There’s much more to Netflix’s Christmas line-up than saccharine yuletide rom-coms.
Instead, December’s viewing schedule is packed with everything from buzzed-about awards contenders like David Fincher’s Mank and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which features the late Chadwick Boseman’s final performance, to glitzy guilty pleasures like The Prom, starring a who’s who of Hollywood talent doing their best jazz hands.
Plus, Christmas Day will mark the debut of Bridgerton, one of Netflix’s most anticipated original series. The platform’s first show to be produced under Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland banner, this big-budget Regency period drama features Julie Andrews as the acid-tongued narrator —what better way to fill the interminable gap between Christmas and New Year?
These are our highlights from the streaming service’s festive offering…
Mank – December 4
Gary Oldman stars as screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz in David Fincher’s black and white tribute to Hollywood’s Golden Age, charting Citizen Kane’s tumultuous journey from page to screen, as well as the infamous row over its authorship (Mankiewicz famously had to harangue director Orson Welles to receive a credit; they eventually shared the film’s only Oscar, for best original screenplay). It’s already stirred up awards buzz – Hollywood can rarely resist a film about itself, after all.
Selena: The Series – December 4
Tejano megastar Selena Quintanilla-Perez had just won a Grammy and topped the Latin charts when her life was tragically cut short weeks before her 24th birthday, when she was shot dead by the president of her fan club. Her story was first brought to the screen in a 1997 biopic starring Jennifer Lopez in her breakout role; now, it’s inspired a biographical drama from Netflix, starring Christian Serratos as the singer. The series will focus on the early stages of Selena’s ascent to stardom.
Rose Island – December 9
In the late Sixties, an Italian engineer named Georgio Rosa had a brainwave: bored of polite society, he’d set up his own island in the middle of the sea, just outside of Italy’s territorial boundaries, and live by his own rules. The finished island became a magnet for bemused tourists, but the Italian government on the mainland was less than impressed, quickly attempting to stamp out the so-called Republic of Rose Island. Netflix’s film promises a colourful take on this weird and wonderful story.
The Prom – December 11
Sequins! Jazz hands! Meryl Streep! This all-singing, all-dancing Broadway adaptation from Ryan Murphy boasts the most star-studded cast list we’ve seen since, ahem, the Cats movie, but don’t let that put you off. The Prom tells the story of Emma, an Indiana teen whose prom is cancelled after she tries to bring her girlfriend as her date. Enter a group of washed-up musical theatre stars, fresh from a Broadway flop, searching for a good cause that might redeem them in the eyes of their fans.
Giving Voice – December 11
This documentary, which picked up the Festival Favourite award at Sundance earlier this year, follows six students as they compete in the August Wilson Monologue Competition, an annual contest which sees thousands of budding actors from across the United States perform the playwright’s work. Executive producers and former co-stars Viola Davis and Denzel Washington also make cameos, sharing the impact that Wilson’s work has had on their careers.