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Netflix new No. 1 movie shines a light on Abercrombie & Fitch

Abercrombie & Fitch Munich store opening
(Image credit: Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images)

The new No. 1 movie on Netflix is practically made just for everyone who was a teen in the early 2000's. That moment feels like a lifetime ago, though, so we're not at all surprised that a lot of people are hitting play on White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch.

The documentary, which dropped on Netflix yesterday (April 19) is already the top film in the U.S.. That's according to Netflix's home page, where it's No. 5 overall behind such popular hits as Anatomy of a Scandal, The Ultimatum, Married at First Sight and Bridgerton).

Editor's note: As of Thursday, April 21, White Hot and the rest now sit behind Netflix's new No. 1 show or movie: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes.

White Hot is number 5 overall in the U.S. on Netflix, behind popular shows including Anatomy of a Scandal, The Ultimatum and Bridgerton

(Image credit: Netflix)

If that list of "what's popular" doesn't appeal to you? We're guessing you may be up for canceling Netflix (which is having subscriber woes that may lead to Netflix ads and account sharing crackdowns). 

Yes, Netflix may be one of the best streaming services, but it too has its own dilemmas (speaking of which, CNN Plus is dead). And streamers: here's how I fixed a Roku bug that hid all my apps.

For more documentary action, you can watch the Man In The Arena: Tom Brady finale online to see behind the scenes of the quarterback's recent flip-flopping decisions about retirement.

What is White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch?

Mike Jeffries in White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch

Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries (Image credit: Netflix)

For those who don't remember, clothing line Abercrombie & Fitch built a mega-popular brand and business around a vision of coolness that would be condemned for being almost exclusively Caucasian. Not only were the models in its ads all conforming to a certain view of what was cool and pretty, but its hiring process for its stores was also heinous. Especially for who got to work up front.

When it came to representing A&F in person, dreadlocks and head scarves were flat out banned. The film presents this story by surveying multiple former employees who share tales of either blatant or thinly veiled racism at the company. It's the kind of stuff that will make your blood curdle, especially if you haven't heard about the brand's internal behavior before.

Should you watch White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch? 

Former Abercrombie and Fitch employee Carla Barrientos in White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie

Former Abercrombie and Fitch employee Carla Barrientos. (Image credit: Netflix)

Right now, White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch has a middling and uninspiring rating of 67% on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab). And that's not just the critics score, the audience score is also 67%. In other words, we're not sure if it will earn a spot on our best Netflix documentaries or best Netflix movies lists.

In the "stream it" camp, you have Variety's Owen Gleiberman (opens in new tab) who wrote that White Hot is a "lively, snarky, horrifying, and irresistible documentary." That should be enough for some people to know White Hot is right for them.

Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com (opens in new tab) gave the film 2.5 stars out of 4, and wrote that White Hot is "insightful in taking us inside a phenomenon," but that its "approach can be too broad, with filmmaking that relies on its own weaning sense of trendy."

Lovia Gyarkye for The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) wanted the film to probe harder, writing that the film doesn't explore the "Why — instead of how —" behind how "Abercrombie & Fitch [was] committed to its exclusionary mission."

Ben Kenigsberg at The New York Times (opens in new tab) is mixed on the movie writing that it gets good at the "fall" part. He also notes that experts on the controversy may be bored, because "these stories aren’t new (multiple interviewees were among the class-action plaintiffs)."

Read next: The John Wayne Gacy Tapes just got a second wind on Netflix, and has been climbing the top 10

Henry T. Casey
Senior Editor

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.