Your Name Engraved Herein is a melancholy and emotional film set in 1987 just as martial law ends in Taiwan. The film explores the relationship between Jia-han and Birdy, two boys in a Catholic school who are in a romantic relationship. The movie tackles homophobia and social stigma in society which evokes a bleak and rather depressing atmosphere, emphasised by the movie's earthy aesthetic. There is a rawness in the film’s narrative and dialogue, topped off by the lead actors’ successfully raw performances. Your Name Engraved Herein is tender as well as heartbreaking, occasionally depicting the joy of youth.
50 Best Movies & Shows Released in 2020 On Netflix (Page 3)
Find the best movies and show to watch from the year 2020. These handpicked recommendations are highly-rated by viewers and critics.
Named after the Celtic concept of heaven, Summerland is a rare queer period drama that feels hopeful rather than despairing. The film takes us to the countryside in World War II, where our protagonist, the reclusive writer Alice Lamb (Gemma Arterton), studies the folklore about Summerland. We know that her isolation wasn’t fully chosen; her refusal to marry causes adults to gossip and causes children to speculate that she’s a witch. But this all changes when a young evacuee is entrusted to Alice’s care.
Gemma Arterton shines as a reluctant guardian stifled by repressed grief, and she makes Alice’s dynamic with Frank (Lucas Bond) and her former lover Vera (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) incredibly believable. And while it would have been lovely to see more of Vera, even just their first meeting easily captures that heady sense of pure enchantment with another person. It’s no wonder that Alice has to cling to folklore the same way we do. For many of us, it’s the only way we can express our hopes, fears, and dreams.
This sensitive and elegantly crafted melodrama recognizes that a death in the family doesn't have to lead to the same expressions of mourning we expect from movies; there might not be any real sadness at all. But when different family members come together again and bring their own personal conflicts with them, suddenly everyone else's little griefs fill the space, and the road to recovery becomes even messier. Little Big Women understands all this with an understated touch and brilliant, naturalistic performances from its cast. It makes for a loving tribute to the generations of tough and complicated women who often hold a family together.
Whoever paired Christina Applegate with Linda Cardellini should be given a raise. As the inadvertent crime duo Jen and Judy, the actresses are magnetic—their chemistry simply radiates through the screen. Whether they’re solving a crime or attempting to incite one, you can’t help but root for them. As long as they’re on screen interacting, everything else—the basic mystery, the predictable twists—is forgivable.
Aside from the irresistible pairing, Dead to Me is also very watchable for its precise and sympathetic take on grief and womanhood. Both Jen and Judy have had to suffer through immense loss, and the series reminds us through their different reactions that there is no one way to grieve. They're also middle-aged women, a fact that the series handles in a refreshingly deft manner. In lesser hands, this could have been trivialized or sensationalized, but under the helm of showrunner Liz Feldman, it's a simple matter of fact that ingrains itself in every moment.
Dead to Me is both heartwarming and gut-busting, a darkly comic series buoyed by strong performances and principles.
In After Life, Ricky Gervais plays a kind-hearted journalist who turns dark after his wife passes away. Her parting gift to him is a video manual on how to deal with life. But his pessimism and annoyance with people keep delaying him from watching it. Worst of all, a new recruit at the newspaper is assigned to work with him. Her determined personality not only further delays him from dealing with his sadness, but gives him the platform to be even darker and more pessimistic. After Life is a mix of dark humor, straightforward drama, and tragedy. It’s a difficult story packaged in the easiest and most digestible TV form. The episodes are quick, have clear arcs and plot; and yet, you won’t be able to shake the feeling that you’re watching something much deeper than a Ricky Gervais comedy.
This uplifting Canadian sports drama is based on a true story set in the remote Nunavut town of Kugluktuk. The small community has the highest teen suicide rate in North America, as it suffers from intergenerational trauma, and the resulting alcohol and drug abuse. A new young history teacher who is sent by the government is shocked by the state of the school and the lives of the teenagers. He realizes that he can't engage the kids with history, and turns to his passion for Lacrosse to try to ignite change.
The teacher and director of the movie are both white, which, added to the story, raise red flags about white savior tropes. But thanks to First Nation producers who made sure the kids had time to develop their characters, The Grizzlies narrowly misses disaster. Instead, it gives a voice to communities that are rarely heard from.
Three kids from a poor neighborhood win scholarships to the best high-school in Spain and later find themselves at the center of a murder. There is a lot that comes to the surface from the working-class kids clashing with the wealthy. Themes of money, power, religion, and even sexuality make this show so compelling that I never felt like I needed a murder to keep watching.
This lovely romance is about Ellie, a straight-A student who takes money from a classmate, Paul, to write love letters for him. Ellie does this to help with the household bills but there is one big problem: the girl Paul is in love with is also the girl Ellie has a crush on.
This might seem like the set-up for a standard Netflix comedy (and if you’re thinking Bergerac, you’re right, it is based on the famous play) but as the introduction of the film reads: “This is not a love story … not one where anyone gets what they want."
It is in fact, personal work from a brilliant and quality-focused director, Alice Wu. Her last movie, Saving Face, a pioneering lesbian romance set in an Asian American context, was released a long 15 years ago.
In this compelling new Belgian legal drama, the story is as much about the jurors who are chosen to decide on the crime, as it is about the crime itself.
Usually, the jurors are quiet characters whose job is to be unmoved by hotshot lawyers. The Twelve, somehow the first TV show to do this, digs into how their personal pasts influence their decisions.
This historical show with immaculate production value is about the fall of Constantinople in 1453. It's fully in English, despite being a Turkish production, featuring a mix of entertaining interviews and dramatic reenactment. The way it's narrated is reminiscent of History Channel documentaries (with frequent recaps), which is unfortunate. Still, the story and the production compensate well enough. The young 21-year-old Ottoman Sultan Mehmet risks everything in pursuit of Constantinople, a city twelve armies, including his father's, have failed to take. This moment is pivotal for so many reasons: it marked the end of the Roman empire, it turned the Ottomans from local power to a global one, and the use of advanced military techniques (such as a new generation of cannons) changed warfare forever. But knowing that Mehmet will enter Constantinople (now Istanbul) changes nothing to the appeal of this show. The question is not will he win, but at what cost, and how.
Being a Viking is “the easiest job in the world” a villager tells the town’s most feared fighter: “sit on a boat, stab people with swords — it’s as basic as it can possibly get”. In Norsemen, a variety of characters try to fight this basicness. They take fashion risks like putting horns on a helmet for the first time, try to be more culturally diverse by interacting with a Roman slave, fall in love and raid tribes (often at the same time), and so on - you know, every day Viking stuff. Norsemen’s first season was viewed by more than a million people in Norway, a country of five million.
This Obamas-produced documentary does much to change the way we may still view people with disabilities as helpless or to be pitied. First, Crip Camp cleans up footage from a 1970s New York summer camp for disabled teens to pristine sound and video quality, allowing us to see how vibrant and lively this community has always been. Then, more importantly, the film traces how these kids—in particular, Judy Heumann—became badass faces in the movement for disability rights, staging protests and articulating themselves passionately for better accessibility in the most fundamental areas of everyday life. It's a documentary that isn't just designed to inspire, but also to advocate for safe spaces where young people with disabilities can receive the encouragement and motivation they need as early as possible.
It's slower and stranger than most comedies you may be used to, but there's still lots of heart to be found in the way Classmates Minus follows the lapsed hopes and wishes of its core characters. Beneath all its stereotypically male yearnings for control and romantic wish fulfillment, there are potent ideas here about how a tired economy and jaded political culture can turn those in their middle age into completely different people. Writer/director Huang Hsin-yao provides narration for his own film, but rather than being distracting or conceited, his words add a level of needed sympathy to everything we see on screen.
Based on the 13-episode series of the same name, Violet Evergarden tells the story of Violet, a scribe commissioned to write letters at a time when telephones and computers had yet to exist. Shell-shocked from her time in the war, Violet is exceptionally stoic, except when she remembers Gilbert, her military superior and sometime lover. His parting words were "I love you," and through her letters, Violet has been examining the meaning of the phrase since then.
Fans of the series will have no trouble following the events of the film, but if you're going in cold without any prior exposure to the franchise, it might take a while for you to adjust to its world. More an amalgamation of multiple cultures than a reflection of just one, the imaginary Leidenschaftlich is filled with Japanese-speaking citizens, in modern-day-influenced clothes, with architecture and vistas that could fit right in 1800s Western Europe. Against this backdrop, Violet attempts to restart her life as a writer. Living often doesn't feel easy, especially when PTSD comes in the form of shocks and painful flashbacks, but loving, as she finds out, might be even harder. A tale of self-forgiveness and forging on, despite all odds, Violet Evergarden is a moving ode to life and love at a time of war.