Netflix’s selection of 2019 movies isn’t too impressive, but among many rather skippable films, there are a few ones that really deserve a watch. While this list includes a couple of the more popular films from last year, we also tried to include some overlooked gems, so make sure you haven’t missed them. As always, please let us know in the comments if you have any other suggestions of great 2019 films available for streaming on Netflix.
10. The Forest Of Love
The latest film from Japanese director Sion Sono (“Love Exposure”, “Cold Fish”) follows a charismatic con man and a trio of aspiring filmmakers who force themselves into the lives of two young women who’ve been through a traumatic experience while in high school.
With a 150 minutes runtime, this is a long film and if you’re not into gory, weird, excessive, and totally messed up kind of movies, it might not be for you. However, if you’ve seen and liked Sion Sono’s other works, you will probably enjoy “The Forest Of Love”, which feels like an amalgamation of all of the themes, characters, and obsessions that can be found in the director’s past catalogue. It is a self-indulgent, indescribably strange, and nearly impossible to review movie, the kind of film that you will either love or hate.
Directed by “Despicable Me” creator Sergio Pablos, “Klaus” is one of the most beautiful animations in recent years and a Christmas movie bound to become a classic.
The film follows Jesper (Jason Schwartzman), the young spoiled son of a wealthy postman general who is sent to a remote island town tasked with delivering six-thousand letters within a year. There, Joseph meets a reclusive woodsman named Klaus (J.K. Simmons), whose house is filled with handmade toys. The two develop an unlikely friendship and give birth to an everlasting holiday tradition.
“Klaus” might have been just another rehashed Santa Claus origin story, but this is not the case. The film is not only beautifully animated, mixing 2D animation with volumetric lighting and texturing that give it a breathtaking 3D look, but it’s also surprisingly heartfelt and genuine. Add to that a great cast (J.K. Simmons is perfect as the titular character), a witty and creative story that will please both kids and adults and what you get is easily one of the best Christmas movies in years.
Alex Lehmann’s second feature film is a comedy-drama about platonic love between men that stars Mark Duplass and Ray Romano as Michael and Andy, two middle-aged best friends and neighbors who love watching Asian Kung-Fu movies, eating pizza and playing Paddleton (a game the two made up together) near an abandoned drive-in movie theater. When Michael receives the terrible news that he has terminal stomach cancer and only months to live, he decides to get medication to end his life and asks Andy for help.
“Paddleton” tells a pretty straight forward story, yet Duplass’ and Romano’s great chemistry and endearing performances, the well-written dialogue filled with witty jokes and existential questions, and a truly touching ending make it one of the better movies from last year you can watch on Netflix.
7. Tell Me Who I Am
One of the best documentaries of 2019, “Tell Me Who I Am” tells the heartbreaking story of twin brothers Alex and Marcus Lewis. When he was 18 years old, Alex lost his memory after a motorcycle accident and the only person he remembered about was his twin brother. Marcus helped Alex regain his memories and identity, but even nearly 40 years after the accident, Alex doesn’t fully know who he is and is yet to discover some dark secrets about his childhood.
“Tell Me Who I Am” is a truly complex documentary that tackles some very interesting subjects and feels like nothing we’ve seen before. It starts out as a film about identity, memory, and how the brain works, but soon turns out to be something much darker and becomes a rather harrowing story about abuse, trauma, and self-deception. It’s dark cinematography, unexpected twists, and tense atmosphere make it sometimes feel like a true-crime documentary, but it never ceases to be moving, emotional, and a very, very intimate experience that will leave you thinking for a long time.
6. I Lost My Body
“Frozen II” and “Toy Story 4” might have been the most viewed animated films of 2019, but this French underrated gem is probably the best of them.
Freely adapted from the book “Happy Hand” by Guillaume Laurant (screenwriter of “Amélie”), the film revolves around two parallel stories that somehow come together in the end. One of them follows Naoufel, a young man who is grieving over the loss of his parents and falls in love with a girl when he delivers her a pizza. Meanwhile, a second story follows a mysterious severed hand (think about “Thing” from “The Addams Family”) that escaped from a lab refrigerator and wanders the suburbs of Paris, trying to find and reconnect with its lost body.
Weird, atmospheric and sometimes creepy, “I Lost My Body” is an animation aimed at adults and it can get pretty dark at times, but at the same time it is also very poetic, touching, and filled with profound symbolism, dwelling on themes such as loneliness, loss and longing. Its surreal nature and unresolved narrative might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the film is worth watching if only for the visually stunning, unique animation and Dan Levy’s haunting score.