13 Movies Like The Portable Door (2023) On Netflix UK

Staff & contributors

When reminiscing about the film industry, most period films focus on the big names – the stars, the directors, and the producers that back them – as they’re more likely to have plenty of source material. Once Upon a Star is interested in the little people, the small town distributors that bring the movie magic to the locals. Centered on a cinema projection troupe, the film celebrates the old way of distribution, who, unlike today’s streaming, travel from place to place to set up outdoor cinemas with live dubbing. And through each projection of classic Thai masterpieces, the connection they have with each other, between both the troupe and the audience, recalls the intimate nostalgia of watching a movie together. It’s a unique take from director Nonzee Nimibutr, one that’s a stunning love letter to the film industry he hails from.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Jirayu La-ongmani, Kongkiat Khomsiri, Nat Sakdatorn, Nuengthida Sophon, Samart Payakaroon, Sornchai Chatwiriyachai, Sukollawat Kanarot, Waratta Watcharatorn, Yothin Mapobphun

Director: Nonzee Nimibutr

Third World Romance is what it says in the tin– it’s a love story that blooms in the rundown side of the capital of a developing country. The plot is familiar, especially for people familiar with Filipino rom coms, but writer-director Dwein Baltazar approaches this with a grounded approach. With fancy dinner dates substituted with shared packed rice meals and emotional apologies interrupted by their shifts in the grocery, Bree and Alvin carve out a love that still feels passionate, perhaps made even more so, as they navigate a city where they are disenfranchised. Charlie Dizon and Carlo Aquino’s excellent performances keep their characters’ struggles real, but also make their love feel joyful in spite of that.

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Actor: Ana Abad-Santos, Archie Adamos, Carlo Aquino, Charlie Dizon, Donna Cariaga, Gardo Versoza, Iyah Mina, Jun Jun Quintana

Director: Dwein Ruedas Baltazar

Many comedians use humor as a way to ease into more serious subject matter, though there always exists a risk that a comedy special can skew too far down the silly or the self-reflective route. Mike Birbiglia has come about as close to the perfect balance as possible, in this recording of his one-man Broadway show at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. Key to this is the fact that Birbiglia tells one very cohesive story throughout these 77 minutes, frequently branching off to other humorous anecdotes but always returning with a pensive self-consciousness to the real possibility of him dying sooner than he'd want.

This filmed version of Birbiglia's show doesn't give a full idea of its multimedia qualities (Birbiglia occasionally has words and images projected onto the curved screen behind him, which he also physically interacts with), but the comedian's sincere style of storytelling more than makes up for the lack of audiovisual tricks we're permitted to see. And don't get it confused: this is a very funny stand-up special, whose jokes always come from the most unexpected places—it also just happens to contain some truly moving moments that come out of nowhere, but make total sense alongside all the laughter.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Mike Birbiglia

Director: Seth Barrish

Rating: PG-13

When your dad is single, and he isn’t in a relationship with someone else, naturally, a kid would wonder about their real biological mother. Hi Nanna is a take on this familiar tale, though Shouryuv’s directorial debut makes it feel brand new by telling the love story in a way a father would tell his daughter– mindful of the audience, so slightly embellished, but no less sweet. By doing so, it makes the viewers yearn for the lost love before raising our hopes and revealing the possibility of getting it back, especially with the natural chemistry of Nani and the striking Mrunal Thakur.

Genre: Drama, Family, Romance

Actor: Angad Bedi, Baby Kiara Khanna, Jayaram, Mrunal Thakur, Nani, Nassar, Neha Sharma, Priyadarshi Pullikonda, Shilpa Tulaskar, Shruti Haasan

Director: Shouryuv

As the first Zambian film on Netflix, Can You See Us? is an interesting portrayal of albinism. Inspired by the real-life story of musician John Chiti, the film’s plot feels grounded, even if it’s similar to other stories depicting discrimination. With newcomer Thabo Kaamba at the forefront, her performance of the albino boy Joseph shines brighter than even the older actors of the film’s cast. That being said, it is held back by repetitive dialogue and sped-up character development from certain characters. Despite this, Can You See Us? is still a remarkable film that stands out from the other tearjerkers available on the streaming platform.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Chilu Lemba, Fransisca Muchangwe, Kangwa Chileshe, Ruth Jule, Thabo Kaamba

Director: Kenny Mumba

The latest installment in Netflix'S “Unknown” docuseries, Unknown: Killer Robots puts the evolution of artificial intelligence under an ethical microscope. Although the title could be misleading, it does cover the possible dangerous applications of AI as it forces us to question the growing divide between human morality and machine efficiency. With advances in war and medicinal applications, the capabilities of AI to heal, save and destroy are terrifying and awe-inspiring in equal measure. Like the previous films in the series, it is hyper-concentrated to an almost-stifling degree, but it’s also powered by the passionate subjects on either side of these advancements. Forgoing sensationalism, this digestible documentary questions intention over the technology itself. 

Genre: Documentary, Drama

Director: Jesse Sweet

King of Clones tells the story of Hwang Woo-suk, a South Korean scientist once praised as a national hero for his pioneering work in cloning. However, Hwang's reputation was shattered in 2006 when it was revealed that he had falsified data in his research. The documentary follows Hwang's rise and fall, and it provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of scientific research and the ethical challenges that it raises. Through simplified explanations and testimonies from beneficiaries and journalists that exposed his fraudulent activities, the film remains accessible without losing its narrative. It also opens the conversation on the progress of cloning technology and the implications of not having ethics that can be agreed upon among the scientific community and the general public. 

Genre: Documentary

Actor: George W. Bush, Hwang Woo-suk, Jung Ho-seok, Kim Dae-jung, Kim Jong-il, Kim Tae-hyung, Park Ji-sung, Roh Moo-hyun, Son Heung-min

Director: Aditya Thayi

Rating: PG-13

A deep dive into African-American cinema in the 1970s, Is That Black Enough for You?!? may at times feel like an extended audiovisual Wikipedia article, but it convincingly sets up its ideas in breezy, entertaining fashion. And it successfully argues that Hollywood today just hasn't cashed in on the wealth of innovative Black art that already existed 50 years ago. At the center of this talking heads documentary is director and narrator Elvis Mitchell, who elevates the assembled footage with frank commentary that isn't afraid to make things personal or to throw shade at other filmmakers who've made a career out of appropriating Black film traditions.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Antonio Fargas, Billy Dee Williams, Charles Burnett, Elvis Mitchell, Glynn Turman, Harry Belafonte, James Signorelli, Laurence Fishburne, Louise Archambault, Margaret Avery, Mario Van Peebles, Roscoe Orman, Samuel L. Jackson, Sheila Frazier, Stan Lathan, Suzanne de Passe, Whoopi Goldberg, Zendaya

Director: Elvis Mitchell

In Love and Deep Water is torn between multiple concepts. There’s a murder, sure, and a butler trying to figure out who’s the killer, but there also happens to be a romance plot where the same butler falls in love with the passenger that informs him of their partners’ infidelity. The film also tries to squeeze in comedy with the way the killers try to hide the dead body, the ridiculousness of some passengers, and cheeky but contextless commentary. While the romance is lovely, In Love and Deep Water isn’t the fun and chaotic murder mystery promised, as it drowns itself with interesting ideas that never really fully pans out.

Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Romance, Thriller

Actor: Airi Matsui, Aju Makita, Amane Okayama, Aoi Miyazaki, Hatsunori Hasegawa, Hidekazu Mashima, Ken Mitsuishi, Ken Yasuda, Kento Nagayama, Nahana, Rinko Kikuchi, Ryo Yoshizawa, Saki Takaoka, Takashi Okabe, Tomu Miyazaki, Yoh Yoshida, Yoshimasa Kondô, Yuki Izumisawa

Director: Yusuke Taki

Rating: R, TV-MA

In terms of the quality of the material delivered in Son I Never Had, this special is really just okay at best. Heather McMahan has charisma and personality, but she has a tendency to run directly into the set-ups for her jokes, without the kind of build-up between segments that would make the whole hour flow better. And the comedy here is pretty standard, lightly raunchy fare that's often amusing but never really cuts deep into the various topics McMahan brings up. Where she's really successful, instead, is in the way she uses humor to contrast the lingering but gentle grief she feels over her father's passing. Son I Never Had, in its own roundabout way, becomes a sort of extended eulogy, emphasizing how our loved ones remain with us in our every memory.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Heather McMahan

Director: Jen Zaborowski

Rating: R

Although the sequencing of the four segments makes sense, the overall result does not land in this new installment of the Lust Stories franchise. It shines with Konkona Sensharma's 'Mirror,' an unexpected take on voyeurism and camaraderie between women. It loses touch with Sujoy Ghosh's 'Sex with Ex,' which sticks out with a weak storyline and questionable use of a green screen. The bracketing stories are engaging if only for the stark difference in tone and conclusion. They round out the film well enough, allowing for an entertaining experience but a lukewarm memory after the credits roll. 

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Amruta Subhash, Angad Bedi, Anushka Kaushik, Hemant Kher, Jugal Hansraj, Kajol, Kanupriya Pandit, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kumud Mishra, Mrunal Thakur, Mukti Mohan, Neena Gupta, Tamannaah Bhatia, Tarun Khanna, Tillotama Shome, Vibha Chibber, Vijay Varma

Director: Amit Sharma, Konkona Sen Sharma, R. Balki, Sujoy Ghosh

Rating: R

Plenty of missing people stories don’t get resolved, so understandably, all their loved ones can do is contemplate the potential horrors that could have happened to them, like being lost and needing to survive, or being kidnapped, or, of course, being dead. Primbon is a story where a missing girl returns home, though her return seems suspicious, at least, according to Javanese superstition. So much could have been made with this premise. They could have delved into Rana’s possible trauma from the reason she was lost, or the way these superstitions hinder these victims from receiving help from others. The film at least shines during the moments between Dini, her mom, and Rana, as they try to get back to normal. But in prioritizing the family, Primbon is torn between being a family drama versus being a supernatural horror film, and ultimately fails at being both.

Genre: Horror

Actor: Azela Putri, Chicco Kurniawan, Flavio Zaviera, Happy Salma, Jajang C. Noer, Nugie, Whani Darmawan

Director: Rudy Soedjarwo

All the little twists in the case of Mirna Salihin's murder are intriguing enough to speculate over, so Ice Cold is definitely a true-crime case worth revisiting. The problem is in how the documentary indulges sensationalist arguments and pure speculation with the same level of urgency as it does with expert counsel. A large part of the film has to do with how this trial started to become such a fixture in Indonesian public life, but it feels as if the movie would rather provoke even more baseless conspiracies through its gossipy tone than provide smarter analysis. There's an appeal to how simple this case is relative to other true-crime stories, but this shouldn't be an excuse to haphazardly throw opposing perspectives at each other for the sake of drama.

Genre: Crime, Documentary

Actor: Edi Darmawan Salihin, Jessica Wongso, Marcella Zalianty, Mirna Salihin, Otto Hasibuan

Director: Rob Sixsmith

Rating: PG-13