What’s Leaving Streaming This Month: December 2023

Including Will Ferrell in 'Elf', Wes Anderson's latest movie and several stirring dramas.

Bob Newhart and Will Ferrell in Elf. © 2003 Alan Markfield/New Line Productions & Warner Bros. Entertainment

Major award winners and a Christmas favorite are some of the flashiest titles set to depart streaming this month, so be sure to be as on top of your watchlist as you are on your gift list. Whether you want to be spooked, have some holiday laughs, or watch a tearjerker, you’re more than covered this December.

What’s leaving Netflix

Gladiator 

With a Ridley Scott historical epic currently in theaters, why not indulge in one of the director’s finest movies (and one of Joaquin Phoenix’s best performances) with Gladiator? The massive drama won Best Picture and Best Actor for star Russell Crowe, with its detailed and violent recreation of the Roman Empire and its affinity for bloodsport. Now, a sequel starring Paul Mescal and Denzel Washington is on the way and due for release next year, so eager film fans are due for a rewatch regardless. Gladiator is available to stream through the end of the month.

Us 

Jordan Peele all but reinvented horror with Get Out, and he solidified his place as one of the century’s best genre filmmakers with Us. A bit more high-concept than his first feature, Us follows a family of four on a quickly devolving vacation. Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) suffered a mysterious trauma as a child, coming face to face with her doppelgänger but never speaking about it. Now, several decades later, her double has returned—with copies of each member of her family—and she wants Adelaide’s life. An insidious secret underlies it all. Us streams until Sunday, December 31st.

What’s leaving Hulu

Elf 

Is it really the holiday season without Elf? The Christmas classic (which turns 20 this year, believe it or not) is available for the whole month, so you might as well watch it as much as you can before it leaves with the holidays. Elf stars Will Ferrell as Buddy, a man with a bit of an identity crisis thanks to growing up in the North Pole with Santa’s elves. When he ventures to New York to find his father, it becomes a holly jolly fish out of water story like no other. Elf streams until the end of the month.

What’s leaving Max

The Master 

Paul Thomas Anderson crafts a cerebral cult story in The Master. Joaquin Phoenix stars as Freddie, a WWII veteran who’s found adjusting to peacetime life difficult, to say the least. So when he catches the attention of the curious Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), he’s swept up in the philosopher’s world of odd new teachings. As Freddie becomes further ingrained in this movement, his psyche becomes further disturbed. Amy Adams, Laura Dern, and Jesse Plemons also star in this unsettling psychological drama. The Master streams through the end of the month.

Shoplifters 

This Japanese drama won the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival thanks to its heartfelt, humanist look at found family in poverty. As the title implies, Shoplifters focuses on an impoverished Tokyo family who get by, in part, by stealing. Of course, this way of life isn’t very sustainable, and before long the family faces risks losing it all and falling apart entirely. Things get emotionally (and financially) fraught for the film’s protagonists, as the movie heads towards shocking and heartbreaking reveals about what makes a family. Shoplifters is available to stream until the end of the month.

What’s leaving Peacock

Asteroid City 

The most recent foray into the colorful, idiosyncratic world of Wes Anderson isn’t available to stream for much longer. Asteroid City functions as a story within a televised play within a story (and a few more narrative layers, give or take). On one level, Jason Schwartzman plays photographer Augie Steenbeck, a recent widower who’s taken his astronomy-loving son to a convention for whiz kids like him. There, the rest of the teen participants and their parents (including Scarlett Johansson and Liev Schrieber) get forcibly quarantined by the military (Jeffrey Wright) after an alien appears. It’s a meditation on art, grief and passion. Asteroid City streams through Sunday, December 10th.


What to Watch is a regular endorsement of movies and TV worth your streaming time.

What’s Leaving Streaming This Month: December 2023