This week, Netflix opened the cinematic floodgates, announcing a staggering slate of 42 movies scheduled to premiere on the streaming platform before the end of 2021. Alongside potential major awards contenders from Oscar-winning directors, we’ve got lighter fare, cute kiddie flicks and the usual holiday rom-coms. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the onslaught of content, you’re not alone! Luckily, we took the time to sift through the titles and picked the Netflix films we’re most excited to stream in the coming months.
Never underestimate the power of a feel-good dramedy in difficult times—particularly one with a cast as appealing as this! Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd star as a couple dealing with the loss of a child in very different ways. He’s checked out of their marriage by checking into a mental health facility, while she battles an aggressive bird that’s taken over her garden. She’s also getting unexpected help from an off-beat shrink-turned-vet (Kevin Klein). Check your cynicism at the door and be prepared to be uplifted. The Starling premieres September 24.
Diana: The Musical
Maybe it doesn’t technically count as a film, but with Diana mania reaching levels not seen since her tragic death in 1997, this filmed performance of Diana: The Musical is a must-see. Previews for the upcoming Broadway run don’t even start until November, but Netflix is giving us the full experience early. Forget the glossy, prestigious versions; give us a campy, operatic rendering of Diana (Jeanne de Waal) and Charles’s (Roe Hartrampf) tabloid marriage any day! Diana: The Musical premieres October 1.
The Harder They Fall
Idris Elba, Zazie Beets, Jonathan Majors, Regina King, LaKeith Stanfield, Delroy Lindo. The cast alone makes this tale of revenge in the Old West worth seeing! Majors stars as an outlaw whose own gang is dead set on going head-to-head with that of his recently sprung nemesis (Elba). If the trailer’s any indication, you’d best saddle up for a wild Tarantino-style ride! The Harder They Fall premieres November 3.
Passing may just be the most highly anticipated film of 2021. Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut had a ton of buzz going into the 2021 festival season and has been rapturously received. Based on Nella Larson’s 1929 novel, the film stars Ruth Negga as Clare and Tessa Thompson as Reenie, two childhood friends whose bond is tested by Clare’s ability to pass for a white woman. Passing premieres November 10.
Now, in all honesty, there’s reason to feel a little conflicted about Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical musical tick, tick…BOOM! After all, the composer, who died in 1996, has been accused of ripping off author and activist Sarah Schulman’s work and straight-washing it to make his most famous production, Rent. But Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his film directorial debut with this film adaptation, and it’s always exciting to see what thoroughly odd choices Andrew Garfield (who stars as Larson) will make. Throw in Vanessa Hudgens and Judith Light and how could you not watch? tick, tick…BOOM! premieres November 19.
The Power of the Dog
Visionary director Jane Campion hasn’t made a feature film since 2009’s Bright Star, which would make her latest noteworthy enough. But The Power of the Dog is also her first film to focus on a male anti-hero, a major departure for the Oscar-winning filmmaker whose work has largely centered female desire. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as cruel rancher Phil Burbank, who torments his sister-in-law (Kirsten Dunst) and her teenage son (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Based on Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel, The Power of the Dog is sure to be a characteristically intense, visual sumptuous offering from Campion. Premieres December 1.
The Hand of God
Talk about visually sumptuous! From The Young Pope writer-director Paulo Sorrentino comes this story of a young man coming-of-age in 1980 Naples. Fans of the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s work know that Sorrentino has an eye for the beauty and oddness of the Italian landscape, and that’s certainly on display in the trailer for this heartfelt, personal film. The Hand of God premieres December 15.
Don’t Look Up
Director Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice) delves into sci-fi for his latest dark comedy—while still retaining his signature flair for media, bureaucratic and social satire. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence star as a pair of astronomers trying to get the word out about a comet that’s on a collision course with Earth. Rounding out the all-star cast are Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, Chris Evans, Jonah Hill and Matthew Perry. Don’t Look Up premieres December 24