30 Best 2023 Foreign Movies on Netflix Right Now

Updated June 10, 2024 • Staff

Say what you want, but Netflix continues to be the most popular streaming service around the world. Part of that global appeal must be because, for years now, it's been striking deals with local studios and even creating films of its own with their help, effectively creating a reservoir of modern international films. You won't have any difficulty finding a Netflix Original from Argentina all the way to Zambia, so the question now is, which of these are actually worth watching? You can check this link if you want a list of the all-time international greats on the service, but for the purposes of this article (and to help you stay current and updated), we gathered the best 2023 foreign-language films streaming right now on Netflix. 

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Bird Box Barcelona (2023)

Despite an engaging opening that promises to deepen the world already established in 2018's Bird Box, this new installment slips back into the usual routine before long. That is: cheap thrills and an overall lack of scares, not necessarily because of the fact that the creatures terrorizing this world are invisible, but because the film doesn't take advantage of the fear and paranoia that builds among the human characters. A stronger focus on religious belief (or simply blind fanaticism) should lead to more interesting character dynamics, but there isn't a single person here who's defined by anything beyond a few base traits. So despite the efforts of a game cast (including Babylon's Diego Calva and especially Barbarian's Georgina Campbell), the film just can't overcome how boring it is to watch blindfolded people reacting to nothing.

Our staff rating: 5.4/10
Genre: Drama, Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller
Actor: Alejandra Howard, Celia Freijeiro, Diego Calva, Georgina Campbell, Gonzalo de Castro, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Lola Dueñas, Manel Llunell, Mario Casas, Michelle Jenner, Milo Taboada, Naila Schuberth, Patrick Criado
Director: Àlex Pastor, David Pastor
Rating: R

A Deadly Invitation (2023)

With the success of Knives Out, many filmmakers have gone back to make new films in the whodunit genre, which reached its peak between the 30s and 40s with Agatha Christie. A Deadly Invitation is one of these new murder mysteries, based on the novel of the same name by Carmen Posadas. Unfortunately, this Mexican film feels ill-timed, releasing months after the Glass Onion. Even if the source novel has been released in 2010, this film feels like a pale imitation of the Knives Out sequel, as it possesses plenty of the same plot points – as an eccentric millionaire invites their potential murderers for a party in the middle of nowhere, along with someone to solve said murder. There are some differences, specifically, the death actually occurs here, but these differences, along with the careless way each info is revealed, aren’t enough to make A Deadly Invitation feel unique.

Our staff rating: 5.5/10
Genre: Comedy, Mystery
Actor: Aarón Díaz, Helena Rojo, José María de Tavira, Juan Pablo de Santiago, Julio Casado, Manolo Cardona, Mariana Cabrera, Maribel Verdú, Pedro Damián, Regina Blandón, Stephanie Cayo
Director: José Manuel Cravioto

Soulcatcher (2023)

Nothing happens in Soultcatcher that you haven't seen before. There is an evil scientist who creates a weapon of mass destruction. There are government officials fighting to obtain the weapon for political gain. And of course, there is a rugged team of mercenaries, each with their own distinct identifier, tasked to save the day. None of these elements are inherently bad; often they’re even needed in a solid thriller. But Soulcatcher fumbles these elements with lousy, uninspired execution. The action sequences are terribly paced, the plot is riddled with fillers and cliches, and there are too many confusing moments that take you out of the moment. This is a shame, because the acting is not bad at all, and the production value is decent, impressive even. If only the producers allotted more of that budget to supporting the writing, then maybe Soulcatcher would’ve turned out much, much better. 

Our staff rating: 6/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Jacek Koman, Jacek Poniedzialek, Piotr Witkowski
Director: Daniel Markowicz

The (Almost) Legends (2023)

Unabashedly proud of its own weirdness whether you like or not, The (Almost) Legends falls somewhere between being a surreal comedy, a Mexican banda musical, and a racing movie without really fully committing to any one of these identities. The result is a film that thrillingly plays to the beat of its own drum, but also frequently struggles to have all of its flashiness mean something coherent and insightful. Still, while the emotions it hopes to inspire—about coming to terms with grief and taking pride in one's true self—fall somewhat flat, the film's vivid colors, meticulous production direction, and sentimental heart make this kaleidoscope consistently worth keeping an eye on.

Our staff rating: 6.4/10
Genre: Comedy, Music
Actor: Benny Emmanuel, Dagoberto Gama, Harold Azuara, Nora Velázquez, Silverio Palacios
Director: Ricardo Castro Velázquez

Cyberbunker: The Criminal Underworld (2023)

If you’re expecting a twisty and thrilling look at a dangerous group of hackers who hide deep within a military bunker in Europe, and who refer to their entire operation as “straight from a James Bond movie,” then you might be disappointed with Cyberbunker, a dragging documentary that relies too heavily on talking heads for momentum. It takes 30 minutes to establish the relevance of these figures, and a full hour before it finally explains the actual crime and wrongdoings they’re complicit in. The most interesting parts of the case, like the FBI’s involvement, Cyberbunker’s links to the propagation of child pornography, and the group’s advocacy on internet privacy, are completely buried beneath a stack of unnecessary tidbits. I appreciate the effort of the filmmakers and the interviewees coming together to make something decently informative, but by the end of it, you’re left wondering whether all this was better off as a Wikipedia article.

Our staff rating: 6.6/10
Genre: Crime, Documentary
Director: Kilian Lieb, Max Rainer
Rating: PG-13

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead (2023)

Following the success of the Zom 100 manga and anime, Netflix quickly followed suit with a live-action film, which begs the question: why? Why bother, when the freshly released series is barely a month old and already a vibrant interpretation of the comic book it was based from? Why bother, when you’re not going to bring anything new to the table? The film, more than anything, feels like a rushed cash grab that hopes to capitalize on its predecessors’ success. The premise is clever and relatable—after years of living like a zombie, a jaded employee regains a lust for life when an outbreak threatens to kill him—but the film milks it to death, so much so that by the ending, when the characters finally reach this conclusion, they can’t help but seem slow for spelling out what we’ve already known from the start. The film also looks drab and dreary, a far cry from the series’ experimental wonders. Instead of multi-colored blood bursting with every kill, we simply get metallic confetti in the movie. Instead of dynamic action, we get barely believable stunts that seem more awkward than awe-inspiring. Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead isn’t bad per se, but it doesn’t look so good next to its much-better counterparts on TV and in print. 

Our staff rating: 6.7/10
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Horror
Actor: Akari Hayami, Daiki Miyagi, Doronzu Ishimoto, Eiji Akaso, Jin Hisa, Kazuki Kitamura, Kenta Satoi, Kurumi Nakata, Mai Shiraishi, Mayo Kawasaki, Miwako Kakei, Mukau Nakamura, Reira Arai, Seijun Nobukawa, Shota Taniguchi, Shuntaro Yanagi, Yo Takahashi, Yui Ichikawa
Director: Yusuke Ishida
Rating: R, TV-MA

Freestyle (2023)

Operating in a similar style and speed as the Safdie Brothers’ Good Time and Uncut Gems, Freestyle gives us a peek into the seedy underbelly of Poland through the eyes of Diego, a smalltime muscian who slides back into his drug dealing ways when he finds himself short on money. On the sensory front, Freestyle is a thrilling experience. Diego charges the film with palpable anxiety, Kraków’s underground community lights it up in dizzying neon, and the local hip-hop scene backs it with exciting new sounds. It’s a technical feat, but stripped of these elements, Freestyle is nothing more than a predictable crime thriller populated with predictable characters, many of whom, by the way, are thrown in at random points in the movie so that it often gets confusing and infuriating to watch. Despite potentially having something to say about the apathy of youth or the glaring discrepancy between social classes, Freestyle seems solely interested in being a slick crime thriller that has its characters run around in circles to save themselves. It looks good and sounds even better, but without anything substantial holding it up, Freestyle fails to relay an authentic sense of relevance and urgency. 

Our staff rating: 6.7/10
Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Actor: Artur Krajewski, Filip Lipiecki, Hana Nobis, Juliusz Chrząstowski, Krzysztof Zarzecki, Maciej Musiałowski, Michał Balicki, Michał Sikorski, Nel Kaczmarek, Olek Krupa, Patrik Vrbovský, Roman Gancarczyk, Zofia Kowalewska
Director: Maciej Bochniak

The Great Seduction (2023)

In the Great Seduction, locals of a small town trick a bigshot doctor into thinking that despite the place’s insufficiencies, it’s still worth settling into. They pretend to love American football because it’s his favorite sport. They leave paper bills to make him think he’s lucky. They eavesdrop on his calls to learn what dish he’d like for the day. But as the schemes escalate from amusing to immoral, the audience along with German are forced to wonder: does the end justify the means? Unfortunately, the film never answers its own ethical dilemma, nor does it offer meaningful insights or fresh perspectives about it. There’s also the lesser but equally distracting problem of Mateo’s medical background serving very little purpose in the film. The townspeople bend over backward to secure Mateo not because he’s a doctor who could literally save lives, but because the company they’re pitching to requires a doctor to be present for legal purposes. The film doesn’t always make sense, although when it does, it absolutely shines. It’s offbeat and jubilant, with a lot of charm to spare. It’s the type of film whose omissions you’d easily forgive because of how often it’ll make you smile. 

Our staff rating: 7/10
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Actor: Eligio Meléndez, Guillermo Villegas, Héctor Jiménez, Joaquín Cosío, Yalitza Aparicio
Director: Celso R. García
Rating: R

Call Me Chihiro (2023)

With a new, fast-paced media landscape, Call Me Chihiro might feel too slow for people new to the story. Composed of serene, slice-of-life moments, the film starts off feeling plotless, as the titular protagonist builds random interactions with the townspeople. She makes friends with people who seemingly don’t have much in common with her. Despite this, each interaction feels meaningful and genuine, thanks to the subtle acting of Kasumi Arimura. And as these scenes build up, and Chihiro’s friends begin to become friends with each other, these day-to-day moments form a character study of a lonely woman whose kindness and appreciation for life make her feel so admirable. For those wistful Sunday nights, Call Me Chihiro might be a great watch, but only if you’re in that certain mood.

Our staff rating: 7/10
Genre: Drama
Actor: Fusako Urabe, Hana Toyoshima, Itsuki Nagasawa, Jun Fubuki, Kasumi Arimura, Keiichi Suzuki, Lily Franky, Mitsuru Hirata, Miwako Ichikawa, Ryuya Wakaba, Shigeo Ôsako, Tetta Shimada, Toshie Negishi, Van, Wakaba Ryuuya, Yoichiro Saito, Yui Sakuma
Director: Rikiya Imaizumi
Rating: R, TV-14

Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction (2023)

It’s slower and talkier than you’d expect from a semi-erotic film, but Ehnegard lives up to its title well enough to satisfy. It’s titillating, but in a cheeky rather than provocative way. The dialogues are lengthy, but they’re alternately witty and poetic, so despite the pace they never actually bore. Ehnegard’s real delight, however, is its beauty. Set in the old kingdom of Babenhausen, Ehnegard looks like a fairy tale come to life. The towering castles, the sprawling meadows, the twinkling forest lakes, and of course, the smartly costumed people who populate the scenery—all these and more ensure that each frame has a picturesque glow to it. And with Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen, Westworld) taking charge of an appealing cast, Ehnegard proves to be a charming watch. 

Our staff rating: 7/10
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Actor: Alice E. Bier Zandén, Christopher Laesso, Emilie Kroyer Koppel, Jacob Ulrik Lohmann, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Paul Hüttel, Sara-Marie Maltha, Sidse Babett Knudsen
Director: Bille August
Rating: R

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