More than any other kind of science fiction, time travel stories are the ultimate escape. The ability to move forward and backward through history and change the outcome of your life is nearly irresistible — even if the repercussions are almost never worth it.
If you’re looking for a time travel movie to watch on Netflix, we’ve got you covered. Here are three amazing films you can stream right now, whether you’re in the mood for a classic sci-fi adventure, social commentary, or something else entirely.
Just make sure you watch them soon, before Netflix goes back in time and removes these movies from the streaming service forever.
3. Star Trek (2009)
Before he resurrected Star Wars (only to leave it in worse shape than ever before), J.J. Abrams took his talents to Paramount to reboot another classic science fiction franchise. The result was arguably the most pivotal sci-fi movie of the century (so far) and a pretty fun time travel adventure to boot.
In a recent essay on the importance of Star Trek in the year 2009, Ryan Britt writes:
There’s literally no way Lucasfilm and Disney would have hired Abrams to reboot the Star Wars movies had he only been coming off Cloverfield and Super 8. The wildly successful and convincing Star Trek reboot in 2009 is what made Abrams into the super-director we think of now. Subjectively, that may not have been a good thing for Star Trek fans or Star Wars fans but, objectively speaking, the 2009 Trek reboot led to a vast pop culture universe and resulted in The Force Awakens. In this way, Star Trek can be thought of the most pivotal sci-fi movie of the 21st century so far. (And, unlike The Force Awakens or The Rise of Skywalker, it's aged well.)
2. See You Yesterday (2019)
Netflix makes a lot of original science fiction, and, if we’re being honest, most of it is pretty mediocre. But this underrated time-travel drama is an exception to that rule.
Produced by Spike Lee with a clever cameo from Marty McFly himself, See You Yesterday is what happens when you mix Do the Right Thing with Back to the Future. It’s a powerful social justice story dressed up as a sci-fi adventure. It’s also just a great movie.
Here’s a few lines from Inverse entertainment editor Gabrielle Bondi’s retrospective on the film:
See You Yesterday’s brisk 80-minute running time gives this time-travel adventure a lot of energy. From start to finish, it sustains a pace that pulls you in and keeps you invested.
1. The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
Looking for something... different? The Time Traveler’s Wife is a time travel movie that doesn’t really care about time travel at all. Instead, it tells the story of a woman (Rachel McAdams) in love with a man (Eric Bana) who’s unstuck from time.
Bana’s character careens almost uncontrollably through time but seems inexplicably drawn to the woman who eventually becomes his wife. (When they first meet he’s approaching middle age and she’s a child, but it’s best not to think about the weirdness of their relationship.)
The Time Traveler’s Wife is a tragic love story with moments of joy and just enough sci-fi to keep genre fans interested. In other words, it’s the perfect compromise if you’re struggling to make your next movie night pick.
Here’s a preview from Inverse’s recent recommendation:
Being in love with a time traveler is no easy feat, especially when that time traveler has no control over this power. Most time-travel movies are understandably preoccupied with the past and the future, but this underrated 2009 movie feels undeniably present