The Best Hidden Gems and Underrated Movies on Netflix Right Now

If you find yourself thumbing through the Netflix queue and saying “I’ve seen that” over and over again, we’ve got you covered. Our list of the best underrated movies on Netflix focuses on hidden gems and films that maybe didn’t hit big when they were initially released, but are well worth watching regardless. These range from little-seen horror movies to splashy, star-driven vehicles that for one reason or another didn’t find their audience. But all of these movies have one thing in common: they’re very, very good.

So peruse our list of the best hidden gems and underrated movies on Netflix below, and for even more recommendations check out our curated list of the 75 best movies on Netflix right now.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Image via Summit Entertainment

Director/Writer: Stephen Chbosky

Cast: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Mae Whitman, Kate Walsh, Dylan McDermott, Joan Cusack, and Paul Rudd

The Perks of Being a Wallflower—both the movie and the book—should be required consumption for every teen. Writer/director Stephen Chbosky adapts his own coming-of-age novel with this 2012 feature film about a teenager named Charlie (Logan Lerman) who struggles with depression and anxiety through his first year of high school, eventually finding companionship and support through a lovely group of new friends. I know this sounds like a million other “teen” movies out there, but trust me, this one is the goods. It doesn’t talk down to its characters, nor does it offer some adult’s version of what a “teen” is like. It feels absolutely true to life, and you’ll no doubt find plenty to connect to within. And maybe you’ll even find it cathartic too. Don’t sleep on this underrated gem. – Adam Chitwood

Cloud Atlas

Image via Warner Bros.

Directors/Writers: Lana Wachowski, Lily Wachowski, and Tom Tykwer

Cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Aarcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant

One of the most ambitious movies of the last decade and, yes, also a little divisive, Cloud Atlas is something that has to be seen to be believed. But fair warning, this movie is not for everyone. This nearly three-hour epic traverses time and space, telling six stories set in different time periods and locations but featuring a similar company of actors. It’s no surprise this film is the brainchild of The Matrix directors Lana and Lily Wachowski, and they directed this wildly ambitious adaptation alongside Tom Tykwer. The result is a sci-fi epic, historical drama, tragic romance, crime thriller, and comedic farce all rolled into one, and with a cast that includes Tom HanksHalle Berry, and Hugh Grant, there is always something interesting happening onscreen. It’s a weird movie to be sure, with a structure that’s more in line with a symphony rather than a traditional film, but if you give yourself over to the experience you may just find yourself moved in surprising ways. – Adam Chitwood

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Image via Columbia Pictures

Director: Jake Kasdan

Writers: Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan

Cast: John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Tim Meadows, Kristen Wiig, and Jonah Hill

Much like Hot Rod or Step Brothers, the 2007 comedy Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is a film that didn’t hit big when it hit theaters, but grew a passionate cult following in the ensuing years. And for good reason, because it’s one of the funniest movies of the 21st century so far. The movie is ostensibly a send-up of cradle-to-grave music biopics like Walk the Line and Ray as it follows the trajectory of Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly) from an aspiring musician in Alabama to a worldwide superstar. But the film goes beyond parody to really delve into the history of music, as Dewey’s story incorporates real-life stories from legends like The Beach Boys and The Beatles and descends into absolute chaos. What’s more, the songs are genuinely catchy and funny as hell. If you missed this one in theaters, now’s your chance to catch up with this deliriously funny comedy. – Adam Chitwood

Free Fire

Image via A24

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writers: Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley

Cast: Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor, Sam Riley, and Noah Taylor

What if an entire movie took place during a Mexican Standoff? That’s essentially the premise of Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, which is a violent, R-rated good time. Set in the 1970s, the film begins with a meet-up between IRA members and an arms dealer, but complications ensue, backs are stabbed, and weapons are unloaded. There’s an undercurrent of dark humor to the entire proceeding that makes the film far more fun than you may be expecting, and performers like Armie Hammer and Brie Larson are more than up to the challenge of letting their comedic sensibilities shine. If you’re looking for an action movie that’s a little offbeat, a little different, give this one a shot. – Adam Chitwood

Slow West

Image via A24 Films

Director/Writer: John Maclean

Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Michael Fassbender, Rory McCann, and Ben Mendeloshn

You kind of have to be into dry humor to consider Slow West a comedy, but it is indeed a dark Western comedy. Set in the American West, the story follows a young Scotsman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who has traveled to America to find his love, Rose Ross. After a conflict, he hires an Irish bounty hunter (Michael Fassbender) for protection, but the two are then hunted down by a rival bounty hunter played by Ben Mendelsohn wearing the most spectacular fur coat you’ve ever seen. The film is tonally diverse—at times it’s deeply sad, at times it’s laugh-out-loud hilarious. But if you’re in the mood for something different than your average studio comedy, this could be right up your alley. – Adam Chitwood

Hail, Caesar!

Image via Universal Pictures

Directors/Writers: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Cast: George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Alden Ehrenreich, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, and Frances McDormand

This 2016 comedy from the Coen Brothers was a long time in the making, and while it earned solid reviews, it’s still somewhat underrated. Hail, Caesar! takes place in 1951 follows a day in the life of Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), a “fixer” for a movie studio called Capital Pictures who spends the day trying to stave off various scandals, put out fires, and track down a missing movie star. Chaos and shenanigans ensue, and George Clooney delivers one of his best comedic performance. This movie will also remind you that, whatever you think of Solo: A Star War Story, that Alden Ehrenreich can sure act. – Adam Chitwood

Haywire

Image via Relativity

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Lem Dobbs

Cast: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Douglas

If you’re in the mood for a lean, mean action-thriller, the 2011 feature Haywire is an underrated gem. The film stars Gina Carano as a black ops operative who is betrayed by her employers and targeted for assassination. On the run, she must gather intel and unravel a conspiracy before it’s too late. Come for the intrigue, stay for the absolutely brutal fight scene with Michael Fassbender. – Adam Chitwood

Locke

Image via A24

Director/Writer: Steven Knight

Cast: Tom Hardy, Tom Holland, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, and Alice Lowe

Tom Hardy is a wildly unpredictable actor, able to disappear into a variety of roles, but one of his absolute best onscreen performances comes as a construction foreman in Locke. This is a movie that takes entirely within the confines of a single car. Hardy is the only actor ever seen onscreen, as he takes a series of phone calls during a long drive at night, prompted by a woman with whom he had a one-night-stand seven months prior going into labor. Tension builds as the character wrestles with a variety of pressing issues, and Hardy handles it all with brilliance. This was one of A24’s first features, and is a true gem of an indie. – Adam Chitwood

Steve Jobs

Image via Universal Pictures

Director: Danny Boyle

Writer: Aaron Sorkin

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Jeff Daniels

One of the most underrated films of the 2010s, Steve Jobs is not the movie you think it is. Aaron Sorkin has crafted the anti-biopic—the encapsulation of a man’s life without actually showing the highlights of his life. The film is structured in three acts that play out in real time, focusing on three major Apple events. The first is the launch of the Macintosh computer, the second is the launch of NeXT, and the third is the launch of the iMac. Each act is like a mini-play, but the backstage goings-on reveal so much about Steve Jobs the man through Michael Fassbender’s phenomenal performance. It’s a thrillingly inventive way to make a “biopic,” and sadly many missed this one when it hit theaters. Entertaining, funny, and ultimately insightful, Steve Jobs is an underrated gem. – Adam Chitwood

While We're Young

Image via A24

Directed and Written by: Noah Baumbach

Cast: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried, Charles Grodin

Starting with Frances Ha, filmmaker Noah Baumbach hit a much more joyous, optimistic stride with his films, and that’s certainly the case of his 2015 movie While We’re Young. This is almost in the vein of a traditional studio comedy for the Squid and the Whale filmmaker, but it’s a very, very good one. Ben Still and Naomi Watts star as a middle-aged couple living in New York City who are having trouble coming to terms with the fact that they’re no longer young. Stiller plays a documentary filmmaker who strikes up a friendship with an aspiring documentary filmmaker played by Adam Driver, who with his very hipster girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) befriend Stiller and Watts’ characters. A culture clash of sorts ensues, as Stiller and Watts struggle to prove they’re still hip while Driver and Seyfried struggle to prove they’re cool. The film has a lot to say about image and the passage of time, but it’s also just incredibly funny. – Adam Chitwood

Creep 2

Image via The Orchard

Director: Patrick Brice

Writers: Mark Duplass, Patrick Brice

Cast: Mark Duplass, Desiree Akhavan, Karan Soni

The original Creep, also available on Netflix, is a skin-crawlingly icky found footage horror-comedy about the perils of masculinity, obsession, and storytelling. It is well worth your time. And yet, it’s bested handily by its sequel, a true horror masterpiece for the 21st century. Mark Duplass returns as our identity-hopping serial killer, keen on documenting his crimes as a kind of voyeuristic look into the soul masquerading as an attempt at fostering friendship (the murder portrayed in the cold open is… harrowing). But this time, he’s paired with Desiree Akhavan, the fiercely talented filmmaker/actor who plays a fiercely talented filmmaker interested in documenting odd folks with odd requests. And when Creep 2 locks into its two-handed structure, unsettling sparks fly and ricochet. Duplass and Akhavan are perfect sparring partners, generating the film’s queasy moments of suspense, humor, and even genuine connection. Like many of the best pieces of 21st century horror, Creep 2 sneakily has a lot to say about our modern foibles — all while scaring the ever-living stuffing out of you. – Greg Smith

The Edge of Seventeen

Image via STX Entertainment

Director/Writer: Kelly Fremon Craig

Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Blake Jenner, Kyra Sedgwick, Haley Lu Richardson, and Hayden Szeto

When it comes to the coming-of-age genre, traditionally it’s told from a male perspective. Which is what makes The Edge of Seventeen so refreshing. This hilarious and heartfelt R-rated comedy stars Hailee Steinfeld as a high school junior who experiences the ups and downs of teen life in brutally honest fashion. She strikes up a close friendship with a teacher, played by Woody Harrelson, who counsels her through friend, boy, and family troubles. It’s as sweet as it is filthy, but what makes Edge of Seventeen so striking—beyond Steinfeld’s stellar performance—is how true to life it all feels. The anxiety. The self-consciousness. The importance of it all. The Edge of Seventeen is a gem of a movie. – Adam Chitwood

High Flying Bird

Image via Netflix

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Tarell Alvin McCraney

Cast: Andre Holland, Zazie Beets, Melvin Gregg, Sonja Sohn, Zachary Quinto, Kyle MacLachlan, and Bill Duke

What do you get when you combine Oscar-winning Moonlight co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney with genius filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and an A-list cast? A must-see movie. High Flying Bird is a thrilling, delightful drama set in the world of sports that takes place over the course of one 48-hour period as a sports agent (Holland) attempts to find a way to end a basketball lockout that has himself (and many players) hurting for cash. Soderbergh—whose talents range from the glitz and glam of Ocean’s Eleven to the challenging drug trafficking ensemble Traffic—shot the entire movie on an iPhone, which adds another layer of urgency and intimacy to the proceedings. It’s mostly scenes of people talking in rooms, but the writing and performances are so good you’ll be glued to your screen for the entire runtime—which is a brisk 90 minutes. If you’re in the mood for something exciting, cerebral, and refreshing, give this one a go. – Adam Chitwood

1922

Image via Netflix

Director/Writer: Zak Hilditch

Cast: Thomas Jane, Neal McDonough, and Molly Parker

1922 is one of the many original movies that Netflix just quietly releases on its streaming service without much fanfare. I had no idea this movie was even in production until the day it suddenly appeared in my “Movies You May Like” category, an area of Netflix that is generally about as hit-or-miss as blindfolded brain surgery. But the presence of a significantly overalled Thomas Jane and the fact that it was based on a story by Stephen King made me check it out, and I was rewarded with a delightfully creepy supernatural murder story. It’s sort of like A Simple Plan, only it takes place in the pre-Depression American heartlands and features actual ghosts. Jane plays a farmer at the end of his life writing a full confession of a truly unforgivable crime, with the movie told primarily in flashback. Within the opening 60 seconds, you will be slapped in the face with the realization that Thomas Jane is Doing A Thing. His performance is absolutely batshit in the best possible way, and, if I’m being totally honest, he’s really quite good. It’s a tense slow-burn thriller, with a central character so despicable that you almost don’t mind seeing the taint of what he’s done corrupt everything around him. Almost. – Tom Reimann

Sleeping with Other People

Image via IFC Films

Writer/Director: Leslye Headland

Cast: Allison Brie, Jason Sudeikis, Adam Scott, Jason Mantzoukas, Natasha Lyonne, Adam Brody, and Amanda Peet

Sleeping with Other People is the best R-rated romantic comedy you’ve never seen. Filmmaker Leslye Headland broke out in a big way with the raunchy comedy Bachelorette, and her follow-up feature is a straight up romcom—with a bit of an edge of course. Lovingly described as “When Harry Met Sally with assholes,” Sleeping with Other People stars Jason Sudeikis and Allison Brie as a pair of acquaintances who lost their virginity to each other in high school, and reconnect years later in New York City. They quickly become platonic best friends, airing romantic grievances with one another while they both have trouble committing to their respective relationships. It’s a hilarious, sweet, and at times very dirty spin on the romcom formula that’s a pure delight to watch. – Adam Chitwood

A Ghost Story

Image via A24

Director/Writer: David Lowery

Cast: Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara

Right off the bat we’ll say that A Ghost Story is not for everyone, but if you’re into the idea of an indie about the existentialism of life as told via ghost story, this might be for you. This 2017 drama finds Casey Affleck playing a man who dies but then comes back to haunt his wife (Rooney Mara) and her house. There are no big special effects, it’s simply Affleck wearing a white sheet and moping around. But the construction of the film, and the incredible score, drive home the largess of existence and the sorrow of loss. This one’s certainly unique. – Adam Chitwood

Obvious Child

Image via A24

Director/Writer: Gillian Robespierre

Cast: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffman, Polly Draper, Richard Kind, and David Cross

Crudely dubbed an “abortion comedy,” Obvious Child is far more thoughtful and nuanced than its basic logline would have you believe. Jenny Slate stars as a young, struggling comedian who becomes pregnant after a drunken one-night stand, which she had following a bad breakup with her boyfriend. She makes plans to have an abortion, but as the date looms closer, she begins spending more and more time with the would-be father, developing a genuine relationship. This is a film with a lot of heart and humor, but it’s most memorable for affirming that Jenny Slate should be a bona fide star. – Adam Chitwood

It Comes At Night

Image via A24 Films

Director/Writer: Trey Edward Shults

Cast: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Riley Keough

It Comes at Night boasts a miserable D CinemaScore, the tracking device the industry uses to measure “movie appeal among theatre audiences.” To an extent, I can understand why a movie audience might find this film unappealing, especially given that its title and trailer promise an elevated creature feature where a family must fight against some kind of monsters. That is, decidedly, not what is on filmmaker Trey Edward Shults’ (Waves) mind in It Comes at Night. Yes, there is technically “something” that comes at night for the family of Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, and Kelvin Harrison Jr., but it’s a sensitive, nuanced amalgam of disease, paranoia, delusions, human intruders (Christopher Abbott and Riley Keough), and only maybe actual creatures. As such, the real monsters at the center of It Comes at Night prove to be the humans inhabiting the frame. Shults’ film is an agonizing psychological chamber drama in a visceral horror film’s clothes. It’s bitter, heartbreaking, nerve-wrenching, and morally complicated — it features one of the most downbeat “choices” I’ve ever seen made in a modern genre film. If you can check your expectations at the door and get yourself on Shults’ particular wavelength, It Comes at Night will wreck you in the best way possible, CinemaScore be damned. – Greg Smith

About Time

Image via Universal Pictures

Director/Writer: Richard Curtis

Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lindsay Duncan, Tom Hollander, and Margot Robbie

The 2013 film About Time is not just an absolute gem of a romantic comedy, it’s also one of the best time travel movies ever made. Oh yeah, and it’s a total tearjerker. Written and directed by Love, Actually filmmaker Richard Curtis, the film stars Domhnall Gleeson as a young man who learns at the age of 21, from his father (Bill Nighy), that the men in their family have the ability to time travel. This comes in handy when he misses his chance with a charismatic American girl (Rachel McAdams) and goes back to the night they first met to start their relationship off right. But what begins as a delightful, grounded, and romantic romp soon turns emotional, as About Time slowly reveals itself to be a gut-wrenching father-son story at heart. – Adam Chitwood

Under the Skin

Image via A24

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Writers: Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer

Cast: Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy McWilliams

If you’re in the mood for a really weird sci-fi indie movie and you haven’t seen Under the Skin yet, now’s your chance. The film hails from filmmaker Jonathan Glazer, who previously directed the arresting features Sexy Beast and Birth. In Under the Skin, Scarlett Johansson plays an otherworldly being who preys on men in Scotland. This is a very ethereal, visually stunning movie, but if you’re looking for a complex plot or a lot of dialogue, it may not be for you. Johansson’s stalking and subsequent attacking of men is violent and strange and oddly beautiful, and indeed the film is rich with theme and subtext that are up for the viewer’s interpretation. Oh yeah, and Mica Levi’s original score is phenomenal. – Adam Chitwood

The End of the Tour

Image via A24

Director: James Ponsoldt

Writer: Donald Marguiles

Cast: Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Anna Chlumsky, Joan Cusack, and Mamie Gummer

The End of the Tour is less a film about notorious author David Foster Wallace and more a chronicle of depression, and the toll it takes. Jason Segel gives a haunted, phenomenal performance as Wallace, and the story covers a 12-day interview conducted by writer David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) during a tour for Wallace’s book Infinite Jest. It’s a road movie of sorts, as the two Davids discuss life, death, literature, philosophy, and so much more along the way, and it’s made all the more tragic given that the story is framed around Wallace’s suicide. The End of the Tour is a true hidden gem of a film. – Adam Chitwood

The Endless

Image via Well Go USA

Directors: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead

Writer: Justin Benson

Cast: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Callie Hernandez, Tate Ellington, Lew Temple, and James Jordan

The third feature from outside-the-box filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead is part cosmic horror, part comedy, part weird cult thriller, and part paradoxical mind-fuckery. The co-directors star in The Endless as brothers who escaped a commune called Camp Arcadia as children, only to return years later as adults and discover that all of the people they knew as kids are still there and don’t appear to have aged whatsoever. Without spoiling too much, the members of the commune convince the two brothers to hang out for a day or two and give Camp Arcadia another chance, with things growing increasingly bizarre and ominous the longer they stay. It’s one of the most impressive low-budget sci-fi horror movies I have ever seen, with two truly original filmmakers behind the wheel. (If you haven’t seen their previous film Spring, I recommend you do so immediately.) The Endless is one of those movies that you start texting your friends about the second the credits roll to tell them all to watch it. It’s a real Pay It Forward situation, only this time nobody stabs Haley Joel Osment. – Tom Reimann

Enemy

Image via A24

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Writer: Javier Gullón

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, and Isabella Rossellini

Before filmmaker Denis Villeneuve blew minds with Blade Runner 2049 or Arrival, he made a head-spinning psychological thriller called Enemy featuring two of Jake Gyllenhaal’s best performances. Yes, two—Enemy revolves around a solitary college history professor who leads a mundane life, only to discover an actor who looks exactly like him. He begins investigating the dopelganger’s life, and reality itself appears to bend as the professor spirals further and further down the rabbit hole. This film is not for everyone—it’s the weirdest thing Villeneuve has made thus far, but it’s no less gorgeous and involving than the rest of his oeuvre. It also features one of the scariest shots ever put to film. Give it a spin and see if you can figure this one out. – Adam Chitwood

Swiss Army Man

Image via A24

Directors/Writers: Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan

Cast: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Swiss Army Man is undoubtedly one of the weirdest movies you’ll ever see, but there’s a charm to it that’s positively unmistakable. Paul Dano stars as a man marooned on an island who is just about to hang himself when he notices a body (Daniel Radcliffe) wash up on shore. When he approaches the body, it begins farting uncontrollably, the force of which propels it forward. Dano’s character then rides the body through the waves, using the farts as a motor to propel himself off this island once and for all. This is the opening scene of the movie. And yet an endearing relationship blossoms between Dano and Radcliffe as the body begins to awaken, and Dano’s character teaches it how to be human. Backed by a killer soundtrack and brought to life with impressive (and ambitious) visuals, Swiss Army Movie is guaranteed to be a viewing experience you’ll never forget. – Adam Chitwood

Mute

Image via Netflix

Director: Duncan Jones

Writer: Michael Robert Johnson

Cast: Paul Rudd, Alexander Skarsgard, and Justin Theroux

Mute is a weird-as-hell movie, but if you’ve ever wanted to see Paul Rudd play a despicable character and knock it out of the park, this is for you. The second in an unofficial trilogy of loosely connected films, Mute follows in the footsteps of Duncan JonesMoon and takes place in the year 2035. Alexander Skarsgard plays a mute bartender named Leo searching for the woman he loves who has mysteriously disappeared. Rudd and Justin Theroux, meanwhile, play pretty deranged surgeons who play a major role in the film. Mute is a gnarly film that doesn’t exactly offer up an optimistic portrait of the future, but if you’re on its wavelength it’s a darkly fun ride. – Adam Chitwood

The Disaster Artist

Image via A24

Director: James Franco

Writers: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber

Cast: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, and Jackie Weaver

A film about the making of the infamously terrible movie The Room should not be this good nor this emotional, but here we are. The Disaster Artist is technically a chronicle of how Tommy Wiseau defied pretty much every cinematic convention (for the worst) to make his film The Room, and how the movie became a cult favorite for its absolutely bonkers construction and execution. James Franco is legitimately great both in front of and behind the camera here, as the film hones in on the friendship between Tommy and Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) serves as a surprisingly emotional foundation for this stranger-than-fiction story. – Adam Chitwood

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