We recently posted a list of 10 must-read books for the season. But the fall and winter months also offer up a chance to spend a long, cozy evening inside re-watching a wonderful film from your past. So no matter if you’re one for romance, drama, Christmas themes, or even a bit of action, take a look at this list of 10 outstanding films available for instant streaming on Netflix this holiday season.
Is there a more delightful modern holiday film than Love Actually? This 2003 Christmas miracle succeeded where countless ensemble, interconnected vignette-style projects fail, in that each one was interesting, anchored by a lovable actor or actress, and inspiring. There’s a reason – well, 10 reasons – that Slant Magazine tabbed it as the movie that should be your cinematic Christmas tradition.
The Big Short
The Big Short is the most recent film on this list but it’s also one of the best movies we’ve seen and definitely worth re-watching during the holidays. Sure, it’s a little bit weighed down by finance jargon, but The Big Short made a dry topic fun, and pretty much everyone enjoyed it as one of the sharpest projects of 2015.
The Imitation Game
This is also a nice reminder of the quality of some of the films we’ve seen in recent years. It’s the Benedict Cumberbatch show (which I’m sure you don’t mind), but it’s also equal parts character study and historical exhibition about the birth of computers in WWII England. This one will sweep you right off your feet on a cozy holiday evening.
Good Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting seems to be on just about everybody’s list as a favorite film – and yet, I get the feeling a lot of people haven’t actually sat down and watched it in a while. Do yourself a favor and put it on your list. It’s a brilliant and special movie, and while it’s not holiday-themed, it will make you feel that special sense of appreciation for the family and friends around you who’ve helped you to get where you are.
This still stands as one of our best action dramas. Indeed, it’s featured prominently on Netflix (not just buried deep in a genre or two), and even still has popularity in online gaming. Gambling.com lists a slot reel based on the movie as the internet’s most popular movie slot, which is actually saying something. But all this aside, it’s just a fantastic adventure. And don’t let anyone label this a “guy” movie. Sure, watching gladiator fights is pretty macho but there’s friendship, romance, and political intrigue in abundance, plus the adorable Richard Harris to enjoy.
10 Things I Hate About You
With millennials taking over the world, this movie is to Generation Y what The Breakfast Club was to the generation before. It’s a timeless, hilarious, nostalgic romantic comedy perfect for a casual re-watch. This is the rom-com of all rom-coms and exactly the feel good movie you need this winter.
Shakespeare In Love
If you like your rom-coms a little more heavy-handed then you should know that this is also on Netflix. Tom Stoppard’s witty take on Shakespearean drama never gets old, and the on-screen romance between Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes is still one of the most intoxicating of the last 20 years.
This film is another rare success in the ensemble format that is as enchanting as it is unique. Sure, it’s a French-language movie, but if you don’t mind subtitles you probably fell in love with it 15 years ago.
For my money, director John Carney can’t quite top the magic he captured in the 2007 indie hit Once. But Begin Again was a logical next step for him, and with a similar story to tell, he landed on some excellent music and a very pleasant experience. Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo are wonderful, and Adam Levine’s “Lost Stars” will be in your head for weeks.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life
No, it wasn’t a great film. But a new take on Lara Croft is coming soon (Deadline tabbed a March release date), so it’s a fun time to revisit your favorite girlhood action star!
These are just 10 movies of many that are worth revisiting, that, while not necessarily holiday films, will definitely fill you with enough good cheer to last you through the season. They’ll also provide you with some fun alternatives when you inevitably find yourselves burned out on Christmas movies and are still waiting for the annual Harry Potter marathon. What are some of your favorite non-traditional films for the season?