Across the country, Americans have heroically heeded the call to practice social distancing and hunker down by staying home for the next few weeks. For many, this period will give them a chance to play with the kids, catch up on reading, and, of course, stream movies. The civic spirit people have shown by doing the right thing and protecting others is a heartening reminder of people’s essential goodness. For your comfort, here are five movies to stream that are sure to delight and amuse.
EMMA. | A romantic comedy for all time
EMMA., Autumn de Wilde’s effervescent new adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic romantic comedy, has reminded many people why they loved the story so much in the first place. The “handsome, clever, and rich” Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) orchestrates the social life of Highbridge with what she believes to be the perfect pitch. She arranges the romantic life of her new-found friend Harriet (Mia Goth), considers dating the dashing Frank Churchill (Callum Turner), and is utterly vexed by George Knightley (Johnny Flynn). The fact that Emma gets everything wrong only makes her all the more lovable. Indeed “De Wilde adores Emma, for all her challenges, just as much as her fictional admirers,” notes The Arizona Republic. “And audiences should fall in love with her again, too.”
Downton Abbey | An invitation you can’t refuse
From 2010 to 2015, there was nothing more comforting for fans of the TV series Downton Abbey than getting the chance to return to its world of exquisite manners and gorgeous gowns every Sunday night. Michael Engler’s cinematic adaptation Downton Abbey brings the finery and grandeur of that iconic Yorkshire manor to even greater heights—with all your favorite characters. Lady Mary Talbot (Michelle Dockery) brings back the beloved Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) from retirement to help get the house into shape for a royal visit. The Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) is armed with even sharper verbal barbs for anyone who crosses her. The newly established butler Barrow (Robert James-Collier) finally finds romance. “The movie is an elaborately wrought labor of love that is everything that Downton fans could want,” writes Indiewire, adding that "every penny can be seen on screen.”
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? | Kindness rules
Morgan Neville’s feel-good documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? celebrates the profound impact that Fred Rogers’ long-running show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood had on generations of American children. Starting with his early days hand-crafting a show of puppets and life-lessons for a Pittsburgh public television show to his consoling children across the nation during times of national crisis, the film captures the man’s deep belief in the power of kindness. “It’s this idea that kindness is … vital, and needs to be nurtured,” explains Neville. Today, The Observer’s headline, “The Mr. Rogers Documentary Is What the World Needs Right Now,” feels even more true.
Moonrise Kingdom | The perfect getaway
For legions of fans, Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom offers a delirious and delightful detour from the real world. When 12-year-old Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) fall in love and run away to the hidden cove of Moonrise Kingdom on the New England island of New Penzance, they dream of living a carefree life on their own. Unfortunately, the adults on the island—played by Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and others—have a different idea, dragging the young lovers back to civilization. Despite being separated, Sam and Suzy will always have—as do we—the memory of Moonrise Kingdom. “The hilarious and heartfelt Moonrise Kingdom is a consistent pleasure,” writes Rolling Stone. “It reminds us how to be alive.”
Victoria & Abdul | The power of friendship
The power of human connection, of two people from different worlds making a powerful emotional bond, is presented in the grandest way possible in Stephen Frears’ Victoria & Abdul. Based on a true story, the film recounts the unlikely friendship that developed between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), a young Muslim clerk from India. On the occassion of presenting Victoria a small token to honor her Golden Jubilee in 1887, Abdul and the woman considered to be the most powerful ruler in the world develop a sincere and deepening affection for each other. “The idea that two people—separated by class, a creed, a continent and half a century—could still share such a perfect bond of innocent friendship seems like an awfully important one,” affirms The Newark Star-Ledger.