I’ve Watched Over 35 Movies in the Past Six Weeks —Here Are My Recommendations (and where to stream them)

With most of my classes being online this semester, and me staying at home as much as possible, I have found quite a lot of free time on my hands. Even before quarantine, I have always been a big movie fan, but I don’t think I have ever seen as many movies as I have within the past two months. Whether it be for escapism or pure enjoyment, watching these movies has been a great way to de-stress during the chaotic time that our world is facing. In case you are looking for any new viewing recommendations, here are my eight favorite films that I have watched recently. 

  1. 1. “Nightcrawler” (Available on Netflix or to rent on Amazon Prime Video)

    Starting off my list is this 2014 crime thriller which stars Jake Gyllenhaal. It follows a man who is desperate for a job until he creates a career for himself by driving around Los Angeles at night to film crime — it’s kind of like storm chasing, but with murder scenes and car crashes. I think the best way to describe this film is to simply call it shocking. I was continuously in a state of surprise and discomfort, and I will argue for hours about how Jake Gyllenhall deserved an Oscar nomination for this role.

  2. 2. “Holding the Man” (Available on Netflix or to rent on Amazon Prime Video)

    If you are looking for a sad movie, look no further than this 2015 Australian romantic drama. It follows two men who fall in love in high school and face many struggles throughout their lives together, including discrimination, temptation and the AIDS epidemic. I am normally not one to cry in movies, but “Holding the Man” absolutely wrecked me. Other than the emotional toll that I experienced after watching, I was thoroughly impressed with the storyline and phenomenal acting by Ryan Corr and Craig Stott. 

  3. 3. “Queen & Slim” (Available on HBO Max or to rent on Amazon Prime Video)

    I can confidently say that this 2019 romantic drama is one of my favorite movies I have ever seen. After Queen and Slim’s first date goes horribly wrong due to a late night traffic stop, they are labeled as criminals and left with no choice but to run from the law. Their cross country trip for safety escalates after they learn that their previous encounter with the officer ignited a national outcry. Personally, I thought that the film was equal parts difficult to watch and impossible to look away from. The cinematography is stunning, and the acting by Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith is both raw and unforgettable. 

  4. 4. “Emma.” (Available to Rent on Amazon Prime Video)

    The 2020 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s iconic “Emma” was the last movie I saw in theatres before the pandemic, and I have watched it four times since. It has become one of my biggest comfort movies, and I don’t think I will ever stop recommending it to people. It may just be that I’m a sucker for period romances, but I think every single aspect of this movie is perfect. As a bonus, the movie score is absolutely beautiful and is the perfect addition to a study playlist.

  5. 5. “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” (Available on Hulu, Netflix, or to rent on Prime Video)

    I randomly stumbled upon this New Zealand adventure comedy while scrolling through Netflix one night at 2 a.m., and I was not disappointed. However, I knew that it would be good as soon as I saw that it was directed and written by Taika Waitit, who also directed “Jojo Rabbit”, and “What We Do in the Shadows”. It follows a rebellious pre-teen boy as he adapts to living with his unusual new foster parents. After a tragedy occurs, he runs away to the treacherous Australian Bush, and hilarity ensues.  I was pleasantly surprised by this film, especially because of its unique humor and blend of ridiculousness, grief and warmth.

  6. 6. “Inside Llewyn Davis” (Available to stream with Amazon Prime Video membership)

    Its folk music and dark cinematography make me think that “Inside Llewyn Davis” was meant to be watched while curled up in bed on a rainy fall day. This 2013 drama is directed by the Coen Brothers and stars a pre-“Star Wars” Oscar Isaac in his breakout role. He plays a struggling folk musician in the 1960s as he tries to achieve success, but nothing ever seems to go his way. I thought it was particularly impressive that Isaac performed all of the songs himself and did not utilize lip syncing. To me, this made the film more authentic, and I appreciated the extra effort and commitment that it took. 

  7. 7. “A Single Man”  (Available on Netflix)

    Basically every single person who knows me is aware of my mild obsession with Colin Firth, so I was shocked when I stumbled across a film of his that I had not yet seen before. However, I immediately watched it and was unsurprisingly impressed by his role which earned him the Vochi Cup —Best Actor at the very prestigious Venice Film Festival. Firth plays a college professor who is struggling to cope after the sudden death of his partner. The film follows a day in his life as he prepares to kill himself due to his grief. Overall, I thought that A Single Man was merely okay, except for the last 10 minutes, which were filled with suspense and an insane twist. Without giving away spoilers, let me just say that I spent at least five minutes in shocked silence after I finished watching. The ending itself is what earns this film a spot on my list and makes it entirely worth the watch. 

  8. 8. Knock Down the House (Available on Netflix)

    I have been wanting to watch Knock Down the House since it came out, and I am so glad that I had the time to do so. As a political science major who prides myself on my love of documentaries, I was honestly disappointed in myself that I had not watched this movie sooner. It follows four women (including the phenomenal AOC), as they run for political positions in 2018 against powerful incumbents across the country. I think that the film is incredibly powerful and is a must watch for those who want to feel inspired and ready to make a difference in the world.

The next time you are browsing on a streaming service to find a movie to watch, I hope you can refer back to this list and give my recommendations a try. I know you won’t be disappointed.