Netflix Hidden Gems


by Hayley Doyle

There’s something for everyone on Netflix.

But how often do you find yourself indecisive and overwhelmed at the volume of choice? Netflix likes to put its vast catalogue into categories, even tailoring them to suit you taking into account what you’ve previously seen. And still! You don’t know what to watch. Ever started watching something and barely ten minutes into it you decide, nah? Flick? Sound familiar?


So here are a few suggestions that could be considered hidden gems without a single mention of a serial killer, untouchable real estate or a long-winded conspiracy with no solid ending!


Love

Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) is a self-destructive mess. Gus (Paul Rust) is a self-confessed geek. On paper, they would never work. In fact, they rarely do… until they do. And then they don’t. This adorable will-they-won’t-they comedy is full of LA sunshine and bonkers characters who you’ll start to believe are your new best friends. From Judd Apatow, the creator of some of Hollywood’s funniest, yet most honest, movies such as The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, this Netflix series will make you giggle, cringe and ultimately fall in love with it. And if you’ve never heard of this, you’ve got three hilarious seasons to enjoy!


The Letdown

Yes! It’s about breastfeeding… and not breastfeeding… and everything in between. Meet Audrey (Alison Bell) and her gang of new mum-friends, as they face the every day struggles of becoming a parent. This hilarious Australian sitcom brings a nuanced approach to parenthood with an authentic script that is incredibly honest. The writing is sharp with impactful storylines and motherhood is tackled in a refreshingly relatable way for the screen. It’s binge-worthy, too. Once you’re with Audrey on her journey, you won’t know how to back away!


Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened

The world of musical theatre and Broadway shows can be niche. Not a lot about how they are created is mainstream. However, this unusual documentary follows the development and opening of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along in 1981, and how it ultimately - and surprisingly - became one of Broadway’s biggest flops. The lives of the original cast are followed, and it’s beyond interesting - heartbreaking at times - to see what path being involved in this show set them on. But this documentary is more than telling the story a Broadway show, it’s full of personal nostalgia and poignant in its message that when your dreams come true, you might feel like you’re at the top, but the inevitable fall is a long way down.


Hollywood

Lights, camera, action! Say hello to movie stars, big shot studio execs, wannabe starlets and talent picked up at a gas station. It’s all jam-packed into a showbiz reimagining of Hollywood’s golden era, where fact and fiction come together beautifully to create a highly entertaining television miniseries. As one of the characters, Raymond (Darren Criss) says in the second episode, “Movies don’t just show us how the world is, they show us how the world can be.” This rings true for this hidden gem because while some storylines are true to life, there is certainly a wish for how things might have ended or could have been in reality. Slap on your best red lipstick and smoke a cigar! Somebody’s about to become a star!


Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver star as Charlie and Nicole in this delicate, painfully honest tale of a marriage breaking up and what it takes to keep the family together. The acting is superb, drawing the audience into every emotion, thanks to director and writer Noah Baumbach who draws on his own personal experience, blended with fiction. Laura Dern won the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role playing divorce lawyer Nora Fanshaw, and the movie was nominated for many more awards. Still, it’s not mainstream. It is a story - with performances - that will stay lodged within you long after you’ve watched it.


Tick, Tick… Boom!

Jonathan (Andrew Garfield) is about to turn 30! But as a struggling artist in New York, he’s feeling the pressure to create something great before time runs out…! This movie is a musical within a musical, with fantastic original songs and a much deeper layer. Originally an unfinished stage show, written by Jonathan Larsen, this came before he created the Broadway and international phenomena, Rent. However, in real life, sadly Jonathan died just before the opening night of Rent, which is heartbreakingly poetic. So Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda came on board as director and transformed Tick, Tick…Boom! The musical gets its respectful ending and has put Andrew Garfield under the spotlight this award’s season.


The Lost Daughter

How does Olivia Coleman just keep getting better and better?! She excels in this psychological drama as Leda, a woman taking a beach holiday alone when she witnesses an incident that opens up old wounds and spirals her downwards into her past. Based on the novel by Elena Ferrante and directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal, it also stars Dakota Johnson and Jessie Buckley. A treat of world class female talent, all top of their game, this movie is beautifully shot and perfectly paced, with dark twists and questions to open many discussions long after watching. It will play on your mind, that’s for sure!