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The best indie movies on Netflix you should check out
Whether you’re in the market for a great western or superhero movie, Netflix has a little something for everyone. But what if you want something multi-generic — something a little more avant-garde, if you will. Well, my friend, what you want is an indie movie, part of an eclectic and increasingly undefinable category of film where the ambition of a project relates to more than its special effects budget. These movies are smart, deep, and often very funny. There are a lot of them out there, but we have you covered. We’ve rounded up the 10 best indie movies on Netflix for you, in no particular order
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Best indie movies on Netflix:
Editor’s note: This list will be updated as indie movies leave and other new arrivals debut on Netflix.
This 2011 movie is set almost entirely inside the offices of a fictional investment bank in New York City. However, the bank is facing a catastrophic failure in the next 24 hours unless something can be done. This movie has a truly all-star cast, including Demi Moore, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, Stanley Tucci, Zachary Quinto, and more. It’s one of the best indie movies on Netflix.
This 2017 independent drama movie was written and directed by Greta Gerwig. It’s a semi-biographical tale that stars Saoirse Ronan as “Lady Bird”. She’s a free-spirited teenager who wants to leave her hometown of Sacramento, California to live a more “cultured” life. Her dreams and attitude conflict with many people in her life, including her mother, played by Laurie Metcalf.
Hell or High Water
Chris Pine and Ben Foster star as brothers in this 2016 modern-day Western. They decide to rob the banks that are about to foreclose on their farm but they are soon on the run from a Texas Ranger, played by Jeff Bridges. It’s one of the best indie movies on Netflix.
The Handmaid’s Tale and Orange Is the New Black actress Madeline Brewer stars in this chilling indie horror film about Lola, a camgirl who suddenly realizes she’s lost control of her channels as a doppelgänger replaces her. Lola has to figure out who’s doing this to her and how to regain control of her life and livelihood in this Hitchcockian mystery. Written by former camgirl Iza Mazzei, Cam offers a thoughtful and compassionate portrait of sex work that never looks down on its protagonist or her chosen profession.
This romantic drama takes place in Dakar, Senegal. It follows Ada, a young woman who is arranged to marry a rich man named Omar but is in love with a construction worker who goes by the name of Suleiman. Suleiman, along with his colleagues, hasn’t been paid by the construction company for months, so he decides to leave the country by sea in search of a brighter future in Europe. Things start getting interesting when someone burns Omar’s bed and one of the main suspects becomes Suleiman himself, even though some claim he’s not even in the country anymore. Keep in mind that the movie is in French, so you may need to turn on subtitles. It’s one of the best indie movies on Netflix.
This 2018 film takes a different look at the superhero genre. A young girl is hidden away by her father for, at first, unknown reasons. As it turns out, she has telepathic powers that could get the attention of a government agency that seeks to find and imprison these kinds of people. It’s not only one of the best indie movies on Netflix but also a great action film.
This 2020 movie, directed by actor Dave Franco, stars his wife, Alison Brie, along with Dan Stevens, Sheila Vand, and Jeremy Allen White. Two couples travel to a sea-side rental property to relax. However, that relaxation fades fast as the people in the rental believe they are being watched by others.
Silver Linings Playbook
Bradley Cooper showed he was more than just a pretty face with his performance in this 2012 indie film. He plays a man with bipolar disorder who, after a stay in a mental institution, starts living with his parents, played by Robert DeNino and Jackie Weaver. He befriends a woman with her own issues, played by Jennifer Lawerence. Soon, the two people start to team up to win a dance competition, which helps them both heal from their problems. Directed by David O. Russell, this movie about people with problems that look for “silver linings” in their lives is both entertaining and touching.
Paddleton follows neighbors and best friends Michael (Mark Duplass) and Andy (Ray Romano), as they struggle to come to grips with Michael’s new diagnosis of terminal cancer. The film takes place over the few days after Michael decides not to seek treatment and instead take medication that will end his own life. Much of the story finds the two watching kung-fu movies, making pizza, and fighting over Michael’s decision.
It’s a touching and heartbreaking story of friendship, loss, and all the inside jokes and habits that accumulate when two people have been friends for years. It’s without a doubt one of Netflix’s saddest comedies.
Roma takes place in a 1970s home in the Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City. The black and white Spanish-language drama follows the life of an Indigenous housekeeper and live-in nanny (Yalitza Aparicio) of a middle-class family.
Without giving too much away, events in both her life and the family’s bring them all together, even as the world around them falls apart. The semi-autobiographical take on writer/director Alfonso Cuarón’s upbringing in Mexico City is made even more authentic by the performance of lead actress Yalitza Aparicio, who was raised by a single mother working as a maid. Her first film netted her a Best Actress Oscar nomination, despite having no formal acting training.
Best Indie Movies on Netflix – honorable Mentions
Here are a few more indie movies on Netflix that you should check out that didn’t quite make the top 10 list:
- Code 8 – This sci-fi movie, funded initially by a crowdfunding campaign, takes a cool and different look at the superhero genre.
- St. Vincent – Bill Murray befriends a 12-year old boy who’s dealing with the divorce of his parents in this comedy.
- Radium Girls – This is a drama based on the real-life events of women who were unknowingly hit with radiation poisoning while putting in radium dials in watches during the early 20th century.
- Wind River – Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen play a tracker and an FBI agent searching for a girl’s killer in the Wyoming wilderness.
- Destination Wedding – Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves encounter each other during a wedding in this romantic comedy.
That’s it for our list of the best indie movies on Netflix. There are tons of other options to watch once you get through this list, and no doubt more on the way.