15 Movies Without Romance to Watch on Netflix in October 2023
No roses, no love triangles, just some good ol' compelling storytelling. And maybe a bit of a horror on the side, so consider yourself warned.
There's enough no-romance movies on Netflix to make it an entire weekend binge-fest.
1. "The Social Network" (2010)
You've got Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, starting off as a Harvard student. After getting dumped by his girlfriend, he hacks into the university's database to create a "hot or not" website. This little project catches the eye of the Winklevoss twins, who want him to build a social networking site. Mark agrees but ends up launching Facebook on his own, leading to a legal feud with the twins and his best friend, Eduardo Saverin. This movie's become a cult classic already; and by the way, it raked in $224.9 million at the box office.
2. "The Platform" (2019)
In this Spanish thriller, we find ourselves in a vertical prison where a platform full of food descends from the top level. The lower you are, the less food there is. Goreng volunteers to spend six months in this prison and quickly realizes the harsh reality of human greed and survival. He starts on a decent level with an experienced cellmate but eventually ends up at the miserable bottom.
3. "Okja" (2017)
Forget girl meets boy; this is about a girl meeting her… super pig. Mija is a South Korean farm girl who's been raising Okja, a genetically modified pig. The corporation that owns Okja decides it's time to bring her to New York for a PR event. Mija sets off on a journey to save her pig friend, crossing paths with animal rights activists and corporate villains.
4. "Pan's Labyrinth" (2006)
Set against the backdrop of post-Civil War Spain, this fantasy movie focuses on a young girl named Ofelia. She moves with her pregnant mother to live with her cruel stepfather, Captain Vidal. Ofelia discovers a labyrinth near their new home and meets a faun who tells her she's a princess in a magical kingdom. To prove it, she has to complete three perilous tasks.
5. "My Octopus Teacher" (2020)
For something a little softer on the heart, this documentary's a beautiful choice. Filmmaker Craig Foster, burnt out and looking for inspiration, starts freediving in a South African kelp forest. He befriends an octopus and visits her every day for nearly a year. The story about a fascinating bond between man and cephalopod might sound like something a bit out there, but it actually won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
6. "The Irishman" (2019)
Clocking in at a hefty 3 hours and 29 minutes, Martin Scorsese's crime epic ain't a quick watch, but it's worth every minute. The movie revolves around Frank Sheeran, a hitman recalling his life of crime. He becomes friends with Jimmy Hoffa, a labor union leader with mafia ties. As tensions rise between Hoffa and the mob, Frank is put in a devastating position.
7. "Spirited Away" (2001)
Ten-year-old Chihiro and her family stumble upon an abandoned amusement park. Her parents are transformed into pigs after eating the park's food, and she's left alone in this strange, mystical world. With the help of a mysterious boy named Haku, she starts working in a bathhouse run by the witch Yubaba. Her goal? To free her parents and escape this bizarre realm.
8. "Uncut Gems" (2019)
Adam Sandler stars as Howard Ratner, a New York jeweler who's got a knack for making terrible decisions. He comes into possession of a rare Ethiopian gem, but instead of using it to pay off his debts, he gambles it on a basketball game. The stakes get dangerously high, and there's not a single romantic dinner date to ease the tension.
9. "There Will Be Blood" (2007)
Daniel Plainview is an ambitious miner turned oilman. He goes to California, persuades locals to sell their land, and starts drilling. Along the way, he faces off against Eli, a local preacher. There's a lot of mud, sweat, and, yes, blood. The focus here is on greed and ambition, and Daniel Day-Lewis gives a masterpiece of a performance.
10. "The White Helmets" (2016)
This short docu features a group of volunteer rescue workers in Syria called the White Helmets. These are the guys who run into collapsing buildings and dig through rubble to save lives. It's intense, it's humbling, and it snagged an Oscar for Best Documentary (Short Subject).
11. "Snowpiercer" (2013)
All aboard the Snowpiercer, a train that circumnavigates a frozen Earth with the last remnants of humanity onboard. The train is strictly divided by class, and Curtis, played by Chris Evans, is tired of the squalor at the back. He leads a revolt to seize control of the engine room at the front. As they move through the train, they're faced with increasingly bizarre and deadly obstacles.
12. "Inside Job" (2010)
The 2008 financial crisis. This documentary narrated by Matt Damon dissects the events and decisions that led to the global meltdown. From risky loans to corporate greed, it's all laid bare. There's nothing romantic about economic collapse, but you'll be hooked on the intricacies of this disaster. Plus, it snagged an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
13. "Room" (2015)
In this harrowing drama, a young woman named Joy and her son Jack are trapped in a small room by a man who kidnapped Joy seven years earlier. Jack, born in captivity, knows nothing of the outside world. After they manage a risky escape, they face the challenge of adjusting to life outside the room.
14. "The Pianist" (2002)
Adrien Brody stars as Władysław Szpilman, a Polish Jewish pianist trying to survive the Holocaust. From evading capture to scrounging for food in the ruins of Warsaw, it's a grueling journey with moments that'll stick with you.
15. "The Death of Stalin" (2018)
A dark comedy centered on the chaos following the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. His inner circle, including Nikita Khrushchev and Lavrentiy Beria, scramble for power while trying to manage the funeral. It's funny, it's cynical, and it's eerily relevant. In 2023, after all that's happening in global politics right now, it just hits differently.