Whether you have one day or several weeks off this month, December is always a great time to kick back and watch some movies. Fortunately for you, Netflix has more than just hour-long dramedies for you to binge. If you haven’t watched the following movies, now is an excellent time to do so. After all, you never know if Netflix will be making a New Year’s Resolution to purge some of its movie catalog. These are the best movies on Netflix for December 2019.

Best Movies on Netflix

1. The Irishman (2019)

“He likes to talk, don't he?”

If you only have time to watch one movie on Netflix this month, then carve out three and a half hours to watch Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. Don’t do what everyone else is saying and turn it into a miniseries as you won’t be able to appreciate exactly what Scorsese has actually accomplished. 

It’s lengthy for a reason, and Scorsese has never been more methodical about what he chooses to say and who he selects to talk. 

At its core, this film is a tragedy set against a backdrop of political and social turbulence. The film is a slow march toward death. One can’t help but feel Scorsese is ruminating on his own eventual demise while making this film. Hopefully, he has enough fuel in the tank for a few more classics like this one.



  • Trivia: This film is the first time Martin Scorsese worked with Al Pacino. 
  • Tomatometer: 96%
  • Watch Now →

Best on Netflix

2. District 9 (2009)

“We go home now?”

When you’re more in the mood for an action-packed sci-fi flick with ample doses of social commentary, District 9 is right up your alley. A field operative is exposed to a biotechnology that alters his DNA, transforming him into one of the aliens being segregated in South Africa.

He quickly becomes the most wanted man in the country as he desperately tries to make things right with those he used to persecute. 

The film heavily utilizes a handheld shaky-cam aesthetic, but it holds up pretty well. The themes are still emotionally resonant, making for a tense thrill ride as you follow Wikus van der Merwe from one location to the next. From the first scene, you know you are watching a classic being born, so watch it for the first or 10th time this holiday season.



  • Trivia: Alien sounds were created by rubbing a pumpkin. 
  • Tomatometer: 90%
  • Watch Now →

Great Movies to Watch on Netflix

3. Drive (2011)

“Is he a bad guy?”

Drive proves there’s a place for violent action films in the arthouse scene. Ryan Gosling plays a stunt driver by day and a criminal getaway driver at night, but the film is ultimately a story about redemption and whether those we perceive as bad can be fully realized into good men. 

Everything about Drive is awesome. The music, the visuals, the landscapes created around Los Angeles. Drive is a thinking-man’s action movie. Prepare for the unexpected, and watch this film immediately.



  • Trivia: Driver only speaks 891 words in the entire movie.
  • Tomatometer: 92%
  • Watch Now →

Netflix Movies List

4. Swiss Army Man (2016)

“What is Netflix?”

A man stranded on an island finds a corpse washed up on the shore, and the two go on a surreal journey to make it back home. While it sounds crass, Swiss Army Man is a gorgeous, bizarre dream.

It’s unlike anything else out there, and it’s the perfect film to watch if you have an out-there sense of humor. 

Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe (yes, even as a corpse) are brilliant. There are moments of hilarity but also moments of genuine emotional truth. You may just find yourself relating heavily to a dead body, which is an experience no other film can give you.



  • Trivia: They filmed the entire movie in just 22 days. 
  • Tomatometer: 71%
  • Watch Now →

Netflix Movies

5. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)

“Have you ever eaten cat meat?”

Another Netflix original that was unfortunately slept on when it was released in 2017 is I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. Unwieldy title aside, it’s a brilliant crime comedy that touches on gender norms in today’s world. 

What’s so brilliant about the film is the way in which in weaves between comedic goofiness and explosive violence. It’s both grim and charming. It’s one of those indie gems that may have been forgotten if Netflix didn’t pick it up, so do yourself a favor and watch it when you can.



  • Trivia: Writer/director Macon Blair used his real-life experience of being robbed as inspiration for the film.
  • Tomatometer: 89%
  • Watch Now →

Top Netflix Movies

6. Zodiac (2007)

“Before I kill you, I'm going to throw your baby out the window.”

Zodiac is a film that does everything right. Every minute is filled with tension and/or anxiety. But the suspense never comes at the expense of building fully-developed characters. The movie is a nuanced portrayal of obsession and gives the audience insight into the hunt for one of the most notorious serial killers in American history.

It’s a rare kind of thriller because there’s no happy ending. All you’re left with is a bunch of loose threads. It makes sense considering the Zodiac killer was never found, but on a larger scale, it works because sometimes, our obsessions lead us nowhere.



  • Trivia: The film caused the case of the Zodiac killer to be re-opened in real life. 
  • Tomatometer: 89​​%
  • Watch Now →

Excellent Netflix Movies

7. Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017)

“They only bloom once every seven years.”

Studio Ghibli has been responsible for producing some of the most beloved animated films of all times. Now, Studio Ponoc shows it has learned much from Ghibli with Mary and the Witch’s Flower.

The film has the usual stunningly fluid animation you will find, and it has an upbeat, carefree score to follow our protagonist on her journey of self-discovery.

When most people think of Japanese animation, they think of Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. Mary and the Witch’s Flower shows there are still many more stories to tell in this medium, and it’s a lovely film for children and adults alike.



  • Trivia: This is the debut film from Studio Ponoc. 
  • Tomatometer: 89%
  • Watch Now →

Netflix Films

8. Personal Shopper (2016)

“So we made this oath, whoever died first would send the other a sign.”

Personal Shopper shows Kristen Stewart has come a long way since her Twilight days and is a fantastic actress to be watched. She’s phenomenal in this film where she plays a personal shopper to the stars who haunts the Paris home of her recently deceased twin brother. 

It’s an arthouse ghost story that won’t leave you shaking in your seat like traditional horror flicks. Instead, you watch to see Kristen Stewart take command of the screen. She’s in practically every scene, and the film makes for a wonderful showcase of what she’s capable of.



  • Trivia: Writer/director Olivier Assayas says the film serves as a companion piece to Clouds of Sils Maria.
  • Tomatometer: 81%
  • Watch Now →

What to Watch on Netflix

9. Obvious Child (2014)

“She lit a fire in my belly.”

Obvious Child is a must-watch for every 20-something. It follows an aspiring comedian when her life is turned upside down when she loses her job, gets dumped, and finds out she’s pregnant. All of a sudden, a young woman with few responsibilities now has to grow up and learn to accept help from others. 

Much like Personal Shopper, Obvious Child is a wonderful showcase for its lead actress, Jenny Slate. It has moments of intimacy, but ultimately, the film is hilarious. The best jokes come out of plot instead of randomly inserted, making for a viewing experience that will make you laugh then make you cry.



  • Trivia: The film takes its name from a Paul Simon song.
  • Tomatometer: 91%
  • Watch Now →

Good Movies on Netflix

10. Blue Ruin (2013)

“The keys are in the car.”

Revenge movies are a dime a dozen. However, Blue Ruin manages to transcend its genre into something truly outstanding. It’s clear writer/director Jeremy Saulnier understands this genre inside and out, so he’s able to transcend expectations, and just when you think you know where the film is headed, you get thrown for a complete 180. 

The film is shot beautifully, and the violence is handled with care. In fact, the violence seems clumsy, but that’s the intention. Weapons are not a cool thing to be brandied about, and it makes the characters seem real and relatable. There’s genuine humanity in this violent film, and for anyone who loves Green Room, Blue Ruin is the best film to watch next.



  • Trivia: One of the characters has a tattoo of an electric chainsaw, which is a reference to Jeremy Saulnier’s 2007 film Murder Party
  • Tomatometer: 96%
  • Watch Now →

Up Next

Martin Scorsese Movies

After getting through The Irishman, you may want to go on a full Martin Scorsese binge. He’s directed some of the best films of all time, and you can gain a better appreciation of his craft by learning about his unique directorial style. Check out StudioBinder’s analysis of what truly makes Scorsese one of the finest directors of all time, which includes a complete rundown of his filmography. 

Up Next: A Filmmaker’s Guide to Scorsese’s Style →
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  • Mike Bedard is a graduate of UCLA. He’s a screenwriter based out of Los Angeles who’s written several short films as well as sketch comedy for various theaters around LA. He’s also written articles for sites like Cracked and Ranker.

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