While local rep theaters are out of commission, we'll be putting together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. Ringing in the new year is a time of reflection, of reinvention, of resolution. To celebrate the death of 2020 and the birth of 2021, here are five films that exemplify the annual lie we tell ourselves: "New Year, New Me."
In the aftermath of World War II, an Auschwitz survivor/cabaret singer named Nelly has facial reconstruction surgery following a disfiguring bullet wound, rendering her unrecognizable—even to her shifty husband, who may have ratted her out to the Nazis. This slow-burning, suspenseful German drama chronicles Nelly's rise from the ashes with calculated aplomb. Criterion Channel, Google Play, iTunes, Sling TV, YouTube.
Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
Susan Seidelman's jaunty screwball comedy follows Roberta (Rosanna Arquette), a dissatisfied young housewife who becomes obsessed with Susan (Madonna, on the precipice of superstardom), an endlessly cool and elusive drifter whom she reads about in the personal ads. When Roberta is mistaken for Susan, a madcap adventure about identity and desire ensues. Amazon Prime, HBO, HBO Max, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu.
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
When con man Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is hired to bring a rich man's son (Jude Law) home from Italy, he finds himself enamored with his target. So enamored, in fact, that he plots to steal his identity. New country, new Ripley! Amazon Prime, Google Play, HBO Max, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Gloria Bell (2018)
In this English-language remake of Sebastián Lelio's Chilean drama Gloria (2013), Julianne Moore stars as a free-spirited divorcée who spends her nights dancing in clubs around L.A. When she meets fellow divorcé Arnold (John Turturro), the two hit it off, but she soon discovers romance won't validate her—only she can do that. Amazon Prime, Google Play, Kanopy, Vudu, YouTube.
Things to Come (2016)
Essentially the French version of Gloria Bell. A philosophy teacher's life is upended when she loses her mom, her book deal and her cheating husband all at once. Laden with a newfound and unbridled freedom, she aims to reinvent herself in this introspective drama. Amazon Prime, Criterion Channel, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Sling TV, Vudu, YouTube.