Best Movies on Hulu Right Now (September 2021)

Minding the Gap

Hulu

When you think of Hulu, you think of The Handmaid’s Tale and the place to go to watch Modern Family when your mother comes to visit, but this list is here to let you know that Hulu is also a destination for some of the best movies streaming. In addition to original films like Palm Springs, Oscar winners like Nomadland, and fantastic documentaries like Summer of Soul, it’s also weirdly a great home to some modern cult classics and art house indies that you probably missed.

But this list isn’t about the absolute best movies that critics tell you are good, it’s about the best movies to watch on Hulu right now. That means this list will look a little different from the other ones out there, as we’re focusing on Hulu originals, new arrivals to Hulu, films that are on Hulu that aren’t anywhere else, and personal favorites. 

Looking for more recommendations of what to watch next? Try our list of the 50 Best Things to Watch on Hulu Right Now. We also have a ton of other recommendations and hand-picked selections based on shows you already love.

Last updated Sept. 21, 2021; newer additions are at the top

Summer of Soul


For fans of: The best musical acts of the ’60s, reclaiming history

B.B. King, Summer of Soul

B.B. King, Summer of Soul 

20th Century Studios

The same year Woodstock was held and grabbed all the headlines as the only thing that happened in music in 1969, the Harlem Cultural Festival took place, with performances by Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Sly and the Family Stone, and more. Footage of the festival never saw the light of day until the release of this film, which marks the directorial debut of musician Questlove. If you need more reason to watch it, Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) has been universally acclaimed and won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the documentary category at Sundance. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Shadow in the Cloud


For fans of: Bonkers genre mash-ups, Chloë Grace Moretz

Chloë Grace Moretz, Shadow in the Cloud

Chloë Grace Moretz, Shadow in the Cloud

Vertical Entertainment

This movie isn’t for everyone, but if Chloë Grace Moretz fist-fighting a bat-like creature is for you, then this is definitely your kind of movie. It’s a WWII movie, a creature feature, and a female action flick all in one, as Moretz stars as a woman with secrets who catches a lift from a WWII combat plane. In addition to firing at Japanese fighter planes, the crew ends up tangling with a monster and they’re picked off one-by-one until Moretz has to save the day. These aren’t spoilers, these are just facts you know are coming. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Changing the Game


For fans of: Trans rights, emotional sports stories

Changing the Game

Changing the Game

Hulu

One of the most talked about issues in sports today is the role of transgender athletes in athletics. The award-winning documentary Changing the Game takes a humane, honest look at the subject from the point of view of three transgender teen athletes fighting for their right to compete. The centerpiece is trans man Mack Beggs, who was given two options by his home state of Texas: wrestle as his assigned sex (female) or quit. He chose to wrestle. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Biggest Little Farm


For fans of: Cute animals, feeling hopeful for once, saving the world

The Biggest Little Farm

The Biggest Little Farm

Hulu/screengrab

The thought of watching a white couple from Los Angeles give up city life to start an organic farm sounds like a hard pass. But in the documentary The Biggest Little Farm, self-righteousness and hipster woke culture isn’t the star; nature, in all her splendid beauty, is. This stunning documentary manages to capture the power of life with incredible footage of flora and fauna. It also captures the positive impact that humans can have, for a change, as the director, John Chester, and his wife, Molly, transform neglected acreage into a thriving ecosystem where literally every animal big and small plays an important part. Even though there are some basic facts of life on full display here — animals will die — it’s a great watch for the whole family. This is one of those rare films you’ll leave feeling that you can make a difference. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Parasite


For fans of: Class conflict, conning the rich

Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Song Kang-ho, and Jang Hye-jin, Parasite

Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Song Kang-ho, and Jang Hye-jin, Parasite

Neon

Parasite, the 2020 winner for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, is on Hulu, so you are really running out of excuses if you haven’t seen it. Though technically not at all about any parasites, it’s the parasitic metaphor that really strikes hard as a low-income family slowly infiltrates a wealthy family, living off them like ticks on a dog. But both sides have deep, dark secrets that come to light by the movie’s totally bonkers ending. The movie’s message isn’t the only thing to watch for; Bong’s immaculate direction and cinematography are bolstered by a truly incredible performance by its ensemble cast. Don’t be that person who hasn’t seen Parasite. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn


For fans of: Startups shutting down, cults, bad business

Adam Neumann, WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn

Adam Neumann, WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn

Hulu

This Hulu original documentary is best watched by knowing as little as possible about WeWork, the real estate company that provided work stations for startups and became a Wall Street juggernaut before its founder, Adam Neumann, essentially drove the company off a cliff. That’s because it probably won’t tell you anything you don’t already know, if you’ve followed the story, but even with that, it’s still astonishing to see how events unfolded as Neumann essentially built a cult and had a desire to change the world with some pretty far-out ideas, like WeGrow, a private communal school built on the same foundations of WeWork. This is a dangerous lesson in capitalism. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Minding the Gap


For fans of: Skateboarding, the bittersweet passage of time

Minding the Gap

Minding the Gap

Hulu

If you like your documentaries with a side of a punch in the gut, Minding the Gap will suffice! The Oscar-nominated film, from first-time director Bing Liu, follows Liu as he reconnects with two of his old skateboarding buddies while the twentysomething young men all deal with the struggles of growing up after childhoods of abuse and neglect. Archival footage is both exuberant and emotional as the trio escapes troubles through skateboarding and details the problems at home, while new footage shows how their lives have changed (or not changed) through unplanned fatherhood, new family issues, and more all-too-common obstacles. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Portrait of a Lady on Fire


For fans of: French affairs, the way Saoirse Ronan says “Women” in Little Women

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

NEON

The most romantic movie of 2019, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a simmering love story designed to devastate and delight. Céline Sciamma directs the film, which is set in 18th century France and revolves around the affair that develops between an artist and her subject, a young aristocratic woman who is about to be married off. The chemistry between the leads, Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel, is a pleasure to watch in action, made all the more upsetting because of the pervasive knowledge that there’s a hard expiration date on their relationship. –Allison Picurro [Trailer]

Booksmart


For fans of: The last day of school, unrealistically cool teen parties

Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart

Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart

Annapurna/screengrab

Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is a good one, one of those comedies that comes out of nowhere to approach cult status and a future spot on cable TV’s weekend movie rotation. The teen comedy follows two seniors and best friends who are regarded by classmates as downers but are determined to cram four years of fun into the night before graduation so they don’t head off to college unfulfilled. It’s an R-rated teen comedy — the best kind — with the type of bawdy language that teens actually use, cameos from Jason Sudeikis, Will Forte, and Lisa Kudrow, and two fantastic performances from its leads, Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Palm Springs


For fans of: Groundhog Day, wedding shenanigans

Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg, Palm Springs

Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg, Palm Springs

Hulu

The less you know about Palm Springs going into it, the better, but it’s probably no secret at this point that this delightful comedy features Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti as a pair of wedding goers who find themselves trapped in a time loop. Their performances are at once goofy and grounded, and there are plenty of surprises packed into every precious minute of this wild, incredibly fun rom-com with touches of sci-fi. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Bill & Ted Face the Music


For fans of: Bill, Ted, excellent adventures

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, Bill & Ted Face the Music

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, Bill & Ted Face the Music

Orion

2020’s sequel to 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey is the rare decades-later continuation that actually works, capturing the good-hearted spirit of the original by retaining the two doofus’ (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves) warm yet brain-dead spirit. This time around, the guys need to write a song to save the universe, so they travel to the future to “steal it” from themselves. It is most excellent. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

If Beale Street Could Talk


For fans of: Devastating romance, wondering why a movie didn’t win more awards

Kiki Layne and Stephan James, If Beale Street Could Talk

Kiki Layne and Stephan James, If Beale Street Could Talk

Annapurna Pictures/Hulu

Barry Jenkins’ 2018 follow-up to Moonlight is another stunner that cemented Jenkins as one of the most exciting directors in the biz today. His eye for color, lighting, and camera angles is poetic, and perfectly honors If Beale Street Could Talk‘s emotional source material, James Baldwin’s novel about a young couple who want to have a baby despite the father being behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. If you missed If Beale Street Could Talk during awards season, fix that immediately now that it’s streaming on Hulu, and see for yourself why Regina King took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar


For fans of: Suburban middle America accents, extreme silliness

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumalo, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Lionsgate

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo play two best friends from Nebraska who go to Florida for vacation where they are over the moon about pretty much everything. It’s unabashedly silly, featuring a villain’s plot involving mosquitoes, marathon sex sessions between middle-aged people, and some incredibly coiffed hair. The excellent cast also includes Jamie Dornan, Damon Wayans Jr., and Wendi McLendon-Covey. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Nomadland


For fans of: Camper vans, using a bucket as a bathroom

Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Frances McDormand, Nomadland

You have Hulu, so you may as well watch the 2021 Oscar winner for Best Picture. Frances McDormand stars in this adaptation of the 2017 book about a nomad who works odd jobs and lives out of a van as part of a lifestyle choice, bringing light to an expanding community of people breaking the mold of how we’re supposed to live. Many of those people are in the film as major characters, adding an immersive sense of authenticity. Part of that authenticity? The feeling you get wondering if you should ditch your house and hit the road to fully appreciate everything life and nature has to offer. Nomadland is a unique achievement that deserved every award it got. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Together Together


For fans of: Unlikely friendships, modern parenthood

Patti Harrison and Ed Helms, Together Together

Patti Harrison and Ed Helms, Together Together

Bleecker Street/screengrab

I keep telling people to seek out this sweet indie, which had a theatrical release before movie theaters really opened up, and now everyone can watch it for free*! (*Well, with a Hulu subscription.) Ed Helms stars as a man who wants a baby, and Patti “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson” Harrison plays the woman he’s chosen to be his surrogate, and it’s one of those movies where nothing really happens, but also everything happens. Helms and Harrison are great as two people who don’t really know what to do with or how to relate to each other, but who have been thrown together for the better part of a year due to their circumstances. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and I hope it does the same for you. –Allison Picurro [Trailer]

Another Round


For fans of: Mads Mikkelsen, Danish drinking culture

Mads Mikkelsen, Another Round

Mads Mikkelsen, Another Round

Zentropa/screengrab

Directed by Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round follows four high school teachers all in the throes of mid-life crises who, desperate to find a reason to keep going on, decide to test out a psychiatrist’s theory that maintaining a certain blood alcohol content each day makes humans more content. It’s a darkly funny and deeply sad film about aging and friendship and the struggle to find fulfillment in life. The 2021 Oscar winner for Best International Film is best known for its luminous final scene, which features its star, Mads Mikkelsen, performing an exuberant dance number to a thumping Euro pop track. –Allison Picurro [Trailer]

Supernova


For fans of: Tragic love stories, Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci

Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, Supernova

Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, Supernova

Bleecker Street/screengrab

This isn’t one of those totally sad movies or one of those totally happy movies, even though it will make you both extremely happy and sad. It’s one of those ‘tweeners about the beauty of love and life in the face of tragedy, and I’m already crying. The bittersweet story about a couple (Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci) spending some of their last days together as one of them is afflicted with early-onset dementia is a weeper, but carrying you through it will be Firth and Tucci’s excellent performances. –Allison Picurro [Trailer]

Three Identical Strangers


For fans of: Family secrets, getting your damn mind blown

Three Identical Strangers

Three Identical Strangers

NEON

Every documentary that has used some variation of the selling point “a story so crazy it has to be true” needs to step aside. The truth in Three Identical Strangers is so bizarre and goes in so many directions you’d never expect that you’ll want to put a pillow on the floor for your jaw. The film follows the story of identical triplets — three gregarious New York boys — separated at birth who meet in their teenage years and become media sensations, but gets really insane when it dives into the circumstances of why they were separated. If I told you any more, I’d ruin it for you. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

Possessor


For fans of: Mind trips, like seriously

Possessor

Possessor

Screengrab

I tend to stay away from movies with trailers that proclaim “from the visionary mind of [insert writer/director here],” because it’s like, get over yourself, dude, but Brandon “son of David” Cronenberg’s latest film is a doozy. The sci-fi film follows an assassin (Andrea Riseborough) who executes hits by taking control of other people’s bodies using implanted chip tech. Seems easy, right? It is, until she has trouble with her latest target (the always dying in a movie or show Sean Bean) when the body (Christopher Abbott) she takes over decides he’s not ready to give up total control. Like his dad, Brandon isn’t afraid to go cuckoo bananers with practical effects and hallucinatory montages. This is an art house freak-out film that deserves cult status. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

The Mole Agent


For fans of: Elderly spies, pure emotion

The Mole Agent

The Mole Agent

Courtesy of Gravitas Ventures

The charming Chilean documentary The Mole Agent was nominated for an Oscar in 2020, and it’s easy to see why. When a man in his 80s answers an ad from a family who believes their matriarch is being mistreated in a nursing home, he goes in undercover to report what he sees. But what he finds is a unique connection to its residents. Grab a hanky, this one will make your heart explode. –Tim Surette [Trailer]

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