Korean Movies on Netflix

Want to discover underrated South Korean cinema? Pick from the 5 best Korean movies on Netflix right now.
Korean Movies on Netflix

Bong Joon-ho, the director of Parasite (2019), said the following while accepting the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film: “Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

Since then, Korean movies, both from before and after 2019, have gained traction among global audiences like never before. Train to Busan (2016) and The Handmaiden (2016) are two examples. But there are many more. If you have exhausted your K-drama options and want to watch some of the best Korean movies available on Netflix instead, here’s a list to get you started.

Miss Granny (2014)

Do you have a grandparent who often rehashes stories about “When I was your age…”? Miss Granny is a visual representation of this, with a twist. This heartfelt comedy, which has been remade in Telugu, among other languages, is about Oh Mal-soon (Na Moon-hee), a widow in her 70s, who is about to be shifted to a rest home by her family. Dejected, she goes for a walk and stumbles upon a photo studio.

The cantankerous granny who goes into the studio is not the one who comes out. Younger by about five decades, with a different name and appearance as Oh Doo-ri (Shim Eun-kyung), and a renewed zeal to realise her dream of becoming a singer, she relives her life with no rules.

This movie will captivate you with emotions, humour, and stellar performances. The charming songs add to the nostalgia as the movie gently nudges you to think about the growing trend of abandoning the elderly. The director is Hwang Dong-hyuk, known for blessing the masses with Squid Game (2021).

Forgotten (2017)

If you want a Korean movie that will keep your heart racing, Forgotten is a great choice. The movie is about Jin-seok (Kang Ha-neul) and his older brother Yoo-seok (Kim-Moo-yeol), and how their lives are upended after Yoo-seok is abducted in front of Jin-seok.

When Yoo-seok suddenly returns after 19 days with no memory of what happened while he had disappeared, Jin-seok starts suspecting that something is fishy. Did his real brother come back, or is it a decoy?

The cascade of plot twists, resulting from a well-structured script along with a spooky background score, will leave you in suspense until the end. With every rewatch, you will find subtle details that further add to the deliciously thrilling plot.

Jang Hang-jun, the director of this Korean movie, mentioned in an interview that the script was inspired by a real-life incident his friend recounted two years before the movie came out. The friend’s cousin had left home for a month, and when he came back, he was so different that he seemed like a stranger. This detail makes the entire movie all the more intriguing.

The Call (2020)

Fantasy, mystery, time travel, horror, thrill — this film has it all. The Call, directed by Lee Chung-hyun, is a gripping movie about two women, Seo-yeon (Park Shin-hye) and Young-sook (Jun Jong-seo), who lived in the same house about twenty years apart.

Connected through an old-school cordless phone, they have the power to change each other’s lives, which leads to a series of horrifying events as they manipulate each other’s fates.

Remember to watch the mid-credits scene, for it drastically changes the movie's meaning and may lead you down a rabbit hole of explanations and theories. This movie is a must-watch if you are interested in dissecting how movies treat time-travel.

Sweet & Sour (2021)

Long-distance relationships: We have all been there, or watched at least one movie that shows the ups and downs of making a relationship work despite the distance. This movie realistically represents LDRs in the 21st century, when life starts with the ring of an alarm to get you to work and ends with clocking out at late hours.

Through the lives of nurse Jung Da-eun (Chae Soo-bin) and her engineer boyfriend Jang-hyuk (Jang Ki-yong), Sweet & Sour offers the one thing every sappy romantic film with all the cheesy tropes doesn’t: A reality check about happy endings.

The movie picks up themes that plague the everyday lives of the average corporate worker, such as negligible economic security, long hours, unforgivable corporate hierarchies, and flippant bosses. So, if you want to watch a film that makes you constantly rally for the couple until the end despite their work situations, this is the best Korean movie to watch on Netflix.

Ballerina (2023)

This movie reunites director Lee Chung-hyun and actress Jun Jong-seo, who were also part of The Call (2020), albeit for a different genre. This action-packed Korean film is about Jang Ok-ju (Jun Jong-seo), who wants to avenge the death of her best friend Min-hee (Park Yu-rim) after the latter is blackmailed by a sex trafficker who filmed her in a vulnerable state.

With a peppy soundtrack, excellent cinematography, and just the right pacing, this Korean film is a must-watch in the revenge genre. The choreography of the action scenes and polished acting by Jun Jong-seo make Ballerina a movie that screams ‘badass female lead.’

This movie is just a touch above 90 minutes, so it’s a quick watch for anyone who loves action movies.

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