11 Best Without plot Movies On Netflix

Staff & contributors

If you’re less about adventurous plots, and more about the aesthetics and character arcs, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best plot-less movies and shows to stream right now.

The debut feature by Palestine’s most well-known director, Chronicle of a Disappearance is an unusual movie about the decades-long Israel-Palestine conflict in that it's closer to absurdist comedy than anything else. The only physical violence we see here are men cat-fighting in the street or arm-wrestling each other in cafes, and Israeli presence is limited to a couple of bumbling police officers. Chronicle is full of slapstick cinema touches — right down to the Buster Keaton-esque eyes of director Elia Suleiman, who appears here as a silent wanderer — and yet we feel the bitter reality of the occupation framing every deadpan gag. 

Structured as a series of vignettes, Chronicle’s loose form is both a way to depict the stagnation and dry repetition in which Palestinians are stuck and a wry metaphor for all this listlessness. Suleiman speaks plainly in some chapters — such as the one following a woman who is repeatedly turned down from renting an apartment in Jerusalem because she’s Arab — and more obliquely in others, forcing you to recall the movie’s setting to understand his often-understated commentary. A singular film from an utterly unique director, Chronicle of a Disappearance is both a portrait of a country’s erosion and a quietly defiant act of resistance.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Ali Suliman, Elia Suleiman, Fawaz Eilemi, Fuad Suleiman, Iaha Mouhamad, Jamel Daher, Juliet Mazzawi, Leonid Alexeenko, Nazira Suleiman, Ola Tabari, Ula Tabari

Director: Elia Suleiman

Twisted yet deep. Sad yet interesting. Slow yet exhilarating. A Ghost Story is an incredible artistic achievement. With hardly any dialog, and breathtakingly long takes in its first half, it manages to bring you in its own creepy world and not let go until you feel completely lonely. Starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck as a loving couple who are hit with a horrible tragedy, the beginning is slow, and it's not a plot driven movie, but if you give it a chance it will blow your mind.

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Actor: Afomia Hailemeskel, Augustine Frizzell, Barlow Jacobs, Brandi Price, Brea Grant, Carlos Bermudez, Casey Affleck, Chris Gardner, Constance Jones, Dagger Salazar, David Lowery, David Pink, Giovannie Cruz, Grover Coulson, Jonny Mars, Kenneisha Thompson, Kesha, Kesha Rose Sebert, Liz Cardenas, Liz Cardenas Franke, Liz Franke, McColm Cephas Jr., McColm Kona Cephas Jr., Nikita Patel, Rob Zabrecky, Rooney Mara, Sonia Acevedo, Will Oldham, Yasmina Gutierrez

Director: David Lowery

Rating: R

Frances (Greta Gerwig) lives in New York – but not the glamorous NYC of Woody Allen movies. Taking place primarily in the gritty and rapidly gentrifying North Brooklyn, the black and white film paints a picture of an extended adolescence. Focusing on the goofy and carefree Frances, who loses her boyfriend, her best friend and her dream of being a dancer. She moves in with two guys, both of whom are more successful than her, and becomes even more determined to fulfil her goals, impractical as they may be. Fans of HBO’s Girls and other odes to not being a “real person” yet will love this film.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Adam Driver, Britta Phillips, Charlotte d'Amboise, Christine Gerwig, Cindy Katz, Daiva Deupree, Dean Wareham, Eleanor Smith, Finnerty Steeves, Gibson Frazier, Gordon Gerwig, Grace Gummer, Greta Gerwig, Hannah Dunne, Isabelle McNally, Josh Hamilton, Juliet Rylance, Justine Lupe, Laura Parker, Lindsay Burdge, Marina Squerciati, Maya Kazan, Michael Esper, Michael Zegen, Michelle Hurst, Mickey Sumner, Noah Baumbach, Patrick Heusinger, Peter Scanavino, Ryann Shane, Teddy Cañez, Vanessa Ray

Director: Noah Baumbach

Rating: R

In the Mexican film A Cop Movie, director Alonso Ruizpalacios mixes fact and fiction, documentary and narrative, to tell the tale of Teresa and Montoya, two police officers whose dreams are dashed by the corruption of their trade and who, eventually, find love and comfort in each other.

Ruizpalacios takes thrilling risks in structuring this genre-bending story—cutting stories into parts, jumping back and forth between the harrowingly real and captivatingly non-real. For all the experimental maneuvers he makes, however, the through-line is always Teresa and Montoya: particularly, their love for each other and for an institution that should have, in an ideal world, supported them and the people they vowed to protect. 

To its credit, instead of merely humanizing the controversial police force, A Cop Movie adds some much-needed nuance to the big picture. At the end of the day, they’re no different than any other underpaid laborers working desperately to make end meets. A Cop Movie doesn’t gloss over the fact that the police, like so many other workers, are stuck in a rotten system that’s long overdue for a major overhauling. 

Genre: Action, Crime, Documentary, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Leonardo Alonso, Mónica Del Carmen, Olivia Lagunas, Raúl Briones

Director: Alonso Ruizpalacios

Rating: R

A quiet movie about an unpredictable convict who gets enrolled in a wild mustang taming program. These initiatives, common around the country, offer fascinating parallels: both the horses and the inmates are emprisoned, both innately fight against their condition but are actively being made to comply. The central performance by Matthias Schoenaerts is nothing short of a masterpiece. He doesn't speak much and you almost don't want him to: everything else he does communicates so much more than words. Watching this movie just for him is reason enough.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Bruce Dern, Connie Britton, Gideon Adlon, Heath Hensley, Jasmeet Baduwalia, Jason Mitchell, John Logsdon, Josh Stewart, Kelly Richardson, Kieth Johnson, Matthias Schoenaerts, Noel Gugliemi, Santina Muha, Thomas Smittle

Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre

Rating: R

Shot almost entirely in one take and on a tiny budget, and yet the central performance in this movie is still better than most big-budget dramas I’ve seen this year.

Two indigenous women, one upper-class and the other impoverished, meet on the day that the rich one gets an IUD and the other one, pregnant, finds herself kicked out of her home. They spend a few hours together: they talk, they take cabs, walk, etc; and you as a viewer, follow them throughout their intimate yet difficult moments.

If you like subtle movies that showcase how people live and interact with one another, beyond plot-obsessiveness, this is for you.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Aidan Dee, Anesha Bailey, Anthony Bolognese, Barbara Eve Harris, Charles Jarman, Charlie Hannah, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, James Angus Cowan, Jay Cardinal Villeneuve, Kathleen Hepburn, Lissa Neptuno, Paul Jarrett, Sonny Surowiec, Tony Massil, Violet Nelson

Director: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, Kathleen Hepburn

Rating: TV-MA

Within seconds of the cold open, the documentary establishes a curious, playful angle to learning about the gut. Giulia Enders, our primary expert and narrator, speaks conversationally with such infectious passion about the gut. The animation styles are diverse and adorable, and the visualization of ideas as a whole is magnetic, making this as much an educational as it is an artistic tribute to the subject. And at its core is a simple idea: having a balanced diet is good for the microbiomes in your gut. All roads leading to that point have been taken care of to create a friendly and fascinating documentary.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Giulia Enders

Director: Anjali Nayar

Rating: PG-13

The pulp and machismo that defined the ‘80s is very much present in Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash, but instead of glorifying the era, Indonesian auteur Edwin smartly flips the script and puts the headstrong Iteung (Ladya Cheryl) front and center in this subversive and heady action film. As the anti-damsel-in-distress, Iteung expertly wrestles her way through love, all while retaining an endearing cheekiness and independence about her. 

Excellently choreographed, impeccably detailed, and skewed with enough of a feminist bent to keep it fresh, Vengeance Is Mine fittingly won the top prize at the 74th Locarno International Film Festival.

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance

Actor: Arie Dagienkz, Ayu Laksmi, Brilliana Desy Dwinawati, Cecep Arif Rahman, Christine Hakim, Djenar Maesa Ayu, Eduwart Manalu, Elang El Gibran, Elly D. Luthan, Kevin Ardilova, Kiki Narendra, Ladya Cheryl, Lukman Sardi, Marthino Lio, Maryam Supraba, Max Yanto, Piet Pagau, Ratu Felisha, Reza Rahadian, Sal Priadi

Director: Edwin

Rating: TV-MA

If you love archeology and prehistory, you’ll love that this documentary is packed with mesmerizing footage of the infamous caves, as well as close-ups of the 130,000 year old skeletal remains that are in pristine condition. If you don’t, you might appreciate discoveries like how neanderthals held burials for their dead and things of that nature, but with a cold open that couldn’t pack any less heat if it tried, I wouldn’t blame you if you just dipped. This documentary is de-energizing and plodding, and that pace can make for a soothing portrayal of archeology at times, but other times it makes for a very run-of-the-mill broadcast.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Caroline Colomei, Gabriel Andreu, Ibbi El Hani, Kareem Alexander, Patrick Stewart, Paula Parunov

Director: Ashley Gething

Rating: PG

The beginning instantly captures Kodama’s essence, and quickly sets lofty expectations with the regal intro sequence and the clean narration and reenactments. But it’s basically a feature length interview of the subject, who shares her screen time with the supporting cast to her action drama life (assistants, love interests, the usual), tackling the big scandals that brought trouble to Kodama. It’s a worthy watch, if only for the deep Nelma Kodama and laundering iceberg; however, it does get very long and redundant in feel, which may be necessary to paint the whole picture, but at some point it’s a bunch of branches that lead to other branches and the tree is big.

Genre: Crime, Documentary

Actor: Anzu Lawson, Nelma Kodama

Director: João Wainer

Rating: R

Amid energetic lights and obnoxious airhorns, Katt Williams makes his way to the stage and quickly greets you with the gospel of crass. His descriptions and premises aren’t anything to write home about as his style is more a boisterous NSFW style that resembles a night of gossip. But for most of this set, you’ll just be thinking about how his performer voice sounds like a cartoon grandma, a southern Spongebob, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage preaching to you all at once. The set had a touchy mental health bit that sucked the life out the room for a moment, but would take an empowering turn in its final third as Williams talks about racism in 2024. It’s a mess, but it finishes strong, at least.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Katt Williams

Director: Troy Miller

Rating: R