The best films on Hulu

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The best films on Hulu


Stop me if this sounds familiar: It’s a Friday night, you’re in the mood for a movie, you’ve fired up Hulu…and now you’ve spent 40 minutes racked with indecision, just trying to decide which of the endless options in front of you feels right for right now.

Well, we can’t tell you what your heart wants. But we can tell you what our hearts want — what movies we love the most, which ones we never get sick of, which ones we still think about, which ones we’d happily recommend to anyone asking. Like, you know, yourself. Here are the best films on Hulu.

1. Romeo + Juliet

Countless filmmakers have tried to modernize Shakespeare for the big screen, but for our money, few have managed to do it more memorably than Baz Luhrmann with Romeo + Juliet. His is an adaptation that goes way over the top on every single level, and then keeps going several more miles for good measure: Everything, from the flamboyantly colorful costumes (by Catherine Martin), to the unimpeachably cool soundtrack, to the tongue-twisting delivery of the Bard’s best lines, seems to be taking a more-is-more approach. What grounds it is the believably raw passion between its star-crossed lovers, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes at the respective heights of their teen-idol powers. Is it maybe a bit cheesy? Yes. Do we fall for it every single time? Also yes.

How to watch: Romeo + Juliet is streaming on Hulu.

Love a romance with a killer soundtrack? Julie Taymor’s Beatles musical Across the Universe is also streaming on Hulu.

2. Fast Color

Gugu Mbatha-Raw in "Fast Color."


Credit: Lionsgate

Julia Hart’s Fast Color is set in a dystopian, drought-struck near future, and centers on a family with special powers: Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), her mother Bo (Lorraine Toussaint), and her young daughter Lila (Saniyya Sidney). But it’s not your typical sci-fi superhero movie. It’s less interested in explosive action or intricate mythology than in nuanced character work, charting the family’s emotional journeys as they work to heal the bonds between them and learn to harness their gifts for good. The results are thoughtful, moving, and — in a sea of same-y blockbusters about great powers and great responsibility — refreshingly unique.

How to watch: Fast Color is streaming on Hulu.

Looking for more grounded, emotional sci-fi? Arrival is also streaming on Hulu.

3. Parasite

Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite is a shapeshifter: Just when you think you’ve finally got a handle on the thing, it has a way of slipping through your fingers and transforming into something else entirely. It’s a heist film, a black comedy, a thriller, a horror, a satire, a tragedy, and part of the fun is simply sitting back to see what new shades it might take on next.

Through all these turns, though, the one thing that’s never in doubt is that we’re in the hands of a master. Every frame, every line, and every twist of Parasite feels considered and deliberate, and yet it never feels clinical or contrived, because the twin engines driving the whole thing forward are empathy and rage — specifically, class rage, directed not so much at the 1% (though they do get a healthy skewering) as at the entire rotten system that makes a story like this plausible in the first place. Parasite is one of the most entertaining movies in recent memory, and one of the cleverest, and one of the most deeply affecting. Simply put, it’s the best.*

How to watch: Parasite is streaming on Hulu.

Want more where that came from? The Host, also by Bong, is also streaming on Hulu.

4. Akira

Plenty of people have heard of Akira, or have at the very least seen enough of the sci-fi anime classic’s iconic motorcycle to have an association with that title. But have you ever sit down and watched it? It’s time to correct that if not. Akira isn’t just one of the best anime stories ever told, it’s also a shoe-in for virtually any “greatest sci-fi of all time” round-up that gets put together. The story, adapted from the manga created by Katsuhiro Otomo (who also directed), follows Shotaro Kaneda, leader of the Capsules biker gang, as he fights to save his telekinetic friend Tetsuo Shima from forces that want to exploit those abilities. The plot eventually spins outward into a much bigger cyberpunk-fueled story set against the backdrop of a dystopian “Neo-Tokyo” in 2019.* — Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Akira is streaming on Hulu.

Feeling extra dystopian? RoboCop is also streaming on Hulu.

5. If Beale Street Could Talk

So much of Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, based on the novel by James Baldwin, plays out in the way people look at each other: with love, with longing, with expectation or anger or pride. All those gazes make the film breathtaking in its intimacy, even as it connects a large cast of characters across years and even countries.

The plot is explicitly about racial injustice — it concerns a young Black man (Stephan James) sent to jail on a false accusation, as his fiancée (Kiki Layne) discovers she is pregnant — and the film does not shy away from the ugliness of their ordeal. But what’s most striking about it is its insistence on joy. Beale Street is a film concerned not just with the hardships of life, but in the big and small blessings that make it worth living anyway.*

How to watch: If Beale Street Could Talk is streaming on Hulu.

6. Palm Springs

Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg in "Palm Springs."


Credit: Photo by Jessica Perez / Hulu

When Palm Springs arrived in 2020, most movie releases had been postponed because of the pandemic — yet here was a movie, a new movie, a festival darling, about people going quietly insane with monotony and losing grip on time itself.

Max Barbakow’s film showcases a cheerfully nihilistic Andy Samberg, along with Cristin Milioti in her best work to date as his increasingly frenzied companion, in “one of those infinite time loop situations you might have heard of.” Their chemistry makes Andy Siara’s script soar, leaving ample room for J.K. Simmons’ sinister interludes and just the right amount of time travel interrogation. It’s a sharp, original comedy worth revisiting again, and again, and again.*Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Palm Springs is streaming on Hulu.

Stuck in a time loop of time loop rom-coms? 50 First Dates is also streaming on Hulu.

7. Jennifer’s Body

Jennifer’s Body may have received a chilly reception upon its release in 2009, but as it turns out, it wasn’t so much a bad movie as one that was ahead of its time. Directed by Karyn Kusama and written by Diablo Cody, the feminist cult classic stars Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried as teenage BFFs whose lives are ripped apart when the former becomes possessed by a demon and starts killing local boys. Alternately creepy and hilarious (“You’re killing people!” / “No, I’m killing boys” will never not be funny), but shot through with an undercurrent of heartbreak, Jennifer’s Body speaks volumes about sexual abuse, female friendships, and the hell that is a teenage girl.

How to watch: Jennifer’s Body is streaming on Hulu.

8. Fargo

25 years after its release, Joel and Ethan Coen’s Fargo remains so beloved, there’s a whole TV series that keeps trying to recapture its magic. But there’s still nothing like the original, with its mix of bleak humor, unexpected warmth, and “Minnesota nice.” Frances McDormand leads Fargo as Marge Gunderson, a small-town police chief investigating a spectacularly bungled kidnapping perpetrated by a desperate used car salesman (William H. Macy) and two career criminals (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare). You’ll groan at the grisly kills (one involves a wood chipper), laugh at the awkward details, and maybe come away realizing that Marge is right — there is more to life than a little money.

How to watch: Fargo is streaming on Hulu.

9. MLK / FBI

Directed by Sam Pollard and produced by Benjamin Hedin, MLK/FBI explores the damning relationship between its title subjects — the FBI’s consistent harassment of Martin Luther King Jr. at the height of his role as a civil rights activist. J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI spied on King, exposed his personal affairs, and planned to discredit him in the eyes of the American people and thereby destroy the civil rights movement from within.

The full story has yet to be told — more documents will be declassified in 2027 — but Pollard’s film sets your teeth on edge, exposing the insidious actions of institutions that are supposed to protect and uphold American values. The system is broken, and MLK/FBI reminds us that it has been that way for a long time.* — P.K.

How to watch: MLK / FBI is streaming on Hulu.

Fascinated by the late ’60s? Summer of Soul (… Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is also streaming on Hulu.

10. Poor Things

Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo in "Poor Things."


Credit: Photo by Yorgos Lanthimos / Searchlight Pictures

If you complained that Barbie was too mainstream in its approach to feminist ideas, then let me introduce you to the bonkers Poor Things. This delightfully absurd comedy from Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite) charts a similar path to Barbie at the most basic level: A naive young woman (Emma Stone) makes her way in the world, despite the best efforts of the men who’d like her to remain innocent and pliable. But Lanthimos takes a different route from Greta Gerwig, by way of Stone’s inimitable Bella Baxter. She is a wonderfully wide-eyed weirdo who just wants to experience everything in the world, from Portuguese egg tarts to sex with a variety of people. 

Stone deservedly won the Best Actress Oscar for playing Bella, but on nomination morning, I cheered loudest at Mark Ruffalo’s name in the supporting category. He has played a wide range of roles over his decades-spanning career, but watching him as the buffoon Duncan Wedderburn made me feel I was seeing him do something entirely new. Lanthimos breaks fresh ground too; the director has made a career out of strange, discomfiting films from The Lobster to The Killing of a Sacred Deer. While Poor Things feels of a pace with his previous movies in terms of its off-kilter view of the world (sometimes literally, with credit due to Robbie Ryan’s fish-eye cinematography), this comedy is his most emotionally satisfying work yet. — Kimber Myers, Contributing Writer

How to watch: Poor Things is now streaming on Hulu.

11. All of Us Strangers

It’s good that you’re watching Hulu in the privacy of your own home, because All of Us Strangers is liable to make you audibly sob. Andrew Haigh’s hopeful romantic drama casts a melancholic Andrew Scott as a screenwriter suffering from writer’s block. He tries to reignite his creative spark with a trip down memory lane (aka a literal visit to his childhood home), but there he encounters his parents (Claire Foy and Jamie Bell) who died decades ago. He begins visiting regularly and catching them up on his life, while at the same time, he meets and falls for a fellow haunted soul, his neighbor (Paul Mescal). 

All of Us Strangers may include fantastical elements, but every emotion here rings entirely true. This is a gorgeous, keenly felt film about grief and opening up to people after a tragedy, as much about life as it is about death. If one of its intertwining storylines doesn’t make you reach for the tissues, the other inevitably will. But let’s be honest: Both will probably leave you absolutely wrecked (in that good way). — K.M.

How to watch: All of Us Strangers is now streaming on Hulu.

12. Heat

Michael Mann’s crime thriller was famously the first film to put Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in a scene together, but their brief time shared on screen represents just minutes of its nearly three-hour runtime. What sustains Heat beyond that much-anticipated union is a deep bench of strong actors matched with well-crafted characters, a crackling script that remains a giant in its genre, and ace direction from Mann. 

In other hands, a story about a veteran police lieutenant (Pacino) trying to stop a career thief (De Niro) from pulling off the mythical one last heist would feel rote, like a movie we’ve seen dozens if not hundreds of times before. But Mann and his cast create a kind of alchemy, making Heat a modern classic, deserving of every bit of praise by film bros of a certain age — and anyone else who’s seen it. This thing moves, with as much speed and force as a getaway car driven by a pro. And with Mann at the wheel, that’s exactly what it is. — K.M.

How to watch: Heat is now streaming on Hulu.

13. Prey

Amber Midthunder in "Prey."


Credit: David Bukach / 20th Century Studios

If the well-outfitted 20th-century soldiers of Predator struggled to succeed against the superior technology of the titular creature, imagine the imbalanced match-up between those aliens and 18th-century humans, who aren’t bearing either automatic weapons or gym-bulked biceps. Prey does exactly that, reinvigorating the long-running series with its best entry since at least the original 1987 film. (Yeah, I said it.) Hundreds of years before an alien attacked military men played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, and Jesse Ventura, this prequel has their species’ ship arriving on the American Great Plains. A female Comanche would-be warrior (Amber Midthunder) is desperate to prove her mettle amongst the male hunters in her tribe, so she sets off alone to fight the monster that has been killing her people, initially unaware that it is so much more dangerous than an earthy predator. 

Directed by 10 Cloverfield Lane’s Dan Trachtenberg, Prey boasts brutal sequences that will satisfy horror fans, as well as impressive fight choreography to sate those who have shown up for the sci-fi action. Beyond the expected thrills, it’s surprisingly smart, providing a solid experience for franchise fans and newbies alike. Hulu also offers the option to watch the Comanche-language dub version of the film, the first of its kind. — K.M.

How to watch: Prey is now streaming on Hulu.

14. Anatomy of a Fall

This 2024 awards season darling nabbed five Oscar nominations and netted one win for director Justine Triet and her co-writer Arthur Harari for their screenplay, which centers on the aftermath of a mysterious death. In Anatomy of a Fall, Academy Award nominee Sandra Hüller stars as a successful writer on trial for killing her husband, but as a woman, she is being judged for so much more in both the judicial system and the court of public opinion. This French thriller is gripping, both in its depiction of the mysteries of a marriage and in its revelations to foreign viewers about how France’s courts function. 

Hüller is predictably great (see also The Zone of Interest and Toni Erdmann), but her two youngest co-stars, child actor Milo Machado-Graner and adorable Border Collie Messi, are equally deserving of notice. Anatomy of a Fall is smart, slippery cinema, likely to leave you with plenty of lingering questions — and its oft-used funky instrumental cover of 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.” stuck in your head. — K.M.

How to watch: Anatomy of a Fall is now streaming on Hulu.

15. The Descent 

My pick for one of the most terrifying films ever, Neil Marshall’s utter nightmare of a horror movie follows a group of women as they’re stuck in an unexplored cave system in the Appalachian mountains. If that isn’t enough to make you squirm (you’re braver than I am), you’ll quickly learn that they aren’t alone amidst the ever-narrowing crevices and tunnels — and their company isn’t exactly excited to see them. 

There’s something to scare everyone in The Descent, whether you’re claustrophobic, rattled by monstrous underground creatures, or simply worried about being betrayed by your best friends when you need them most. There’s an all-timer of a jump scare that gets me with every subsequent viewing, but the movie isn’t only aiming to make you leap out of your seat. It earns its R rating with truly grisly gore and a bleak outlook on the world. Horror nerds note: Hulu features the American version of the film, whose ending is a bit milder than the original but will still make you sleep with the lights on and skip any future invites to go spelunking. — K.M.

How to watch: The Descent is now streaming on Hulu.

16. Pig

This entry in Nicolas Cage’s filmography is often mentioned in the same breath as Mandy as being one of the better films the Oscar winner has done in his get-a-paycheck era. However, the two films couldn’t be more different — well, other than that they both center on a laconic Cage character’s journey after losing the love of his life. Pig was marketed like a John Wick knock-off, with a plot about an isolated widower who reveals his fighting skills in his quest to rescue his beloved truffle-hunting pig after it was kidnapped (pignapped?). However, this is a more meditative film than that description implies. Pig does have thriller elements, but it often leans toward more of a humane, character-driven drama with Cage doing career-best work. Food lovers will also find much to chew on here with the film’s celebration of the marvels of good meals, prepared simply with the best ingredients and with care, just like Pig itself. — K.M.

How to watch: Pig is now streaming on Hulu.

17. Rye Lane

David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah in "Rye Lane."


Credit: Photo by Chris Harris / Searchlight Pictures

There are far sexier meet-cutes than the one that opens Rye Lane — a post-breakup crying jag in a less-than-pristine bathroom — but it makes for an auspicious beginning for the couple at the heart of this British rom-com. Dom (David Jonsson) and Yas (Vivian Oparah) are both recovering from recent heartbreak when they cross paths, resulting in equal parts awkwardness and attraction. Like Before Sunrise, Rye Lane finds these two strangers having adventures across a city in a single day, but this time, London serves as the backdrop for the burgeoning relationship.

At just 82 minutes, Rye Lane is short and sweet, a love letter to both new romance and the South London neighborhood. First-time director Raine Allen-Miller has burst out of the gate with this vibrant debut, which is rich with style and color, as well as irreverent humor, thanks to the genuinely funny script from Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia. Meanwhile, Jonsson and Oparah make for appealing leads and an even-better on-screen couple together. London may be famous for its gray skies, but this British rom-com is bright and sunny, full of promise for both these characters and the creative team who brought them to life. — K.M. 

How to watch: Rye Lane is now streaming on Hulu.

18. Petite Maman

After making the achingly romantic Portrait of a Lady on Fire, director Celine Sciamma found new ways to break our hearts with her 2021 follow-up about grief and family connection. Those heavy themes make Petite Maman sound like a downer, but this fantasy leaves you full of love, nostalgia, and wonder. If you can, it’s best to go in knowing as little as possible about its premise, though the title Petite Maman alone is a spoiler for anyone with more than a week’s streak in French on Duolingo. However, if you need to know the basics, here you go: While a young girl (Joséphine Sanz) is staying at her mother’s childhood home after her grandmother’s death, she encounters another kid her age. The pair become fast friends, bonding over their similarities and shared experiences. 

Brimming with imagination and tenderness, Petite Maman is a lovely little fairy tale from one of France’s most talented living filmmakers. Sciamma keeps things small and intimate, creating empathy both among the characters on screen for each other and in the audience for these girls and women. Petite Maman is a gentle, quiet film, but it leaves such a profound emotional impact. — K.M. 

How to watch: Petite Maman is now streaming on Hulu.

19. The Big Lebowski

This Coen Brothers comedy classic is one of the most eminently quotable and endlessly rewatchable movies of the ’90s. The Big Lebowski casts Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, an unemployed, unmotivated LA loser mistaken for a millionaire who happens to share his name. Beginning with this mix-up, the enjoyably discursive plot features a stolen rug, a ransom for a kidnapped wife, run-ins with nihilists, and many, many frames of bowling. Joel and Ethan Coen use film noir tropes as their blueprint, turning the Dude into a slovenly Sam Spade who has been drawn into a mystery, but he just wants to drink his White Russians and relax, man. 

The Coens surround Bridges with a wildly talented cast, including John Goodman as the gruff Vietnam vet Walter Sobchak, Steve Buscemi as the out-of-his-element buddy Donny, and Julianne Moore as the aggressive artist Maude Lebowski. Yet Philip Seymour Hoffman might be my favorite as Brandt, the other Jeffrey Lebowski’s eager-to-please assistant. With this cast and these filmmakers at the helm, it’s impossible not to get giggly at the movie’s comic genius, whether you’ve enjoyed some of the Dude’s drug of choice or not. — K.M.

How to watch: The Big Lebowski is now streaming on Hulu.

Asterisks (*) indicate the entry has been modified from a previous Mashable list.

UPDATE: Mar. 29, 2024, 5:11 p.m. EDT This list has been updated to reflect the latest streaming offerings.





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