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25 Drama Movies on Netflix Canada You Need to Watch Right Now

From Oscar-winning epics to underrated indie fare, these dramas on Netflix Canada are emotional rollercoasters.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix Canada - JudyPhoto: Netflix

Judy (2019)

The high-water mark of Renée Zellweger’s unassailable career, the versatile actor plays Judy Garland in the final year of her life. Once one of the world’s most famous entertainers, the Wizard of Oz star is now consumed by self-doubt and addicted to barbiturates, and must take on a five-week residency in London, England, to fund a custody battle for her children. Interspersed with Garland’s tour are sequences depicting her early career, where she suffers under the wrath of her studio bosses. Fortunately, Zellweger helps turn this dark tale into unmissable entertainment—if any Old Hollywood star is worth remembering, it’s Judy.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix Canada - The Lost DaughterPhoto: Netflix

The Lost Daughter (2021)

Leda Caruso (Olivia Colman) is having a rough time. On holiday in southern Greece, the English university professor suddenly finds herself drawn to Nina (Dakota Johnson), an American mother with her own tribulations. Years earlier, Leda was a young mother too—and sees in Nina a version of herself that still has time to make different choices. Adapted from Elena Ferrante’s 2006 novel by first-time director Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter is a work of palpable unease—culture shock, loneliness and unpredictable feelings abound.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix Canada - Django UnchainedPhoto: Netflix

Django Unchained (2012)

If the Kill Bill movies showed a surprising amount of heart amidst the bloodshed, Django Unchained reveals Quentin Tarantino as something of a hopeless romantic. Jamie Foxx plays the titular slave who, after being freed by a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz, who nabbed an Oscar for his performance), is given the chance to free his long-lost wife from the clutches of an evil plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio, at his most scenery-chewing extreme). Yes, Django is revisionist fantasy—but what an entertaining fantasy it is.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix Canada - The QueenPhoto: Netflix

The Queen (2006)

With the British Royal Family welcoming a new king, it’s the perfect time to revisit one of the monarchy’s most fascinating controversies. In September 1997, Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren, who won an Academy Award for her role) insists on treating the death of Princess Diana as a private family affair—much to the disgust of the mourning public and the staff of the new prime minister, Tony Blair (Michael Sheen). Like the best British films, The Queen is a masterclass in understatement—and a nice antidote to the unabashed melodrama and artistic licenses featured in Netflix’s The Crown.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix Canada - News Of The WorldPhoto: Universal Pictures

News of the World (2020)

While modern westerns like Yellowstone and Outer Range take the “genre mash-up” route, 2020’s News of the World opts for decidedly old-school charm. In 1870, Civil War veteran Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks, in full “cultural icon” mode) makes his living by travelling from town to town reading the news to local residents. One day he comes across a young German girl, Johanna (Helena Zengel), who was kidnapped by a Kiowa tribe six years earlier; with no one to help her, Kidd makes the perilous journey to deliver Johanna to her surviving family.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix Canada - RocketmanPhoto: Paramount Pictures

Rocketman (2019)

Undoubtedly the best musical on Netflix Canada, this Golden Globe-nominated biopic follows Reginald Dwight, a precocious youngster raised in postwar England amid familial dysfunction… who later becomes superstar rock-‘n-roller Elton John (Taron Egerton). Fact and fantasy blur wonderfully throughout Rocketman—this is a film, after all, where a bar brawl turns into song-and-dance number set to “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” and John arrives at a group counselling session decked out in an orange devil outfit.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix Canada - The NestPhoto: Elevation Pictures

The Nest (2020)

“He was tempted away by the American Dream; luckily for us, he got tired chasing that dream and wanted to come home.” That’s how we’re introduced to British commodity trader and yuppie wannabe Rory (Jude Law) during a lavish house party in the 1980s. What follows is the swift decline of the once exuberant O’Hara family, as Rory convinces his American wife (Carrie Coon) and two young children to relocate from New York City to Greater London in pursuit of untapped riches. A powerful meditation on class, marriage and self-deception, The Nest is Death of a Salesman for Thatcher’s England.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix Canada - Let Him GoPhoto: Netflix

Let Him Go (2020)

Diane Lane and Kevin Costner—who played the adoptive parents of Clark Kent in 2013’s Man of Steel—reunite in this underrated drama about an aging couple going to great lengths to protect their grandson. In 1960s Montana, retired sheriff George Blackledge (Costner) and homemaker Margaret (Lane) mourn the death of their only son, who left behind a wife, Lorna (Kayli Carter), and infant, Jimmy. Two years later, their daughter-in-law remarries, but the pair fears the worst when Lorna and Jimmy vanish without a trace.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix Canada - Sound Of MetalPhoto: Netflix

Sound of Metal (2019)

One of the most acclaimed dramas of the last decade, Sound of Metal follows Ruben Stone (Riz Ahmed), a heavy metal drummer and recovering addict who learns that he will permanently lose his hearing. Over time, he bonds with the housemates of a rural shelter for the deaf, but risks alienating his newfound family when he begins inquiring about cochlear implants. Expertly acted and technically dazzling, Sound of Metal is a humane look at an unfamiliar journey.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix Canada - The WonderPhoto: Netflix

The Wonder (2022)

“We are nothing without stories,” a narrator says at the beginning of The Wonder. It’s 1862, and a rural Irish village hires an English nurse, Elizabeth (Florence Pugh), for a special task: to simply watch and listen. The devout O’Donnell family have quite the tale, indeed: the young and healthy Anna O’Donnell (a sensational Kíla Lord Cassidy) claims not to have eaten anything in four months except “Manna from heaven,” and it’s up Elizabeth to determine if she’s a fake or a saint-in-the-making. (But as Elizabeth learns, Anna has a story of her own to tell.)

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix Canada - Jane EyrePhoto: Universal Pictures

Jane Eyre (2011)

The bleak and moody Midlands of 19th century England provide the setting for one of English literature’s greatest romances. After a cruel childhood as an orphan, 18-year-old Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) becomes a governess at the eerie Thornfield Hall, and eventually falls for the even more mysterious master of the house, Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender). Jane Eyre has all the ingredients of a powerful adaptation: spellbinding performances, beautiful cinematography, and a central creation by Wasikowska that transcends the title character’s Georgian-era trappings. Charlotte Brontë would be proud.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix Canada - Cold Mountain Nicole KidmanPhoto: Entertainment One

Cold Mountain (2003)

A Confederate soldier (Jude Law) and a preacher’s daughter (Nicole Kidman) struggle to survive—and reunite—in this star-studded war drama, which recalls the romantic epics of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, their journeys bring to life an assortment of vivid characters, including Renée Zellweger’s Ruby Thewes, a self-sufficient mountain girl. The late writer-director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) adapts Charles Frazier’s bestselling 1997 novel of the same name, and the results are captivating.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix - Little WomenPhoto: Sony Pictures Releasing

Little Women (2019)

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women has been adapted for the silver screen no less than six times…which begs the question, “What is there left to interpret in this classic coming-of-age story?” As writer-director Greta Gerwig—already a formidable presence in American cinema—proves with her 2019 iteration, quite a lot. The highs and lows of the four March sisters—Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh) and Beth (Eliza Scanlen)—are more or less the same, of course. This time around, however, Gerwig employs a non-linear device, while playing up the story’s humour and feminism. If only every book adaptation were as worthwhile as Little Women

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix - Pieces Of A WomanPhoto: Netflix Canada

Pieces of a Woman (2020)

The home birth of a young Boston couple, Martha (Vanessa Kirby, in an Academy Award-nominated performance) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf), ends in tragedy when the baby goes into cardiac arrest and dies. Martha’s family believes the couple’s midwife, Eva (Molly Parker), should be held responsible, and a lawsuit is filed; meanwhile, Martha and Sean’s relationship dissolves due to their shared grief. Bolstered by a trio of devastating performances, Pieces of a Woman is often a difficult watch—but it’s impossible to look away.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix - Lost GirlsPhoto: Netflix Canada

Lost Girls (2020)

After her 24-year-old daughter disappears and detectives dismiss the case, Mari Gilbert (Amy Ryan), a blue collar single mother, promises to raise hell. But when news reports of the Long Island serial killer begin to gain traction, Gilbert is convinced her daughter was one of the victims. Directed by documentary filmmaker Liz Garbus and adapted from Robert Kolker’s best-selling non-fiction book, Lost Girls is a sobering, understated drama that lingers long after its unexpected final scene.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix - WorthPhoto: Netflix

Worth (2020)

“What is life worth?” writes attorney Ken Feinberg (Michael Keaton, who’s becoming a master at playing real-life figures) on a chalkboard. The question has a double meaning: some time after the 9/11 attacks, Feinberg is put in charge of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, where he must calculate how much money goes to each of the 7,000 victims and, crucially, convince most of them to sign on. It’s rare for a film to make the machinery of bureaucracy feel so compelling and personal.

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Best drama movies on Netflix - RoomPhoto: Netflix

Room (2015)

Joy (Brie Larson) and her five-year-old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), live in a shed they call “Room.” Unbeknownst to Jack, the pair are captives of Old Nick, who kidnapped Joy seven years earlier and is Jack’s biological father. When Joy hatches a dangerous escape plan, she realizes her son may not be ready for his most difficult challenge yet: the real world. Based on Emma Donoghue‘s novel of the same name, Room is a wild ride through every human emotion.

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The Irishman (2019)Photo: Netflix Canada

The Irishman (2019)

As the director of Goodfellas and The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese has often been accused of glorifying the lifestyles of immoral men. With that in mind, The Irishman feels like an apology. Not one second of this 209-minute opus, which charts the life of hit man Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) and his relationships with mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), could be mistaken for glamorous. After all, where’s the charm in killing your best friend, losing the love and trust of your family, and seeing history move on without you?

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Drama movies on Netflix - Marriage StoryPhoto: Netflix Canada

Marriage Story (2019)

Boasting career-defining performances by Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, Marriage Story is a searing portrayal of divorce and fleeting love. Charlie (Driver), a successful theatre director, and Nicole (Johansson), a veteran actress, have been seeing a mediator to work through their marital issues. One day, Nicole serves him divorce papers, setting the table for a painful custody battle for their son, Henry. Marriage Story may not be the easiest watch, but it’s impossible to look away.

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Roma (2018)Photo: Netflix Canada

Roma (2018)

Set in the Colonia Roma neighbourhood of Mexico City in 1971, Roma follows Indigenous live-in maid Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) and the wealthy household she cares for: Sofia, doctor husband Antonio, and their four young children. Soon, Cleo’s turbulent personal life begins to mirror the disintegrating marriage of her employers, while political tensions in Mexico boil over into full-blown violent protests. Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma is personal storytelling on the grandest scale imaginable.

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MudboundPhoto: Netflix Canada

Mudbound (2017)

After fighting abroad in WWII, Jamie (Garrett Hedlund), a white man, and Ronsel (Jason Mitchell), a Black man, return to the Mississippi Delta farm that their families both share. Traumatized by their experiences in battle and frustrated with the racism of the place they call home, the two strike a meaningful but uneasy friendship. Boasting astonishing cinematography and strong performances, Mudbound is a powerful reminder of the brutal realities of the Jim Crow South.

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Best Drama Movies On Netflix - ChristinePhoto: The Orchard

Christine (2016)

On July 15, 1974, 29-year-old reporter Christine Chubbuck drew a revolver during a newscast and shot herself—it was the first suicide ever caught on live television. Rebecca Hall stars as Chubbuck, a brilliant journalist whose skill in the workplace masks her tumultuous private life and disintegrating psyche. Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and Tracy Letts (Lady Bird) co-star.

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Private Life (2018)Photo: Netflix Canada

Private Life (2018)

Middle-aged couple Richard (Paul Giamatti) and Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) have been trying to have a child for years—they have faced multiple failed attempts at artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, while a teenager whose baby they hoped to adopt has stopped contacting them. Things are looking hopeless, until the couple’s 25-year-old niece, the bohemian Sadie (Kayli Carter), agrees to provide a donor egg to Rachel. Wonderfully acted and remarkably written, Private Life is a poignant look at the desire to start a family.

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Brad Pitt in "Moneyball"Photo: Netflix

Moneyball (2011)

Fed up by his team’s mediocrity and tight budget, Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) realizes he will have to outsmart richer clubs in order to succeed. To accomplish this, he joins forces with Yale economics grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) and begins using complex statistical data to recruit cheap—but effective—players. Both a loving tribute to baseball and a scathing critique of its glaring flaws, Moneyball is pitch-perfect drama.

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Best drama movies on Netflix Canada - The Two PopesPhoto: Netflix Canada

The Two Popes (2019)

In the aftermath of a scandal exposing alleged corruption within Vatican City, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), the archbishop of Buenos Aires, travels to Rome to deliver his resignation. Instead, he’s summoned by Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins), who confides in Bergoglio that he plans to abdicate the papacy and name Bergoglio his successor. Behind closed doors, the two men must confront their fears, doubts and pasts to guarantee the future of the Catholic Church.

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