This spring, we cancelled cable and got Netflix. (Had we known the Jays would make the playoffs, we would have kept cable a tad longer. Sigh.) Some recent recommendations:
The Up Series
(Includes the following docs: Seven Up, 7 Plus Seven, 21 Up, 28 Up, 35 Up, 42 Up, 49 Up and 56 Up.)
This documentary series checks in with the same group of Brits every seven years, from the age of 7 to the age of 56 — so far. (Think Boyhood, but non-fiction.) It’s a fascinating look at childhood — specifically exploring different socio-economic backgrounds and their subsequent expectations and trajectories — with its premise based on this quote attributed to Francis Xavier: "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.”
Watch them all in a row and you’ll literally see 14 kids grow up before your eyes.
(Yes, you will have favourites. And, yes, you will be scared for some of them. And, yes, you’ll want to punch a couple of them, too.)
Are you the adult you thought you’d be when you were a kid?
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
I don’t want to spoil this doc for you, but it packs a POWERFUL punch. There’s a Canadian angle to the story, too.
Essentially, the doc begins as a tribute. A man was murdered by an ex-girlfriend. He left behind a baby boy, Zachary. His best friend decided to create a film that would honour his memory.
That’s all I’m going to say. Other than don’t watch it alone. Especially if you’re hormonal.
The Drop Box
What a beautiful film. As the end credits rolled, I was struck by how insignificant I suddenly felt. What do I do in my daily life that requires an iota of real sacrifice? Am I motivated by love at all costs? This doc made me want to be a better person. Not many movies do that.
The Delivery Man
Yes, I’m watching Call the Midwife — like everyone else. But this British sitcom about a male midwife also deserves some Netflix love. Both Matthew and I enjoyed it immensely — and ploughed through all six episodes in an afternoon. Do it.