You don’t have to be a doctor, a nurse, or a medical researcher to fall in love with a jargon-free, immersive, and thrilling medical movie. A major reason behind the massive fan following for medical thrillers is that most of them are based on real-life incidents. People also like to watch medical movies as they give them a sneak peek into the profession, which is widely mystified for its proximity to life and death. Moreover, it is a field closely associated with dramatic situations as a routine exercise. Netflix is keen to update its collection of movies with tags medical, psychology, and doctor, owing to their increasing demand.
16. Dear Zindagi (2016)
Directed by Gauri Shinde, this Indian Hindi-language film follows a young woman named Kaira, played by Alia Bhatt, whose overwhelming personal life, underscored by her affair and relationship, and a consequent eviction from her apartment inadvertently brings her to Goa where her estranged parents live. Here, she meets psychologist Dr. Jehangir “Jug” Khan, played by Shah Rukh Khan, who helps her cope with her spiraling emotions in a chill and comforting manner. You can stream ‘Dear Zindagi’ here.
15. The Good Nurse (2022)
‘The Good Nurse,’ directed by Tobias Lindholm, unveils the chilling true story of nurse-turned-serial killer Charles Cullen, portrayed by Eddie Redmayne. Jessica Chastain plays Amy Loughren, a nurse who exposes Cullen’s crimes. This medical thriller explores the dark underbelly of healthcare, ethics, and the pursuit of justice. Lindholm’s direction, coupled with powerful performances, makes ‘The Good Nurse’ a gripping examination of the complexities and moral challenges within the medical profession. Feel free to stream it here.
14. The Bleeding Edge (2018)
In ‘The Bleeding Edge,’ directors Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering peel back the layers of the medical device industry, unraveling a narrative of hidden risks and ethical quandaries. This documentary confronts viewers with real-life stories of individuals impacted by advanced medical technologies, prompting a critical examination of regulatory oversights and corporate responsibility. As the film navigates the intersection of innovation and patient safety, it challenges preconceptions about the price society pays for cutting-edge medical progress, urging us to reconsider the delicate balance between advancements in healthcare and the potential human toll. You can watch it here.
13. Poison (2023)
Under Wes Anderson‘s directorial finesse, a captivating cinematic journey emerges from Roald Dahl’s short story. The plot unfolds in India, where an Englishman finds himself in a perilous situation with a venomous snake encircling his stomach. A gripping blend of suspense and camaraderie ensues as his associate and a dedicated doctor embark on a desperate race to save him. Dev Patel, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Ralph Fiennes infuse the narrative with stellar performances. You can watch it here.
12. Take Your Pills (2018)
‘Take Your Pills‘ is an intriguing documentary that reveals an America invaded by drugs like Adderall and Ritalin. The movie finds these names everywhere: in schools, playgrounds, offices, streets, metros, and markets. The pressure to push one’s boundaries beyond our capabilities attracts people to these names. The acclaimed documentary filmmaker Alison Klayman, known for ‘Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,’ leaves no leaf unturned in his exploration of the pervasiveness of cognitive-enhancement stimulants in our times. As Adderall and Ritalin become the iconic drugs of a generation, ‘Take Your Pills’ checks the phenomenon from all sides. Without being rudely judgmental, the documentary feature draws a vivid picture of drugs and how they define our future. You can watch it here.
11. Athlete A (2020)
Directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, ‘Athlete A’ is a documentary film that focuses on one of the biggest controversies in American sports history. The Indianapolis Star reporters looking into the failure of schools to document sexual abuse incidents accidentally stumble upon the criminally underreported and ignored cases of abuse in USA Gymnastics. As one reporter begins to dig deeper, he learns the shocking truths about the well-known osteopathic physician Larry Nassar, who has been working with the country’s brightest talents for several years. But a closer look at his conduct as a doctor reveals so many shocking facts that the subsequent reports lay the groundwork for his conviction and leave America dumbfounded. Feel free to stream it here.
10. Brain on Fire (2016)
Based on Susannah Cahalan’s memoir, ‘Brain on Fire’ is a biographical drama film written and directed by Gerard Barrett. The Chloë Grace Moretz and Jenny Slate-starrer follows a young adult named Susannah Cahalan, who works with the New York Post as a writer but has lately been struggling with seizures. Her situation only gets complicated over time as voices in her head begin to creep her out. The 21-year-old is misdiagnosed on multiple occasions until she meets Syrian-American neurologist Souhel Najjar, who not only empathizes with her but helps her fight back. You can watch it here.
9. Extremis (2016)
Directed and produced by Dan Krauss, ‘Extremis’ is a documentary film that focuses on the end-of-life decisions taken by loved ones and the situation that precedes them. Dr. Jessica Zitter is a well-reputed ICU and palliative care specialist who works at the Highland Hospital ICU in Oakland, California. She leads a team of physicians there who offer terminally ill patients palliative care and helps the families come to terms with the harsh choices that they have to make. Although sensitive, the documentary does not shy away from bringing viewers to the cruel realities of end-of-life decisions and the emotional trauma that families have to go through while making them. You can watch it here.
8. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
‘Hacksaw Ridge,’ directed by Mel Gibson, is an exceptional doctor movie that diverges from the conventional medical drama. The film tells the true story of Desmond Doss, portrayed by Andrew Garfield, a conscientious objector who served as a combat medic during World War II. Doss, driven by his strong beliefs, refuses to bear arms but displays immense courage in saving 75 soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa. His unwavering commitment to saving lives, despite the intense combat environment, showcases the essence of a doctor’s dedication to healing. The film’s gripping narrative, stellar performances, and Gibson’s directorial prowess make ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ a unique and powerful exploration of heroism in the medical field. Feel free to stream it here.
7. To the Bone (2017)
Directed and written by Marti Noxon, ‘To the Bone’ is a drama movie. The film follows a 20-year-old anorexic girl named Elle, who has struggled to deal with her condition despite going through several recovery programs during her teenage years. Ellen’s stepmother, Susan, insists that she join Dr. William Beckham’s patient program. While the protagonist is initially suspicious, she eventually gives in, and the decision turns out to be life-changing as her new doctor helps her with his interesting and unorthodox methods. You can watch it here.
6. Doctor (2021)
Starring Sivakarthikeyan, Priyanka Arul Mohan, Vinay Rai, and Yogi Babu, ‘Doctor’ is a Tamil-language action comedy film directed and written by Nelson Dilipkumar. It follows a military doctor named Varun who receives a depressing voicemail from his fiancée, Padmini, who opens up about her desire to call off their upcoming marriage. When the protagonist approaches her family, hoping for some reconciliation, he learns about the kidnapping of Padmini’s niece. When the police fail to make any progress in the case in the following days, Varun comes up with a dangerous plan with the hope that it will finally make the law enforcement authorities take the case more seriously. You can watch the movie here.
5. Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (2009)
Directed by Thomas Carter, ‘Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story’ follows the life of American neurosurgeon-turned-politician Ben Carson. Adapted from his autobiography ‘Gifted Hands’ (1990), the film, which stars Cuba Gooding Jr. as the titular personality, shows how Carson fought poverty, prejudice, and discrimination and went on to become one of America’s most well-known neurosurgeons after getting into Yale followed by Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore, Maryland) which is considered the founding institute of modern American medicine. We also get to see him pull off one of the toughest challenges in medical history i.e. the separation of conjoined twins connected via the back of their heads in 1987, as well as a successful hemispherectomy wherein he removes a part of the patient’s brain in 1985. ‘Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story’ can be streamed here.
4. On Body and Soul (2017)
‘On Body and Soul’ is a poetic depiction of an enigmatic love story in the backdrop of a depressing Budapest. When the older introvert, Endre, meets the new mysteriously shy recruit in the office, Maria, ‘On Body and Soul‘ takes a turn for a psychological journey. Soon, the pair discovers a spiritual thread connecting them through bizarre dreams. Together, they try to decode the meaning of their visions and start an unlikely love affair. With a lot of secrets and emotions to hide from other employees, Endre and Maria become two secret isles connected through dreams. They start to recreate the magical experience of dreaming in daylight, which ends up in a mess within the organization. What follows is a catharsis for the two introverts through their body and soul. Feel free to stream it here.
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3. Paddleton (2019)
Mark Duplass and Ray Romano take us on a tour that is emotive and heartbreaking for its intimate nature. The Netflix original movie, ‘Paddleton’ follows the neighbors, played by Duplass and Romano. Both of them are considered misfits by the townspeople. They find a true friend in each other as society keeps a distance from them. But their mundane life catapults when one of the friends is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now, they have to rely on the bond of friendship to get over their tragic plight. From this point onward, ‘Paddleton’ turns out to be an intense emotional journey of the two men. The movie leaves a reassuring feeling while showcasing the magical healing power of friendship and empathy in easing the trauma of terminal diseases. You can watch the film here.
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2. Doctor G (2022)
Ayushmann Khurrana is one of the few actors in the Indian film industry who is always willing to do offbeat films where grounded stories are the main star. In ‘Doctor G,’ Khurrana plays Dr. Uday Gupta, who wants to specialize in orthopedics after graduating from medical school. But his poor ranking in the competitive entrance test, combined with his reluctance to leave his mother alone in Bhopal, India, prompts him to opt for gynecology. Because of the certain preconceived notions he has about the department, Uday initially struggles, often earning the disapproval of Dr. Nandini Srivastav, the head of the department. But as the film progresses, he learns to appreciate the responsibilities of a gynecologist and a doctor as a whole. You can watch the movie here.
1. End Game (2018)
Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, ‘End Game’ is a short documentary film. The movie revolves around Dr. Pantilat and other physicians’ efforts to challenge the orthodox perception of life and death so that patients fighting terminal illnesses can find meaning even in the last moment of life. These professional medical practitioners offer much-needed palliative care to their patients, but they go above and beyond by giving people the emotional and psychological support to come to terms with the harsh realities of life. Feel free to stream it here.
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