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Netflix: What’s Streaming? (October 2014)

Ah, the fresh beginning of the fall season. A time for apple picking, changing leaves, delicious pumpkin spice lattes (which this writer is not a particular fan of, sorry), and Mother Nature’s indecisiveness. One never knows from day to day if the weather will be drizzling rain, humidly hot, or unseasonably cold. What is consistent, however, is the diverse quality programming streaming on Netflix Canada. Following actress Emma Watson’s much publicized speech on the basics of and need for feminism, Netflix has emerged with an impressive offering of television shows and films that showcase intelligent, funny, tough as nails females. From young (yet hardened) Quvenzhane Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild to fiercely independent Charlotte Gainsbourg in the controversial Nymphomaniac Volume 1 and 2 to the ferociously hilarious Chelsea Handler in her comedy special Uganda Be Kidding Me, these are just a small sample of the exceptional female roles and role models showcased in October.

The following are some other highlights of what’s streaming on Netflix Canada starting in October.

1. The Mindy Project
Even if you haven’t read the whip smart, adorkable Mindy Kaling’s memoir Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) or have seen a single episode of The Office (the American version), it won’t take you long to fall for the uber intelligent, yet unlucky in love Mindy on The Mindy Project. Inspired by Kaling’s mother, the show centers on Doctor Lahiri (Kaling), a gynecologist who handles the ups and downs of both her professional and personal life with the help of her gaggle of quirky co-workers and close friends. Both seasons one and two are now available on Netflix Canada.


2. Sherlock
Although considered by many to be “internet famous”, actor Benedict Cumberbatch’s star is about to rise. His brilliant turn as enigmatic inventor Alan Turing in the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice award winner The Imitation Game will likely lead him to a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars in February (especially as it is backed by the awards hungry Weinstein Company). To die-hard fans of Cumberbatch (affectionately known as his “Cumberbitches”), this comes as no surprise. Since the premiere of BBC’s television show Sherlock in 2010, legions of fans (and television critics) have sung his praises. Now available on Netflix Canada are seasons one to three of Sherlock.


3. Stay
By now you’ve hungrily consumed all of the second season of Orange is the New Black (if not, what are you waiting for?!). In festival gem Stay, OITNB star Taylor Schilling shows a more vulnerable side to herself as a young woman who returns home when she discovers that she’s pregnant with her older lover Dermot (Aidan Quinn)’s child. Almost unrecognizable as an introverted brunette, Schilling shines in this poetic drama.


4. Like Father, Like Son
Before it was released, Hirokazu Koreeda’s heartbreaking film had already garnered the attention of director Steven Spielberg, who plans to remake the film in the near future. Before then we urge you to watch the stunning original, now available on Netflix Canada. The film centers on successful businessman Ryota Nonomiya (Masaharu Fukuyama) who, after discovering that his son was switched at birth with another child, must decide between the children.


5. The Princess Diaries/The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
If you’re counting down the days until the release of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and are fans of the incomparable Julie Andrews (Julie Madly Deeply!), then these two films are for you. In the first film, the always-dependable Anne Hathaway plays mousy Mia Thermopolis who learns via her long lost grandmother (Andrews) that she is heir to the throne of Genovia. In the second film she discovers that she is to be wed to an English suitor, but finds herself falling instead for the charismatic Nicholas Devereaux (Chris Pine, pre-Star Trek fame). Both Garry Marshall films are charming delights.


Leora Heilbronn

Leora Heilbronn is a Toronto based film aficionado who has a weakness for musicals and violent action flicks. She can often be spotted reading a wide range of literature or listening to show tunes.