Love is in the air this month at Netflix. The weather’s perking up, and (in accordance with social distancing regulations, pre-booked) beach days will be a must going into the next few weeks. But there’s only so long you can spend out in the sun before you start craving the comfort of the couch again. Whether you’re still being cautious about the number of COVID-19 community cases, or are just desperately in need of a night in, Netflix is saddled up and ready to give you the romantic ride of a lifetime.
And it’s not just romance that’s on the docket, either. A Korean space opera looks promising, as does the return of Rosamund Pike to the spotlight. There’s also going to be a slew of documentary content, covering topics that run the gauntlet from pole dancing to a haunting true crime disappearance. And between a Swedish thriller, a choose-your-own Bear Grylls adventure, and a German dystopian adventure, you’ll be, as always, spoiled for choice.
So buy a box of your favourite chocolates or the biggest, cuddliest stuffed bear you can find, and let the streaming platform sweep you off your feet throughout February. Below, you can find our picks for the best and the brightest new projects dropping on Netflix this month.
1 / 8
Firefly Lane is another feel-good series for those viewers who blasted through all 20 episodes of Virgin River and are at a loss as to what to watch next. It follows the story of two women who have been inseparable friends since their awkward tweenage years. Tully (Katherine Heigl) and Kate (Sarah Chalke) walk arm-in-arm down the battlefields of their high school hallways and beyond, until their lives and ambitions pull them apart in adulthood. But, again and again, they’ll return to one another. Spanning three decades, and based on the incendiary Kristin Hannah book series, Firefly Lane understands how it’s friendships that are our greatest love stories, that make us whole, and complete our lives.
Watch Firefly Lane from 3 February.
2 / 8
Strip Down, Rise Up
Shot by an all-female crew afforded rare access behind the closed doors of the pole dancing world, Strip Down, Rise Up is a new feature documentary directed and produced by Academy Award nominee Michèle Ohayon. Charting how women heal through exploration of sensual dancing, the film follows characters from all walks of life. There’s diversity of experience, bodies, race, age, and more. Watch them shed their trauma and loss, reclaiming their power as they do so. The raw beauty of this doc will have you ugly-crying by the 90-minute mark, guaranteed.
Watch Strip Down, Rise Up from 5 February.
3 / 8
The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity
A Mandarin fantasy film with a mega-budget and high profile, The Yin-Yang Master is the brainchild of Chinese enfant terrible of the filmmaking world, Guo Jingming. The movie tells the story of the four Yin-Yang Masters, called to defeat an immortal demonic serpent, solve a murder, and stop a dark royal conspiracy from coming to fruition. It’s all in a day’s work for the Masters, though. The film is based on Japanese blockbuster novel Onmyoji, which spawned numerous adaptations—in comic book, television, movie, and video game form—since its publication in the mid-eighties. See this version for its stellar acting, gorgeous scenery, delicate costumes, and spectacular special effects.
Watch The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity from 5 February.
4 / 8
The first Korean space blockbuster, Space Sweepers tells the story of a small, tight-knit crew of The Victory in the year 2092. Escaping the destruction of Earth, collecting space junk, and chasing after their dreams, the four misfits aboard the spaceship start an explosive chain reaction when they stumble upon a young android girl during a routine debris haul. Touted as a space opera in the vein of Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy, the new Netflix film is another casualty of COVID-19’s impact on cinema. The movie will skip its theatrical run entirely, hopping straight to streaming. To infinity and beyond!
Watch Space Sweepers from 5 February.
5 / 8
News of the World
Tom Hanks—need we say more? In News of the World, Captain Kidd (Hanks) criss-crosses post-Civil War Texas, making his living by reading from newspapers to illiterate town populaces. When he comes across a 10-year-old German girl being raised by the Kiowa people, a begrudging Kidd finds himself tasked with delivering her to her aunt and uncle hundreds of miles away. We haven’t had a Hanks collaboration with director Paul Greengrass since 2013’s underrated Captain Phillips; apparently, it’s been a lifelong dream for both of them to make a Western. According to the warm reviews that are already pouring in for this flick, that dream was fully realised.
Watch News of the World from 10 February.
6 / 8
To All The Boys: Always and Forever
Lara Jean’s growing up. Having started her senior year of high school, Lana Condor’s precocious and romantic teen returns from a family trip to Korea to reevaluate her college plans—and whether they involve her formerly-fake, now-very-real boyfriend, Peter (Noah Centineo). As the daunting prospect of a long-distance relationship looms, Lara Jean will have to decide how much of herself she’ll take with her to college, and what will inevitably be left behind. A gorgeously gift-wrapped end that ties off the trilogy in a neat bow, Always and Forever will hit anyone who’s ever had a first love right in their chest.
Watch To All The Boys: Always and Forever from 12 February.
7 / 8
I Care A Lot
A black comedy about a morally-dubious conwoman played by Rosamund Pike? We signed up before the end of that sentence. Also starring Peter Dinklage, Eiza González, Chris Messina, and Diane Wiest, I Care A Lot is a “deliciously nasty” romp that entangles Pike with capitalism, gangsters, and some questionable treatment of the elderly. A crafty and cruel thriller, I Care A Lot sees Pike as Marla Grayson, a sleek legal guardian who leverages her elderly wards to squeeze every last dollar out of them. That is, until she tangles with a woman with all the wrong connections. Pike’s acerbic performance, with her blonde bob and dead-eyed smile reminiscent of Gone Girl‘s Amy, will thrill and delight you.
Watch I Care A Lot from 19 February.
8 / 8
The Girl on the Train
A Hindi-language adaptation of the hit 2015 novel of the same name by Paula Hawkins, the jury’s still out on how closely this new picture will hew to the 2016 American version, an uneven Emily Blunt vehicle. This time around, The Girl on the Train stars Parineeti Chopra (cousin of Priyanka Chopra Jonas) as Meera, a 30-something alcoholic divorcee who gets mixed up in a missing person’s investigation after waking up from a blackout episode bloodied and disoriented. Hawkins’ unreliable protagonist is in a self-destructive tailspin for much of the book, and it’s looking like the Indian adaptation will retain much of that frenetic, erratic tone. There’s going to be no better way to see off the end of the month than with an intense, proven heartracer like The Girl on the Train.
Watch The Girl on the Train from 26 February.