While there is no shortage of family-friendly entertainment and easy-to-watch popcorn flicks on Netflix to absorb, sometimes the adult in us just needs to delve into something meatier that deals with more mature themes. Thankfully, there is no shortage of heavier material on Netflix that brings up adult themes in interesting ways without veering into exploitive territory.
Before scrolling through this category, you should know that the below films contain explicit scenes, whether they relate to sex, violence or offensive language. Once you discover the adult movies on Netflix, you will want to learn more of these twisted perspectives and plots. We have chosen 5 adult films you should see anytime, regardless if you’re a beginner or a pro in this category.
Blue is the Warmest Color
Boasting an impressive 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this international indie darling of a film is a coming of age story involving two teenage girls awakening to their shared attraction for one another.
This romantic drama was made in France and warmed over audience members in both the LGBT community and the mainstream world due to its authentic storytelling and beautiful cinematography. The plot follows the story of a French teenager named Adele who discovers a thirst for a new kind of freedom when the blue-haired Emma arrives to her school.
The story of their relationship is told over the course of their high school careers into young adulthood as Adele becomes a teacher. Shared themes of sexuality, social class, and various food-related metaphors are explored along the way in this modern French classic.
Netflix also has some well-regarded documentaries that deal with very adult themes, include 2013’s Tricked. This American documentary presents the world of sex trafficking in the United States through a set of individual stories.
The stories are those of sex trafficking victims, the clients who pay for them, the pimps who exploit them, and the law enforcement officials struggling to contain the problem.
The film has been praised by critics for its depiction of a seldom seen world and the people it inhabits in a way that is tender and authentic. Still, reviewer Jeanette Catsoulis of The New York Times points out that it “leaves topics like poverty, lack of parental insight, childhood damage and low self-esteem off the table” in a way that feels lacking.
On a lighter note, the 2012 comedic drama Magic Mike offers a provocative but tongue-in-cheek exploration of the world of male stripping.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the film offers a star-studded cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Olivia Munn, and Matt Bomer. However, Magic Mike is best known for the performance of its titular character by Channing Tatum, who went onto win Best Actor awards from both the MTV Awards and People’s Choice awards for his role.
The plot follows Mike’s trajectory into a kind of stardom and the collection of colorful characters he meets along the way. The story opens with Mike working odd jobs with bid dreams for the future, keeping the lights on in part by working as a male stripper. Without giving too much away, Mike finds himself entangled in the world of male stripping without a straightforward way out.
Long before there was Magic Mike, there was 1997’s Boogie Nights, which chronicled the story of Dick Diggler’s rise and fall as one of the most popular stars of the 1970s Golden Age of Porn.
Mark Walberg plays the role of Dick as he is discovered and absorbed by the porn industry. He soon finds himself surrounded by the larger than life characters that inhabit this world, played by an impressive cast that includes Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heather Graham.
The excesses that Dick and others engage in results in some rock-bottom lows and a disenchanted perspective on sexuality that is hard to shake. However, the story is peppered with some truly hilarious comedic moments, and Mark Wahlberg’s nuanced performance itself is reason enough to consider repeated viewings.
Nymphomaniac: Volume 1
This movie is by excellence an adult masterpiece thanks to its director, Lars von Trier. Nymphomaniac is the final installment on Trier’s Depression Trilogy, which also includes Antichrist and Melancholia.
The movie shocked critics since its premiere at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival in 2014. Originally, it had an uncut five-and-a-half-hour-long version. Afterwards, it split into two volumes.
Joe is a female self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who meets a highly educated bachelor on an evening. Over a cup of tea, he listens to the detailed story of her life while he surprisingly correlates it with his hobby – fishing.
Shot in Belgium and Germany, the film came with a surprising comment from its producer, Louise Westh. She claimed that the above-the-waist images showed the actors pretending to have sex. Meanwhile, the film had under-the-waist doubles who had actual sex.
While the mature films above represent a great starting point for exploring heavier content with more adult themes on Netflix, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If one of these films particularly resonates with you, a suitable place to look for more is by using the More Like This feature to check out their recommendations.