The new movies on Netflix:
Premise: In this drama based on real events, an interracial couple in Virginia decides to get married in Washington D.C. as Virginia bans interracial marriages. They live in Virginia, where the local police harass and ultimately arrest them, saying their marriage license is not valid.
A lawyer convinces the couple to take their case to the Supreme Court with the hope that it will make it unlawful for states to ban interracial marriage. The couple accepts the challenge and ultimately balances the court battle with raising their new children.
“Loving” earned a best actress Academy Award nomination for Ruth Negga.
Setting: 1950s and 1960s Virginia
Netflix descriptors: “Understated,” “intimate” and “romantic”
How it starts: The sound of chirping insects plays over the production credits. The camera opens on Mildred staring at something off camera. She looks down and looks back up after many seconds. Her lips quiver, and she finally says in a hushed tone, “I’m pregnant.”
Notable cast: Marton Csokas, Joel Edgerton, Nick Kroll, Ruth Negga and Michael Shannon
Runtime: 2 hours, 3 minutes
Bonus: The real-life story of the Lovings also inspired a 1996 TV movie called “Mr. and Mrs. Loving.” Here’s a trailer for that film.
“Whose Streets?” (2017)
Premise: This documentary focuses on the protests and aftermath of the police killing of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.
Filmmakers interview community members, presenting stories of the tensions between Black citizens and the police over generations. The film inspires parallels with the national protests of 2020 after police killed George Floyd in May.
Setting: Mid-2010s, Ferguson, Missouri
Netflix descriptor: “Emotional”
How it starts: The film begins with a dedication: “For Michael Brown Jr.” Slow notes on a piano play as the dedication fades, and the movie begins to cycle through establishing shots of Ferguson during a storm.
Runtime: 1 hour, 42 minutes
Bonus: Co-directors Damon Davis and Sabaah Folayan spoke about their movie at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Movies from earlier in the month:
“Fruitvale Station” (2013)
Premise: In this tragic drama based on real events, a young Black man living in Oakland, California, lives a strained life with his family, trying to provide for them despite having few options. He spent time in jail and sells marijuana but wants to stop. He can’t get his old job at a grocery store and is unsure what to do.
On New Year’s Eve, he decides to go see fireworks with friends by taking a mass transit train. On the train, he gets in a fight with someone he knew in jail. The local cops come and detain him for hours at a station as passengers film with nascent phone cameras. A cop ultimately shoots him when the cop mistakes his gun for his stun gun, leading to one of the first widespread protests against the police.
This is Ryan Coogler’s feature directorial debut.
Setting: Oakland in 2008-09
Netflix descriptors: “Gritty”
How it starts: A man and a woman speak over a black screen.
Man: “What’s your resolution?”
Woman: “I’m going to cut carbs.”
Man: “Aren’t you Mexican? You can’t eat nothin’ grandma makes.”
Woman: “It only takes 30 days to form a habit, and then it becomes second nature.”
Man: “Who says that?”
Man: [scoffs] “OK. Oprah cool now?”
Woman: “What’s yours?”
Man: “I want to quit selling trees.”
Notable cast: Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer
Runtime: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Bonus: Coogler made his feature directorial debut with “Fruitvale Station.” He followed the movie with the 2015 film “Creed,” which also starred Jordan. That trailer is below.
“The Life Ahead” (Netflix Film)
Premise: In this drama, an aging Holocaust survivor in Italy looks after the children of prostitutes in an orphanage of sorts. A friend persuades her to look after a young Senegalese refugee who keeps getting into trouble and robbed her on the street a short time ago. She reluctantly accepts, and the kid brings daily upheaval to her house.
Over time, she gains the child’s trust by opening up about surviving her own rough childhood. The two start relying on each other.
Netflix descriptors: “Heartfelt,” “gritty” and “emotional”
How it starts: In a city, cars pass, birds chirp and church bells ring over the credits. The movie opens on a street shaded by a ramp. A taxi stops and lets a young woman and a child out.
Notable cast: Ibrahima Gueye and Sophia Loren
Runtime: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Bonus: Loren spoke with CBS’ “Sunday Morning” about the film and her career. Watch it below.
Netflix also debuted a children’s Christmas movie, “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey,” that’s getting good reviews. Here’s that trailer:
“Ocean’s Eleven” (2001)
Premise: In this heist comedy directed by Steven Soderbergh, a notorious thief (George Clooney) leaves prison on parole and immediately assembles a crew for a new high-stakes caper. His best friend and partner in crime (Brad Pitt) helps him find talented thieves willing to rob the vault of a Las Vegas casino. But tension builds as the lead thief hides from the team that this heist isn’t just about the money ― it’s personal, as the casino owner is dating the thief’s ex-wife (Julia Roberts).
“Ocean’s Eleven” actually leaves Netflix at the end of November, so watch it while you can.
Setting: Las Vegas
Netflix descriptor: “Witty”
How it starts: A voice from an unseen person shouts, “One con under escort, open gate five,” as the Warner Bros. logo appears. The voice continues, “Man walking. Open gate two.” There’s the sound of a lock grinding open. The Village Roadshow Pictures logo appears. “Let’s go, face the wall. Got one under escort.”
Finally, the movie cuts to a actual scene: a drab prison room with an empty chair. The protagonist, Danny Ocean, sits in the chair, still in prison clothes.
Notable cast: Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts
Runtime: 1 hour, 56 minutes
Bonus: Here’s a trailer for the sequel “Ocean’s Twelve,” which is nowhere near as good but still fun.
“Easy A” (2010)
Premise: In this coming-of-age high school comedy, a student (Emma Stone) lets boys say they slept with her in exchange for gift cards. While not actually sleeping with the boys, the lies increasingly get out of hand as teen imaginations and zealous youth group religious beliefs run wild. The student embraces the absurdity of the situation by wearing a scarlet red “A” on her clothes, as did the character Hester Prynne in the book, “The Scarlet Letter,” which she learned about in class.
Setting: Ojai, California
Netflix descriptors: “Witty” and “irreverent”
How it starts: The movie cycles through establishing shots of Ojai, California, and its distinctive older buildings and a citrus grove.
The film focuses on the local high school. A school bell rings. A pair of shoes appears, tied in the branches of a tree. The camera tilts down to the ground to students mingling on the campus.
The protagonist narrates a long intro.
The rumors of my promiscuity have been greatly exaggerated. I used to be anonymous, invisible to the opposite sex. If Google Earth were a guy, he couldn’t find me if I was dressed up as a 10-story building. Pretty cutting-edge stuff, huh? A high school girl feeling anonymous. Who am I? What does it all mean? Why am I here? Blah. But don’t worry, this isn’t one of those tales. Though it sure started out that way. And then it changed pretty quickly when I started lying about some very personal things. So let the record show that I, Olive Penderghast, being of sound mind and below average breast size, swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, starting now.
The protagonist gets bumped into by another student who doesn’t care, causing her to fall on the ground.
Notable cast: Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Lisa Kudrow, Emma Stone and Stanley Tucci
Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Bonus: “Easy A” is loosely inspired by the 1850 Nathaniel Hawthorne novel “The Scarlet Letter.” Demi Moore and Gary Oldman starred in a more straightforward adaptation of the book in 1995. Here’s the trailer.
Trailers for a couple more movies Netflix has added in November:
“A Clockwork Orange” (1971)
“Operation Christmas Drop” (Netflix)
All the movies that have joined Netflix this month so far
“A Clockwork Orange”
“Boyz n the Hood”
“Elf Pets: A Fox Cub’s Christmas Tale”
“Elf Pets: Santa’s Reindeer Rescue”
“Elliot the Littlest Reindeer”
“Jumping the Broom”
“Little Monsters” (1989)
“Paul Blart: Mall Cop”
“The Indian in the Cupboard”
“The Next Karate Kid”
“Wheels of Fortune”
- “Mother” (Netflix Film)
- “A Christmas Catch”
- “Christmas With A Prince”
- “A New York Christmas Wedding”
- “Midnight at the Magnolia”
- “Operation Christmas Drop” (Netflix Film)
- “Citation” (Netflix Film)
- “La trinchera infinita / The Endless Trench” (Netflix Film)
- “The Late Bloomer”
- “What We Wanted” (Netflix Film)
- “Fruitvale Station”
- “Graceful Friends”
- “Ludo” (Netflix Film)
- “Prom Night”
- “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix Film)
- “The Life Ahead” (Netflix Film)
- “A Very Country Christmas”
- “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”
- “Hometown Holiday”
- “V for Vendetta”
- “Whose Streets?”
- “The Princess Switch: Switched Again” (Netflix Film)
- “Alien Xmas” (Netflix Film)
- “If Anything Happens I Love You” (Netflix Film)