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The best original streaming movies on every major streamer in 2022
Streaming services have invested huge sums in building their own libraries of original streaming movies. As the home-viewing market keeps growing, so do streaming-only film libraries. Virtually everyone’s getting in on the action. The old guard (like Netflix and Hulu) and newer players (like HBO Max and Apple TV Plus) are producing and acquiring some impressive titles. And they’re working with top filmmakers.
So, where to start? Which are the best films on Netflix, Disney Plus, Prime Video, and other major streaming platforms? What’s just filler? Read on for a breakdown of the best original streaming movies arranged by the streaming services where you can watch them.
Best original streaming movie: The Power of the Dog
A difficult and abusive rancher has to adjust his lifestyle when his brother’s new wife and her son come to live on the family farm. He torments the woman and her boy, fighting his own repressed past. Eventually, he warms up to his new nephew just enough to reveal his own insecurities and vulnerabilities. Benedict Cumberbatch gives a career-best performance in this gorgeous western from Jane Campion, with stunning performances from supporting cast members Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Jesse Plemons. This critically-acclaimed and Academy Award-winning feature is the best streaming original movie on Netflix.
- Da 5 Bloods: Four Black Vietnam veterans reunite in Vietnam in the present day to collect their beloved squad leader’s remains and find buried treasure this richly layered war epic from Spike Lee.
- Cam: When camgirl Lola loses control of her video channels to a mysterious doppelgänger, she has to figure out who’s doing this to her and how to regain control of her life and livelihood in this Hitchcockian mystery.
- Marriage Story: Noah Baumbach offers a smart, nuanced, and moving look at divorce, as a couple who still care deeply about each other struggle to go their own ways amicably.
- The Mitchells vs. the Machines: This charming and hilarious animated family film sees a family on a road trip face off against the robot apocalypse.
- High Flying Bird: Steven Soderbergh looks at the deals made off the court as the NBA comes close to a lockout in this fast-paced indie written by Moonlight’s Tarell Alvin McCraney from a story by star André Holland.
Best original streaming movie: Turning Red
Turning Red is a touching and hilarious family drama from Disney’s Pixar. Mei Lee is a 13-year-old girl living in Toronto. She struggles to find balance between being an obedient daughter to her demanding mother and enjoying the chaos of childhood with her friends. That balance is threatened further when Mei Lee suddenly finds herself turning into a giant red panda whenever she gets excited. A metaphor for puberty, teen sexuality, and the value of being yourself, Turning Red is among the best films produced by the famous animation studio, and it’s the best original streaming film on Disney Plus.
- Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers: A wonderful “legacyquel,” this Disney Plus original sees the famous animated Rescur Rangers getting back together for one last caper in the self-reflexive tradition of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
- Black Is King: Entertainment icon Beyoncé directs this stunning visual album that reimagines The Lion King as the story of a young African prince, exploring themes of Black culture and the African diaspora.
- Hamilton: You can watch a recording of the Tony Award-winning Broadway phenomenon — blending hip hop, jazz, and R&B to tell the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton — on Disney Plus.
- Luca: A young sea monster takes human form when on land. Despite warnings from his parents, he explores the nearby town of Portorosso on the Italian Riviera with his new best friend.
- Stargirl: An endearing coming-of-age romance from director Julia Hart, Stargirl sees a quiet high schooler drawn to the unconventional charms of the new girl in school.
Amazon Prime Video
Best original streaming movie: You Were Never Really Here
Director Lynne Shelton followed up her brilliant 2011 film We Need to Talk About Kevin with this Amazon Prime Video original film in 2017, an easy choice among the best original streaming movies. You Were Never Really Here follows a brutal contract killer who goes off-mission to rescue a young girl who has been sold into sexual slavery. Joaquin Phoenix is an absolute knockout in the main role as a man struggling with his troubled past and putting his grim skillset to good use in a disturbing, dark underworld.
- One Night in Miami: Academy Award-winning actress Regina King makes her directorial debut in this smart and powerful true story about a night when Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay), Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, and Malcolm X came together to discuss their successes amid the growing Civil Rights movement.
- Val: This moving documentary charts the unique life and career of actor Val Kilmer, with intimate access to Kilmer as he recovers from throat cancer.
- The Vast of Night: In 1950s New Mexico, while most of their town is distracted by a basketball game, a young switchboard operator and a local radio DJ investigate the origin and meaning of a mysterious audio frequency that could be extraterrestrial.
- Suspiria: Luca Guadagnino directs this complete reimagining of the classic Italian horror film about a dance academy run by witches.
- The Sound of Metal: Riz Ahmed was nominated for an Oscar for his stunning performance as a heavy metal drummer experiencing hearing loss in this beautiful film.
Best original streaming movie: Kimi
Ocean’s Eleven director Steven Soderbergh helms this taught techno-noir thriller starring Zoë Kravitz. When Seattle tech worker Angela hears what sounds like a violent crime recorded by a smart home device, she has to act fast. Her employers are blocking her requests to respond, so she has to venture outside for answers. The problem is Angela has agoraphobia and has remained in her apartment since the outbreak of COVID-19, so this won’t be an easy feat. Kimi is a clever look at the tech world. It doesn’t offer any easy conclusions about alienation or connection in the age of smart homes and social media. Instead, it uses those concepts as the backdrop for a story steeped in references to Hitchcock, De Palma, and more. It’s also the first film to truly capture the paranoia or the COVID-19 era, with Angela’s anxieties feeling disturbingly familiar.
- The Fallout: Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler star in this heartbreaking and beautiful story of a teen girl trying to make sense of her life after a school shooting, bonding with the girl she hid with during the traumatic event.
- Zack Snyder’s Justice League: A frankly bizarre bit of filmmaking (and marketing), Snyder’s extended director’s cut could really only ever have existed in the streaming age. And it’s frankly a huge improvement on the bland theatrical cut of The Justice League.
- Let Them All Talk: Another Soderbergh HBO Max original, this largely improvised film brings together a group of old friends with a long history as they cross the Atlantic aboard the Queen Mary 2.
- 8-Bit Christmas: This holiday comedy sees a 10-year-old embarking on a quest to get his hands on the season’s hottest new videogame.
- An American Pickle: Seth Rogen stars as an Orthodox Jewish factory worker who wakes up in modern-day New York and tracks down his closest living relative after spending 100 years accidentally preserved in pickle brine.
Best original streaming movie: Prey
A prequel to sci-fi action classic Predator, Prey is set in the 1700s. A Comanche warrior trains to protect her community when an alien Predator comes to Earth looking to hunt the most dangerous prey he can find. Recognizing traces of this new threat, the warrior takes on her foe using every resource available to her. One of the best entries in the Predator franchise, Prey is also the best original streaming movie on Hulu.
- Minding the Gap: This deeply moving documentary follows three young skaters as they navigate their volatile home lives while on the precipice of adulthood.
- The Princess: When a headstrong princess refuses to marry the cruel man she’s been promised to, she is kidnapped and must fight her way to freedom.
- Crush: This queer rom-com sees a teen girl joining the track team to get closer to her crush but finding she may have feelings for someone else on the team.
- No Exit: A young woman snowed in at a highway rest stop discovers a kidnapped child in a van. She has to figure out who’s responsible and what she can do in this tense thriller.
- Palm Springs: Two strangers find themselves trapped in a time loop at a wedding in Palm Springs, re-experiencing the same day over and over again in this clever and heartfelt romcom.
Apple TV Plus
Best original streaming movie: Wolfwalkers
The third part of Thomas Moore’s “Irish Folklore Trilogy,” following 2009’s The Secret of Kells and 2014’s Song of the Sea, Wolfwalkers isn’t just one of the best original streaming movies. It’s one of the very best films of 2020. New to Ireland, a young girl named Robyn befriends a Mebh, a free-spirited girl with the ability to release her spirit from her body in the form of a wolf. As Robyn learns to become a wolfwalker too, she’s suddenly at odds with her father. The gruff widower brought them to their new home to help hunt and kill the local wolf population. That could include Mebh, her mother, and now even Robyn.
- The Tragedy of Macbeth: Joel Coen, of the Coen Brothers, directs this stunning adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classic play, with stellar performances by Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand.
- The Velvet Underground: Todd Haynes offers a documentary portrait of the legendary band using the avant-garde style of the day, including footage from Andy Warhol’s art films and original interviews.
- Greyhound: Tom Hanks stars as a U.S. Navy Commander in World War II, assigned to lead an Allied convoy across to Atlantic Ocean and forced to defend the convoy from attacks by German U-boats until reinforcements arrive.
- CODA: This Academy Award Best Picture winner sees a teen girl, the only hearing member of her Deaf family, dreaming of a career as a singer.
- The Sky Is Everywhere: Josephine Decker directs this touching coming-of-age drama about a teen girl grieving her mother and discovering first love in Northern California.