11 Best New Movies on Netflix: December 2021's Freshest Films to Watch – Decider

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Netflix is serving up some top-notch hits to round out a packed 2021. This December, Netflix is bringing its all with awards contenders, holiday hits, and family-friendly content, clearing out some titles leaving in the next month to showcase a wonderful array of new and exciting titles. Whether you want to celebrate all the holidays December has to offer or you want to start prepping your Oscars ballot a little early, Netflix has everything you need this month.
The streamer is kicking things off with film festival darling The Power of the Dog, which marks director Jane Campion’s return to filmmaking after a 12 year hiatus. The neo-western stars key players like Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and more. Right after that, Netflix is taking a sharp left turn with Single All the Way, an LGBTQ+ rom-com with what could be the best love triangle the streamer has to offer. We’ve got westerns, rom-coms — what more could one want? These are exactly the kinds of movies that end up landing on the Netflix Top 10.
Moving into the middle of the month, Netflix is debuting some kids specials that are sure to keep every pipsqueak happy as they sip on hot cocoa. Shaun the Sheep will return for the Flight Before Christmas, a special featuring our favorite little furry guy. Right after that, Netflix will follow-up with Back to the Outback, a movie about a handful of zoo animals that will surely impress all fans of the hit Madagascar.
To close out the month, Netflix is teaming with the biggest stars 2021 has to offer with Don’t Look Up, an apocalyptic sci-fi movie about an asteroid headed straight towards Earth. The Adam McKay-directed movie will star Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, and more major names. Want to know what other eye-grabbing movies are dropping on Netflix in the next month? Keeping scrolling to check out our full list of what movies to watch on Netflix in December.
Jane Campion’s buzzy return will finally debut on Netflix this month, with a promising Oscar’s bid ahead of it. The Power of the Dog stars acting powerhouses like Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, and Jesse Plemons in a neo-western following a twisted family on a ranch. Everything goes a bit haywire when a rancher’s brother brings home his new wife and her son, bringing toxic masculinity to the forefront of the discussion. If you loved The Harder They Fall last month on Netflix, you’ll definitely want to check out The Power of the Dog.
Stream The Power of the Dog on Netflix
Closer is a fantastic drama film based on a play you won’t want to miss this December. The 2004 film follows four strangers as they fall in love with, cheat on, and lie to each other. Starring Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Jude Law, and Clive Owen, the film is an epic of romance, heartbreak,   and first encounters. It’s less a movie based on a plot, and more about the general vibes of deception. All relationships disintegrate, build back up, come to a climax, and come tumbling down over and over and over again.
Where to watch Closer
One of Netflix’s first gay holiday rom-coms is finally here! Single All the Way is bringing its all with a love triangle we can’t resist. Perpetually single Peter is feeling low as he heads into the holiday season with his family, so he decides to ask his best friend Nick to tag along and pretend to be his boyfriend. To throw things even more off course, Peter’s mom sets him up on a date with her hot trainer. As Peter’s family begins to see the sparks between Peter and Nick, they’ve got to make the couple realize it for themselves.
Stream Single All the Way on Netflix
Our favorite little stop-motion animation buddy, Shaun the Sheep, is back. The British kids franchise returns to Netflix this month with Flight Before Christmas, a short film that’ll entertain all the little ones as you celebrate the holiday season. A farmhouse raid leads to the disappearance of Timmy, meaning it’s up to Shaun to rescue the small one before he becomes someone else’s present.
Stream Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas on Netflix
Another flick for the kiddos to enjoy this December, Back to the Outback is a Madagascar-esque fantasy adventure for the whole family. The movie follows a handful of zoo animals that get tired of their cages and plot a daring escape into Australia’s grand wilderness. Unfortunately, their nemesis — a cute but obnoxious koala named “Pretty Boy — unexpectedly joins their escape, leaving the gang have no choice but to take him with them on an especially dangerous journey.
Stream Back to the Outback on Netflix
Sandra Bullock stars in the drama-filled The Unforgivable, playing an ex-con out for redemption. Ruth Slater has finally been released from prison for a violent crime she was found guilty for years ago, but society refuses to forgive her for her past. While she wants to return to a comfortable home, no one really seems to accept her back. Her only hope? An estranged younger sister she left behind. The Unforgivable stars Jon Bernthal, Richard Thomas, Viola Davis, and Rob Morgan alongside Bullock.
Stream The Unforgivable on Netflix
Italy’s grand entry into the race for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars will debut on Netflix later this month, and it’s perfectly suited for a piping hot plate of pasta and some fine chianti. Paolo Sorrentino’s new film is set in the tumultuous Naples in the 1980s, following a young boy has he grapples with the dichotomies of great joys and tragic lows. The Hand of God promises to be Sorrentino’s most personal tale yet, following fate and family, sports and cinema, and love and loss.
Stream The Hand of God on Netflix
Netflix is taking us back to the sunny farm for a sequel to their beloved A California Christmas, which stars real-life couple Lauren and Josh Swickard. It’ll pick up a year after Callie and Joseph accidentally fell in love, catching up with the happy-as-clams couple as they run their dairy farm and winery without a hitch. Unfortunately, things don’t go according to plan when the duo are called back into the city, with business and family obligations beckoning them back. Will this derail their romance, or are they set for life?
Stream A California Christmas: City Lights on Netflix
Come for Gary Oldman’s performance as Winston Churchill, stay for an overall enthralling movie about WWII. Darkest Hour won Oldman the Oscar for Best Actor, a well-deserved award for his embodiment of the British prime minister. Set in the early days of WWII, the film follows Churchill as he makes a difficult decision on whether or not to fight Hitler or negotiate with him. During those fateful four weeks, the history of Europe and the world rested in the hands of one ever-powerful man. Pair with another 2017 flick, Dunkirk, for maximum WWII history!
Where to watch Darkest Hour
We’ve been on the edge of our seats all year waiting for Don’t Look Up, which promises to be a real whirlwind of a film from Adam McKay. Loading mega-stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet, Cate Blanchett, Ariana Grande, and more into one film was certainly a choice — and finally, we’ll get to see if it pays off. The movie follows two lowly astronomers who discover a meteor headed right towards earth. With only days to save humankind, the duo set out on a media tour to change the minds of the nation. Unfortunately, no one seems to believe that the world is actually ending. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)
Stream Don’t Look Up on Netflix
Based on Elena Ferrante’s novel of the same name, The Lost Daughter marks Maggie Gyllenhaal’s exciting directorial debut. The movie stars A-listers like Dakota Johnson, Olivia Colman, Paul Mescal, and more in a mystery that should beckon all Big Little Lies fans right on over to Netflix. The film follows Leda, an older woman on a vacation who becomes enamored with a younger mother and her small daughter. Slowly, Leda becomes consumed with her own traumas of motherhood, haunted by the mistakes she made as a young mother and the consequences that have followed her throughout her life.
Stream The Lost Daughter on Netflix
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