5 new to Netflix movies with 90% or higher on Rotten Tomatoes

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The start of a new month means a fresh collection of new Netflix movies arriving on the world’s most popular streaming service and May 2024’s slate includes a selection of critically acclaimed flicks. 

There’s plenty of variety in these five picks from a highly relatable coming-of-age comedy that looks at the most awkward period in a person’s life: their late teenage years, to a Steven Soderbergh-directed crime thriller that explores the world of illegal drugs from a variety of vantage points. There’s also a must-watch musical and a heartwarming documentary. 

All of the movies below have a strong case to be included in our roundup of the best Netflix movies because each holds a 90% or higher score on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. So, if you’re looking to bolster your Netflix watchlist, here are five fresh picks… 

'The Edge of Seventeen' (2016) 

Let’s face it, being a teenager sucks, and “The Edge of Seventeen” doesn’t shy away from accurately portraying such an awkward period of adolescence. If you experienced a tumultuous teenhood, you just might find this coming-of-age comedy almost uncomfortably relatable. Don’t be surprised watching this movie brings back a few unwanted memories from your youth. The type that makes your skin crawl with recalled social embarrassment.  

But don’t be scared away by the cringe factor, as it’s still a wonderfully enjoyable comedy. Hailee Steinfeld plays Nadine, a socially awkward teen with a fractured family life, her closest ally is her best friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), but things take a dramatic turn when Krista starts dating Nadine’s fratty brother, Darian (Blake Jenner). At least her sarcastic high school teacher, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson), is on hand to offer questionable guidance.  

Genre: Comedy
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Stream it on Netflix

'Traffic' (2000) 

Adapted from a 1989 British TV show, ‘Traffic’ explores the drug trade from pretty much every angle. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and with an impressive cast including Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta-Jones and James Brolin, it’s a uniquely structured crime drama that plays out more like a mini-series. 

‘Traffic’ is comprised of three intertwined stories that each explore the United States’ war on drugs from a different angle. We see things from the perspective of both drug users and suppliers, as well as the people fighting to get illegal substances off the street. There’s plenty of drama on both sides of the battle including a judge with a hard stance on drug-related crime discovering his daughter is an addict and two determined cops trying to wipe out a cartel. 

Genre: Drama
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
Stream it on Netflix

'The Peanut Butter Falcon' (2019)  

A feelgood flick with a real underdog spirit, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” follows a young man with Down syndrome named Zak (Zack Gottsagen) who runs away from his assisted living facility to fulfill his dream of becoming a professional wrestler. Along the way, he meets Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), a fisherman on the run from the law, and the two strike up an unlikely bond. They also convince a young nurse, Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), to join them on their wayward adventure. 

The movie’s narrative beats are a little routine, but what really makes “The Peanut Butter Falcon” so compelling is its three leading performances. The experienced LaBeouf and Johnson are excellent, but it’s newcomer Zack Gottasgen who steals the show. If you’re in the mood for a slightly subdued, but emotionally impactful, comedy-drama, then “The Peanut Butter Falcon” is a great pick.

Genre: Comedy
Rotten Tomatoes score: 95% 
Stream it on Netflix

'Sing Street' (2016)  

If you only watch one movie on this list, I implore you to make it “Sing Street”. This 2016 musical comedy is infectious in the best way possible and sports a soundtrack that forms the basis of many Spotify playlists to this day. Set in ‘80s Dublin, “Sing Street” follows a young social outcast named Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) as he struggles to deal with his turbulent family life and the hostile environment of his new public school. 

However, his fortunes change when he catches the eye of a stunningly beautiful classmate and decides to start a band to win her affection. Enlisting the help of his best pals, a new musical act is born, and they set about writing catchy songs and shooting a music video. However, while the band starts as merely a way to get the girl, it quickly takes on a greater significance, and could even offer Conor an escape from his unhappy upbringing.

Genre: Comedy
Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%
Stream it on Netflix from May 9

'Butterfly in the Sky: The Story of Reading Rainbow' (2024) 

“Reading Rainbow” and its beloved host LeVar Burton inspired countless children to pick up a book and get reading. Many grown-ups with a passion for the written word can trace their lifelong love back to the PBS children’s series. This new documentary serves as both a celebration of the positive impact of “Reading Rainbow” and an exploration of the surprising amount of challenges its creators faced to get the show into homes across the country. 

Incorporating archive footage and new interviews, “Butterfly in the Sky: The Story of Reading Rainbow” is a nostalgia-fueled chronicle that recounts the journey of the broadcasters, educators and filmmakers who truly believed that a television show could inspire a passion for reading in young viewers. Their unwavering belief was eventually proved correct, and this documentary stands as a real testament to their dedication and hard work.  

Genre: Documentary
Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
Stream it on Netflix from May 24

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.