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3 Netflix Movies I Thought I’d Hate But Ended Up Loving (OK, & One I Was Right About)

Look, there is a ton of content to binge out there. From Netflix to Hulu to Amazon Prime to HBO Max to—well, you get the idea. But one of my biggest problems is actually settling on a new movie to watch (and I know I'm not alone here). Just scrolling through Netflix, it's impossible not to roll my eyes at some of the options. Do I really want to spend my Saturday night watching that? It looks terrible.

And previews can be deceiving too. I've watched a number of trailers for films that just simply didn't do them justice. I've thought, Who would watch this after seeing this preview?! but then gone on to love the movie itself.

So, I'm here to help cut through some of the noise (and terrible marketing) with a few personal recommendations. Keep scrolling for three Netflix movies I thought I'd hate but ended up loving—and one that I wish I'd just skipped.

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1. ‘love Hard’

Expectations were low for this Netflix rom-com centered around catfishing and Christmas. Luckily, I didn’t let an eye-roll-worthy trailer for the film deter me—and TBH, I love me some Nina Dobrev (who plays the lead) so I’m glad I gave it a shot.

Corny? Yes. Cringeworthy at times? Yes. But believe me when I say it was all worth the watch.

The film follows a West Coast writer (Dobrev) who falls for a guy on a dating app. In a moment of bravery (and in true rom-com fashion), she throws caution to the wind and flies cross country to surprise her virtual beau. Naturally, she arrives to discover she’s been catfished. She decides to stay for the holiday anyway and…well…it’s a rom-com so you can probably figure out the rest from there.

The movie is surprisingly fun (and funny) fare—an easy watch and a solid option for date night or a solo viewing.

Expectations: 2

Reality: 8.5

2. ‘the Lost Daughter’

OK, now of course I love anything Olivia Colman does, however, this is a case where I was once again duped by the trailer into thinking this film was something it was not. The preview makes it seem like this is a thriller where perhaps Colman’s character will kidnap a girl (or worse) in an effort to fill a void left by a daughter she once lost. In reality, the film is so much better and so much deeper than that.

The Lost Daughter is a beautiful film, directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal, that follows a woman on vacation (Colman) who is forced to relive her memories of being a young mother after meeting another mother, played by Dakota Johnson. The tone is much more artsy than the trailer implies and the whole thing is more character driven, allowing for stunning performances all around, but particularly by Colman who is nominated for an Oscar for her role.

While the film is slow moving, this allows for a more nuanced and heartbreaking story to unfold. Much better than another stupid thriller.

Expectations: 4

Reality: 8

3. ‘army Of The Dead’

You’re gonna have to hear me out on this one. Yes, it’s a big-budget zombie movie. But if you like horror (and can stomach a bit of gore), this zombie flick is likely to surprise you with how fun—and clever—it is.

In short, zombies have taken over Las Vegas, but luckily have been contained there, leaving the rest of the world unaffected. That’s when a rag-tag team of misfits decides to go in and rob a casino vault, ideally not becoming zombified in the process.

The script is great with its many twists, but the true highlight here is the cast. Standup comedian Tig Notaro is super funny as the team’s helicopter pilot, Matthias Schweighöfer is quirky and lovable as the vault expert and Dave Bautista (of Avengers fame) is a charismatic, kick-ass team leader.

Again, I can’t overstate the gore element, but the film is a really good time and if you love it, there’s a prequel (sans zombies) called Army of Thieves that’s even better.

Expectations: 2

Reality: 8

And The One I Wish I’d Skipped: ‘the Guilty’

The other Gyllenhaal (ya know, Jake) also made my list, but not in a good way. This film had some potential—an intense premise, an A-list star making a lot of broody faces. What could go wrong?

Really this film is a bore from start to finish. Very little happens at all. We spend the entire movie watching Gyllenhaal on a phone call at a 911 center attempting to help a woman in distress. But this gets pretty old pretty fast.

In an effort to make things more “interesting,” the film gives our 911 protagonist a complicated past himself and we quickly find that he may not be the good guy we want him to be. Can he redeem himself by saving this woman from the comfort of his chair and his headset? Spoiler alert: I didn’t care either way. I would’ve been much happier watching Donnie Darko for the tenth time.

Expectations: 5

Reality: 3

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