While local rep theaters are out of commission, we'll be putting together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. This week's theme takes inspiration from the great Joan Didion, who famously wrote, "We tell ourselves stories in order to live." The characters in these films do just that—bending their realities to fit their fantasies.
Perfect Blue (1997)
When Japanese pop idol Mima quits singing in order to pursue an acting career, she's plagued by a relentless stalker and a series of violent murders. Fantasy and reality blur, and Mima finds she can't trust anyone—not even herself. Satoshi Kon's acclaimed anime thriller is a must-watch for fans of 2010's Black Swan. Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, Hoopla, Vudu, YouTube.
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
This astoundingly depressing melodrama from Lars von Trier stars Björk as Selma, an immigrant factory worker and community theater actress struggling with a degenerative eye disease. To cope with the loss of her sight and her impoverished life, Selma escapes to a fantasy world, where she imagines herself and those around her performing Hollywood-style musical numbers. Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, Hoopla, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
A man named Paterson (Adam Driver) lives in Paterson, New Jersey. He drives a bus. He writes poetry. He lives with his eccentric wife (Golshifteh Farahani) and their dog. Every day is the same, but he manages to extract meaning from each one through his writing. This tender, quiet drama from Jim Jarmusch is a lovely meditation on the beauty of the mundane. Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu.
After her mother dies, a lonely writer named Nancy (Andrea Riseborough) begins to suspect she's actually the long-lost daughter of an older couple (Steve Buscemi and J. Smith-Cameron) whose child went missing 30 years ago. Nancy visits the pair and finds herself falling deeper into her own web of (possible?) deception. Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, Hoopla, Kanopy, Roku, Tubi, Vudu, YouTube.
Big Fish (2003)
Steve Buscemi also co-stars in this whimsical Tim Burton drama about a man (Billy Crudup) attempting to decode the fantastical stories of his dying father (Albert Finney)—are they fact or fiction? Ewan McGregor, king of playing charming, hopeless romantics, stars as the younger version of the dad. Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, HBO Max, Vudu, YouTube.