Heartfelt, heart-wrenching, and heart-pounding romances make up the bulk of the best that streaming platforms have to offer this week. There’s comedy, thrills, and hopefully a few chills. Plus, there’s a movie with Daniel Radcliffe as a flatulent corpse. What more could a viewer want?
What to watch on Netflix
The guilty pleasure phenomenon is back, now with a new location, a new alias for Penn Badgley’s serial killer, and a new(ish) obsession. The first part of You Season 4 sees Joe in London, free from his past life stateside, masquerading as a literature professor and rubbing elbows with some of the UK’s elite. Tati Gabrielle returns as Marienne, though it’s unclear how she’ll turn up after having narrowly escaped Joe and his dearly departed. Only five episodes are being released in this Part 1 batch, so you’re sure to be left with plenty of questions, cliffhangers, and nailbiters. Part 1 of Season 4 of You premieres Thursday, February 9th.
What to watch on Hulu
The manic pixie dream girl trope was a plague upon female representation in the ‘00s and ’10, but few films had the smarts to satirize it like Ruby Sparks. This quasi-rom com stars Paul Dano as a struggling young novelist, desperate to come up with an idea that will meet the high expectations set by his first release. Inspired by a dream, he creates, and falls for, a character he names Ruby Sparks — but he’s hardly prepared for it when Ruby appears in his house. Zoe Kazan pulls double duty, writing the script while also playing Ruby. Ruby Sparks became available to stream at the start of the month.
What to watch on Amazon Prime
We’ve seen about a billion-and-two man versus shark movies, but last year’s Beast shook things up a bit by sticking audiences in the middle of the African savannah, facing off against a fearsome lion. Idris Elba stars as a recent widower who brings his two daughters to a nature reserve in South Africa, hoping to take their mind off the loss of their mother and reconnect with them. Of course, the family trip hardly goes to plan; instead, a lion seeks vengeance on the humans who hunted its kin, but it’s hardly capable of telling the difference between friend and foe, predator and prey. Beast premieres Tuesday, February 7th.
What to watch on HBO Max
Swiss Army Man
Though directing duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert have clearly hit the jackpot with Everything Everywhere All at Once, that’s hardly their first strange success story. In fact, the Daniels feature film debut, Swiss Army Man, may just be weirder. Paul Dano stars as Hank, a man marooned on a deserted island who’s ready to end it all, until he spots another man — or, rather, a corpse — washing up on shore. From fart jokes to spontaneous reanimation, it’s a film that is proud of its many oddities, including a stellar Daniel Radcliffe as the aforementioned corpse. Swiss Army Man began streaming at the start of the month.
Empire of Light
An Academy Award nominee for Best Cinematography (thank you, Roger Deakins), Empire of Light finds writer-director Sam Mendes going notably smaller than his past few films. This romantic drama sees Olivia Colman playing a movie theater manager in a small English coastal town in the early ‘80s, troubled by mental illness and desperate for a meaningful connection. She finds one in Stephen (Micheal Ward), but as one of the few Black Brits around, he’s the target of racial harassment and violence. Though each person struggles, they find a piece of themselves in each other and the cinema that employs and enlivens them. Empire of Light premieres on streaming Tuesday, February 7th.
What to watch on Apple TV+
This new drama looks at the aftermath of an especially tragic survival story. Dear Edward focuses on a 12-year-old boy who’s the sole survivor of a plane crash. Having lost his parents and his brother, he must move in with his aunt (Taylor Schilling), a woman who must juggle the hardship of losing a sibling with the newfound responsibility of looking after a child. The show also takes a This Is Us sort of approach to drama, delving into other storylines surrounding those lost in the crash and exploring how their loved ones are living. Dear Edward premieres Friday, February 3rd.
What to Watch is a regular endorsement of movies and TV worth your streaming time.