25 Hidden Gems on Netflix Canada You Need to Watch Right Now
From overlooked Hollywood fare to international cinema's best-kept secrets, we've rounded up the finest hidden gems on Netflix Canada.
Only the Brave (2017)
Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) leads the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite crew of wildland firefighters based in Prescott, Arizona. Along with crew members Brendan (Miles Teller) and Christopher (Taylor Kitsch), the Hotshots respond to high-priority wildfires across the U.S. The team’s skill and determination are put to the test in 2013 when they’re sent to combat to the Yarnell Hill Fire, Arizona’s deadliest wildfire. Based on a true story.
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A box office disappointment upon release (it grossed just $23 million against a $25 million budget), Warrior has since found a cult following. This gripping sports drama follows Tommy (Tom Hardy), a former Marine who enlists his recovering alcoholic father (Nick Nolte, in an Academy Award-nominated performance) to train him for a high-stakes mixed martial arts tournament. Also competing is Brendan (Joel Edgerton), Tommy’s estranged brother—and a man with his own fighting pedigree. With its vivid depiction of family, trauma and redemption, Warrior is one of the most emotionally shattering films of the 2010s.
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Five-year-old Saroo is separated from his older brother and finds himself trapped in a decommissioned passenger train that takes him to Calcutta more than 1,500 kilometres away. Now orphaned and unable to remember the name of his hometown, Saroo is adopted by an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). Years later, Saroo, now a college student (Dev Patel) in Melbourne, is determined to find the family he left behind. Based on a true story.
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Based on the 1990 novel by Richard Ford and directed by actor Paul Dano, Wildlife follows the Brinson family in 1960 Montana. When Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his job as a golf caddy, he inexplicably decides to join a firefighting team in the nearby forests, leaving his wife Jeannette (Carey Mulligan) and son Joe to ponder the state of the marriage. Wildlife is a tender portrait of an American family in free fall.
The first feature film to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and made by a female Saudi director, Haifaa Al-Mansour, this remarkable hidden gem follows the free-spirited Wadjda, a 10-year-old living in the capital city of Riyadh. Obsessed with a green bike being sold at a nearby store, she hatches various money-making plans in order to purchase it. In a society where girls are discouraged from riding bicycles, however, can Wadjda achieve her goal?
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With Hush, writer-director Mike Flanagan (Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House) adds an irresistible twist to the home invasion genre. Author Maddie Young (Kate Siegel) lives in complete isolation in the woods while working on her novel. Her world quickly unravels, however, when she discovers that a psychopath has been stalking her home—and aims to make her his next victim. The twist? Maddie just so happens to be deaf and mute, putting her at a major disadvantage to her would-be killer. Hush is perfect white-knuckle entertainment.
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This acclaimed South Korean thriller tells the story of a twisted love triangle. Aspiring writer Jong-su runs into an old classmate, Hae-mi, while out on a delivery. When she goes on a trip to Africa, Hae-mi has him look after her cat and apartment. Upon her return, Jong-su discovers she’s brought along a new companion: Ben (Steven Yeun), a rich businessman with a mysterious—and dangerous—hobby.
Logan Lucky (2017)
Logan Lucky is director Steven Soderbergh’s most enjoyable movie since Ocean’s Eleven. This crime-comedy follows three siblings— Jimmy (Channing Tatum), Clyde (Adam Driver) and Mellie (Riley Keough)—as they plan to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway during a NASCAR race. In order to pull off the heist, however, they need the expertise of safe-cracker Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), who happens to be in prison.
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God’s Own Country (2017)
Young farmer Johnny (Josh O’Connor) runs the family farm on behalf of his strict father, who has been debilitated by a recent stroke. He numbs his unhappiness with excessive drinking and casual sex, until a Romanian migrant worker (Alec Secăreanu), hired as a farmhand, transforms Johnny’s outlook. Superbly acted and sensuously photographed, God’s Own Country is a must-watch love story.
Frances Ha (2012)
“I’m so embarrassed, I’m not a real person yet,” says the kooky Frances Halladay (the brilliant Greta Gerwig), a dancer living in New York City with her best friend, Sophie (Mickey Sumner). After their moving plans collapse and the two have a falling out, Frances realizes that her days of pursuing her dreams are numbered. Frances Ha is a charming coming-of-age comedy about a 27-year-old scatterbrain.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)
In 1946, writer Juliet Ashton (Downton Abbey‘s Lily James) learns of a book club the residents of Guernsey formed during the German occupation of WWII. She decides the quirky group—the titular Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—will be the subject of her latest article. In the process of writing the feature, she forms a bond with the island’s inhabitants, while also investigating the whereabouts of the club’s mysterious founding member.
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In the year 2031, a global effort to combat climate change inadvertently triggers another Ice Age. The world’s last survivors now live on the Snowpiercer, a massive train that circumnavigates the Earth once a year and is segregated into three sections and class systems. Curtis (Chris Evans) and a group of lower-class citizens from the back of the train are determined to take control of the Snowpiercer by overthrowing the wealthy residents at the front. Directed by Bong Joon-ho (Parasite).
After Clara (Sonia Braga), a retired journalist in Brazil, refuses a buy-out from a real estate firm intending to tear down her beachfront apartment, she soon discovers the developers will stop at nothing to get her out. Aquarius is a searing character study of a tough-as-nails woman who has battled breast cancer, raised a family and survived a 20-year military dictatorship—and refuses to let the past be forgotten by the present.
Infernal Affairs (2002)
The inspiration behind Scorsese’s much-lauded The Departed, the better-paced Infernal Affairs features much of the same framework: a police officer, Chan (Tony Leung), goes undercover in the Hong Kong Triad, while triad member Lau (Andy Lau), infiltrates the Hong Kong Police Force. Eventually, Chan and Lau are ordered by their superiors to find the moles in their respective organizations.
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In this supernatural romantic drama, 17-year-old Ada, set to marry a wealthy man, falls in love with young construction worker Souleiman. After Souleiman and his colleagues are denied payment for work on a new tower, they decide to leave Senegal by sea in search of a brighter future, only to perish on the journey. Following a mysterious fire, Ada discovers that the souls of the men lost at sea have returned to the neighbourhood.
Blue Jay (2016)
Two decades after their break-up, former high school sweethearts Jim (Mark Duplass) and Amanda (Sarah Paulson) rediscover each other in their hometown grocery store and decide to spend the day strolling down memory lane. The initial sweetness of their reunion slowly gives in to sadness, however, as Jim and Amanda bond over the unhappiness of their current lives and romantic paths not taken.
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Happy as Lazzaro (2018)
Magical realism abounds in Happy as Lazzaro, which follows a young peasant living on a tobacco farm in Southern Italy. Despite being exploited by his tyrannical boss, Lazzaro is so kind-hearted he’s often mistaken for being simple. Things take a turn when Lazzaro meets young baron Tancredi, who asks Lazzaro to help him orchestrate his own kidnapping.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)
In Malawi, 13-year-old William Kamkwamba spends his spare time fixing radios for neighbours and devouring engineering books at his school library. Inspired by his readings, William builds a wind turbine to save his village from famine. Based on Kamkwamba’s memoir, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is one of the most inspiring movies on Netflix Canada, and an impressive directorial debut by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor.
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I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)
When depressed nursing assistant Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) returns home one day to learn that her grandmother’s silverware has been stolen, she enlists her peculiar neighbour Tony (Elijah Wood) to help her find the violent gang of criminals responsible. Look past its offbeat title, and you’ll find that I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a darkly funny tale about the importance of kindness.
On July 18, 1969, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy accidentally drove his Oldsmobile off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. Kennedy swam free, but his companion—28-year-old secretary Mary Jo Kopechne—became trapped. He left the scene and didn’t report the incident until the car and Kopechne’s body were recovered the next morning. Jason Clarke is magnificent as Kennedy, the black sheep of a powerful political family who makes one history-altering decision after another.
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The Death of Stalin (2017)
In 1953 Moscow, the Soviet Union’s omnipresent leader, Joseph Stalin, suffers a brain hemorrhage and becomes paralyzed. Inevitably, the senior members of the Council of Ministers scramble to maintain order and, ultimately, take power. In this black comedy about scheming and backstabbing at the height of the Cold War, absolutely nobody is safe.
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Hearts Beat Loud (2018)
Former musician Frank Fisher (Nick Offerman) loves two things: his college-bound daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons) and jam sessions. When a Sam-penned recording of theirs, “Hearts Beat Loud,” goes viral on Spotify, Frank, whose fledgling record store is on the verge of closing, thinks his luck is about to change.
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The bromance between Michael (Mark Duplass) and Andy (Ray Romano) is upended when Michael is diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer. Per Michael’s wishes for his final days, the two make pizzas together, watch kung-fu movies, play a game they’ve dubbed “Paddleton,” and go on a road trip to retrieve the medication that will help Michael end his life. It may be about death, but Paddleton‘s blend of comedy and drama is always life-affirming.
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The Kindergarten Teacher (2018)
The Kindergarten Teacher stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as an educator who discovers one of her five-year-old students is a poetry prodigy. Dissatisfied by her home life and failed artistic aspirations, she finds new purpose as a mentor to her pupil, but that initial encouragement turns into an unhealthy obsession with the boy.
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End of Watch (2012)
Police officers Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) patrol the streets of South Central Los Angeles, often finding themselves in the crosshairs of rival gangs. After investigating a house fire, they stumble upon a cell full of human trafficking victims and learn that the home is connected to a powerful drug cartel. The partners soon fear that their lives—and the lives of their families—are in danger.
Next, add these classic movies on Netflix Canada to your viewing list!