There’s no shortage of movies to stream on Netflix. Any subscriber that logs onto the platform these days will likely see a bunch of new releases, gruesome horror films, and sweet rom-coms. But with so many big, flashy studio films and Netflix originals to choose from, it can be difficult for the indie films that flood the streamer to stand out.
For sure, a place in Netflix’s library can be a great opportunity for independent cinema to find an audience it otherwise wouldn’t reach in theaters or on television. But for all the big starry auteur films that Netflix picks up and turns into major awards contenders (see “Marriage Story” or “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”), there’s an under-the-radar, overlooked pick that doesn’t have the names or prestige attached to it, and feels destined to serve as mere library filler as people look for the films they do know. That’s where this running guide will (hopefully) come in handy for curious cinephiles looking to dig deeper into the vast assortment of titles currently available on Netflix, handpicking a few of the best without the buzz they deserve.
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IndieWire already has a running list of the overlooked Netflix original movies you need to stream, but below are the indie films that went largely unnoticed by moviegoers in theaters and now need a second chance on streaming. As of November 2023, the streamer has plenty of incredible, hidden gem selections including thrillers like “Piercing” and “Emily the Criminal” and teen films like “The Half of It” or “Alex Strangelove.” For laughs, there are great comedies and dramedies like “Mr. Roosevelt” and “The Fundamentals of Caring,” while those seeking something more serious can check out treasures like “Tigertail” and “Residue.” And there are plenty of good foreign language selections to choose from as well, including “I’m No Longer Here” or, conversely, “Nobody Knows I’m Here.”
Read on for our list of the 30 best, most overlooked independent films currently streaming on Netflix. Entries are listed in no particular order.
Zack Sharf contributed to this story. [Editor’s note: This list was originally published in August 2021, and has since been updated multiple times.]
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