Best films to stream this week: 25 August
- Emma Simmonds
- 25 August 2021
Our weekly guide to the best films available on home entertainment platforms
Our entertainment options may have increased of late but, with viewing habits perhaps permanently changed, we'll keep casting our expert eye over the newly arrived films on TV and streaming services each week, bringing you the cream of the current movie crop. Let us do the decision-making for you, and then just sit back and enjoy.
Arriving on rental after a brief theatrical release last week, the opening film of the Edinburgh International Film Festival is a surprisingly sensitive quest movie with incredible attention to detail that evokes John Wick but only superficially. It sees Nicolas Cage's woodland-based truffle hunter go in search of his beloved foraging pig when she is stolen. Debut writer-director Michael Sarnoski, who conceived the story with Vanessa Block, ensures things unfold like a modern western, with John Ford's The Searchers and Pixar's Ratatouille amongst the disparate influences.
Available on demand.
After Love ★★★★☆
British actress Joanna Scanlan is best known for her comedic work in The Thick Of It, Getting On and No Offence, amongst others. She once again proves herself a hell-of-a dramatic actress in this beautiful film about love, betrayal and identity, which is exclusive to BFI Player this week. Set between Dover and Calais, it follows Scanlan's grieving widow Mary in the immediate aftermath of her husband Ahmed's sudden death. Unearthing his secret, secular life in France, involving another woman and a son, Mary is left reeling and contemplating her own conversion to Islam, whilst wondering who her husband really was.
Available on the BFI Player.
We were wildly impressed by Sarah Gavron's BAFTA-winning Rocks when it finally got a theatrical release in autumn last year, but her previous film Suffragette has just as much to recommend it, and both are available to watch on Netflix now. Offering a very different take on empowerment and solidarity to its bang-up-to-date successor, Suffragette (written by the great Abi Morgan) is set in 1912 in the midst of the women's rights movement. Part history lesson, part immersive fiction, it features a truly incredible cast, bringing together the best of British (Carey Mulligan, Anne-Marie Duff, Helena Bonham Carter, Romola Garai), alongside the mighty Meryl Streep.
Available on Netflix.
The Craft: Legacy ★★★☆☆
This long-awaited follow-up to 1996's The Craft didn't quite live up to the high hopes many had for it, but writer-director Zoe Lister-Jones isn't afraid to set her own tone, even if the film comes apart at the seams as the story unfolds. Taking place in the present-day, it still riffs enjoyably on 90s fashion and, initially at least, opts for a loose and laidback indie feel as it introduces us to a likeable new quartet of teenage girls, whose sense of solidarity is appealing. The versatile Cailee Spaeny (Mare Of Easttown, Devs) is new-to-town protagonist Lily, with Zoey Luna, Gideon Adlon and Lovie Simone her fast friends, and David Duchovny and Michelle Monaghan providing a spot of more mature star power.
Available on Sky Cinema.
Green Book ★★★☆☆
The winner of three Oscars in 2019, including Best Picture, Green Book, from director Peter Farrelly, is based on a real odd-couple friendship and is spurred on by two absolutely impeccable performances from leads Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen. They play African American jazz musician Don Shirley and his driver Tony Vallelonga (known as 'Tony Lip'), who embark on a tour of the American South in the 1960s, with Don encountering relentless discrimination along the way and the pair developing a strong bond. The framing of events through Tony's eyes is problematic as it feels like Shirley is being side-lined in his own story, while the film's commercial tendencies water down its authenticity and impact, though it's hard not to be moved by the work of Ali in particular.
Available on BBC iPlayer.