Ten of the very best films of 2016 are already on Netflix Canada

Why wait for all of the films on year-end best-of lists and award nomination slates to find their way to streaming services? Here are ten of the very best-reviewed films of the year (as measured by Metacritic) that are available right now to watch online.

The Witch

Directed by: Robert Eggers (directorial debut)
Notable performances: Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie the goat
Honours & Awards: Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Actor (Anya Taylor-Joy), numerous directorial awards
Watch because: the film earns its scares the hard way—by delivering a meticulous recreation of 17th-century settler reality worthy of Terrence Malick.
Trailer and reviews for The Witch

The Lobster

Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos (DogtoothAlpsAttenberg)
Notable performances: Rachel Weisz, Colin Farrell’s paunch
Honours & Awards: Jury Prize at Cannes 2015
Watch because: no film demonstrates a deeper understanding of “the existential hellscape of modern dating.”
Trailer and reviews for The Lobster

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Directed by: Taika Waititi (What We Do in the ShadowsThor: Ragnarok)
Notable performances: Sam Neill and breakthrough child star Julian Dennison
Honours & Awards: numerous film festival audience awards
Watch because: if any film meets the definition of “crowd pleaser” on this list, it’s this one. What to watch when you crave a fun ride that doesn’t insult your intelligence.
Trailer and reviews for Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Sing Street

Directed by: John Carney (OnceBegin Again)
Notable performances: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton
Honours & Awards: National Board of Review, USA: Top Ten Independent Films
Watch because: “… this isn’t just a nostalgia trip. It’s an homage to teenage kicks and the urgency of getting them any way you can.”
Trailer and reviews for Sing Street

Green Room

Directed by: Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin)
Notable performances: Anton Yelchin (R.I.P.), Patrick Stewart
Honours & Awards: National Board of Review, USA: Top Ten Independent Films
Watch because: you can come for the stunt casting and stay for the unbearably ratcheting tension. Jeremy Saulnier mixes the groundedness of Blue Ruin with some well-chosen genre touches, and brings no small knowledge of punk rock.
Trailer and reviews for Green Room

The Wailing

Directed by: Hong-jin Na (The ChaserThe Yellow Sea)
Notable performances: Kim Hwan Hee, Kwak Do-won, Jun Kunimura
Honours & Awards: the most trophies (five) at S. Korea’s Blue Dragon Awards
Watch because: it bends about five different horror genres, hits an incredible high midway with a duelling-shamans scene that you won’t soon forget, and still manages to top it all at the end with a suspenseful climax featuring counterpoint between two apparently supernatural figures, one appropriating a Passion gospel text, the other a Resurrection passage. “It also knocked Captain America: Civil War out of the top spot and became the eighth-biggest opening of a Korean-language movie in Korea ever.”
Trailer and reviews for The Wailing


Directed by: Grímur Hákonarson (Summerland)
Notable performances: Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Theodór Júlíusson
Honours & Awards: Un Certain Regard prize – Cannes 2015
Watch because: the feuding, sheep-farming rural Icelandic brothers at the centre of this absurd, joyful, melancholy, tragic tale are two characters you won’t soon forget. I picked this as my under-appreciated gem of 2016 in a recent year-end round-up.
Trailer and reviews for Rams

Under the Sun

Directed by: Vitaly Mansky
Notable performances: Lee Zin-mi (the 8-year-old girl & ostensible subject of this doc), the North Korean government handlers who were unaware they were being recorded
Honours & Awards: Budapest International Documentary Festival – Festival Prize
Watch because: this is perhaps the most visually compelling film on the list—Mansky has an Antonioni-esque eye for geometry and modernist architecture. But also because this deconstructed-propaganda film that has been hailed by Trump’s own actually has unintentionally critical relevance to Trump’s movement.
Trailer and reviews for Under the Sun

The Treasure

Directed by: Corneliu Porumboiu (12:08 East Of Bucharest; Police, Adjective)
Notable performances: Cuzin Toma, Adrian Purcarescu
Honours & Awards: Prix un certain talent – Un Certain Regard Cannes 2015
Watch because: …the deadpan comedy of repetition… cleverly lulls us into a rhythm whereby we think we know what is going to happen, only to pull the rug several times.
Trailer and reviews for The Treasure


Directed by: Ava DuVernay (Selma)
Notable performances: many, many progressive talking heads. and Newt Gingrich.
Honours & Awards: 3 Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards inc. Best Doc Feature (TV/Streaming)
Watch because: there really hasn’t been a more urgent American documentary in years.
Trailer and reviews for 13th

1 Comment
  • Meg
    Posted at 15:16h, 08 January Reply

    Hey James, thanks to your post here we watched The Rams last eve. Loved the pacing, the quietness, the surprises in the plot, the cinematography. And was moved by the believable, though surprise, ending – it made more sense than where I initially thought the story was going. Thanks for pointing this one out!

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