We’re still taking our precautions. We’re still doing our best to keep calm despite the stress of the outside world. For most of us, that means we’re still at home. And that means we’re still watching more entertainment than ever. Here are our streaming picks for this weekend.
This week’s streaming picks: four stories about love, in their very own unique ways.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2020, directed by Céline Sciamma, starring Adèle Haenel and Noémie Merlant)
Where can I watch it? Mubi.
What is it about? Marianne is an eighteenth century painter taking on her father’s business. One day, she gets commissioned for a very unusual request: she has to paint a young noblewoman, Héloïse, without her knowledge. The resulting portrait will be essential to seal a wedding deal with a Milanese nobleman, a wedding that Héloïse fiercely opposes. Masquerading as a companion for her daily walks along the coasts of an isolated island in Brittany, Marianne will have to paint the mysterious woman without her knowing.
Why should I watch it? Portrait of a Lady on Fire only stayed a few weeks in Irish cinemas this year before cultural institutions were forced to close. For those of us who missed this critically acclaimed French historical romance, Mubi is giving an exclusive chance to catch it on their platform over the course of the next month. The film is much more than a love story and explores a side of history that is only rarely told, as many marginalised stories are. The chemistry between the two leads and the way the camera slowly tells their story through their glances, hand movements or their smiles makes for a sophisticated watch that will awaken as many feelings as a classic painting or a romantic poem.
The best of our streaming picks for: Those of us who judge how good a movie is by how much they cried while watching it.
Edward Scissorhands (1990, directed by Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder)
Where can I watch it? Disney +.
What is it about? Edward is your usual social outcast; living in a castle on a hill bordering a small town he has never visited, he spends his days in solitude. But Edward isn’t like anything the town has seen before: he is an entirely artificial man with scissors for hands, built by a creator who died before he could finish him. After a kind woman from the town finds him and invites him to live with her family, he tries to find his meaning among other people – whatever that might mean for him.
Why should I watch it? Before Tim Burton’s career took a resolutely Disney turn by adapting some of the studio’s most famous stories, he was making touching gothic fairytales that walked the fine line between originality and universality. Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder perfectly embody two endearing characters trying to make the best out of the sometimes cruel luck that the universe has given them. The weather might be getting warmer, but this moving tale of a snow-covered town and Danny Elfman’s romantic score will bring you right back to the biting cold of winter.
The best of our streaming picks for: A cozy night under the blanket. Hot chocolate and warm socks are strongly encouraged.
Blue Valentine (2010, directed by Derek Cianfrance, starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling)
Where can I watch it? Mubi.
What is it about? Dean and Cindy were once two young romantics full of hope about each other and what the future held for them. A few years later, now that they are married with a daughter, their everyday life is punctuated by neverending arguments and a bleak, artificial family life. Going back and forth in time, Blue Valentine tries to find where it all went wrong, and if there is any chance of saving the love that once was.
Why should I watch it? Mubi’s selection of films this week parallel each other in an interesting way. Whereas Portrait of a Lady on Fire portrays the strong emotions of falling in love, Derek Cianfrance’s chronicle of a modern couple struggling to find any reason to keep fighting for each other shows how equally difficult it can be to fall out of it. We won’t lie: you might not be too keen on getting married after watching it. But if you are looking for a different take on modern relationship problems, this just might be the right film for you.
The best of our streaming picks for: Single people, or those that are extremely secure in their current relationship. “Don’t watch it if you have even the slightest doubt about your partner” is our message here.
Mommy (2014, directed by Xavier Dolan, starring Suzanne Clément, Anne Dorval and Antoine-Olivier Pilon)
Where can I watch it? Amazon Prime.
What is it about? Diane, a widowed mother and journalist, is struggling to keep up with her son Steve, who frequently exhibits violent tendencies and ADHD symptoms. After he gets suspended from his institution for starting a fire that injures another student, Steve and Diane get closer to Kyla, a neighbour and teacher on sabbatical, who starts tutoring the young man privately. The three will soon start forming an unconventional family, through all its ups and downs.
Why should I watch it? Certainly the most accessible of Xavier Dolan’s films, this Cannes Jury Prize winner is a heartbreaking look at what happens when we love people we don’t know how to deal with. Asking tough questions about the links between violence, mental illness and youth delinquency, Mommy doesn’t give any easy answers. What it does give are real, touching and complex characters supported by just as complex performances from the main three cast members. With gorgeous cinematography and bold sountrack choices, this is a film that will stay for a long time in the minds of those that decide to give it a chance.
The best of our streaming picks for: Those who value the love of a family as much, if not more, as a romantic one.
Which of our streaming picks are you most looking forward to discovering? What did we miss? Let us know!