Films to watch on cold October nights

Juliet Naked, Reality Bites, Jane Eyre, and The Handmaiden are all streaming on Netflix

Kim Tae-ri and Kim Min-hee in The Handmaiden; Michael Fassbender in Jane Eyre; and Rose Byrne in Juliet Naked.

Kim Tae-ri and Kim Min-hee in The Handmaiden; Michael Fassbender in Jane Eyre; and Rose Byrne in Juliet Naked.

WITH THE cinemas closed for what will hopefully be only three weeks, I have returned to streaming platforms which served us so well during the initial lockdown, and chosen four films on Netflix I believe are worth your time.

Juliet Naked: Surprisingly under-seen romantic comedy with Ethan Hawke, Rose Byrne, and Chris O’Dowd. This is based on a Nick Horby book - you could guess that after watching it for five minutes - and is full of his tropes: a middle aged man with an obsession (music usually ) looking for love. If you liked Fever Pitch or High Fidelity this is more of that. Not quite as good as those two (in fairness those two are really great ) but you could do a lot worse on a cold wet October night. Funny and feel good without being saccharine, and a great soundtrack.

Reality Bites: Another Ethan Hawke movie, this is also the great forgotten Gen X comedy, and is much better than the films that outlasted it like Empire Records or Chasing Amy. Reality Bites is a typical 1990s relationship drama that feels like it has both aged terribly and not at all. Not quite Before Sunset, but still worth a watch you have not seen, and a good revisit if, like me, it has been years. Fun fact: This was Ben Stiller’s directorial debut, and he is, I believe, an underrated director.

Jane Eyre: Next week Netflix is releasing probably my personal most anticipated film of the year in Ben Wheatley's Rebecca, a remake of the Hitchcock film and based on the Daphne De Maurier novel. Rebecca is De Maurier’s spin on the Bronte classic so it might work revisiting this really quite good 2011 adaptation. Directed by Cary Fukunaga, who went on to do the first brilliant season of True Detective, it is a fun, muddy, and wet film that is not quite as romantic as it could/should be but it is beautifully made with some great performances.

The Handmaiden: I think you could make a pretty good argument that this is one of the best films of the 2010s. From Park Chan-wook, the Korean genius who brought us Old Boy (which might be one of the best movies of the 2000s now that I think about it ). Set in Japan controlled Korea, this is an erotic thriller centred around a plot to seduce and rob a woman of her inheritance. It does also have some shades of Hitchcock's Rebecca. So more homework for next week. I will say, perhaps avoid watching this one with family members as the intimate scenes are very… er? intimate.


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