Hulu doesn’t have a huge collection of original programming when it comes to movies, but the stash it does have is worth checking out. From one of the best new Christmas movies starring (believe it or not) Kristen Stewart, to indies with a unique premise and a couple of horror gems, to an nominee, here’s what Hulu has to offer.
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Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland has been sweeping awards at film festivals and is unsurprisingly nominated for a host of Oscars. Zhao’s a true workhorse, directing, editing and writing this contemplative and fascinating drama about a woman (Frances McDormand) who leaves her home to travel around the American West. Get this: Members of the supporting cast are real-life nomads playing fictionalized versions of themselves. See this extraordinary piece of filmmaking from the director who’ll bring her unique lens to Marvel’s Eternals later this year.
If you like your Christmas movies with a dash of substance, then Happiest Season is one of the best new gems to slide onto your holiday viewing shelf. Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis star as loving couple Abby and Harper, who encounter a single spanner in their relationship: Harper hasn’t come out to her conservative family yet. Delivering all the warmth of a Hallmark card with none of the cheesiness, and bolstered by a stellar supporting cast including Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie and Dan Levy, Happiest Season is a smart, modern Christmas movie with emotional punch.
Palm Springs slots right into the charming indie movie category: Its fresh sci-fi premise acts as a gateway to exploring deeper ideas. Cristin Miloti and Andy Samberg star as Sarah and Nyles, two strangers who meet at a wedding and get up to all sorts, including stumbling into a Groundhog Day time loop. Their only chance of escape seems to be tied to having personal breakthroughs. Very much sticking the landing, Palm Springs should be on your list of viewing destinations.
Sarah Paulson’s had a big year, starring in Mrs. America, Ratched and now Run, a thriller from Aneesh Chaganty (check out his excellent directorial debut Searching). In Run, Paulson plays Diane Sherman, a mother looking after her wheelchair-bound daughter Chloe (Kiera Allen). But their mother-daughter relationship is more disturbing than it seems. Be captivated by the suspense, mystery and horror as Diane takes helicopter parenting to a new level.
As the great Fleabag once said, “Hair is everything.” Bad Hair might just take that to the next level. The horror satire set in the ’80s follows a young woman who reluctantly agrees to get a weave — but changing her image to please the image-obsessed music industry has its consequences. Absurdly funny and disturbing at the same time, Bad Hair unravels an entertaining fable that reflects on modern life.
Big Time Adolescence is a coming-of-age movie told with an emphasis on the messiness of growing up. Pete Davidson plays a slacker who befriends 16-year-old Mo. His influence sees Mo try new things, from alcohol to impressing girls at parties. Lessons, as you can expect, are learned. A smart ensemble, including Jon Cryer, is the cherry on the cake bringing together this heartfelt gem.
Zombies, the Australian outback and a school bus of happy-go-lucky children are a mix you can expect to end badly. Little Monsters follows kindergarten teacher Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o) on her gargantuan task: Keep her charges safe and oblivious to the flesh (and echidna) eating monsters. If she pulls it off, she’ll be teacher of the year. With a scene-stealing Josh Gad in tow, Little Monsters is ridiculous fun using a fresh brain to tackle the genre.
It was a matter of time before a documentary chronicling the remarkable story of teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg came around. I Am Greta is an intimate look at Thunberg’s one-person school strike for climate action outside the Swedish parliament. We also see a little of her life as a shy student with Asperger’s. The rare footage is in the sure hands of Swedish director Nathan Grossman, following Thunberg’s galvanizing impact from those steps to the rest of the world.
On the surface this extraordinary documentary from Bing Liu is a love letter to skateboarding. But scratch a little deeper and you’ll find Minding the Gap’s vast depths. A rich and thoughtful tale of young people growing up in 21st century America, it explores domestic trauma, systemic racism and classism. It resonates beyond the skatepark.
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