The 16 Best Movies to Stream on Hulu Right Now
As stressful and isolating as it can be, the current coronavirus quarantine has become a wide-open space to catch up on all of the great random movies you've dogeared in your mind over the years. At the same time, streaming services like Hulu and their algorithmic magic offer plenty of suggestions for what might be similar, if entirely unknown, to check out as a follow-up.
Moviegoers old enough to remember video stores need no longer miss the personal touch of that one familiar clerk who could always guide you in the right direction; on Hulu, all you need to do is watch one movie involving, hmm—Athletics? Politics? Romance? Fine Dining?—and their electronic elves will sort you out with another title almost certainly destined to be a future favorite. To get you started, here are some of the best movies streaming on Hulu right now.
1. Parasite (2019)
If you missed this 2020 Best Picture Oscar winner, you no longer have any excuse: Bong Joon-ho’s darkly funny drama about members of a low-income family grifting their way into the lives of a rich one has a lot to say and does it deftly and delightfully. Even though it’s right out in the open, the Korean director’s social commentary feels effortlessly injected into the intriguing drama of the story, where opportunities for financial and social advancement lead to unexpected—and tragic revelations—that leave both families forever changed.
2. Booksmart (2019)
Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut gives coming-of-age movies a fresh coat of paint, focusing on two young overachieving girls and their efforts to get into their first ever bit of trouble on the night before graduation. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever play Molly and Amy (respectively), two young women eager for life experiences as if they’re checkmarks on their permanent record, only to get into some hijinks that they couldn’t predict that would change them forever. Alternately hilarious, heartbreaking, and eye-opening, Wilde presented a new side of her own creativity while delivering one of the year’s most entertaining films.
3. Fighting with my Family (2019)
Unless it’s starring or based on Dwayne Johnson, the prospect of a movie about wrestling might not immediately grab you as a must-see movie. But this story—written and directed by Stephen Merchant (who co-created The Office and Extras with Ricky Gervais) and based on WWE contender Paige—offers a raucous, empowering journey for one young woman battling her way to a dream career while facing her deepest fears and coming to terms with a family legacy she never expected to have to carry. The great Florence Pugh (Midsommar) plays Saraya, the future WWE champion named Paige, while Game of Thrones’s Lena Headey, Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz) and Vince Vaughn (Swingers) put her through her paces to guarantee she makes the grade. (Oh, and don’t worry: The Rock makes a cameo as himself.)
4. Sorry to Bother You (2018)
Director Boots Riley scored a hit with this satire about a black telemarketer (Lakeith Stanfield) who ascends the corporate ladder by affecting a "white" voice on the telephone. What begins as a biting commentary on capitalism takes a turn into fantasy as Riley deftly navigates a journey through an increasingly surrealistic—yet culturally resonant—landscape.
5. Active Measures (2018)
In an era of endless political sniping and dizzying misinformation, Jack Bryan’s 2018 documentary lays out a road map between Vladimir Putin’s rise to power in Russia and his connections to a number of high-profile American businessmen and politicians. Bryan’s long view of the last four decades of American business and policy is by turns deeply informative and absolutely shocking, providing a revolving door of unassailable experts to force audiences to question their deepest beliefs and stir irrepressible outrage.
6. Creed II (2018)
After watching Ryan Coogler brilliantly resurrect the Rocky franchise into a saga of fathers and sons, legacy and identity, you might have skipped this sequel, wondering what else is there to do after young Donnie (Michael B. Jordan) lives up to the shadow of his later father. Well, Stephen Caple Jr.'s sequel tackles that question head-on—not just deepening the generational themes of its predecessor, but delivering amazing performances from Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, and Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago, mounting a comeback on his own son’s shoulders.
7. If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
Barry Jenkins’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning Moonlight deserves to be rediscovered and appreciated even more now than ever, as the filmmaker adapts the work of author James Baldwin with a bittersweet story of a young black man named Fonny (Stephan James) whose plans with his future wife Tish (Kiki Layne) are threatened after he’s arrested for a crime he did not commit. Regina King won an Oscar for her performance as Tish’s mother Sharon, who seeks justice for Fonny as the gears of law enforcement grind into action. It's a story about both systemic racism and the ongoing fears harbored by people of color as well as one of hope and resilience in the face of oppression and seemingly insurmountable adversity. If Beale Street Could Talk allows Jenkins to tell a profound, inspiring story of persistence and love that never fails to acknowledge an unhappy, unfair reality.
8. Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)
Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie continues to chart an increasingly exciting (and dangerous) path for Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, who not only performs some of the most incredible stunts of the series (including a phenomenal motorcycle pursuit down the streets of Paris, a low-altitude jump out of a real plane, and a death-defying climb underneath a helicopter during an aerial chase), but finds himself caught up in more complex political machinations than ever—including new characters connected in mysterious ways to his past. There are few readily available thrill rides better than ones featuring Cruise, and this one delivers especially handsomely.
9. A Quiet Place (2018)
This 2018 horror film—co-written, directed by, and starring John Krasinski—delivers thrills aplenty with the story of a family attempting to survive a post-apocalyptic event where extraterrestrial creatures hunt humanity’s last dregs with a sense of hearing that forces scavengers to remain permanently silent. The thrill of watching Krasinski’s blockbuster is finding yourself trying to stay absolutely silent while watching it as the skilled storyteller ratchets up tension with one tough scenario after another. Meanwhile, terrific performances from Krasinski and his real-life wife Emily Blunt convey their terrifying plight with palpable realism.
10. Colossal (2016)
Gloria (Anne Hathaway) wakes up one day to find she's somehow linked to a giant rampaging monster in Seoul, South Korea. What could have been a one-joke premise is instead an interesting study of how trauma can manifest itself—in anger, in resentment, or in a beast the size of a skyscraper.
11. Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016)
En route to turning Thor into the comedic lunkhead he was always meant to be in Ragnarok, writer-director Taika Waititi crafted this sweetly irreverent story about a Tupac-obsessed orphan (Julian Dennison) who teams up with his reluctant foster father (Sam Neill) to evade the cops after an overzealous child welfare worker (Rachel House) decides he is in imminent danger. Waititi’s idiosyncratic humor and irresistible sentimentality are both vividly on display in this affecting, woefully underappreciated comedy.
12. Tangerine (2015)
Before Sean Baker embarked on his Oscar-nominated The Florida Project, he co-wrote and directed this drama about two transgender sex workers struggling through a tough but frequently funny life up and down Los Angeles’s Santa Monica Boulevard. Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor give star-making performances as the raucous, resilient women navigating complicated relationships and challenging lives, while Baker gives their plight a delicate, sumptuous beauty—which is particularly amazing considering the film was shot on three iPhones (so there's no excuse for bad selfies!).
13. The Wave (2015)
This Norwegian thriller is that rarest of actions films—a disaster movie that feels intimate. After a tsunami devastates his coastal town, a geologist (Kristoffer Joner) has only minutes to navigate the evacuation and find his wife and child before it's too late.
14. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)
While the prospect of watching world-class sushi being prepared in Japan already makes this worth watching, David Gelb’s documentary about an 85-year-old master dives into legacies fulfilled and generations passing along singular traditions while your mouth is watering at some of the most enticing food you’ll ever see. As Jiro’s 50-year-old son prepares to inherit his father’s business—after a few more years of training—Gelb showcases the precision, routine, and training that goes into creating something with the world-class flavors that the elder sushi maker has developed. It also gives you some great ideas for dinner, and something to save up for when you can travel the world again.
15. Up in the Air (2009)
George Clooney and Vera Farmiga are winning in this amiable drama about corporate downsizing specialist Ryan Bingham (Clooney) who prefers a life of travel to settling down. That could change when he meets Alex (Farmiga), who may want to see more of him on the ground. As his duties orchestrating mass layoffs wear him down, Ryan trains a new recruit (Anna Kendrick) who aims to keep the process going.
16. Casino (1995)
Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci team up once more for this saga of organized crime. Based on a true story, Casino follows Sam "Ace" Rothstein (De Niro), who tries to balance his Las Vegas casino operations with a private life ruled by his mercurial wife Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone). All the parties know the genre at this point, and watching them display their talents is the filmmaking equivalent of a full house.