If you are someone who loves films, there is so much to explore outside the world of big banners and commercial movies. And luckily for us, Netflix has a bunch of them waiting to be discovered. For those who want more than Stranger Things and Emily in Paris, Here are the best indie movies and films to catch on Netflix.
These smaller, independent movies and shows are so cherished because of their ability to connect us to reality, and show a side of TV that we rarely see. Indie movies and shows are essentially defined as those that were not shot at big studios, content that probably did not have a huge financial backing. This exploration of themes and characters that are less explored can make for some really good binge watching.
With that, we have compiled a list of the most heartwarming and wholesome indie movies and shows that you can stream on Netflix.
Best indie movies and shows to watch on Netflix
Please Like Me
This is one of the most recent shows I binged on and literally finished it over one weekend. An Australian show, Please Like Me might look like it’s about a desperate teenager and his humble plea to fit into society but I promise you it’s so not that. It’s a world that’s flawed and yet so ideal. A world where conversations about mental health, sexuality, and self-destruction are free-flowing and casual, yet not insensitive. But it’s also about a bunch of friends who are family, and food is their favourite prop. Once you have watched it, you will be surprised how you haven’t been aware of the existence of this indie show.
Malcolm & Marie
Think Zendaya, but in an element you have never seen her before. Forget Euphoria and Spiderman, this is probably Zendaya at her best. Malcolm & Marie is an indie movie that follows a couple, Malcolm and Marie, and their conversations over one turbulent night. It’s not Before Sunrise, I promise. It’s real and dark, about a couple’s fierce fight and reconciliation. If you want to witness how artful an argument can get, this indie movie is for you.
An understated saga of love and loss, the film stars Neelay Mehendale, Anjali Sivaraman and the dreamy Prateik Babbar. At the helm of a chaotic love triangle are a brother-sister duo who fall for the same man and get their heart broken. Based on the 2006 Marathi novel of the same name by author Sachin Kundalkar, it gives a visual rendition of the author’s words in this delicately crafted film. It follows the tale of a family who recently moved to Kerala and decided to rent out the spare room of their new house. And how the new paying guest turns the course of this conservative family upside down, unleashing a cornucopia of emotions.
If you thought you have seen enough of dysfunctional families in indie and quirky films, wait till you see the Flowers. I am very tempted to say that Olivia Colman is the best part about the two seasons of this show, but that would just be my personal bias. In a show that’s hand-sculpted so smartly, it’s impossible to pick a favourite. The show will get you smiling, crying and go “WTF!” all at the same time. Portraying the terrible darkness of creative minds and suicide, you will instantly connect to this show for its out-of-the-whack theme.
I am convinced that Sacha Baron Cohen is a bomb that truly exploded in this miniseries. To give some context, this is the true story of Israel’s most prominent spy, Eli Cohen, who infiltrated the Syrian government in the 1960s. This indie show will keep you on the edge of your seat with its chilling presentation of history. The show will take you back to the old Spanish dramas rolled into the Cold War Cuban intrigue, only to know that everything that unfolds on the screen once happened in real life.
The Fundamentals of Caring
If you too think that one can never unlike Paul Rudd, you are in for a ride. It’s a comedy-drama written and directed by Rob Burnett, based on the 2012 novel The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison. The story chronicles the journey of a kid named Trevor who is suffering from muscular dystrophy, and his caregiver Ben, who has recently passed a course on caregiving. You will watch the entire movie with a bated breath only to smile at the climax.
People Places Things
I stumbled upon this delight quite accidentally, like most other indie Netflix movies and shows on this list. The film is about Will Henry, an author and a professor, who finds it difficult to juggle being a single parent and fulfilling his obligations of a writer, owing to his writer’s block, whilst also dealing with his students. It’s so fulfilling to see an unproblematic male character trying to make it in the world as a single parent. Also, watch out for the soul-stirring music, the kind that will make you believe that the world is a great place.
Can you imagine running a marijuana business with your family? Well, this French family didn’t either. But when their kosher butcher shop in the heart of Paris is on a steady decline, they open the first French marijuana coffee shop. Amidst a crazy comedy of errors is a family trying to make their living with whatever they have. The chaotic humour will keep you hooked to this indie show right from the first episode.
This is one of those American films that doesn’t look or feel quite the quintessential American. Right from the moment you start watching this indie movie, you will wish it never ends. The story follows Chris, who is back to the regular world and trying to live a normal life after spending 20 years in prison for murder. He reunites with Carol, his former high school teacher, who was his confidant during his prison stay and who had successfully fought for his release. Gradually, he develops feelings for Carol and her world turns upside down. Trust me, the film will never feel chaotic and is all hearts.
(Hero and featured image credit: Malcolm & Marie/Netflix)