Netflix’s 2021 Original Movie Line Up is Stacked

Netflix’s 2021 Original Movie Line Up is Stacked

Like a lot of us, when we don’t know what to watch, we turn to the Netflix home page. The streaming giant has a near-endless array of movies, shows, documentaries, comedy shorts, and more, which is fantastic and almost… too much? All the choices can feel overwhelming.

So let us suggest an antidote to your decision fatigue: a Netflix original. Netflix originals are often the best films to watch when you want something for everyone. Because Netflix has a deep well of funds available, the films it chooses to finance are often given free rein (and ample budget) to make whatever they want. The result? Some highly creative and entertaining movies. Sure, they’re not all Oscar-winning level. But for keeping your brain busy on a random Thursday night? They’re perfect.

Back in January, Netflix announced their commitment to bring audiences a new movie every single week of 2021. Many months in, 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.

Bo Burnham: Inside

For a comedy special, Bo Burnham: Inside is a haunting look at what the past year has been like. That also makes sense, considering that he filmed the special over the course of the past year. Filled with commentary on quarantine, internet culture, and the everyday throes of what 2020 looked like, Inside is a bit of a comedic masterpiece and a sobering look at what will surely be one of the most historic events of our time.

Watch Now

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.

Watch Now

The Dig

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.

Watch Now

Finding ‘Ohana

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).

Watch Now

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.

Watch Now

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.

Watch Now

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.

Watch Now


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.

Watch Now

Yes Day

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.

Watch Now

Bad Trip

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.

Watch Now

Madame Claude

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.

Watch Now

Concrete Cowboy

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.

Watch Now

Thunder Force

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.

Watch Now

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).

AWAKE (June 9)

A mysterious event disables all electronic and takes away all of humanity’s ability to sleep. But Jill (Gina Rodriguez), an ex-soldier with a fraught past, might have the key to save humankind: her daughter is the only remaining person able to sleep.

Beckett (August 27)

Starring John David Washington and Alicia Vikander and produced by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name), Beckett is shrouded in mystery. What we do know is: it’s a thriller about a couple who goes on vacation in Greece, only to get entangled in a dangerous conspiracy.

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.

Beauty (TBD)

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 is an editorial fellow at Esquire, where she covers pop culture, music, and entertainment.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *