Netflix now showing Palme d'Or winner's 2015 classic – it's a must-watch

Sean Baker is big news, but his older film Tangerine is streaming now

(Image credit: Magnolia Pictures)

If you ever wanted a reminder that you no longer need a studio's worth of equipment to make a truly great movie, there's nothing quite like Tangerine to underline it.

This 2015 movie was immediately greeted by rave reviews, and its director Sean Baker has gone on to great things – he just won the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, in fact, for his new movie Anora.

Tangerine is a standout for many reasons, but the fact that it was shot entirely on an iPhone 5S has to be one of them. It just got added to Netflix's streaming library in the US, to make it easier than ever to watch. 

Sean Baker's whole filmography has been preoccupied with giving a voice and a starring role to marginalized communities, and Tangerine is a perfect encapsulation of that. 

It's a story about transgender sex workers in Los Angeles dealing with the at times hilarious and at times scary drama of their daily lives, and it's vibrant and authentic, like all of Baker's movies. 

It also looks really gorgeous, all saturated and naturally filmed, to the point where you might question whether it really is iPhone footage. After all, Apple might now be filming all of its presentations and reveal videos on iPhone to prove a point, but it certainly wasn't doing so back in 2015. 

Baker has been candid about what was used to shoot the movie, though, and it's basically three things.

First, that iPhone 5S. Then, a Steadicam rig to eliminate camera shake. Finally, an app called Filmic Pro, which let him and his team take more control over camera settings to change how their footage looked while it was being captured instead of in an editing suite. 

If all of that sounds a bit technical and you're more interested in the movie's actual quality, rest assured that it's great. A 96% score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes should vouch for that, too. And Anora is looking just as good, with an early 98% rating.  

Netflix might not necssarily have a reputation as the best streaming service for indie films and micro-budget movies like Tangerine, but this sort of addition will do a lot to push back on that – so make sure to check the movie out now that it's in the library. 

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.