What to Stream While Quarantined: Part 2

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As we all try to navigate the quickly-changing film landscape in the time of coronavirus, we’re committed to continuing our mission of connecting art with audiences, and bringing you world-class cinema to watch on a daily basis. With 37 wonderful editions of Miami Film Festival behind us, we’ve assembled a list of some of our favorite Miami Film Festival/GEMS titles that are currently streaming online, in our new blog series we’re calling “What to Stream While Quarantined”. 

KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE

Before she was known as “AOC”, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a young bartender from the Bronx working two shifts to save her family home from foreclosure. Motivated by the fact that so many families, like hers, suffer to make ends meet, Alexandria decides to run for Congress. With little experience and an unwavering belief in fighting for the rights of the underserved and underrepresented, she launches a campaign that goes on to upend the political establishment.

Closely following the 2018 midterm elections, Knock Down the House tracks the campaigns of four women – all political outsiders – who take on the system and exercise their right to run for office. More than just an AOC origin story, this is an inspiring documentary about ordinary people throwing themselves into extraordinary circumstances in order to fight for what they believe in.

Available to stream on Netflix. 

 

CHAPPAQUIDDICK

On July 18, 1969, Senator Ted Kennedy was driving around Chappaquiddick Island when he accidentally drove his car off a bridge, resulting in the death of 28-year-old campaign aide Mary Jo Kopechne. It was a tragedy that quickly morphed into a scandal when a team of spin doctors immediately went to work to protect the Kennedy brand, at the expense of the truth.

Handled with great restraint and insight, director John Curran paints a vivid picture of the Chappaquiddick Incident, following every moment and decision that led to Kennedy not reporting the accident for 10 straight hours. Chappaquiddick is not only a fascinating piece of history, but an astute character study of a deeply flawed political figure who carried the burden of a dynasty on his shoulders.

Available to stream on Netflix.

 

BEN IS BACK


When Ben (Lucas Hedges) leaves rehab early to be home for Christmas, his mother Holly (Julia Roberts) is both elated and on edge. She tells him that he can only stay for one day, on the condition that she must have eyes on him at all times. Even though he’s been clean for a few months, his family still fears the worst – a fear that turns out to be well-founded.

Led by a devastating career-best performance from Roberts, Ben is Back deals with the opioid epidemic with fast-paced urgency and compassion. Writer-director Peter Hedges cast his real-life son Lucas Hedges in the title role, a decision that deeply resonates and works wonders here. Because when it comes down to it, this is a film about family: the way we hurt each other, the way we love each other, and the way we pick each other up when we’re down.

Available to stream on Hulu.

 

BURNING

When Jongsu reconnects with childhood friend Haemi, it seems like things are finally looking up for him. But as soon as she enters his life, so does a mysterious man named Ben, a man who’s confident, charismatic and wealthy – everything the hapless Jongsu isn’t. Then things take a turn for the strange when Ben confesses a dark secret hobby, one that Jongsu can’t ignore…

With Burning, Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong has crafted a mesmerizing narrative about what happens when class conflict and toxic masculinity fuse together. A cinematic puzzle that has transfixed audiences, Burning is a slow-burn examination of anger and obsession where everything is questioned, and little is answered.

Available to stream on Netflix.

 

SWALLOW

Hunter (Haley Bennett) is the perfect prim and proper housewife. With her sleek blonde bob and endless rotation of dresses, she cooks, cleans and makes herself available to her husband’s every need. When she discovers that she’s pregnant, she finds her already feeble grip on her autonomy begin to slip even further. Then one day she spots a tiny glass marble perched unassumingly on a counter…and puts it in her mouth. Thus begins her dangerous obsession with consuming small household objects, a compulsion that forces the façade of her idyllic life to come crashing down.

With Swallow, writer-director Carlo Mirabella-Davis has crafted a psychological genre piece that is both a satirical takedown of gender roles and a piercing commentary on the control over women’s bodies. With striking visual flair and distinctly retro stylings, Swallow enthusiastically embraces the provocative.

Available to rent on iTunes and Prime Video.

Lauren Cohen

Lauren Cohen is the Miami Film Festival's associate director of programming. She also runs the Festival’s membership level for young professionals, CineClub. Learn more about Lauren on Programmers.