OK – the pandemic is not over, so you have a perfect excuse to watch even more movies on your home screen. Or: We worked hard all day taking care of the house, yard and David, so it’s time to kick back and watch a movie. Or: We worked hard at our jobs for years, and we are getting too old to work into the evening, so let’s head for the couch – maybe even for an afternoon nap – and see what’s happening on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
So, here are some of our recommendations. But first, a note on categories. You know what documentaries are. Many of our choices have to do with the natural world. “Feel-Good” means different things to different people. Most of ours have to do with people who, unlike us, have some flaws. “Thought Provoking” is also very personal. I have not included the thought, “Why are we watching this garbage?”
· “Fantastic Fungi” – Better than the title suggests – amazing photography, information, world we live in
· “Sensitive: The Untold Story” – a psychologist’s examination of people, perhaps 20% of the population, who are unusually sensitive to their surroundings. I’m not one of them.
· “The Keepers” – A series exploring sexual abuse and murder in connection with the Catholic Church in Baltimore. Alarming how deep the damage goes and how complicit were Church officials.
· “Blackfish” – All about a killer Orca held by Seaworld
· “My Passion for Trees by Judy Dench” (YouTube) – Kim and I have a thing for trees. This little movie shows just one reason why. Again, what an amazing world we live in.
· “Garnet’s Gold” – A treasure-hunting oddball searching for treasure hidden in Scotland. Fascinating character study.
· “The Elephant Queen” – A tale of love and loss about a mother elephant’s efforts to protect her herd.
· “Sam I Am” – Sean Penn as a father with an intellectual disability attempting to gain custody of his daughter.
· “The Book of Henry” – A young genius, dying of cancer, tries to save the girl next door from abuse.
· “My Afternoons with Margueritte” – Gerard Depardieu as an illiterate man’s friendship with an older, well-read woman. Better than it sounds.
· “Same Kind of Different as Me” – a wealthy couple in a troubled marriage turn things around thanks to their connection with a homeless man. Based on a true story.
· “Peanut Butter Falcon” – A young man with Down syndrome escapes from assisted living and befriends a wayward fisherman on the run.
· “The Lighthouse of the Orcas” – a mother with an autistic son travels to Patagonia to meet a ranger and wild orcas.
· “Penguin Bloom” – A mom, coping with a crippling injury, finds inspiration from an injured magpie taken in by her family. Really.
· “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” – A wilderness misadventure in the wilderness leads to life-changing discoveries for a troubled orphan teen. Sam Neill.
· “Food Club” – Charming tale of three Danish women who go to Italy to cook and refocus their lives.
· “Acceptable Risk” – Irish murder mystery – a good one.
· “Undoing” – Nicole Kidman as a therapist whose life unravels when she suspects her husband might be responsible for a widespread disaster.
· “Alias Grace” – True-crime drama about an Irish immigrant to Canada, convicted of murder, and the psychologist who interviews her.
· “A Mother’s Son” – A mother suspects her son might be a murderer and agonizes over what to do with her suspicions.
· “In and Of Itself” – Fascinating performance by a magician who explores questions about who we really are. See it, and get back to me.
· “Wakefield” – Bryan Cranston plays a lawyer on the edge of madness who disassociates himself from his own life, living hidden in his garage. Amazing performance.
· “The Dreamseller” – A disillusioned psychologist tries to commit suicide until he strikes up a friendship with an unlikely savior.
· “The Sense of Wonder” – A widow with two children almost crushes a man with her car. He has mental disorders (unlike us), and her caring for him helps both of them.
· “Peace, Love and Misunderstanding” – Jane Fonda as hippy
· “My Old Lady” – Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline, Kirstin Scott Thomas
· “A Family Thing” – Robert Duvall, James Earl Jones
· “The Magic of Belle Isle” – Morgan Freeman
· “Nomadland” – Frances McDormand
Personal choices, we know. Most are on Netflix or Amazon Prime, a few on Hulu. Some might cost a couple of bucks, or you can skate by on a week’s free trial. Enjoy! And please send us your suggestions.