the top films you should be watching right now

Netflix Middle East movies run the gamut of tastes and genres, either as Netflix Originals or third parties. 



Priyanka, Rajkummar Rao sitting around a car: Best Netflix Middle East


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Best Netflix Middle East

That means you can sample Oscar-nominated films from the comfort of your own living room, like Marriage Story and The Irishman. Yes, for every landmark film from Martin Scorsese or the Coen Brothers you get a Bright or a 6 Underground, but there’s still an excellent selection of cinema, especially if you’re going to be housebound for the foreseeable future. And right now, you can watch almost every Studio Ghibli film on there, which will help pass the time. 

We’re here to help you break down the best Netflix Middle East movies in the following list. We’ve selected kids films, plus dramas, comedies, and more to make sure there’s something for you. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.

To All The Boys: Always And Forever

As Lara Jean Covey prepares for the end of high school and the start of adulthood, a pair of life-changing trips lead her to reimagine what life with her family, friends, and Peter will look like after graduation.  

Streaming from February 12th

The White Tiger

Balram Halwai (Adarsh Gourav) narrates his epic and darkly humorous rise from poor villager to successful entrepreneur in modern India. Cunning and ambitious, our young hero jockeys his way into becoming a driver for Ashok (Rajkummar Rao) and Pinky (Priyanka Chopra Jonas), who have just returned from America. Society has trained Balram to be one thing — a servant — so he makes himself indispensable to his rich masters. 

But after a night of betrayal, he realizes the corrupt lengths they will go to trap him and save themselves. On the verge of losing everything, Balram rebels against a rigged and unequal system to rise up and become a new kind of master. Based on the New York Times bestseller and 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel.

Streaming now

Pelé

This documentary feature tells the story of iconic footballer Pelé, his quest for perfection and the mythical status he attained. As well as unprecedented interview access to Pelé, the film includes astounding archive footage and interviews with legendary former team-mates including Zagallo, Jairzinho and Rivellino. The story looks back at the extraordinary 12-year period in which Pelé, the only man to win three World Cup titles, went from young superstar in 1958 to national hero in 1970; a radical yet turbulent era in Brazil’s history. PELÉ is directed by David Tryhorn and Ben Nicholas, produced by Pitch Productions and executive produced by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald.

Streaming from February 23rd

I Care A Lot

Poised with sharklike self-assurance, Marla Grayson (Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike) is a professional, court-appointed guardian for dozens of elderly wards whose assets she seizes and cunningly bilks through dubious but legal means. It’s a well-oiled racket that  Marla and her business-partner and lover Fran (Eiza González) use with brutal efficiency on their latest “cherry,” Jennifer Peterson (two-time Academy Award winner Dianne Wiest) — a wealthy retiree with no living heirs or family. 

But when their mark turns out to have an equally shady secret of her own and connections to a volatile gangster (Golden Globe winner Peter Dinklage), Marla is forced to level up in a game only predators can play — one that’s neither fair, nor square.

Streaming from February 19th

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel

For nearly a century the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles has been linked to some of the city’s most notorious activity, from untimely deaths to housing serial killers. In 2013 college student Elisa Lam was staying at the Cecil when she vanished, igniting a media frenzy and mobilizing a global community of internet sleuths eager to solve the case. Lam’s disappearance, the latest chapter in the hotel’s complex history, offers a chilling and captivating lens into one of LA’s most nefarious settings.

Streaming from February 10th

A Simple Favour

Stephanie is a single mother with a parenting vlog who befriends Emily, a secretive upper-class woman who has a child at the same elementary school. When Emily goes missing, Stephanie takes it upon herself to investigate.

Streaming now

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary “Mother of the Blues,” Ma Rainey. Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music. As the band waits in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious cornet player Levee — who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry — spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories revealing truths that will forever change the course of their lives.

Streaming from December 18th

Jingle Jangle

A musical adventure and a visual spectacle for the ages, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a wholly fresh and spirited family holiday event. Set in the gloriously vibrant town of Cobbleton, the film follows legendary toymaker Jeronicus Jangle whose fanciful inventions burst with whimsy and wonder. 

But when his trusted apprentice steals his most prized creation, it’s up to his equally bright and inventive granddaughter — and a long-forgotten invention — to heal old wounds and reawaken the magic within. From the imagination of writer-director David E. Talbert and featuring original songs by John Legend, Philip Lawrence, and Davy Nathan, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey reminds us of the strength of family and the power of possibility.

Streaming from November 13th

Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine

Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine is a variety special full of vignettes dealing with issues of politics, race, gender, class, and other light subjects. Sarah will be joined by a fantastic array of special guests who will participate in short interviews, sketches and more shenanigans.

Streaming now

The Christmas Chronicle 2

It’s been two years since siblings Kate and Teddy Pierce saved Christmas, and a lot has changed. Kate, now a cynical teenager, is reluctantly spending Christmas in Cancun with her mom’s new boyfriend and his son Jack. Unwilling to accept this new version of her family, Kate decides to run away. But when a mysterious, magical troublemaker named Belsnickel threatens to destroy the North Pole and end Christmas for good, Kate and Jack are unexpectedly pulled into a new adventure with Santa Claus.

Streaming from November 25th

Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square

A rich and nasty woman, Regina Fuller, returns to her small hometown after her father’s death to evict everyone and sell the land to a mall developer – right before Christmas. However, after listening to stories of the local townsfolk, reconnecting with an old love, and accepting the guidance of an actual angel, Regina starts to have a change of heart. This is the story about family, love, and how a small town’s Christmas spirit can warm even the coldest of hearts. Featuring 14 original songs with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton.

Streaming from November 22nd  

Secrets of Saqqara tomb

Directed by James Tovell, executive produced by Richard Bradley and Caterina Turroni and produced by Lion Television and At Land Productions, the documentary follows the decoding of the tomb of an Old Kingdom priest Wahtye, unopened for 4,400 years, and the excavation of five shafts to uncover an astonishing ancient mystery. Transporting the audience back through the millennia, the film provides a unique and unprecedented window into the lives – and deaths – of one man and his family.

The condition of the tomb is remarkable – but the real excitement lies in what is to come. The archaeologists hope they are going to unearth the possessions, grave goods, and mummies of the high-priest and his family – and with that information hoping to transform our understanding of this period of Old Kingdom history.

Streaming now on Netflix

David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet

Produced by award-winning wildlife filmmakers Silverback Films and global environmental organization WWF, this unique feature documentary tells the story of life on our planet by the man who has seen more of the natural world than any other. In more than 90 years, Attenborough has visited every continent on the globe, exploring the wild places of our planet and documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder. Addressing the biggest challenges facing life on our planet, the film offers a powerful message of hope for future generations.

Streaming from October 4th

Dick Johnson Is Dead

A lifetime of making documentaries has convinced award-winning filmmaker Kirsten Johnson of the power of the real. But now she’s ready to use every escapist movie-making trick in the book – staging inventive and fantastical ways for her 86-year-old psychiatrist father to die while hoping that cinema might help her bend time, laugh at pain and keep her father alive forever. The darkly funny and wildly imaginative Dick Johnson Is Dead is a love letter from a daughter to a father, creatively blending fact and fiction to create a celebratory exploration of how movies give us the tools to grapple with life’s profundity.

Streaming from October 2nd

The Trial of the Chicago 7

What was intended to be a peaceful protest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention turned into a violent clash with police and the National Guard. The organizers of the protest—including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale—were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot and the trial that followed was one of the most notorious in history.

Streaming from October 16th

His House

After making a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan, a young refugee couple struggle to adjust to their new life in a small English town that has an unspeakable evil lurking beneath the surface.

Streaming from October 30th

Over the Moon

Gallery: All the sumptuous and escapist period dramas to arrive in 2021 (Prima (UK))

a person in a dress: Rising star Jodie Turner Smith will star as the ill-fated second wife of King Henry VIII in Channel 5's feminist reworking of Anne Boleyn's final months from her perspective. The psychological thriller will "shine a feminist light" on Boleyn's struggle to survive in Tudor England's oppressive patriarchal society, and the brutal consequences of her failure to provide Henry VIII with a male heir.Anne Boleyn will air on Channel 5 later this year.

Fueled with determination and a passion for science, a bright young girl builds a rocket ship to the moon to prove the existence of a legendary Moon Goddess. There she ends up on an unexpected quest, and discovers a whimsical land of fantastical creatures.  Directed by animation legend Glen Keane, and produced by Gennie Rim and Peilin Chou, Over the Moon  is an exhilarating musical adventure about moving forward, embracing the unexpected, and the power of imagination.

Streaming from October 23rd

Project Power

On the streets of New Orleans, word begins to spread about a mysterious new pill that unlocks superpowers unique to each user. The catch: You don’t know what will happen until you take it. While some develop bulletproof skin, invisibility, and super strength, others exhibit a deadlier reaction. 

But when the pill escalates crime within the city to dangerous levels, a local cop (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) teams with a teenage dealer (Dominique Fishback) and a former soldier fueled by a secret vendetta (Jamie Foxx) to fight power with power and risk taking the pill in order to track down and stop the group responsible for creating it.

Streaming now

Rob Schneider: Asian Momma, Mexican Kids

Actor, director, screenwriter, and comedian Rob Schneider’s first Netflix original comedy special, Rob Schneider: Asian Momma, Mexican Kids, gives viewers a look at his family and personal life through hilarious anecdotes. Ending with a surprise duet performance with his daughter, singer-songwriter Elle King, Rob talks about potty training his young daughters and his own pig potential.

Streaming now

Sam Jay: 3 In The Morning

Following her Netflix debut on The Comedy Lineup Part 1, Emmy Award-nominated Saturday Night Live writer Sam Jay is back with her first hour-long Netflix original comedy special, 3 In The Morning. Filmed at The Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia, Sam Jay delivers the witty, candid and raw brand of comedy that earned her recognition as a standout comic.

Streaming now

Jim Jefferies: Intolerant

Jim Jefferies returns to Netflix with his fourth Netflix Original stand-up special, Jim Jefferies: Intolerant. Filmed at The Wilbur in Boston, the Australian comedian toes the ‘comedy line’ with sharp and unapologetic jokes about his intolerance of lactose, germaphobes, and people with peanut allergies.

Streaming now

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado

Every day for decades, Walter Mercado — the iconic, gender non-conforming astrologer — mesmerized 120 million Latino viewers with his extravagance and positivity. Then he vanished from the public eye. Now this documentary seeks to shed more light on his dazzling career, his hopes for his millions of followers, and what it truly means to be an unforgettable icon.

Streaming now

The Old Guard

Led by a warrior named Andy, a covert group of tight-knit mercenaries with a mysterious inability to die have fought to protect the mortal world for centuries. But when the team is recruited to take on an emergency mission and their extraordinary abilities are suddenly exposed, it’s up to Andy and Nile, the newest soldier to join their ranks, to help the group eliminate the threat of those who seek to replicate and monetize their power by any means necessary.

Streaming now

Jo Koy: In His Elements

For the first time ever, comedian Jo Koy takes Netflix to the Philippines in his new special. Koy celebrates his heritage by telling jokes about life as a Filipino-American while highlighting the culture of Manila and sharing the stage with some incredible guest performers.

Streaming now

Da 5 Bloods

From ACADEMY  Award Winner Spike Lee comes the story of four African-American Vets who return to Vietnam. Searching for the remains of their fallen Squad Leader and the promise of buried treasure, our heroes battle forces of Man and Nature — while confronting the lasting ravages of The Immorality of The Vietnam War.

Streaming now

Spelling the Dream

An Indian-American competitor has won the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee for the past 12 years straight, making the trend one of the longest in sports history. This documentary chronicles the ups and downs of four Indian-American students as they compete to realize their dream of winning the iconic tournament, and what it means for the community.

Streaming now

The Last Days of American Crime

As a final response to terrorism and crime, the U.S. government plans to broadcast a signal making it impossible for anyone to knowingly commit unlawful acts. Graham Bricke, a career criminal who was never able to hit the big score, plans to commit the heist of the century and the last crime in American history before the signal goes off.

Streaming now

The Half of It

Shy, straight-A student Ellie is hired by sweet but inarticulate jock Paul, who needs help winning over a popular girl. But their new and unlikely friendship gets complicated when Ellie discovers she has feelings for the same girl.

Streaming now

Becoming

Becoming is an intimate look into the life of former First Lady Michelle Obama during a moment of profound change, not only for her personally but for the country she and her husband served over eight impactful years in the White House. The film offers a rare and up-close look at her life, taking viewers behind the scenes as she embarks on a 34-city tour that highlights the power of community to bridge our divides and the spirit of connection that comes when we openly and honestly share our stories.

Streaming now

The Lovebirds

A couple (Issa Rae & Kumail Nanjiani) experiences a defining moment in their relationship when they are unintentionally embroiled in a murder mystery. As their journey to clear their names takes them from one extreme – and hilarious – circumstance to the next, they must figure out how they, and their relationship, can survive the night.

Streaming now

Spirited Away (and all Ghibli films on Netflix Middle East)

Studio Ghibli has an unbeatable selection of kid-friendly movies, and almost the entire archive is now on Netflix as of April 2020. Spirited Away, about a girl whose parents are turned into pigs who then goes to work in a mystical bathhouse, is one highlight, but you could pick any of these and have a great viewing experience. 

Here’s the complete list: Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Ponyo, Pom Poko, The Wind Rises, When Marnie Was There, From Up on Poppy Hill, Whisper of the Heart, Arriety, Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Only Yesterday, The Cat Returns, Castle in the Sky, Nausicaä, My Neighbors the Yamadas. 

They’re all beautifully animated and most of them are deeply moving, with more thematic texture than you’d typically get from a movie targeted at kids. A real coup by Netflix Middle East. 

Love Wedding Repeat

In this innovative romantic comedy about the power of chance, alternate versions of the same wedding unfold as Jack (Sam Claflin) tries to make sure his little sister has the perfect wedding day. But he’ll have to juggle an angry ex-girlfriend, an uninvited guest with a secret, a misplaced sleep sedative, and unexpectedly reuniting with the girl of his dreams who got away, Dina (Olivia Munn). If he succeeds, Jack might find a happy ending of his own.

I Am Mother

I Am Motjher is a sci-fi thriller about a teenage girl (Clara Rugaard), who is the first of a new generation of humans to be raised by Mother (Rose Byrne), a robot designed to repopulate the earth after the extinction of humankind. 

But the pair’s unique relationship is threatened when an injured stranger (Hilary Swank) arrives with news that calls into question everything Daughter has been told about the outside world and her Mother’s intentions.

Dunkirk

The rescue of Allied troops by a volunteer brigade of civilian ships is indelibly marked on the psyche of the United Kingdom, and few films portray this moment in history better than Christopher Nolan’s powerful epic. Following the experiences of a pilot (Tom Hardy), a soldier stranded on the beach (Fionn Whitehead), and a civilian rescuer (Mark Rylance), Dunkirk stands out for its quieter moments of reflection as much as its breathtaking set pieces.

The Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in this brutal drama about a man left to die in the wilderness in the 1820s. Surviving a bear attack and other horrors, this is a grim but beautifully shot tale of revenge.

Uncut Gems

If you’re willing to subject yourself to this impressively stressful two hours of tension from the Safdie brothers, let’s just say you’re about to become very well acquainted with the edge of your seat. Largely an actor known for a series of unfunny films, Adam Sandler is unrecognizable as a New York City jeweler that risks everything to escape steep debts, and angry collectors. Just remember to breathe out every so often.

Coffee & Kareem

While police officer James Coffee (Ed Helms) enjoys his new relationship with Vanessa Manning (Taraji P. Henson), her beloved 12-year-old son Kareem (Terrence Little Gardenhigh) plots their break-up. 

Attempting to scare away his mom’s boyfriend for good, Kareem tries to hire criminal fugitives to take him out but accidentally exposes a secret network of criminal activity, making his family its latest target. To protect Vanessa, Kareem teams up with Coffee — the partner he never wanted — for a dangerous chase across Detroit.

The Irishman

The Irishman grabbed headlines for the CG de-ageing process applied to actors Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci in this movie, but when you watch this epic crime drama, you’ll understand why this creative decision was so important. Based on a biography of Frank Sheeran, a union official who gets caught up in the illegal activities of the Bufalino crime family, this long but rewarding picture by the masterful Martin Scorsese takes place over decades. The changing faces of the actors underlines the idea that you’re watching Sheeran’s actual life story play out.  

Marriage Story

This story of a marriage coming apart isn’t as devastating to watch as you might think. It explores the complex mixed emotions that come as part of breaking up with someone you once loved, and how this family’s structure is impacted by the decision to divorce. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson put in arguably career-best performances, here. 

Looper

Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a looper, which means he kills criminals sent from a future where it’s much harder to get rid of a body. It’s a straightforward and lucrative line of work, until he’s forced to kill the older version of himself (Bruce Willis), for reasons that only later make sense. A zippy and innovative sci-fi thriller from director Rian Johnson. 

The Main Event

When 11-year-old Leo Thompson discovers a magical wrestling mask that grants him super strength, he uses it to enter a WWE competition. With the support of his grandmother, Leo will do whatever it takes to achieve his dream of becoming a WWE Superstar. Can one kid win it all, in the face of epic challengers in the ring? 

Roma

From the director of Gravity and Children of Men, Alfonso Cuarón, Roma is the story of a housekeeper Cleo, as she and her family come up against social hierarchy and political turmoil in ’70s Mexico. This semi-autobiographical film is said to be inspired by Cuarón’s own upbringing, and has been widely acknowledged as one of the best films of 2018, winning two Golden Globes for Best Director and Best Foreign Language Film.

Okja

Okja is a fantastic movie that proves Netflix really does know what it’s doing when it comes to commissioning films. Made by Bong Joon-ho, who would next direct awards contender Parasite, the film is the strange tale of a little girl and her best friend, a giant animal called Okja. The friendship is threatened when a CEO (a superb Tilda Swinton) wants to take Okja for nefarious means. The whole movie may well be an ode to animal activism but it’s such a refreshing movie that you don’t mind it preaching to you on occasion. 

Annihilation

Netflix picked up the international rights to this movie from Ex Machina director Alex Garland, which was a good call. It’s uncompromising sci-fi that has a smart smattering of horror running through it. Based on the hit series of books The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer, the movie focuses on a group of scientists who go into Area X, a quarantined section of Earth where strange things are going on. Natalie Portman is superb as the lead, a biologist who wants to find out what happened to her husband. 

Set It Up

Harper and Charlie are overworked, underpaid assistants wasting their 20s slaving away for bosses who treat them like dirt and work them ‘round the clock. When they realize that they would have much more free time if the people they worked for weren’t single, they concoct a plan to lure their bosses into a faux-romance.