12 Best Philosophical Movies on Netflix Right Now

We live in circles, in loops, to be precise! We are moving from one instant, one action or one place to another, only to return to that instant, that action or that place again. In other words, the world functions in closed, fast-moving, infinite loops. There are moments you want to slow down or pause and reflect on this loop structure of our lives. The best way to do this mental exercise is to step into some movie house showing a ‘philosophical movie.’ Yeah, we are discussing those movies today that might have a life-changing effect on you. Scroll down through this list of really good philosophical movies on Netflix available for streaming right now. You may also find many of these movies on Hulu or Amazon Prime.

12. Time Trap (2017)

Directed by Ben Foster and Mark Dennis, ‘Time Trap’ is a science-fiction action-adventure movie. The Brianne Howey and Cassidy Erin Gifford-starrer is set in the remote area of Texas and follows a group of concerned students who are desperately searching for their missing professor. In their personal investigation, they eventually end up in a mysterious cave where their curiosity leads to several events that appear to give signs of space-time distortion. The movie addresses complex time travel concepts that have intrigued philosophers for several centuries now.

11. Marriage Story (2019)

Starring Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta. ‘Marriage Story’ is a drama movie directed, written, and co-produced by Noah Baumbach. It centers upon the complicated relationship of an actress and her well-accomplished stage director husband. After trying counseling to settle their marital troubles, the couple fails to resolve their issues, and their problems continue to persist. While ‘Marriage Story’ does not capture the complexities of the husband-wife relationship in its entirety, it does give an intimate understanding of conflicts that often arise when a couple falls out of love.

10. Irreplaceable You (2018)

Directed by Stephanie Laing, ‘Irreplaceable You’ is a story between the relationship of two characters who have been friends since childhood. The couple, Abbie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Sam (Michiel Huisman) have a happy life in New York City until one day it is revealed that Abbie has been diagnosed with cancer. As soon as this news comes to light, Abbie is of the opinion that she needs to find a new person for Sam to fall in love with. She takes upon the responsibility to look for such a person. As she goes about doing so, Abbie meets several people who become important influences on her life. They teach her that it is important to live to one’s heart’s content no matter how less time we have in our hands. This film gives us a positive philosophical perception of death, as something not to be feared and to be taken as another part of life.

9. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)

‘Black Mirror’ is no doubt one of the most eye-opening TV shows we have ever seen. This series has, through its unique stories, opened our eyes to the various horrors the technologies around us can give rise to. When the show makers released their film ‘Bandersnatch’, expectations were sky-high because the film promised a movie-watching experience, unlike anything we had ever seen before. The story of the film centres around a video game developer, who, inspired by a book called Bandersnatch, wants to adapt it into a game where the player will get to decide how the storyline progresses. As he keeps developing the game, this character understands that even his life is not under his control. And who is controlling his life? It is us, the viewers.

8. End Game (2018)

Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, ‘End Game’ is a short documentary that sheds light on palliative care and offers profound insights into the shortness of human life and the harsh reality of death. Following some of the most dedicated and visionary medical practitioners who are constantly fighting the battle of life and death with their patients, ‘End Game’ turns its attention towards terminally ill patients in a San Franciso hospital. While offering people the much-needed moral and medicinal support, some of these doctors have taken the daunting task of changing the general outlook on death and life.

7. Pieces of a Woman (2020)

Based on Mundruczó and Wéber’s stage play, ‘Pieces of a Woman’ is a drama movie that follows the Boston couple Martha and Sean, who decide to have a homebirth in spite of the risks. Unfortunately, things go well on the day of delivery, and the couple ends up losing their child. While Martha’s mother files a court case against the midwife, Eva, the protagonist, is overtaken by grief and suffering. The movie delves deeper into sensitive subjects like child loss and its repercussions while offering a compassionate understanding of the pain that parents go through when they lose their children.

6. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

Inspired by Iain Reid’s novel of the same name, ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ is a psychological thriller film directed and written by Charlie Kaufman. The Jesse Plemons and Jessie Buckley-starrer revolve around a young woman who tags along with her boyfriend on a road trip to the latter’s parents. Sadly, the couple gets stuck at their destination due to a snowstorm, and the protagonist is forced to rest of the time with her boyfriends’ family. The experience has a strange effect on her as she begins to question her own identity and her relationship as well.

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5. Private Life (2018)

Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn star in this Netflix original film which is extremely important and relevant in today’s world. The two leading actors play the roles of a couple, Richard and Rachel, who are desperately trying to have a child after their natural processes fail. From IVF to adoption to artificial insemination- they try everything they can, but nothing seems to be working in their favour. They even go to the extent of asking Richard’s niece to donate her eggs for their artificial insemination. The process becomes so emotionally challenging for our protagonists at that point that they decide to give everything up.

While it is natural for any married couple to yearn for a child, this film teaches us that it is much more important to be happy yourself in whatever you wish to do in life. There are many people who have a number of desires that they run after throughout the day. In the process, what they don’t realize is that life slowly passes by without them even noticing it once. This is something we should never allow to happen to ourselves.

4. The Platform (2019)

Directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, ‘The Platform’ is a social science fiction-horror film written by David Desola and Pedro Rivero. The Iván Massagué and Antonia San Juan-starrer focus on the inmates of a vertical prison where the ones living on the top level are fed level while the ones surviving on the levels below are hardly given enough food to get by. The situation naturally fuels envy and pits the inmates against one another. With each passing day, the starving criminals become more and more agitated, and the anger that builds up is only waiting to be unleashed. ‘The Platform’ looks at human nature by pushing people to their very limits by starving and isolating them.

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3. Forgive Us Our Debts (2018)

An Italian original film from Netflix, ‘Forgive Us Our Debts’ is directed and co-written by Antonio Morabito. The story of this film centres around one man who is bogged down by the amount of money he owes to various people and desperately wants to get out of the mess. Having no way out, he decides to start working as a debt collector for a loan shark. While signing up for the same, he did not even imagine the lows he would have to stoop to in order to carry out his job. This situation finds him getting in situations he always wanted out of in the first place. ‘Forgive Us Our Debts’ shows us that a deal with the devil is not a way out of any situation. Because once we sell off our honour, it is like selling off our own souls. And from there, any escape is next to impossible.

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 2. 6 Balloons (2018)

A Netflix original film, ‘6 Balloons’ stars  Abbi Jacobson and Dave Franco as a brother-sister duo. The film starts with Katie (Jacobson) planning a surprise birthday party for his boyfriend Jack. When she goes to buy the cake, she also decides to pick up her brother Seth (Franco) for the party. Seth is a regular heroin user who needs to be admitted to a rehab centre as soon as possible, but the two clinics where Abbi takes him to turn them down. Getting more and more impatient, Seth says that he needs to get his hands on some heroin as soon as possible and even forces his sister to buy the drug for him. After quite some time, it dawns on Abbi that there is no use asking his brother to rectify himself unless he himself does not want it from the bottom of his heart.

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1. Looper (2012)

Directed and written by Rian Johnson, ‘Looper’ is a science fiction action-thriller film that features Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, and Paul Dano. The movie is set in the near future, where time travel is not only possible but even frequently used by people. Unfortunately, only those who are rich enough to pay for it on the black market are able to access it. People are executed simply by sending their present selves in the past where an assassin is waiting for their target to accomplish the mission. Joe has loyally served his mob boss by killing people who are sent in the past, but his life takes an unprecedented turn when he is betrayed by the people whom he has served all his life. The film explores the paradoxes and the intricacies of time travel.

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