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The best new movies of 2018 on Netflix

Eriekn Juragan/Netflix

Don’t miss these new classics.

It can be hard to find new movies on Netflix, especially if you’re looking specifically for new releases from 2018.

Netflix has unloaded a lot on subscribers in 2018: at least 50 original movies, covering a mix of comedy, drama, rom-com, sci-fi, and kids. That number will likely only go up in 2019, as Netflix’s original content starts to eclipse its movie library.

So where do you even start? Here are our picks for the best movies of 2018—either Netflix originals or movies released this year that are now on Netflix.

The best new movies on Netflix: 2018 new releases

1) A Futile and Stupid Gesture

A Futile and Stupid Gesture, Netflix’s feature film adaptation of Josh Karp’s 2006 book of the same name, is an exploration of the creation of humor mag National Lampoon and its odd-couple co-founders, Henry Beard (Domhnall Gleeson) and Doug Kenney (Will Forte). It’s removed enough from its 1970s origins to offer new insight into its generational influence—and it also recontextualizes satire in an era littered with “fake news.” —Audra Schroeder

new movies netflix 2018 - a futile and stupid gesture Netflix/YouTube

2) Annihilation (not available in the U.S.)

In Alex Garland’s adaptation of Annihilation, we still get to explore Area X, a quarantined area of land besieged by mysterious environmental changes. That’s about where the similarities to the book end. The film uses author Jeff VanderMeer’s spectral setting to get in its characters’ heads. Natalie Portman plays Lena, a biologist and former soldier who is grieving the loss of her husband, Kane (Oscar Isaac). He was sent into Area X on a secret mission and feared dead, but he suddenly returns home—altered. Lena’s mission there is one of truth and redemption, but Portman plays her with appropriate detachment. We don’t really know her true motives, and fellow travelers Anya (Gina Rodriguez), Cass (Tuva Novotny), Josie (Tessa Thompson), and Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) have their own reasons for going on an apparent suicide mission. —Audra Schroeder

new movies netflix 2018 Netflix

3) Forgotten

South Korean thriller Forgotten is a slick, twisty yarn. It’s also a blast. Jin-Seok gets caught up investigating his brother’s kidnapping, and each new thing he learns makes him question everything about his own life. Nothing is as plain as it seems, and our protagonist comes face to face with long-forgotten demons. Action master Jang Hang-jun’s film is a well-executed genre exercise that delivers an emotional wallop to go with its thrills and jaw-dropping reveals. —Eddie Strait

new movies netflix 2018 - forgotten Jhorge Settler/YouTube

4) Black Panther

Instead of following a tired old structure for superhero origin stories, Black Panther dives into an expansive fantasy setting with an ensemble cast of shifting alliances. In that sense, it may be the best adaptation we’ve seen from Marvel Comics. Director Ryan Coogler and his co-writer Joe Robert Cole take some pretty complex political themes from the comics and articulate them in ways that even younger kids can understand.  Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

new movies netflix 2018 - black panther YouTube Movies/YouTube

5) Roxanne Roxanne

A long overdue biopic, the dutiful Roxanne Roxanne tells the early ‘80s beginnings of Lolita Shante Gooden, known to the hip-hop world as Roxanne Shante, rap’s first female superstar. Serviceable as a straightforward film, it suffers from a lack of depth as it tries to cover as many real-life events as it can. However, the accurate time-period placing, expert editing, and dazzling performances of Chanté Adams, Nia Long, and Mahershala Ali cover most of the film’s tangles. —Kahron Spearman

new movies netflix 2018 - roxanne roxanne Netflix/YouTube

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6) Layla M.

Layla M. is about teenage rebellion gone awry. Layla is just coming into her own as a person and realizing that her own beliefs don’t quite line up with the rest of her family and friends. In the search to find like-minded people, Layla leaves home and gets married. Her new life takes her far from home where she finds herself on the edge of terrorism, as her husband’s commitment to their religion is more radical than her own. The movie is a compelling look at a story most audiences haven’t seen before. Even though the film feels like it’s just getting started by the time it ends, it’s worth your time. —Eddie Strait

new movies netflix 2018 - layla m KinoCheck Indie/YouTube

7) First Match

Monique (Elvire Emanuelle) is teen from Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood who’s searching for acceptance and direction after being cycled through foster homes. We first meet her while she’s being thrown out of her most recent home, her belongings raining down on her from above. She’s so used to putting up her defenses that we’re not sure what to make of her, but we can see there’s an anger to be channeled. In an effort to define herself in the chaos, Mo joins the all-male high school wrestling team, which dovetails with her reconnecting with her estranged father Darrel (the tremendous Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who has just gotten out of jail and is trying to make ends meet. He used to wrestle too, and their relationship gets a tentative restart once he starts coming to her matches and helping her train. Like Mo, Darrel is a complex character, and Abdul-Mateen plays his many sides beautifully. He ropes Mo into illegal fighting to earn money. She’s hesitant about getting involved but is pulled along by that need for her father and his guidance, however fleeting. —Audra Schroeder

new movies netflix 2018 - first match Netflix/YouTube

8) 6 Balloons

In Marja-Lewis Ryan’s 6 Balloons, one long night tests the limits of compassion. It tells the story of Katie (Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson) a woman who’s trying to plan a surprise birthday party for her boyfriend. But as the day goes on she collides with her brother Seth (Dave Franco), a heroin addict who’s using again. “The loneliness inside those dark moments is almost more crippling… not being able to talk about the things; not knowing where to talk,” Ryan tells the Daily Dot. “If this isn’t your story, then maybe you can gain a little empathy for people who are experiencing this. And if it is your story, hopefully, you can feel a little less lonely.” 6 Balloons is very much about middle-class addiction, based on a similar night Ryan’s best friend (and the film’s co-producer) Samantha Housman experienced: Her brother, a lawyer, was addicted to heroin. —Audra Schroeder

new movies netflix 2018 6 balloons Netflix/YouTube

9) Come Sunday

Evangelical biopic Come Sunday chronicles the fallout of Bishop Carlton Pearson when he is dubbed as a heretic for preaching the gospel of inclusion—the idea that no one will go to Hell because Jesus died for everyone’s sins. Director Joshua Marston does a successful job of making viewers feel like they’re watching events unfold in real life, but his insistence on presenting both sides of the conflict without bias hinders the movie from ever fully delving into any true emotion or character development. Come Sunday lacks compelling storytelling and nuance, but it successfully shines a light on the shortcomings of a modern-day Christianity that lacks empathy. —Tess Cagle

new movies netflix 2018 - come sunday Netflix/YouTube

10) Cargo

In Cargo, the zombie apocalypse is intimate, compelling and showcases the best and worst of humanity in the Australian Outback. And for one father (Martin Freeman), the stakes have never been higher as he only has only 48 hours to find someone to take care of his young daughter before he turns into one of the undead. —Michelle Jaworski

new movies netflix 2018 - new netflix releases cargo Netflix/YouTube

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11) Catching Feelings

The South African film Catching Feelings follows thirty-something professor Max and his journalist wife, Sam, as their relationship is tested by a combination of money problems, infidelity, and older white writer, Heiner, who moves into their home. The film is much more than a romantic comedy—it’s a weighty, topical film about a man grappling with racial tension in a post-apartheid society. —Tess Cagle

new movies netflix 2018 - netflix new releases catching feelings UIP South Africa/YouTube

12) Kodachrome

Kodachrome is like going to your childhood home to play a game of catch in your backyard: It’s comforting and you fall right back into the routine. What starts as a paint-by-numbers story of an estranged father and son working out their issues during a long road trip morphs into a genuinely affecting tale of family and mortality with a satisfying emotional payoff. Ed Harris plays the role of a father and renowned photographer, Ben, with customary elegance, but Jason Sudeikis steals the show as his son, Matt. Jonathan Tropper’s script pulls no punches, and director Mark Raso allows the scenes to breathe, making Kodachrome one of the better Netflix releases of 2018. —Eddie Strait

new movies netflix 2018 Netflix/YouTube

13) Manhunt

John Woo gets back to basics with the melodramatic and ridiculously entertaining Manhunt. After waking up in bed next to a dead woman, Du Qiu finds himself accused of her murder. To prove his innocence he must go on the run while he looks for evidence. On his trail is detective Yamura. The two men find himself in shootout after shootout and chase after chase. If you’ve ever enjoyed one of Woo’s action movies, you’ll get a kick out of Manhunt. —Eddie Strait

new movies netflix 2018 manhunt Netflix/YouTube

14) Maktub

Guy Amir and Hanan Savyon, an already-flourishing Israeli TV duo, make the great leap forward onto the silver screen with the serviceable and ultimately rewarding Maktub, a dark hybrid comedy about two low-level mobsters thrust from their thug roles into living guardian angels. Steve (Savyon) and Chuma (Amir) are mob collectors, who as maktub (or fate) would have it, are the only survivors of a terrorist attack after they go into a restaurant bathroom to settle a bet about whether a shirt stain consisted of pomegranate concentrate or blood from a chef they’d just beaten up for money. Maktub‘s leads end up servicing the supporting characters more often than they should, but the plot ends bind together well, mitigating any character shortcomings. Maktub finishes sweet, with Amir and Savyon conclusively nailing their compound of playfulness and gallows humor. —Kahron Spearman

new movies netflix 2018 maktub Dana Goren/YouTube

15) Sunday’s Illness

In Sunday’s Illness, the raw emotions between a mother and the daughter she abandoned 35 years ago are on full display as they spend 10 days together, showing what could have been and what will never be with painstaking beauty. Mother Anabel (Susi Sánchez) and daughter Chiara (Bárbara Lennie) constantly push and pull at one another even when they aren’t in each other’s orbit. Sunday’s Illness could have taken its concept into a number of directions with the backdrop—and impeccable cinematography—of an isolated house located on a wooded mountain that helps set the tone. Instead, the film goes down a more emotional and sometimes uncomfortable path, climaxing in a profoundly life-changing experience. Like the snapshots we see, we’re left wondering what it might all say. —Michelle Jaworski

new movies netflix 2018 sunday's illness CINEGardens: Indie Film Trailers/YouTube

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16) Set It Up

Set It Up stars Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell playing stressed-out assistants seeking to hitch their powerful bosses, ably played by Taye Diggs and Lucy Liu. Harper (Deutch) works for fearless sports editor Kirsten (Liu) while slowly drowning her journalist dreams. Charlie (Powell) waits on irritable businessman Rick (Diggs) hand and foot, leaving no time to consider his life or tend to his wasting relationship with status-chasing model girlfriend Suze (Joan Smalls). The assistants soon bring their alpha bosses together, and of course, this means they find themselves predictably closer as well. Set It Up doesn’t break any new ground, but its stars’ chemistry and diverse casting make it a win. —Kahron Spearman

new movies netflix 2018 set it up Netflix/YouTube

17) Ali’s Wedding

Ali’s Wedding serves as a functional rom-com adapted from star and co-writer Osamah Sami’s memoir Good Muslim Boy, a bright and honest look into the reconciliation of the modern world and Muslim tradition. Desperate to please his father and his community Ali (played by Sami) lies about passing his tests to get into medical school, where he falls in love with Dianne (Helana Sawires, in a moving portrayal), a medical student and the daughter of a Lebanese fish and chip spot owner. In the course of all this, Ali has already been set up in an arranged marriage he’s desperately trying to get out of. Sami and Andrew co-writer Knight make use of all the usual rom-com cliches, but the decisions come with qualitative, selective cheekiness directly aimed at Western filmmakers. In staying true to his roots, Sami has likely helped Netflix attract an international audience and forged a path forward for Muslims worldwide to follow. —Kahron Spearman

new movies netflix 2018 ali's wedding Madman Films/YouTube

18) Us and Them

Rene Liu’s film tracks the course of Jianping and Ziaoxiao’s relationship over the course of a decade. The two meet on a train on their way home for the Chinese New Year, then the film checks in on them over the same holiday stretch each year. As their relationship ebbs and flows we watch the characters mature and learn to grapple with their feelings and insecurities. The movie is well acted, but the star here is Liu, who makes her debut as a director and also co-wrote the script. She is a patient storyteller and you always feel like you’re in good hands. —Eddie Strait

new movies netflix 2018 us and them Netflix Asia/YouTube

19) Calibre

A python has never choked me out, but I imagine watching Calibre is a reasonable approximation. The movie starts with hedonistic bachelor Marcus (Martin McCann) and nebbish father-to-be Vaughn (Jack Lowden) getting away for a weekend hunting trip in the Scottish Highlands. When you have a person reticent to shoot a gun prodded along by someone excited to shoot, well, bad things tend to happen. Writer and director Matt Palmer shows restraint throughout by keeping the story tightly contained, making Calibre a thrilling descent into darkness. —Eddie Strait

new movies netflix 2018 calibre Rapid Trailer/YouTube

20) The Skin of the Wolf

The Skin of the Wolf is a gorgeously shot, stark drama about a rough-around-the-edges animal trapper named Martinon (Mario Casas) who lives in an abandoned northeastern Spain outpost. Martinon acquires a wife named Pascuala (Ruth Diaz) to quell his loneliness, and he quickly learns she isn’t built for the rough terrain and inclement weather. After she falls ill, he’s forced to care for her and the unborn child inside. In the course of two short-lived “relationships,” Martinon is faced with life-and-death consequences that abruptly civilize him. As they say, life comes at you fast. —Kahron Spearman

new movies netflix 2018 MiamiFilmFestival/YouTube

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21) Like Father

After being left at the altar, Rachel and her estranged father end up on her honeymoon cruise together, not so much making up for lost time as trying to endure the awkwardness of it all. While formulaic at times, the light comedy succeeds mostly because of the great chemistry between the two leads, Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammer, who are more alike than they care to acknowledge—and all of the ridiculous activities aboard the cruise. —Austin Powell

new movies netflix 2018 like father Netflix/YouTube

22) To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

The rom-com rebirth happened on Netflix this year, and it came with an in-house cast of heartthrobs. This is its most well-rounded rom-com, the story of a teenager named Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and her stash of unsent love letters, which is mailed out by her well-meaning younger sister. But the movie doesn’t stop at Lara Jean’s love life, as she attempts damage control and reconnects with one of her crushes (Noah Centineo) for another take on the fake-relationship-turns-real trope. It also explores high-school friendships and her relationship with her sisters, giving us a more complex sketch of a girl who isn’t just defined by the boys she’s loved. Audra Schroeder

new movies netflix 2018 - to all the boys i've loved before Netflix/YouTube

23) The Angel

The Israeli-American historical spy thriller The Angel, Netflix‘s latest international original film, is a mostly well-done adaptation of Uri Bar-Joseph’s book, The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel. Capably directed by Ariel Vromen, with Marwan Kenzari and Toby Kebbell starring in exceptional performances, the sturdy film doesn’t attempt to be more than it is, living through the complicated backstory. Ultimately The Angel works on its whole, largely on Vromen’s excellent direction and the stiff back of Kenzari, who turns in a masterful performance. The politics and messiness of the film aside, his interaction with Kebbell is must-see viewing. —Kahron Spearman

new movies netflix 2018 the angel Netflix/YouTube

24) The Night Comes for Us

This Indonesian action extravaganza follows Ito (Joe Taslim), a mercenary for the Southeast Asian Triad who decides to leave his brutal lifestyle. But he quickly finds out that there no clean getaways and everything has a cost. With the whole Triad out to get him, Ito must fight for his freedom and life. Writer-director Timo Tjahjanto delivers a raucous two hours full of intricate action scenes both huge and intimate in scale. This film is a must-see for anyone who likes action movies and doesn’t mind a little (or a lot) of bloodshed. Eddie Strait

new movies netflix 2018 the night comes for us Netflix/YouTube

25) The Kindergarten Teacher

When Lisa, a teacher frustrated with her life, discovers one of her students, Parker, has a talent for poetry, she takes a special interest in him. As it becomes clear to her that no one else values his gift as much as she does, she becomes obsessed. Her determination to nurture Parker’s talent leads her down a dark path. Maggie Gyllenhaal gives a tremendous performance as Lisa, and writer-director Sara Colangelo makes a strong impression with tricky material. —Eddie Strait

new movies netflix 2018 - the kindergarten teacher Netflix/YouTube

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26) Outlaw King

27) Roma (out Dec. 14)

Inspired by his childhood in 1970s Mexico City, Roma is the latest film from visionary writer/director Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men). It’s a moving autobiographical drama about a young woman who works as a housemaid for a wealthy Mexican family, based on Cuarón’s beloved childhood nanny. After earning widespread praise at film festivals, this could be Netflix’s first chance at one of the major Oscar categories. —Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

new movies netflix 2018 Netflix/YouTube

28) Outside In

Director Lynn Shelton makes the jump to drama in Outside In, the story of a man named Chris (Jay Duplass) who’s been released from prison after 20 years and tries to reconnect with Carol (Edie Falco), the former teacher who helped free him. This new dynamic, in which Chris confesses his romantic feelings for Carol, is complicated by her teenage daughter and husband, and the film explores some murky moral questions, anchored by Falco’s vulnerable performance. Audra Schroeder

new movie releases netflix 2018 - outside in The Orchard/YouTube

29)  Chappaquiddick 

What really happened in July 1969, when Ted Kennedy drove his car off the Chappaquiddick Island bridge and killed political strategist Mary Jo Kopechne? Jason Clarke stars as Kennedy and Kate Mara as Kopechne in this dramatization, which hints at their relationship and sketches out the scandal that followed the accident. Clarke imbues Kennedy with the appropriate amount of myopic entitlement, and the film highlights how men in charge are often their own worst enemies. Audra Schroeder

new movies netflix 2018 ONE Media/YouTube

30) Coco (2017)

Coco is easily a top-tier Pixar film. The studio broadens its horizons a bit with this story set in the culture of Día de Muertos. Miguel is a 12-year-old with an affinity for music, but his family wants him to go into their shoe-making business, on account of his family’s history with music and musicians. Miguel travels to the land of the dead to learn about his heritage and finds out more than he was ready for. Coco is a touching film about family and the importance of remembrance and, as with most Pixar movies, learning to accept yourself and others for who they are. It goes without saying that Coco is visually stunning and emotionally involving. Good luck getting “Remember Me” out of your head. —Eddie Strait

netflis new releases coco Pixar/YouTube

Still not sure what to watch tonight? Here are our guides for the absolute best movies on Netflix, must-see Netflix original series, documentaries, docuseries, and movies.

Looking for something more specific? Here are our Netflix guides for the best war movies, documentaries, anime, indie flicks, true crime, food shows, rom-coms, LGBT movies, alien movies, gangster movies, Westerns, film noir, and movies based on true stories streaming right now. There are also sad movies guaranteed to make you cry, weird movies to melt your brain, old movies when you need something classic, and standup specials when you really need to laugh. Or check out Flixable, a search engine for Netflix.

Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.