Streaming Recommendations

In this new addition to Film Cheltenham we will be adding recommendations for films on streaming platforms.

The films might be on streaming behemoths like Netflix or Amazon’s Prime Video, or on more niche streaming services, like the BFI Player or MUBI. They may be great Friday night films, or more challenging works, they might be English language or International – we are not limited by genre or nationality, we are just looking to recommend good films that the algorithm may not have revealed to you already.


Like Buridan’s Ass, we can confront the vast array of offerings when we load Netflix and be paralysed by the choice…or perhaps sigh and wonder if there is really anything worth watching on there, so we will start by selecting a couple of films from Netflix to start this new feature.


With it’s taut 90 minute run time, this terrific psychological thriller is ideal Friday night viewing.

The film opens with Diane (Sarah Paulson) in the throes of childbirth, but we soon see that the tiny baby is very premature and a set of captions describe the variety of illnesses and conditions the baby is likely to face.

We fast forward 17 years and discover Diane and her daughter Chloe (Keira Allen) now happily living together, Chloe in a wheelchair and enduring physical therapy and having to take multitudinous medications under the loving and caring eye of Diane. Chloe is excitedly waiting for a response to her application to college and, while Diane points out in a support group that, given everything that has been thrown at Chloe, she is more than capable of facing college, there is something in the defensive way she says it that suggests she’s not quite as sanguine about the idea as she says.

No spoilers, but you will guess where the film is going pretty quickly. But there are enough unexpected twists and reveals to keep you guessing and hovering near the edge of your seat.

Highly entertaining.

A Sun

At the other end of the cinematic spectrum is A Sun, an engrossing and moving two and half hour family drama from Taiwan. While the film is undoubtedly long, it is well paced and full of incident, but also deeply personal.

The film concerns the working class Chen family, Wen and Qin, and their two sons Hao and Ho. It opens opens with an act of shocking violence, which might give you the idea this is a dark thriller or crime flick, but which serves as the act which sets the sons on a divergent path. Hao is the golden boy, The Sun of the title, handsome, popular and is studying to take his medical exams. His brother, Ho, has slipped into delinquency and was involved in the opening act of violence, which sees him convicted and sent to a juvenile detention facility. Worse is to come when it transpires that he has made a 15 year old girl pregnant, whose family dump her on Wen and Qi. In the meanwhile, the father of the victim begins to pursue Wen for compensation.

When Ho is released early he finds a shocking development has happened and the family is shattered…and there are more developments ahead.

The brilliance of the film is that this sprawling, complex narrative is handled in such a masterly fashion and each of the strands is fascinating to follow. The film is deeply serious, but also mixes in some gangster movie tropes, dark comedy and family melodrama. It is a film of sunshine and shadow and often thrilling – you will not notice the 2 1/2 hours you have commited to it.

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