From old ’80s classics to modern-day tales, Hulu is home to tons of fantastic dramas. Some have comedic twists while others are mind-bending thrillers. Many of them are Academy Award winners and nominees as well, representing some of the best of the best in cinema. Looking for a good drama to watch on a Friday night while enjoying a cozy evening at home on your own or with a romantic partner? Here are some of the absolute best dramas you can watch on Hulu right now.
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Dead Poets Society (1989)
When it comes to unconventional teachers, the gold standard is John Keating (Robin Williams), Dead Poet Society‘s rebellious English teacher who had his class stand on their desks to discuss life, rip pages from their poetry books, and walk around in unique ways to express their individuality. The young men, all from wealthy families, are inspired by Keating’s unorthodox methods but trouble brews when it catches the attention of the Welton Academy’s strict headmaster. When a handful of Keating’s most promising students revive a secret and unsanctioned group called the Dead Poets Society, however, the situation gets even more complicated as the boys begin to break free of the school’s conformist ways. The film brought that iconic “O Captain! My Captain!” desk-standing scene and marks one of Williams’ most memorable roles.
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Stars: Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles
Director: Peter Weir
Runtime: 129 minutes
The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
Set during the French and Indian War in 1757, this epic historical drama is based on the 1936 film by George B. Seitz which, in turn, drew inspiration from the 1826 James Fenimore Cooper novel The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757. The story begins when Cora (Madeleine Stowe) and Alice (Jodhi May), the two daughters of a British Army Colonel, are being escorted through the wilderness to his post, but are betrayed by their guide who leads them into a Huron ambush. Rescued by a group of Mohican trappers, which includes Nathaniel “Hawkeye” Poe (Daniel Day-Lewis), a white, adopted son of the tribe, the trappers escort the Colonel’s daughters instead and are soon caught up in the war and its twists and turns — but not before Hawkeye and Cora fall in love, of course. The film received critical praise and earned an Academy Award for Best Sound.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means
Director: Michael Mann
Runtime: 112 minutes
I, Tonya (2017)
Who can forget the 1994 attack by figure skater Tonya Harding on her rival Nancy Kerrigan? This biographical film pulls back the curtain to look behind the scenes at Harding’s home life, including her fractured relationship with her mother, the pressure she felt to succeed, and her financial and romantic struggles. Presented as a dark comedy as well as a drama, this retelling is part truth, part fiction, but based on actual events. Filmed in mockumentary style, it’s presented with fictional present-day interviews that paint both Harding and her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) as unreliable storytellers. While Margot Robbie was nominated for a best actress Oscar for her fabulous portrayal of Harding, it was Allison Janney who took home the hardware as Tonya’s mother, earning her the best supporting actress statuette at that year’s awards.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Stars: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Julianne Nicholson, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney
Director: Craig Gillespie
Runtime: 119 minutes
Blood Diamond (2006)
Blood diamonds, also known as conflict diamonds, are stones that are mined, often using forced labor, from within African war zones and then sold in order to finance violent rebel movements and ongoing conflicts. This political war thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou helped bring awareness to the tragic topic and followed the events that led up to the historic Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in Kimberley, South Africa, which aimed to certify the origins of rough diamonds to help ensure that diamonds trading on the global market are conflict-free. The movie is set during the Sierra Leone Civil War in 1991-2002 and further portrays the dark side of war. With five Academy Award nominations under its belt, this film is worth watching for the stellar cast alone.
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, Djimon Hounsou, Michael Sheen, Arnold Vosloo
Director: Edward Zwick
Runtime: 143 minutes
Sweeping the 92nd Academy Awards, Bong Joon-ho’s black comedy thriller managed to entertain and impress critics and audiences, alike. Delivered in Korean with subtitles, the movie, which is the first non-English language movie and the first South Korean film to win an Academy Award, tells the story of an average, low-income family who finds a clever way to dig themselves out of their financial hole. One by one, they get hired to work for the wealthy Park family, even though none is qualified to take on the job they pretend to know how to do. It begins when the son Ki-woo pretends to be a university student to tutor the Park’s daughter. Ki-woo’s sister, Ki-jung, using her brother’s recommendation, gets hired as an art therapist for the Park’s son. Through continued manipulations and blackmail, each member of the family slowly works their way into the Park family’s staff, with hilarious and dramatic consequences.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Stars: Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Lee Jung-eun, Jang Hye-jin
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Runtime: 132 minutes
The Truman Show (1998)
In one of Jim Carrey’s earliest dramatic turns, he plays a man who believes he lives a fairly ordinary life, completely unaware that it’s taking place on an elaborate set and is all part of a long-running television show about him. Everyone he has come to know over the years, as neighbors and friends, are actually actors. When Truman discovers the truth, his entire life is upended and he tries to escape. Dubbed a psychological science fiction comedy-drama, the movie, which was released right before the explosion of a genre we know today as reality TV, was inspired by a Twilight Zone episode from 1989 entitled Special Service.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Stars: Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Natascha McElhone, Holland Taylor, Ed Harris
Director: Peter Weir
Runtime: 103 minutes
Gone Girl (2014)
Ben Affleck delivers a heart-wrenching performance in this psychological thriller that explores how stories and perspectives can be easily twisted by the media, the public, and misinterpretations. After his wife (Rosamund Pike) goes missing, Nick Dunne (Affleck) is instantly dubbed the suspect. And as the case develops, his every movement, action, even expression, is scrutinized and used against him, further solidifying his presumed guilt. With a massive twist ending that you won’t see coming, it was easily one of the most talked-about films of 2014.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens
Director: David Fincher
Runtime: 149 minutes
Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982)
This is the true director’s cut version of this iconic ’80s film that is loosely based on the Philip K. Dick 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It’s 2019 (the future, at the time!), and a group of synthetic humans called replicants, which were developed by a powerful corporation to work on distant planetary colonies, escape and return to Earth. Their leader, Roy (Rutger Hauer), is a rogue replicant in search of his maker, who Roy hopes will extend his life. It’s up to Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford who already had Han Solo and Indiana Jones on his list of iconic roles), a washed-up “blade runner,” or replicant hunter, to put an end to Roy and the other androids. Blade Runner has developed a cult following, inspiring many other films after it. The sequel, Blade Runner 2049, stars Ryan Gosling and was released 35 years later, in 2017.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos
Director: Ridley Scott
Runtime: 117 minutes
12 Years a Slave (2013)
An adaptation of Solomon Northup’s 1853 slave memoir of the same name, 12 Years a Slave is based on Northup’s first-hand account of how he, a free Black man born in New York, was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. Widely considered to be the best film of 2013, it begins with Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) joining two white men on a trip to Washington where he is told he can work with them as a traveling musician. But when he arrives, he is drugged and beaten, then sent off to New Orleans with other captives where he is sold for slave labor. The film follows Northup as he is passed from plantation owner to plantation owner as he fights for his freedom, and is underscored with brilliant performances from Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, and Michael Fassbender, to name a few. Along with being a box office success, the movie received nine Academy Award nominations and won three, making British director Steve McQueen the first Black filmmaker to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Alfre Woodard
Director: Steve McQueen
Runtime: 134 minutes
In one of Robert Downey Jr.’s most captivating performances, which earned him an Academy Award nomination, he perfectly captures every nuance of famous British comedian Charlie Chaplin. The biographical comedy-drama delves into Chaplin’s life through a series of flashbacks as he recalls pivotal moments in his personal history, from his childhood living in poverty to his mother being committed to an asylum, his first love, and rise to fame. The idea is that he is, in the present-day, retelling these stories to the man who is writing his autobiography. While critics have given the movie a chilly response over the years, it’s still worth a watch for those who are fans of both Chaplin and Downey Jr.’s body of work.
Rotten Tomatoes: 59%
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Dan Aykroyd, Geraldine Chaplin, Kevin Dunn, Anthony Hopkins, Milla Jovovich, Moira Kelly, Kevin Kline, Diane Lane
Director: Richard Attenborough
Runtime: 145 minutes
American Psycho (2000)
Christian Bale delivers a terrifyingly believable performance as serial killer and psychopath Patrick Bateman, a character from the Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name. Like many serial killers, Bateman appears charming, handsome, and put-together on the surface. A New York City investment banker by day, however, he hides a terrible secret at night: he preys on women, murdering them in gruesome fashion. One of many on-screen interpretations of the story, this movie version remains among the best, so it’s no surprise it has since developed a cult following.
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Stars: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Josh Lucas, Samantha Mathis, Matt Ross, Bill Sage, Chloe Sevigny
Director: Mary Harron
Runtime: 101 minutes
The Hurt Locker (2009)
Lauded by critics and viewers alike, this war thriller takes an honest look at the polarizing ways soldiers react to the stress of combat: while some have trouble dealing with it, others revel in an addiction to the kill and the rush of adrenaline. Jeremy Renner stars as Staff Sergeant William James, a slightly-unhinged member of a bomb disposal team during the Iraq War, who perhaps likes his job of disarming IEDs (improvised explosive devices) a little too much, much to the chagrin of his teammates. Not surprisingly, the movie received nine Academy Award nominations and six wins, and remains, to this day, the only Best Picture winner to be directed by a woman.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Evangeline Lilly, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Guy Pearce
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Runtime: 131 minutes
It was a tall order to sum up the unique, successful, and storied life of famous British musician and icon Elton John. But this biographical musical managed to do just that, thanks to a wonderful performance by Taron Egerton. A captivating story that begins with John’s early days as a musical prodigy, Rocketman is an insightful look at his long-time relationship with musical partner Bernie Taupin, and, of course, the music. It’s easily one of the best movies ever made about music; not only does it have the prestige of receiving an Academy Award for Best Original Song, but it is also groundbreaking in that it’s the first movie by a major studio to feature a gay male sex scene.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Stars: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Runtime: 121 minutes
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