After years of hearing people talk about Netflix, I finally decided to sign up earlier this year.
I love movies, and in the 1990s I spent a lot of time browsing the shelves at the video stores renting movies. In the last 10 years, I haven’t done that very often. Though I never intended to stop watching movies, it just happened.
Netflix has changed that.
It has also changed the type of movies I watch.
When I used to visit the Blockbuster store, I went straight to the new release section. If I failed to find anything that grabbed me, then I headed to the comedies or dramas and looked for a movie I missed at the theaters or had seen a long time ago and really enjoyed.
With Netflix, I’ve discovered a new world of movies.
I discovered that I like foreign films and independent movies. I like documentaries and historical fiction. I like movies that explore cultural issues and teach me about an ethnic group or group of people through an engaging story. I like small, quiet movies with lots of dialogue and a simple plot that focuses on relationships.
If you are looking for something new to watch, here are some of the favorites I watched since joining Netflix.
20 Netflix Favorites:
In no particular order…
All descriptions credited to the Netflix website.
Thom is an unlicensed New York cabbie who takes on the fare of his life when a woman asks him to drive her to California to see her ailing father. In classic rom-com style, the chemistry between the two builds as they make their way west.
In this well-crafted drama based on a true story, a dark-skinned girl born to white Afrikaner parents faces deep-seated prejudice in the era of apartheid. Rejected by blacks and whites alike, she struggles to find a sense of identity.
Superpowers rarely come without a price, and for 17-year-old Dakota Skye, the price is cynicism that stems from spotting the truth in every lie. Disengaged, she watches life go by from the sidelines until she meets the unfailingly honest Jonah. Problem is, Jonah is her beau’s best friend — which leaves Dakota navigating the treacherous waters between friendship and romance in this well-crafted indie drama.
In 1947, the same tumultuous year that India and Pakistan were divided into two separate states, a Sikh and former soldier (Jimi Mistry) puts his life on the line to save the life of a beautiful Muslim woman (Kristin Kreuk). In the wake of the heroic rescue, the two strangers find themselves falling in love. But are they destined to stay confined by the strict boundaries of their respective faiths?
When magazine editor Juliette Grant travels to Cairo to meet her diplomat husband, Mark, she learns from his friend Tareq Khalifa that Mark has been delayed. But as Tareq shows her around the city, an unexpected attraction develops between them.
Blue-collar Italian-American Buddy Visalo (Michael Rispoli) has a record of failed business ventures. After buying a rundown home, his new scheme is to transform the bottom floor into a neighborhood bar. But first he must oust the current tenants — an abandoned Irish mother (Kelly Macdonald) and her half-black baby. Inspired by the true story of director Raymond De Felitta’s uncle, Two Family House won a Sundance Film Festival Audience Award.
After losing her husband to illness, 8-year-old Chuyia (Sarala) is forced to live out the rest of her days in a temple for Hindu widows, communing with 14 other women and a cruel headmistress who agrees to take her in. But it’s through the trials of another widow, a beautiful prostitute named Kalyani (Lisa Ray) who’s being courted by a man from a higher caste (John Abraham), that Chuyia learns the true restrictions of widowhood.
While performing community service, small-time crook Daniel Carter (Mark Webber) makes an unexpected connection with 8-year-old Boone (Antonio Ortiz) and takes drastic measures to prevent him from getting lost in the foster care system. Drawing on the skills he’s picked up as a thief, Carter nabs Boone and takes him on a cross-country journey to find his older sister. Along the way, their makeshift father-son bond deepens. Rosie Perez co-stars.
A mother forced to make a devastating choice saves the life of her son and leaves his twin sister, Fang Deng, to die in the rubble of China’s 1976 earthquake. This epic follows Fang Deng’s struggles to rebuild her life after surviving the trauma.
Paris, 1942: To protect her brother from the police arresting Jewish families, a young girl hides him away, promising to come back for him. Sixty-seven years later, her story intertwines with that of an American journalist investigating the roundup.
When Rochel (Zoe Lister Jones) and Nasira (Francis Benhamou) — an Orthodox Jew and a Muslim, respectively — meet as new teachers at a Brooklyn school, co-workers and students expect friction. But the women discover they have a shared expectation of entering into arranged marriages. As they experience tension between their traditional cultures and life in contemporary America, Rochel and Nasira form a special bond.
An injured soldier is paired with a by-the-book captain to notify families of their loss — a job that bonds them as they debate differing views on serving America. At odds at first, the two find common ground while facing life’s variety of battles.
Dutiful 40-something daughter Sabah (Arsinée Khanjian) shocks her conservative Arab family by falling for Stephen (Shawn Doyle), a non-Muslim, in this romantic comedy set in Toronto. The relationship sparks a culture clash, ensnaring Sabah between Stephen and her tight-knit family. Like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, director Ruba Nabba’s film reveals what happens when Old World tradition collides with modern love. Setta Keshishian co-stars.
After angering her stern uncle (Trong Hai), 10-year-old Thuy (Han Thi Pham) runs away and lands on the tough streets of Saigon. There, she befriends shy zookeeper Hai (The Lu Le) and flight attendant Lan (Cat Ly). Dreaming of a new family, Thuy plays matchmaker to bring the two together. Meanwhile, Thuy’s furious uncle tracks her through the city. Stephane Gauger wrote and directed this Los Angeles Film Festival Audience Award winner.
Has-been rock star Ethan Brand is attempting a comeback when a former groupie tells him he has a 13-year-old daughter, Janie, and leaves her in his care. Janie must then convince the hedonistic Ethan to reform and accept his responsibilities.
Karl Foyle (Steven Mackintosh) and Paul Prentice (Rupert Graves) were boyhood friends back in the 1970s, but when they run into each other in present-day London, they learn that a lot has changed. For starters, Karl has become Kim and has no desire to go back to her past. As for Paul, he’s just an aging punk with a dead-end job. The two rekindle their friendship and are surprised to find their relationship becoming much deeper than they expected.
After it’s discovered that Meryem (Özgü Namal) has been raped, the young girl is ostracized by her family and community, who hold her accountable for the “crime.” To salvage the family name, her father, Tahsin (Emin Gursoy), orders Cemal (Murat Han) to murder Meryem. But when Cemal refuses to carry out his orders, he and Meryem escape to a seaside town and set sail with a charismatic professor (Talat Bulut).
Amidst the Nazi occupation of Poland, 11-year old Alex is separated from his family and finds shelter in an abandoned house. Kept company by a mouse and comforted by his father’s promise to find him, Alex finds strength by reading Robinson Crusoe.
Set in the 1950s, this lush epic centers on Ada, Marjorie and Esther, Dutch brides-to-be flying to New Zealand to take up married life. On the trip, they form a bond and meet a dashing cowboy who alters their lives in unseen ways.
Jennifer Lawrence stars in this gritty, coming-of-age drama as Agnes, the resilient eldest sister of a trio of young siblings forced to grow up in a broken home frequented by drug dealers, criminals, pimps and gamblers. Featuring a host of standout supporting performances, this effort from actress-turned-director Lori Petty also stars Selma Blair, Clarke Peters, David Alan Grier and Bokeem Woodbine.
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