooklyn-raised siblings reconnect with their roots on an adventure to find a long-lost treasure (and save their grandfather’s home).
Malcolm and Marie
In March, as the world screeched to a halt, Zendaya teamed up with Euphoria writer-director Sam Levinson to begin work on this ‘secret,’ film—one of the first shot during the pandemic. John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman, Tenet) and Zendaya play filmmaker Malcolm and his girlfriend Marie, respectively, who must confront truths about their relationship after returning home from Malcolm’s movie premiere.
To All the Boys: Always and Forever
Lara Jean Covey is back for the final cinematic installment of the beloved high school rom-com. Based on the acclaimed books by Jenny Han, the third film takes Lara Jean on trips to Korea and New York City, as she faces the challenges of sustaining her relationship through the onset of college and young adulthood.
I Care A Lot
A sketchy guardian (Rosamund Pike) who cons her elderly wards out of their savings meets her match in Netflix’s I Care A Lot. All is going well for the con woman until she tries to pull the stunt on a woman (Dianne Wiest) with powerful friends in a mafia-like crime organization. Pike won a Golden Globe for her performance in this twisted tale.
In Amy Poehler’s coming-of-age comedy, a 16-year-old girl finds inspiration in her mother’s riot grrrl past, anonymously publishing a zine that challenges the sexist status quo at her Texas high school.
Jennifer Garner stars in this family comedy about two parents who decide to spend a day saying ‘yes’ to everything their kids ask to do—no adventurous request too big.
Eric Andre‘s prank-style film features two best friends going around and pulling pranks on people. Sometimes, you don’t have to get much deeper than that.
Based on a true story and set in the 1960s, Madame Claude follows the life of the woman who ran the most famous brothel in Paris. Madame Claude’s power and societal influence is unwavering, until a wealthy young woman threatens her empire.
Idris Elba, Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things), and Jharrel Jerome (Moonlight) star in this Western drama about a teenage boy who discovers the world of urban cowboys after being sent to live with his estranged father in Philadelphia.
Thunder Force (April 9)
Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy make an iconic superhero duo in Ben Falcone’s upcoming action comedy. In a world where people live among supervillains, Spencer and McCarthy play a pair of childhood best friends who become an unlikely force against evil when one of them develops a formula to give regular people superpowers.
The Woman in the Window (May 14)
The long-awaited Hitchcockian film, adapted from a scam artist‘s novel, will finally premiere in May. Amy Adams plays Dr. Anna Fox, an agoraphobic child psychologist shut-in who befriends her neighbor Jane (Julianne Moore). When Jane goes missing, Anna suspects something very wrong is going on in the house across the street—only to have her perception of reality challenged when “Jane” turns up alive.
Army of the Dead (May 21)
Director Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead is a zombie-heist movie, in which a band of adventurers plot to rob a Las Vegas casino in the middle of a zombie outbreak. It stars Dave Bautista, features Tig Notaro as a hardcore helicopter pilot, and sounds completely insane (but well worth a watch).
Escape From Spiderhead (TBD)
In this sci-fi fantasy film set in a near future, two convicts are held in a facility where they are subjected to emotion-altering drug experiments. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, and Jurnee Smollet, we don’t know much else about this film other than that it seems like it will get inside your head.
Red Notice (TBD)
This action-comedy thriller stars Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as an FBI profiler on a mission to hunt the world’s most-wanted and winds up involved in a high-stakes heist with two competing criminals (Gal Gadot, Ryan Reynolds).
Don’t Look Up (TBD)
If there were a cinematic embodiment of that famous Oscars selfie from seven years ago, the sci-fi satire Don’t Look Up would be it. Starring literally everyone (Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, and Timothée Chalamet), the Adam McKay-directed flick is about two astronomers who go on a media tour to try to warn everyone about a comet that is heading to destroy Earth.
A talented young singer struggles with her creative identity after she is offered a lucrative record deal. But it doesn’t take long until she is torn in different directions by the label, her best friend, and her family. Written by Lena Waithe (Queen & Slim).
Anna Grace Lee
Anna Grace Lee is an editorial fellow at Esquire, where she covers pop culture, music, and entertainment.
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