Get us in your inbox

Parasite
Photograph: Courtesy Neon Parasite

40 best movies on Hulu to watch right now

Dig into our list of the best movies on Hulu to stream, from blockbusters to indies and everything in between

Written by
Tim Lowery
&
Time Out editors
Advertising

In order to put together a list of the best movies on Hulu to stream right now, we have tirelessly gone through the streaming services’ vast catalogue of films, sifting through everything from horror movies to indie gems and romantic comedies. Ultimately, choosing just 40 was a difficult task. Nevertheless, we have narrowed it down: Below you’ll find the best of the best, including everything from recent Oscar winners (Parasite, Nomadland), slow burning romances (God’s Own Country, Ammonite), shocking horrors (Saint Maud) and essential documentaries. Whatever you’re in the mood for, there should be something that ticks all the right boxes. So, go forth and stream!

RECOMMENDED: 100 best movies of all time

Best movies on Hulu

  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Cameron Crowe

Cast: Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Patrick Fugit

Based on writer and director Cameron Crowe’s experiences as a teenage writer for Rolling Stone magazine and the time he spent touring with bands like Led Zeppelin, Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd, Almost Famous draws you into the glamorous (or not so glamorous, as it turns out) world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Crowe depicts the 1970s brilliantly, but it’s really his characters, who are warm and compelling, that steal the show.

  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Tom Harper

Cast: Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters

In contrast to Lady Gaga’s Ally in A Star Is Born, the wannabe singer at the center of this hugely likeable zero-to-musical-hero country fable is frequently her own worst enemy. On parole, working-class Glaswegian single mum Rose-Lynn Harlan is desperate to kickstart her dream of making it in Nashville. As she tries to do so, you will cheer. You will cry. And you may even tap your toes. 

Good for fans of: We Are the Best!

Advertising
Warrior (2011)
  • Movies

Director: Gavin O'Connor

Cast: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy

In the left corner: seething military-man-cum-pugilist, jonesing to step back in the ring after mysteriously arriving on the doorstep of his estranged alcoholic father. In the right corner: his older brother, a family man whose salary as a high-school science teacher just ain't covering those mortgage payments. Despite all the sports-movie cliches, this moving MMA drama works like gangbusters—and we're betting you'll stifle more than a few tears by the finale. 

Good for fans of: Creed 

Cold Case Hammarskjöld (2019)
  • Movies
  • Documentary

Director: Mads Brügger

Cast: Documentary

In this bonkers conspiracy doc, Danish director Mads Brügger often appears in a white suit and pith helmet, sitting in the shadows and dictating notes to a secretary. He’s an adventurer hunting down the truth; even though he tells us that his quarry often wore the same outfit, there’s something silly and Lars von Trier–ish about him. Yet Cold Case Hammarskjöld's curveballs are genuinely unusual, upsetting and thrilling to behold—and tough to shake. 

Good for fans of: Into the Abyss

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Thriller

Director: Lee Chang-dong

Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jeon Jong-seo

Minari star Steven Yeun smiles right at you (beyond creepy) in this expertly nuanced South Korean mystery – there’s a good chance he’s a serial killer, and perhaps that’s the easiest way to enter into director Lee Chang-dong’s simmering triumph. But the movie, which is based on a short story by Haruki Murakami, scrapes at something larger and more metaphysical, gnawing at your mind days after you see it. If you missed this streaming on Netflix, it’s definitely worth catching now it’s on Hulu.

Little Men (2016)
  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Ira Sachs

Cast: Theo Taplitz, Michael Barbieri, Paulina García, Greg Kinnear

In this indie by Ira Sachs, parents fight over a Brooklyn building while their children—the brainy Jake and the sparky Tony—grow up around them. Little Men is too sophisticated to blame all this on gentrification. Rather, all these are people are in a tough spot, and Sachs develops their conflicting views in a calm, grown-up manner, getting plenty of comic and sweet mileage out of the boys’ bond.  

Good for fans of: Love Is Strange 

Advertising
Minding the Gap (2018)
  • Movies
  • Documentary

Director: Bing Liu

Cast: Documentary

Golden hour for three skaters in a Rust Belt town is captured by the glidecam of Bing Liu, who won the breakthrough director award at Sundance for Minding the Gap. His doc initially flies on the euphoric energy of youth, before becoming an unflinching exploration of growing up amid male violence. 

Good for fans of: Tarnation

  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Jennifer Kent

Cast: Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Baykali Ganambarr

Multiple rapes. Infanticide. Aboriginal strange fruit. You’ve been warned. Brutal is too soft a word to describe The Nightingale, a brilliantly harrowing indictment of white male oppression set in British-ruled Australia circa 1825. If you thought Jennifer Kent pulled no punches in her terrifying supernatural debut The Babadook, brace yourself for the existential evil that lurks in the hearts of men here.

Good for fans of: The Babadook

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Zach Braff

Cast: Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard

There’s a lot more to this film than just twentysomething hipsters moaning about their lives. Sure, some might dub it the Urban Outfitters of indie cinema, and it may be the birthplace of the manic pixie dream girl, but at its heart is a universal tale about the confusion of young adulthood and the emotional consequences of becoming an observer of your own life. Also the soundtrack is absolutely excellent.

Honeyland (2019)
  • Movies
  • Documentary

Directors: Ljubomir Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska 

Cast: Documentary

Meet Turkish beekeeper Hatidze, who lives with her dying 86-year-old mum in a dirt-floored house when she's not lovingly tending to buzzing hives. This mesmerising and powerful doc, a Sundance favorite, provides a stinging reminder to respect nature.   

Good for fans of: Grizzly Man

Advertising
Love & Mercy (2015)
  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Bill Pohlad

Cast: Paul Dano, John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti

Beach Boy genius Brian Wilson loved being nestled in the recording studio, especially, as Love & Mercy suggests, when the other guys were off chasing Barbara Anns in every port. To watch the delicate Paul Dano (a magically right choice with a beautiful voice) steer his ace session band through what would become Pet Sounds is to have a piece of essential rock history recreated right before your eyes. Wilson, a pop savant, was chasing some kind of dragon, and as the movie toggles years forward to the scared, overmedicated Wilson of the 1980s (John Cusack, absorbingly strange in the tougher part), you sense that the dragon bit back. 

Good for fans of: I’m Not There

  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Bong Joon-ho

Cast: Song Kang-ho, Kim Sang-kyung

Long before making history with his Oscar-winning movie Parasite, which also features in this list, Bong Joon-ho co-wrote and directed this critically acclaimed film about two hapless detectives on the hunt for an elusive serial killer. Like Parasite, however, the film builds upon its crime genre trappings by incorporating social satire and comedy. It’s also visually impressive, the stunning cinematography mirroring the film’s unsettling sense of foreboding.

Advertising
Border (2018)
  • Movies
  • Thriller

Director: Ali Abbasi

Cast: Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff

Leave all expectations at the door and give this knotty, genre-defying Swedish folk tale a spin. Border, which follows an outcast of a  customs officer, mingles social realism and Scandi folklore in the same vein as Let the Right One In, another film adapted from a story by novelist John Ajvide Lindqvist. Expect a wholly unusual, unique viewing experience.

Good for fans of: Let the Right One In

Blackfish (2013)
  • Movies
  • Documentary

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Cast: Documentary 

Somewhere between Orca and Free Willy, killer whales became cuddly creatures suitable for wide-arm hugs, plush toys and gentle riding. But take a look at those teeth and the brutal truth is obvious. Blackfish, a troubling exposé of Sea World’s hazardous entertainment trade, does much to restore a realistic sense of danger, interviewing former park workers who detail their shoddy, nonscientific training, and chronicling the much-suppressed history of whale-on-human violence.

Good for fans of: The Cove

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Chloé Zhao

Cast: Frances McDormand, Swankie, David Strathairn

Fresh from sweeping the 2021 Academy Awards, Chloé Zhao’s stunning and elegiac celebration of outsiderhood has landed on Hulu. Transforming a story of economic catastrophe into one of healing and reconnection, Zhao's film is raw with emotional honesty and boasts an almost spiritual connection with the landscape. Frances McDormand, meanwhile, is magnetic, a quietly fierce avatar for economic anxiety who conveys both deep sadness and her character Fern’s unquenchable faith in the future. This is a film that will leave you transformed.

Three Identical Strangers (2018)
  • Movies
  • Documentary

Director: Tim Wardle

Cast: Documentary

The light mood sours, gradually and surprisingly, in this thoughtful, journalistic documentary about three identical triplets who were adopted separately at birth and reunited as late teens in 1980s New York. As a film, Three Identical Strangers is fairly straightforward; as a story, it’s gripping and will have you screaming at the sheer cruelty of it all. 

Good for fans of: Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Comedy

Director: Olivia Wilde

Cast: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein

In her behind-the-camera debut, actor-turned-director Olivia Wilde shows off something rarer than technique or comic timing: She’s got loads of compassion. Booksmart follows a socially awkward, Ivy League-bound duo, who reevaluate their choices when they realize that abstinence and studying aren't the only route to a stellar university career. The classic high-school  types—the spoiled loner, the spaced-out drama chick, the buff bro—are all given the chance to evolve into genuine characterisations over the space of a single sex-positive night.

Good for fans of: Superbad 

  • Movies
  • Comedy

Director: Garry Marshall

Cast: Richard Gere, Julia Roberts

Romance blossoms between a wealthy corporate raider, Edward Lewis (Richard Gere), and a Hollywood Bouilevard sex worker Vivan Ward (Julia Roberts) in this classic romantic comedy. While parts of it are dated (the money fixes all message feels particularly crude), the chemistry between Roberts and Gere, as well as the sharp dialogue and emphasis on character, elevates what has become a movie so beloved it’s become the equivalent to cinematic comfort blanket.

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Fantasy

Director: Guillermo del Toro (2017)

Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins

Winner of the Oscar for Best Picture in 2018, Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War fairy tale is a fantasy film with a romantic streak. Set in 1962, it follows Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a quiet woman who works at a secret government facility in Baltimore. There, she encounters what can only be described as a sea monster or merman, and then proceeds to fall head over heels in love with him. It’s a bizarre, strangely erotic and emotional movie, one that’s as brilliant as it is beguiling.

The Tenant (1976)
  • Movies
  • Thriller

Director: Roman Polanski

Cast: Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani

What is it about Polanski and confined spaces? With Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby and finally this Paris-set film, the Polish director proved himself a master of turning the humble flat into frightening domestic terrain. Here, Polanski himself plays a man who moves into an empty apartment, previously occupied by a woman who attempted suicide, and finds himself at the center of a paranoid storm in which his neighbors are increasingly accusing and vicious towards him.

Good for fans of: Rosemary’s Baby

Advertising
Heathers (1988)
  • Movies
  • Comedy

Director: Michael Lehmann

Cast: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater

"Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?" This wicked black comedy about teenage suicide and pernicious peer-group pressure is full of delightfully venomous lines like that. In its telling of cool Veronica and her quirky new boyfriend toppling a high-school trio of popular girls, Heathers still feels fresh and edgy—even three-plus decades after its release.

Good for fans of: Brick 

  • Movies

Director: Rose Glass

Cast: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle

Essentially The Exorcist-on-sea, this British psychological horror absolutely delivers when it comes to the fear factor. We meet the deeply religious Maud (Morfydd Clark), a live-in nurse who may or may not have suffered a breakdown, as she begins to look after the spiky Amanda Kohl (Jennifer Ehle), a former dancer and minor celeb who doesn’t intend to let her terminal illness get in the way of a few last blowouts. What follows is a tense dance between the two, as the relationship between patient and nurse descends into horror. You may suspect you know where it’s all going to end up, but that drains it of precisely none of its guttural power.

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Animation

Directors: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson

Voicecast: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz

Despite celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Shrek still feels as fresh as it did two decades ago. Sure, there have been major advancements in computer animation, but this story about an ogre living in a swamp who then falls in love with a princess is timeless. Its subversion of fairytale tropes still feel fresh, as do the jokes, which haven’t lost their piquancy. You can also stream the sequel on Hulu, too, which is equally as good but also worth it just for Jennifer Saunders singing ‘Holding Out For a Hero’.

  • Movies
  • Romance

Director: Francis Lee

Cast: Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan

This delicate mid-nineteenth century lesbian love story is a slow burner. Kate Winslet plays Mary Anning, a famous fossil collector whose life is disrupted by the arrival of the younger, wealthier, married and clearly unwell Charlotte Murchison, played by Saoirse Ronan. Charlotte’s chirpy-cum-irritating fossil-fancying husband identifies Mary as someone who can look after Charlotte for a fee, while he travels and she recovers from a bout of ‘mild melancholia’. Mary and Charlotte, naturally, begin to get closer. Expect echoes of 2019’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: David Fincher

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield

Before Facebook helped manipulate politics and aid the proliferation of fake news, it was just a website for college students who wanted to keep in touch with each other. Of course, the story of the social media site is a lot murkier than that and this tense tale, directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin, attempts to tell that story, albeit in a way where the truth has been stretched and moulded to suit the filmmakers' themes. Still, it’s thrilling stuff.

  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Frances Lee

Cast: Josh O’Connor, Alec Secăreanu

Comparisons have been drawn between Frances Lee’s film about gay farmers in the north of England and Brokeback Mountain. However, God’s Own Country is a very different film: visually, Lee captures the often harsh realities and difficulties of modern day farming, while also highlighting the impact and devastation of loneliness. Josh O’Connor is brilliant as the stony Johnny Saxby, whose tight-lipped stoicism is undone by the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker (Alec Secăreanu) for lambing season. The ending makes a nice change from the often devastating conclusions to many queer films.

Advertising
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
  • Movies
  • Comedy

Director: Taika Waititi

Cast: Julian Dennison, Sam Neill

Director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Jojo Rabbit) rambles into sort-of-family-movie territory in this massively endearing road movie on foot. There’s a strong whiff of Up in its story about a chubby boy and an old man setting off on a jungle adventure. And indeed this might be the best kids’ movie since Pixar’s masterpiece (with a spot of bad language and several jokes about perverts thrown in).

Good for fans of: Jojo Rabbit

  • Movies
  • Documentary

Director: Raoul Peck

Before he died in 1987, the writer and intellectual James Baldwin had intended to tell the story of being Black in America through the lives, and deaths, of three people: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers. The book he was writing, Remember This House, was never completed. However, inspired by 30 pages from the unfinished manuscript, filmmaker Raoul Peck picked up Baldwin’s work, honouring the writer’s concept while drawing comparisons between the civil rights movement and modern protests and police brutality. With the help of Samuel L. Jackson and reams of archival footage, Peck not only gives life to Baldwin’s fierce intelligence but also provides a vivid and vital insight into America’s racial divide.

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Horror

Director: Neil Marshall

Cast: Shauna Macdonald, Alex Reid, Natalie Jackson Mendoza

For their annual trip, six girlfriends plunge into an Appalachian cave system and discover they are not alone. As well as the cold, the dark and the claustrophobia, they find ancient, blind and ferocious predators with a highly evolved sense of smell. As the women fight to survive, they must also cope with their own half-buried secrets: betrayals surface, tensions explode and loyalties disintegrate. This aughts horror standout is smart, nasty and crazy intense.  

Good for fans of: Rec 

Akira (1988)
  • Movies
  • Animation

Director: Katsuhiro Ôtomo

Cast: Mitsuo Iwara, Nozomu Sasaki

Anime’s breakout moment, this supercharged sci-fi thriller turned a niche subgenre into a global phenomenon: Western teens started using the term cyberpunk in casual geek-speak, while Japan’s printed manga suddenly flew off the shelves. Akira was also a watershed moment for sci-fi in a larger sense, popularising ideas of citywide ruination, futuristic rebirth and a distinctly Asian notion of psionic powers that would influence everything from The Matrix to Inception

Good for fans of: Spirited Away 

Advertising
We Need To Talk About Kevin (2012)
  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Cast: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller

Talk about a killer third feature. Lynne Ramsay’s chilling adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s novel is gripping from start to finish, with a constant sense of intrigue. Tilda Swinton is perfectly cast as the mother of a child who raises alarm bells, but perhaps not loudly or clearly enough, and Ezra Miller is a revelation as the older Kevin. And the story, sadly, remains relevant today. 

Good for fans of: Elephant

I, Tonya (2018)
  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Craig Gillespie

Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney

Not the movie the notorious ice-skating flameout Tonya Harding probably deserves—but happily (for us) the one she’s gotten—I, Tonya is a dazzlingly complex and exuberant treatment of a disgraced figure. Like Goodfellas and Boogie Nights, it has a supercharged style and creates an unshakable tension, the kind that has you laughing and cringing at the same time. 

Good for fans of: Goodfellas

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Barry Jenkins 

Cast: KiKi Layne, Stephan James

A swooning romance peppered with jarring moments of institutionalised racism, Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight follow-up may have been set in the early ’70s but it spoke to modern America just as surely as contemporary race dramas like The Hate U Give and Monsters and Men. For a novelist of such epic standing, James Baldwin has rarely been adapted for the screen, but Jenkins and his cast bring real poetry to his prose.

Good for fans of: Moonlight

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2012)
  • Movies

Director: David Gelb

Cast: Documentary

A dream, indeed. Gelb’s documentary on the world’s greatest sushi chef not only traces Jiro Ono’s legacy; it also utilizes a spare, elegant style that perfectly complements its subject’s monastic devotion to purity. Eat beforehand, or this might be nearly impossible to sit through.

Good for fans of: Big Night 

Advertising
28 Days Later (2002)
  • Movies
  • Horror

Director: Danny Boyle

Cast: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston

If every generation gets the zombies its deserves, what would ours be like? Full of rage was the answer Danny Boyle came up with in 28 Days Later, in which a bicycle courier awakes from a coma to find London cloaked in an unearthly silence (and, eventually, a bunch of berserk flesh eaters). Expect more than a few shivers down your spine.

Good for fans of: Dawn of the Dead

  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Bong Joon-ho

Cast: Song Kang-ho, Chang Hyae-jin, Choi Woo-sik, Park So-dam

It takes a certain kind of genius—part social scientist, part sadist—to build a stinging contraption like this Best Picture winner. To a list that includes Alfred Hitchcock and David Fincher, let’s now add South Korea’s Bong Joon-ho. Sleek and impeccably acted, his movie taps into an undercurrent of class resentment.

Good for fans of: Us 

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Céline Sciamma

Cast: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel

When a movie opens your eyes to a new way of seeing, it’s almost insufficient to praise it. French filmmaker Céline Sciamma’s radical feminist love story turns its viewers into artists close to the canvas, sketching out a line that leads to expression, desire and the remaking of identity. The story takes place within the strictures of 18th-century Brittany but gives way to something frank and modern.

Good for fans of: Tomboy

Let the Right One In (2008)
  • Movies

Director: Tomas Alfredson

Cast: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson

Just when we thought every ounce of metaphor and meaning had been wrung from the vampire movie, along came Swedish director Tomas Alfredson’s chilly, claustrophobic tale to infuse fresh blood into the genre. This instant classic, whose snowy setting suits its sadness, is a coming of age story about a youngster falling in love for the first time, complete with some truly touching moments between the bloodshed. 

Good for fans of: Green Room

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Documentary

Director: Todd Douglas Miller

Cast: Documentary

July 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of humankind’s most inspiring adventure, a story that's been told countless times through tributes, testimonials and that famous TV live feed. Yet Todd Douglas Miller’s stunning documentary finds a new way to capture the first journey to the moon and back: by using only the footage (much of it unseen) captured in the moment.   

Good for fans of: Apollo 13

  • Movies
  • Drama

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

Cast: Lily Franky, Sakura Andô, Kirin Kiki

Japanese giant Koreeda won the Palme d’Or for his lovely, melancholy urban fable about poverty and family. It’s set in contemporary Tokyo but could easily be transplanted to just about any other city, revolving around a surrogate clan who scrape by through doing peep shows, being a laundress and, yes, shoplifting. With its warm, beating heart and strong sense of social conscience, it feels all too timely. 

Good for fans of: The Bicycle Thief

Searching for something on Netflix?

Recommended

    More on Time In

      You may also like
        Advertising