The joy of Netflix is that it has something for everyone and a movie for every occasion. You’d be hard-pressed not to find at least one film that would appeal to any group, whether you’re watching with a ton of friends or have made your way to the bedroom with a partner looking for a little afternoon delight, complete with the TV on to ease into the mood.
Now, did you know Netflix even has a sub-category specifically made for those later moments? It’s called “Steamy.” These are the films filled with hot and heavy moments while mixing in at least a small attempt at a fascinating story and witty dialogue (they do say that the brain is the largest erogenous zone of them all.)
Oh yes, they’re the definition of “Netflix and Chill.”
All of these films range from seductive dramas, lighthearted romantic comedies, and, not surprisingly, a whole ton of foreign films. However, clearly, not all romances are created equal. Some of these films are just downright confusing as to why they’re in the category at all. We’ve done everyone a favor and picked the best of the genre, telling you below which ones will make for hot nights or awkward evenings.
So, for your pleasure, here are The 11 Best ‘Steamy’ Netflix Movies (And 5 That Are Terrible).
16. Best: Blue Is the Warmest Color
Let’s be fair, if it’s going to be steamy (and we mean really steamy), then it’s probably going to have to be French.
This film is the tale of Adèle, a French teen (Adèle Exarchopoulos) who meet Emma, an older art student (Léa Seydoux) and forms an intense, emotional, and romantic connection as she tries to figure out her own blossoming sexuality. The whole movie is filled with the awkwardness of growing up and the intensity of new hormones as Adèle discovered who she is.
Oh, and did we mention there’s a 12-minute long love scene that caused everyone to lose their mind when the film came out?
15. Terrible: Eisenstein in Guanajuato
Look at the picture above. When you think of steamy affairs in a foreign country, does this man come into your mind?
Yeah, us neither.
Yet, Netflix thinks that Elmer Bäck is going to help create an exciting evening for you. In Eisenstein in Guanajuato, Bäck black real-life genius filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, who travels to Mexico to shoot a new film and has an erotic adventure south of the border.
No question this time in Mexico helped shape Eisenstein in real life and the movies he would make – if only this film continued some of that genius. Eisenstein is a very strange and sometimes funny film, but often too salacious for its own good, thinking that an interesting character would make for an interesting film. We would never have used “Steamy” for this film and neither should Netflix.
14. Best: Hot Girls Wanted
What, you’ve never been turned on by a documentary before? Oh, then let us blow your mind a little bit.
Hot Girls Wanted is a Netflix doc that follows the lives of 18 and 19-year-old adult film actresses. Directors Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus originally wanted to tell the tale of men in college and their consumption of adult entertainment but found a more interesting story about why so many young women were entering this taboo industry.
It was so good, they extended it into a six-part docu-series called Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On, which came out in April of this year.
13. Terrible: Immoral Tales
Such a tantalizing name, you think this one has to be erotic in all the right ways, right? Oh, the tales we could tell you about how it’s not.
This French anthology film from 1976, done by director Polish director Walerian Borowczyk, is absolutely a sight to behold. It tells four different “sexy” stories, including a woman putting pearls in a place you shouldn’t put pearls, bathing in blood for immortality, and, we kid you not, the Pope Alexander VI’s daughter, Lucrezia Borgia (Florence Bellamy), having sex with male relatives.
Borowczyk has been referred to by many critics as a genius director who also happens to be an adult filmmaker. Sadly, Immoral Tales tends to fall on the later side of that description in the worst way possible.
12. Best: Take This Waltz
Life is full of choices and it’s hard to know if we’re making the right ones – especially when it comes to matters of the heart.
This is the basis of Take This Waltz, where a young writer (Michelle Williams) has to decide between the stable love with her husband (Seth Rogen) and a new attraction (Luke Kirby) that has surprisingly come into her life.
There are some pretty hot love scenes with Williams and Kirby that show just how fun that spark of lust can be, and of course, some deep-cut heartbreaking scenes that will have you holding on tight to the one you love.
11. Terrible: Sleeping Beauty
Nope, not the star-crossed cartoon you remember from your childhood (although that one was pretty creepy too – what kind of man just walks around kissing unconscious women?) We’re going to tell you the plot of this film. Warning: it’s just as awful as it sounds.
In Sleeping Beauty, a college girl (Emily Browning) who joins a high-end brothel where she is voluntarily placed into sedation and customers pay to fondle her while she is asleep.
If you can imagine, it only gets weirder and worse from here.
This film is never sexy or pretty, and instead, just pretty skin-crawlingly bad. There is indeed a fine line between something that is art and something that’s just awful, and sadly, Sleeping Beauty passed out on the wrong side of that line.
10. Best: Leap Year
Nope, not the cheesy Amy Adams and Matthew Goode film (we wouldn’t do that to you, we want you to enjoy these films). This Leap Year is so, so much better.
This Mexican film tells the story Laura (Mónica del Carmen), a young woman living an isolated life in her small apartment. She rarely leaves home, except to bring men home from nightclubs, and never goes beyond a one-night-stand. That is until she meets Arturo (Gustavo Sánchez Parra), who is as quiet as he is intense, and they enter into a violent sexual relationship.
The movie is shot almost entirely in Laura’s one-room apartment and the film builds as the walls seem to shrink. You feel unbelievably voyeuristic prying into the life of this couple, and it all is the more exciting because of it.
9. Best: Before Midnight
For some reason, only Before Midnight is on Netflix, but the two other films int the Before trilogy aren’t. However, we believe that if all three were on the site, they’d all be labeled as steamy for different reasons.
Unlike Before Sunrise, which is all about new love, and Before Sunset, which is about rekindled love, Before Midnight is about the ups and down, the screaming fights, and the screaming… other sexier things of a long-lasting love.
Nine years have passed since the last film and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) now have multiple children and are on the final night of a Greek vacation. They dream, argue, and reminisce about their relationship and the future they’re building together.
8. Terrible: Below Her Mouth
What lies below her mouth? If this movie is the answer, it’s boredom. So much boredom.
Everything about this film is tawdry and over-the-top. Jasmine (Natalie Krill) is a fashion editor with a fiance. She meets Dallas (Erika Linder), who flirts with and purses her. The two women begin an affair which causes them both to re-evaluate their lives.
There are some pretty intense sex scenes in this film. A lot of it. In fact, possibly too much (at times, it feels like there are more writhing bodies than there is dialogue), but even that runs flat after a while. If you like pretty basic Lifetime-esque films about lesbian relationships, this one could be for you. For anyone else, the attraction to this film is pretty weak. It’s less steam and more fizzle.
7. Best: Sleeping With Other People
Finally, a film with a title as good as its plot.
If you are looking for sexy and you chose this one randomly because of the name, you’re in luck. Not only is Sleeping with Other People fun, it’s also funny and beautifully done.
Jake (Jason Sudeikis) and Lainey (Alison Brie) have an awkward and amazing one-night-stand in college. Twelve years later, they run into each other again and strike up a friendship with some serious sexual tension. The movie builds around their life, other relationships, and if they should blow everything off just to be together.
This is a movie, not surprisingly, about sex: about not-having sex, about wanting to have sex, about having sex with the wrong people and finally finding the right one. It’s as hilarious, awkward, and hot as hell. The whole film is a, really, sexy delight.
6. Best: Weekend
Russell (Tom Cullen) has a weekend-long relationship with Glen (Chris New) after meeting at a nightclub. The brief, intense encounter opens up the constrained and restrained Russell in ways he never thought possible.
Reportedly, a lot of the dialogue between the two men was improvised, and it’s easy to believe that. They have a natural chemistry and you can see how these two would easily fall for one another.
Weekend is beautiful and intense and oh-so-very sexy. It’s a great story of uncontrollable attraction and how the right people will affect you, even if they’re only in your life for a short while.
5. Best: Boogie Nights
Boogie Nights has a pretty great recipe for steam: the appeal of Mark Wahlberg, the attraction of the adult film industry in the ’70s and the visual excitement of Paul Thomas Anderson.
This is one of the greatest films of the ’90s; as exciting as it is dramatic. You have unbelievable performances from Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, the list goes on. There’s almost too much star power (and too much sexiness) to handle.
And you’ll never be able to forget Heather Graham as Rollergirl for the rest of your life.
Of course, the whole film revolves around Wahlberg’s Dirk Diggler and his legendary massive package, aka his “big, bright shining star.” When it is finally revealed, let’s just say that image will also be burned into your brain forever.
4. Best: Tabloid
Tabloid is the second documentary on the list, but in no way the lesser of two sexy evils. And we do mean evil.
Long before there was Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton, there was Joyce McKinney, a former Miss Wyoming who was accused of kidnapping a young Morman missionary in England, locking him in chains and assulting him in 1977. This became known as “Mormon sex in chains case” and it’s quite something.
Documentarian Errol Morris depicts these actions with interviews from McKinney as well as the journalists and photographers who covered the story. He leaves nothing out – every tantalizing, scandalous, and shocking detail is there. T he film’s not called Tabloid for nothing.
In 2011, McKinney filed a lawsuit against Morris, claiming that the film portrays her as “crazy, a sex offender.” She lost that case, but that is a pretty solid description for what this film depicts.
3. Best: Two Lovers and a Bear
Who wouldn’t want to see a movie called Two Lovers and Bear? Just from the title alone, we were hooked. Then we were happy to learn, it’s actually really, really good.
Starring the always amazing Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan, this film shows why the coldest of nights really do make for the hottest of scenes. These two people who live in a small town near the North Pole are riddled with issues – one believes she has a stalker chasing her, the other suffers from deep depression and can possibly talk to bears.
However, the warmth (literal and figurative) they find from each other brings out the best in them, and as they become closer, the movie gets better, until everything climaxes in love and heartbreak. It’s weird, it’s wonderful, it’s worth watching.
2. Terrible: La Mujer De Mi Hermano
Sometimes, there can just be too much story.
This Peruvian film has multiple interlocking plots that all connect the characters, but none of them ever gets your heart racing. The overall story of La Mujer De Mi Hermano, though, is about Zoe (Bárbara Mori), who is bored in her marriage and turns to the passion with her husband’s brother (Manolo Cardona). This sets in motion multiple events all affecting each other’s lives.
It is beautifully shot and you could come and watch this film for the cinematography alone, but that would be about it.
While the affair is indeed hot, the convoluted story, over-acting and soap-opera romance bring this movie from fun to flop. Even at just an hour and a half in length, the whole movie drags until you just wish everyone would break up and leave each other alone.
1. Best: Y Tu Mama Tambien
Y Tu Mama Tambien is one of those movies that makes you breathless and is hard to get out of your mind for weeks after you see it. Alfonso Cuarón wrote and directed this tale of two you men who are best friends (Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal) on a road-trip with a terminally ill older woman (Maribel Verdú), and all the build-up and sexiness that comes with it. It all comes to a head once you realize that all three characters are probably in love with each other.
You can read the subtitles if you can’t speak Spanish, but trust us, you’ll be able to speak the language of love in the steamiest and best of Netflix’s steamy movies.
What ‘steamy’ movies do you recommend? Do you think the ‘steamy’ section makes sense? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
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