The best films to stream in the UK this April

Michelle Pfeiffer exudes delightful poison in French Exit and Lee Isaac Chung's big-hearted autobiographical drama Minari

March 02, 2021
Photo: Courtsey of Tobias Dautmas and Sony Pictures
Photo: Courtsey of Tobias Dautmas and Sony Pictures

Notturno, Mubi, 5th March

Visionary documentary filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi follows the Oscar-nominated Fire at Sea with a multi-faceted portrait of the struggle of daily life in the war-torn border regions of the Middle East. Filmed over the course of three years in Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria and Lebanon, this bleakly arresting film combines intimate glimpses of unimaginable pain—a traumatised Yazidi boy stutters his way through art therapy classes, attempting to exorcise the memories of Islamic State brutality—with Rosi’s eye for moments of striking beauty.

Minari, planned for 19th March

A Korean immigrant family grapples with the challenges of farming in 1980s Arkansas in this big-hearted autobiographical drama from Lee Isaac Chung. The saturated colour palette captures the sunny optimism of the endeavour, but equally, the camera seeks out the cracks in the plan. Sharply observed family dynamics include the spiky relationship between the idealistic husband and the wife aghast at the less-than-ideal living conditions, and the chain-smoking granny who swears like a trooper and slowly wins over her recalcitrant grandson.

French Exit, planned for 26th March

Michelle Pfeiffer (above) makes a lip-smacking meal of every poison-dipped line of dialogue in this adaptation of Patrick deWitt’s comic novel. Pfeiffer is the main reason to watch this wilfully eccentric film: she is on gloriously acidic form as the jaded Manhattan socialite who travels to Paris with her adult son (Lucas Hedges) in tow, to fritter away what remains of her fortune. Azazel Jacobs directs with an arched eyebrow and a touch of cruelty, evoking the bracingly spiteful end of the Wes Anderson spectrum.