Life
    Culture

    Lily James and Kristin Scott Thomas star in Rebecca (Netflix)

    What to watch on Netflix this Autumn

    16 September 2020

    Even with filming and production stalled, Netflix is set to deliver an impressive slate of new content this autumn.

    From the return of Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown to new work from Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher, here’s our guide to what’s coming up.

    The Crown (Season four), 15 November

    To call The Crown the highlight of Netflix’s autumn season would be an understatement. After all, even the release of the official trailer – due any minute now incidentally – is usually enough to send the internet into a tizzy. For those who don’t already know, this year’s outing – covering the 1980s – sees the introduction of the two most influential women of the decade, with Gillian Anderson’s highly-awaited turn as Margaret Thatcher and newcomer Emma Corrin as Princess Diana. Roll on the nostalgia.

    Mank, TBD (October)

    Amanda Seyfried in Mank (Netflix)

    Gone Girl director David Fincher polishes off an unfinished screenplay from his late father, Jack Fincher, to tell the story of Herman Mankiewicz, the legendary screenwriter whose feud with Orson Welles over who deserved credit for Citizen Kane raged for years after the film’s release. Fresh from playing the great Winston Churchill, Gary Oldman stars as Mankiewicz – known at the time as the funniest man in Hollywood – as he and Welles (played by West End regular Tom Burke) embark on what is destined to become one of most fractious relationships in film history.

    Hillbilly Elegy, TBD (November)

    Amy Adams stars in Hillbilly Elegy

    Back in 2016, JD Vance’s memoir about growing up in white working-class America raced up the New York Times bestseller list as America’s cultural elites sought to understand the political resentment that had fuelled the rise of Donald Trump. Now the book gets its much-anticipated film adaptation, as Ron Howard assembles a cast of impeccably glamorous Hollywood types – led by Glenn Close and Amy Adams – who believe they can get under the skin of flyover America. Will the film retain its cultural urgency after the big vote on 3 November? We will soon find out.

    The Duchess, available now

    Netflix’s favourite British comedienne Katherine Ryan stars in her first sitcom series, playing a ‘fashionably disruptive’ single mother prone to stepping on toes in her impeccably posh north London neighbourhood. As anyone who’s watched even five minutes of Ryan’s comedy will recognise, The Duchess is highly-autobiographical – and probably all the better for it. It will be particularly interesting to see what the sharp-tongued comic does with the character of Shep, her hapless ex-boyfriend and father of her daughter – played here by Peaky Blinders’ Rory Keenan.

    The Forty-Year-Old-Version, 9 October

    Not to be mistaken for the now ancient Judd Apatow comedy, The Forty-Year-Old Version is the film debut from New York playwright Radha Blank – keenly snapped up by Netflix after it won a prestigious directing award at this year’s Sundance film festival. The film tells Blank’s own story as a struggling playwright from Harlem who decides to return to her long-forgotten passion of rap music just ahead of her 40th birthday. Early reviews – from those particularly discerning critics who follow indie festivals – speak of impeccable comic timing, sharp social commentary, and the arrival of a voice we’ll likely hear a lot more from.

    Rebecca, 21 October

    If you’ve seen his previous work, you’ll understand why Ben Wheatley – the thinking man’s horror director – is the perfect choice to head up this revival of Daphne du Maurier’s gothic masterpiece. And judging by the wonderfully evocative shots of the Manderley estate in the trailer, the Billericay-born filmmaker has certainly delivered the goods. As for the rest of the talent, Mamma Mia’s Lily James stars as the future Mrs de Winter, with Armie Hammer as her charming suitor and Kristin Scott Thomas as the suitably stern Mrs Danvers.

    The Trial of the Chicago 7, 16 October

    Aaron Sorkin’s latest effort – about the US government’s prosecution of anti-war demonstrators accused of rioting on the eve of the Democratic party’s fraught 1968 convention – could hardly be more timely given current events in America. But for all its political relevance, the project was first conceived back in 2007 when Sorkin discussed making a film about the protestors and their eventual acquittal with Steven Spielberg. After being derailed by the big writing strike of that year, the film is resurrected some 13 years later. Sacha Baron Cohen, Michael Keaton and Succession’s Jeremy Strong all feature.

    Over the Moon, 23 October

    The second big original production from Sony and CMC’s Anglo-Chinese venture Pearl Studio, Over the Moon is a heartwarming animation about a curious Chinese girl, Fei Fei, who builds a rocketship (and apparently a functional one at that) to try to meet the ancient moon goddess Chang’e. Chang’e, who has featured in Chinese mythology for centuries, was apparently referenced by the Apollo 11 crew minutes before the moon-landing, as command control told them to look out for ‘a lovely girl with a big rabbit’. Presumably little Fei Fei will have more luck finding her.