The 25 Best New Movies Streaming in May 2024

The 25 Best New Movies Streaming in May 2024

May is here, and with it the beginning of summer and — most crucially — more time to watch movies. But while the multiplex is sure to deliver some great thrills, spills and chills this month, if you’re looking to stay in for a night we’ve got a bevy of streaming recommendations to throw your way. Indeed, a number of exciting new movies are streaming in May, from an Anne Hathaway-led romcom to a truly bonkers Jerry Seinfeld movie to a much-maligned Marvel film that may be good for some unintentional laughs.

Below we’ve put together a curated list of the best new movies streaming in May on Netflix, Prime Video, Max, Disney+, Hulu and more. So heat up some popcorn, grab your favorite blanket and settle in.

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“Turtles All the Way Down”

Isabela Merced in "Turtles All the Way Down" (Max)
Isabela Merced in “Turtles All the Way Down” (Max)

Max – May 2

Based on the bestselling novel from “The Fault in Our Stars” author John Green, Isabela Merced, a 16-year-old who is struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder and is pulled in two directions – looking for a mysterious recluse billionaire and attempting to fully engage with her crush. Cree Cicchino, J. Smith-Cameron and Hannah Marks (who also directs) co-star. If you are looking for a tearjerker that will make you feel all the awkward feelings of adolescence, then “Turtles All the Way Down” should do it. It’s the John Green way. – Drew Taylor

“The Idea of You”

"The Idea of You"
“The Idea of You” (Credit: Amazon MGM Studios)

Prime Video – May 2

The latest from co-writer/director Michael Showalter (“The Big Sick,” “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”) is a romantic comedy based on the novel of the same name by Robinne Lee. It follows a single mother (Anne Hathaway) who falls in love with the leader singer of a boy band named August Moon (Nicholas Galitzine). As far as set-ups for romantic comedies go, that sounds pretty good! Ella Rubin, Reid Scott, Annie Mumolo and Perry Mattfeld also star.

“The Contestant”

the-contestant
Hulu

Hulu – May 2

This is the true story of a “Japanese reality TV star left naked in a room for more than a year, tasked with filling out magazine sweepstakes to earn food and clothing, prompts innumerable questions about our culture of oversharing” (according to the official synopsis). This was the fate of aspiring comedian Tomoaki Hamatsu, who attened an audition for a Japanese TV producer and found himself the unwitting contestant in a bizarre and deeply uncomfortable reality television phenomenon. (Don’t worry, he is still alive and relatively well adjusted. He just did a Reddit AMA.) Even the official release describes this as “one of the most WTF stories of the year.” Buckle up. This is going to be a bumpy ride.

“Unfrosted”

Unfrosted
Jerry Seinfeld and Melissa McCarthy in “Unfrosted” (Netflix)

Netflix – May 3

There has been a recent, fascinating trend in filmmaking where corporate products, not individuals, have gotten their own biographies – think “Tetris,” “Blackberry,” “Flamin’ Hot” and “Air,” all of which came out last year. “Unfrosted” is not one of those movies. Ostensibly, it is meant to detail the creation of the Pop-Tart, as Kellogg’s and Post Cereal both raced to create a toaster pastry that would capture the hearts and minds of breakfast-eating Americans. Jerry Seinfeld, who also co-wrote, produced and directed “Unfrosted,” plays Bob Cabana, an employee of Kellogg’s determined to win the warm pastry equivalent of the space race. Melissa McCarthy is his co-worker and Jim Gaffigan is his boss. Everything is absurd and bizarre – Christian Slater shows up as a member of a milkman mafia; there is a surprisingly lengthy subplot about a sentient ravioli creature; Snap, Crackle and Pop, the Rice Krispies mascots, are here embittered corporate employees (played by Kyle Mooney, Mikey Day and Drew Tarver). The jokes are fast and furious and Seinfeld, as both a director and performer knows when to get in and out of a scene. (It’s also beautifully shot by the legendary Bill Pope.) This is easily the funniest movie of the year – and one that you can watch with the whole family. Just be warned: you’ll be craving a Pop-Tart something fierce. And maybe a glass of milk too. – Drew Taylor

Unfrosted

“Stop Making Sense”

Stop Making Sense
Stop Making Sense

Max – May 3

Arguably the greatest concert film ever, “Stop Making Sense,” which paired the Talking Heads with director Jonathan Demme, is making its streaming debut with its pristine new remaster that accompanied its re-release last year. (The movie is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.) If, for some reason, you have never seen “Stop Making Sense,” it’s hugely delightful – even if you have little-to-no interest in the Talking Heads or, indeed, David Byrne – an absolute tour-de-force captured in a way that only Demme could. Those who have never seen the film still somehow know elements of it– Byrne’s boxy suit, him coming on stage to “play a tape,” the high energy interactions between the band and backup singers. The concert, filmed over several nights at Los Angeles’ Pantages Theater, has seeped into the cultural zeitgeist. And, unlike other recent concert movies (we’re looking at you Taylor), the movie clocks in at a svelte 88 minutes. The Talking Heads were a one-of-a-kind band. It’s fitting that they made an equally bespoke concert film, with one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation. Rock on. – Drew Taylor

“The American Society of Magical Negroes”

American-Society-Magical-Negroes
Focus Features

Peacock – May 3

Very excited that this one is finally streaming. “The American Society of Magical Negroes” premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was warmly received. It stars Justice Smith, one of the more exciting young actors working today, as a young man who joins the titular group, who are tasked with making the lives of white individuals more fulfilling. (It’s a satirical take on the Magical Negro trope, seen in movies like “The Legend of Bagger Vance.” You know. That classic.) The movie also stars David Alan Grier, Michaela Watkins, Aisha Hinds and Rupert Friend. And while critics were decidedly mixed on how successful the movie’s satire really was, with a trailer that killer and a cast this good, it is nothing short of a must-watch. – Drew Taylor

“Mother of the Bride”

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Brooke Shields and Benjamin Bratt in “Mother of the Bride” (Netflix)

Netflix – May 9

This looks adorable. “Mother of the Bride,” directed by Mark Waters (“Mean Girls,” “Freaky Friday”) stars Brooke Shields as the titular mom, who is attending her daughter’s destination wedding in Thailand. While there she meets the father of her soon-to-be son-in-law, played by Benjamin Bratt. As it turns out, Shields and Bratt were an item in college and haven’t seen each other since. Now that they’re both single, will sparks fly? (Yes, yes they will.) Combining the time-honored romantic comedy tradition of a destination wedding with long-simmering romance, “Mother of the Bride” will likely be a ton of fun. Miranda Cosgrove, Chad Michael Murray, Rachael Harris and Michael McDonald co-star. Ready to fall in love?

“Let It Be”

The Beatles
Photo by Express/Express/Getty Images

Disney+ – May 8

Following in the footsteps of Peter Jackson’s “The Beatles: Get Back,” which was comprised of footage from the “Let It Be” sessions that Jackson painstakingly restored, the original documentary finally returns. “Let It Be” has been out of print since the 1980s, with attempts in recent years to bring the documentary to home video failing spectacularly. Thankfully, following “Get Back,” Jackson has restored the original documentary to all of its glory, using the same practices that made “Get Back” such an eye-popping wonder. This marks the first time Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s “Let It Be” has been broadcast since its original theatrical exhibition. Jackson told Rolling Stone: “I now think of it all as one epic story, finally completed after five decades. The two projects support and enhance each other: ‘Let It Be’ is the climax of ‘Get Back,’ while ‘Get Back’ provides a vital missing context for ‘Let It Be.’ Michael Lindsay-Hogg was unfailingly helpful and gracious while I made ‘Get Back,’ and it’s only right that his original movie has the last word … looking and sounding far better than it did in 1970.” – Drew Taylor

“The Iron Claw”

poster for A24's "The Iron Claw"
Zac Efron in “The Iron Claw” (A24)

Max – May 10

“The Iron Claw,” released over Christmas by A24, was a sleeper hit. But its somewhat baffling lack of Oscar nominations kept it from ever being a mainstream success. Now that it’s streaming on Max, part of a newly minted output deal with A24, you can make your own decision – did “The Iron Claw” deserve more awards love and bigger box office? Or did it land where it needed to be? Based on the story of the Von Erichs, a group of Texas professional wrestlers who suffered through a unique series of personal tragedies, each more crippling than the last. The brothers are played here by Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White and Harris Dickinson, all bulked up and unrecognizable, with writer/director Sean Durkin struggling to find the light in a story filled with the kind of darkness that can blot out the sun. Holt McCallany’s performance as the boys’ mercurial father was perhaps the most curious snub; he’s a force of nature so strong that you can feel the center of gravity change every time he’s in a scene. “The Iron Claw” will leave you bruised. – Drew Taylor

The Iron Claw

“The Book of Clarence”

LaKeith Stanfield and RJ Cyler in "The Book of Clarence" (Sony)
LaKeith Stanfield and RJ Cyler in “The Book of Clarence” (Sony)

Netflix – May 11

Jeymes Samuel, the visionary multi-disciplinarian behind revisionist western “The Harder They Fall” (available now on Netflix) took a hard left turn with his sophomore feature, an irreverent biblical epic. Does it work as well as his hellzapoppin’ debut? No. But it’s still a ton of fun to watch. In “The Book of Clarence” LaKeith Stanfield plays the titular character, a man existing in A.D. 33. A grifter of sorts, he owes money to a local gangster and finally has a bright idea – he’s going to be a spiritual leader like this Jesus guy who is getting so much attention. “The Book of Clarence” features a truly peerless cast that includes Omar Sy, Anna Diop, RJ Cyler, David Oyelowo, Michael Ward, Alfre Woodard, Teyana Taylor, Calbe McLaughlin, James McAvoy and Benedict Cumberbatch and a visual style courtesy of cinematographer Rob Hardy that harkens back to biblical epics of yore while modernizing that look considerably. This movie certainly maintains Samuel as one of the more exciting filmmakers working today. It’s a hoot. – Drew Taylor

“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”

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Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow and Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird in “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” (Photo Credit: Murray Close)

Starz – May 14

The new “Hunger Games” movie is good! While this franchise fumbled by turning the trilogy-capping “Mockingjay” into two films, the prequel “Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” – which brings back director Francis Lawrence – is an incisive and thrilling treatise on the nature of evil. Tom Blyth plays a young Coriolanus Snow (the baddie played by Donald Sutherland in the other films) as “Ballad” chronicles his rise to power during an early incarnation of the Hunger Games. Rachel Zegler is the District 12 tribute he’s assigned to mentor, but this one twists and turns in ways that are unexpected and compelling. – Adam Chitwood

“American Fiction”

American Fiction
“American Fiction” (Credit: MGM)

Prime Video – May 14 

The Oscar winner for Best Adapted Screenplay, “American Fiction” is a wildly entertaining and biting story about race and storytelling. In an Oscar-nominated performance, Jeffrey Wright plays a despondent professor who’s struggling to find a publisher for his next high-minded book. When his manuscript is criticized for not being “Black enough,” he writes a stereotypically Black book as a goof, only for it to become a buzzy bestseller. Meanwhile, he’s struggling to keep his family together and navigating a new relationship. Sterling K. Brown, Erika Alexander and Leslie Uggams costar in Cord Jefferson’s feature directorial debut. – Adam Chitwood

“Madame Web”

madame-web-dakota-johnson-image
Sony Pictures

Netflix – May 14

OK so maybe “best” is stretching it here, but for those curious, Sony’s much-maligned “Madame Web” hits Netflix this month, just three months after it opened in theaters and spawned various memes. The latest in Sony’s attempt to make non-Spider-Man Marvel movies, “Madame Web” hews more closely to “Morbius” than “Venom” – it’s just bad bad, not fun bad. Dakota Johnson plays a paramedic who starts to experience visions that involve three young women she doesn’t know forming some sort of superhero team. Sydney Sweeney’s in it. There’s very little “superhero” stuff. There are spiders. – Adam Chitwood

“Thelma the Unicorn”

Thelma the Unicorn
Netflix

Netflix – May 17

“Thelma the Unicorn” could be your next animated obsession. It’s based on a children’s book by Aaron Blabey, the creator of the story that DreamWorks Animation’s “The Bad Guys” was based on, was adapted by Jared and Jerusha Hess, the husband-and-wife filmmakers who were just nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short. Jared directed “Thelma the Unicorn” with Lynn Wang, injecting some of the oddball humor that made his previous films “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Nacho Libre” resonate with audiences. Brittany Howard, lead singer of the Alabama Shakes, voices the title character, a small pony that dreams of being a famous singer, who finds stardom after being mistaken for a unicorn. (It’s a long story.) Can she really be successful, though, without being her authentic self? That’s the question that hangs over “Thelma the Unicorn,” a spritely, brightly animated feature that also features the voices of Will Forte, Jemaine Clement (as an unscrupulous talent agent), Edi Patterson, Fred Armisen, Zack Galifianakis and Jon Heder. It’s cute but never cloying, sweet but never saccharine. – Drew Taylor

“The Blue Angels”

blue-angels
Prime Video

Prime Video – May 23

“The Blue Angels” is a documentary that, as you can imagine, charts one year with the Navy’s elite Flight Demonstration Squadron, more commonly known as the Blue Angels. According to the official synopsis, the doc “takes audiences behind the scenes for a revealing, in-depth look at what it takes to become a Blue Angel—from the careful selection process to the challenging training regimen, and on through the demanding eight-month show season.” Sounds good to us. The movie was directed by Paul Crowder and produced by (among others) J.J. Abrams and Glen Powell, who also provides narration. (Hey, he was Hangman after all.) If you’ve ever been to an airshow or anywhere really where those royal blue jets fly by, you are probably enchanted enough to watch this documentary. Next stop: the Danger Zone. – Drew Taylor

“Atlas”

Jennifer Lopez in "Atlas" (Netflix)
Jennifer Lopez in “Atlas” (Netflix)

Netflix – May 24

Jennifer Lopez’s Netflix thriller “The Mother” was one of the most watched streaming titles of 2023. Now she’s back with another movie for the streaming giant. And this time, she’s tackling sci-fi. In “Atlas,” she plays the title character, Atlas Shepherd, a brilliant analyst who doesn’t play by the rules. She’s tasked with helping capture a renegade robot (Simu Lui) who, years earlier, instigated a robot uprising and is now hiding on an inhospitable planet. But to nab him, she’s got to make peace with the AI in her mech suit. (Think the suits from “The Matrix Revolutions” or James Cameron’s “Avatar.”) Complicated emotions! “Atlas” was directed by Brad Peyton, who has overseen similar largescale destruction with movies like “Rampage” and “San Andreas.” And the movie comes chock full of eye-popping visual effects from legendary effects house Industrial Light & Magic. Will Atlas learn to trust her handy AI sidekick and get the villains robot? Only one way to find out. – Drew Taylor

“Ferrari”

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Adam Driver in “Ferrari” (Neon)

Hulu – May 24

One of last year’s best, most underrated movies finally hits streaming. Directed by Michael Mann and starring Adam Driver as Enzo Ferrari, a man driven to succeed but whose streamlined approach to success covers up his messy home life, with a wife who resents him (Penelope Cruz) and a mistress (Shailene Woodley) squirreled away with their secret love child. This was a passion project for Mann, who had wanted to tell the Ferrari story for a while. (At one point he was going to make what became “Ford vs. Ferrari;” he still has an executive producer credit.) And true to form, he stuffed it with tons of Mann-isms – smoldering masculinity, lots of time devoted to the “process” of racecar driving and some of the more thrilling race sequences ever committed to film. What more could you want? – Drew Taylor

“The Beach Boys”

the-beach-boys
Disney+

Disney+ – May 24

The Beach Boys are underrated, and this new documentary should hopefully turn some people around who only think of the group as the band behind “Kokomo.” Featuring never-before-seen footage, the film traces the origins and rise of the band. The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, David Marks and Bruce Johnston sit down for new interviews, with Lindsey Buckingham, Janelle Monáe, Ryan Tedder and Don Was taking part as well. The doc is directed by Frank Marshall, who was behind 2020’s excellent Bee Gees documentary from HBO. – Adam Chitwood

“Jim Henson: Idea Man”

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Jim Henson in “Idea Man” (Disney+)

Disney+ – May 31

Incredibly, this is the first feature-length documentary about Jim Henson, the tireless innovator and creator of the Muppets, who died tragically at the age of 53 after a brief bacterial infection. As directed by Ron Howard, who never worked with Henson but did collaborate with his “Labyrinth” producer George Lucas on “Willow,” the movie combines archival footage of Henson and his accomplishments, with new talking head interviews, mostly with the Henson family and collaborators like Frank Oz and Dave Goelz. When the documentary was announced it stated that it was produced “with the full participation and cooperation of the Henson family,” which usually implies that the harder edges are rounded off and the fact that it is premiering on Disney+ certainly doesn’t make these fears any less prominent, but “Jim Henson: Idea Man” does its due diligence. It investigates Henson as both a creator and as a father, a husband and a friend. And sometimes those sides of him are at odds. Geniuses are like that sometimes. (Brian Henson, his son who now runs the company, admits that he did let down the family occasionally.) It would have been nice if the movie were a bit longer, to cover the true breadth of his accomplishments (major works like “Fraggle Rock” and the “Jim Henson Hour” are hastily lumped together in a brief montage) and had more collaborators speak to their involvement with his life and his work (why didn’t Howard talk to Paul Williams?) But it’s still a lovely documentary that will make you cry almost from the very beginning to the final frame. You’ve been warned. – Drew Taylor

“A.I. Artificial Intelligence”

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Jude Law in “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (DreamWorks Pictures)

May 1 – Prime Video 

As A.I. is all the rage, it’s a great time to revisit Steven Spielberg’s underrated 2001 film “A.I. Artificial Intelligence.” This is a unique collaboration between Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick – Kubrick developed the project for years but never made it, as he was waiting for visual effects to advance enough for the film to be possible. Spielberg took the spirit of Kubrick’s take on the Philip K. Dick source material and wrote the screenplay himself, resulting in something of a dark and twisted “Pinocchio” story about a lifelike A.I. boy (Haley Joel Osment) who dreams of becoming human so his adoptive mother will finally love him. It’s tragic and terrifying. – Adam Chitwood

“Brigsby Bear”

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Kyle Mooney in “Brigsby Bear” (Sony Pictures Classics)

May 1 – Prime Video 

Talk about underrated gems. “Brigsby Bear” is an absolute delight, and the less you know about it going in the better. The basic setup is that “SNL” alum Kyle Mooney plays a young man named James who has been forced to live his life in an underground bunker with his parents, kept company only by a lo-fi children’s show called Brigsby Bear. “SNL” director Dave McNary directs from a screenplay by Mooney and Kevin Costello, and the film features a terrific performance by Mark Hamill. This one is sweet, funny and wh0lly unique. – Adam Chitwood

“Everybody Wants Some!!!”

everybody-wants-some
Paramount Pictures

May 1 – Prime Video

Glen Powell is (deservedly) everywhere these days, but if you missed his breakout role in Richard Linklater’s incredible 2016 hangout film “Everybody Wants Some!!” now’s the perfect chance. Described as a spiritual sequel to Linklater’s seminal “Dazed and Confused,” this film takes place in the 1980s and revolves around a group of college students (in contrast to the ‘70s high school setting of “Dazed”). It is a pure hangout movie in the sense that the plot is light but the characters are rich, and we follow a number of Texas college kids – most of whom are on the baseball team – over the course of a couple of days. Blake Jenner, Zoey Deutch, Wyatt Russell and Tyler Hoechlin costar. – Adam Chitwood

“Psycho” (1960)

psycho-1960
Universal Pictures

May 1 – Prime Video 

A trio of Alfred Hitchcock classics are on Prime Video this month, and are all must-watches for very different reasons. First up is “Psycho,” a classic horror film about a woman (Janet Leigh) on the run who winds up at a nearly abandoned motel called the Bates Motel, where she crosses paths with its mild mannered owner Norman (Anthony Perkis). Then things get very bad. 60 years later, this one still terrifies. – Adam Chitwood

“Rear Window”

Rear Window
“Rear Window” (Paramount)

May 1 – Prime Video 

Next up we have “Rear Window,” one of the most purely entertaining films ever made. Jimmy Stewart plays a professional photographer recuperating from a broken leg who’s confined to a wheelchair. To pass the time in his New York City apartment, he spies on the open windows in the building next door. One night, he thinks he witnesses a murder, and things spiral out of control there. The production design alone makes this a classic, but ever the master of suspense, Hitchcock grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. – Adam Chitwood

“Vertigo”

vertigo
Paramount Pictures

May 1 – Prime Video 

And finally there’s “Vertigo.” Somewhat ignored upon release, this one is now hailed as one of the greatest films ever made. Jimmy Stewart plays a retired detective suffering agoraphobia who’s asked to tail a friend’s wife. She’s been acting strange, you see, and he wants to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Is she possessed? Is she crazy? Is he crazy? Everything’s on the table as one of Hitchcock’s most personal films unfolds, laying bare his prurient obsessions. – Adam Chitwood

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