Best Mind-Bending Movies And Shows On Netflix With Female Leads

By Robert Scucci | Published

If you need a break from your usual Netflix true-crime binge but still want to occupy a similar territory, then we have just the list for you. We wanted to talk about some of our favorite female-led mind-bending movies and shows currently streaming on Netflix that will not only alter your sense of reality, but also keep you guessing about what kind of third-act reveals you’ll see unfold.

We’re talking about unreliable narrators, jarring shifts in point of view, and hallucinatory experiences that will stick with you for months after watching. If you’re ready to take a deep-dive into the human psyche, then these four titles deserve to be thrown into your Netflix queue.


Maniac is a Netflix original psychological black comedy drama miniseries that stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill. The 10-episode series is set in a not-so-distant New York City, and centers around Stone’s Annie Landsberg and Hill’s Owen Milgrim, who partake in an experimental drug trial ran by a company called Neberdine Pharmaceutical Biotech (NPB).

Annie is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and finds herself reliving past traumas while working through the clinical trial. Owen is coping with the possibility of a schizophrenia diagnosis and signs up for the trial that is said to “cure all disorders” in an effort to live his life without the financial assistance of his family.

Throughout this Netflix series, we are presented with three forms of treatment during Neberdine’s clinical trial: the A-pill, B-pill, and C-pill. The A-pill, which Annie is addicted to, causes her to vividly relive past traumas. The B and C-pills address defense mechanisms, and establish coping mechanisms, respectively.

Maniac is a mind-bending series rife with hallucinatory experiences and troubling self-discovery. If you want to take a psychological deep-dive, then we strongly recommend you check out this mini-series.


Anon is a Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried starring science fiction thriller film that can be streamed on Netflix right now. The psychological tension in this film comes in two forms: the lack of privacy that comes with a technologically advanced society, and the imperfect recollection of events that occurs when the technology is manipulated to alter one’s sense of reality.

Every citizen in Anon lives with an ocular implant that records everything they see and do. We’re introduced to Clive Owen’s detective Sal Friedland, who has a run-in with Amanda Seyfried‘s mysterious character, known simply as The Girl, or Anon. Anon has the ability to manipulate not only the recordings of past events, but also the subject’s perception of reality in real time.

What we’re introduced to is a mind-bending cat-and-mouse game in which Friedland suspects Anon of committing a number of murders, and wiping the evidence clean from the victim’s memory banks. But Anon does an excellent job covering her tracks, and it’s revealed to the viewer that there’s more going on than we initially perceive.

If you want Netflix to manipulate your own sense of reality as the plot unfolds, then Anon is a wild adventure through the psyche that you don’t want to sleep on.


Not only does 2018’s Annihilation star Natalie Portman, but it also boasts an all-star female cast that includes Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Gina Rodriguez. Annihilation may also very well be the most mind-bending film that Netflix currently has to offer, and you will never look at your beloved houseplants the same after viewing this science fiction psychological thriller.

Most of Annihilation takes place in a quarantined location known as the “Shimmer,” which is ground zero to a meteor crash that occurred a few years prior, and has a suspected alien presence. Portman portrays Lena, a cellular biology professor whose husband Kane was one of many people to explore the Shimmer, only to die shortly after returning from a mysterious year-long expedition.

Shortly after Kane’s death, Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), organizes a new expedition to the Shimmer, and Lena Joins her along with Josie (Tessa Thompson), Cass (Tuva Novotny), and Anya (Gina Rodriguez).

In the Shimmer, plants, animals, and humans are being genetically manipulated by the lifeforms that are living within its ever-expanding radius. The expedition crew is met with feral mutated animals, as well as doppelgangers of themselves and Kane. Annihilation boasts an 88 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, and this is one title streaming on Netflix that you simply have to see for yourself if you don’t want us to spoil it for you.

The Girl in the Mirror

The Girl in the Mirror is a Netflix original series that is worthy of a watch if you want to have nightmares for the rest of your life. We’re introduced to Alma (Mireia Oriol), who survives a traumatic bus crash that causes her to suffer from amnesia.

Not only does she not have any memory of the accident itself, she also loses the ability to remember much of her past. Throughout the series, Alma realizes that the memories that she does have are not her own, and that she may be living in an alternate reality.

Alma suffers from some truly disturbing night terrors, and visions of an unknown origin as she struggles to discern between her own reality, the altered reality that is imposed upon her, and her sense of self after the accident. Though you can binge this series in one sitting on Netflix, we’d recommend splitting the nine-episode run up so you could process the psychological trauma that you’re going to witness.

And if you want to brush up on your Spanish, it’s best to watch this series in its original language. But don’t worry if you’re not one for captions. You can also watch this Netflix series in dubbed English.