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The art of Persuasion and a terrifying true-crime documentary: This week's best and biggest on Netflix

Check out Jordan Parker's 'The week's best and biggest on Netflix' every Friday on CityNews Halifax
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Check out Jordan Parker's 'The week's best and biggest on Netflix' every Friday on CityNews Halifax.

Hector & The Search For Happiness

Opening at the apex of its star's fame, I expected more anticipation for this lovely, little film.

And yet, unfairly maligned by critics, Hector & the Search For Happiness fell into obscurity. I'm hoping it finds a contingent of fans on Netflix, because this one deserves another chance.

Director Peter Chelsom – known for making one of my favourites, Serendipity – creates an adorable, thoughtful piece here.

It follows Hector, a psychiatrist who goes full Eat, Pray, Love, quits his life and begins globetrotting to find the secret to a happy life.

Simon Pegg – known for Shaun Of The Dead, Mission Impossible and Star Trek – tried to leap into leading man status here, with disastrous results. But I, for one, think he's fantastic here.

Joined by Rosamund Pike, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Jean Reno, and Christopher Plummer, this movie will ignite your senses and make you smile.

4/5 Stars

Girl In The Picture

This movie is, in a word, absolutely terrifying.

It's one of the more difficult documentaries I've ever watched, and is a true-crime tale that becomes more gruelling with every turn.

Skye Borgman – who also worked on Dead Asleep and Abducted In Plain Sight – makes an affecting, truly difficult piece here.

It begins with the death of a young mother under suspicious circumstances, and the abduction of her son by the father. But this is just the beginning of an absolutely shocking tale.

What follows is an investigation that unearths decades of crimes and notoriety from an awful perpetrator.

This is not an easy watch by any stretch, but if you find yourself enthralled by true crime stories, it will be your speed.

4.5/5 Stars

The Rental

One of my biggest guilty pleasures of the 2000s, I think this one was unfairly judged by audiences because they expected a different type of film.

Sold as a jump-scare horror picture, this is actually an existential drama with some thrills meticulously thrown in.

It follows two couples who rent a vacation home together, and the sequence of events that makes things go awry during their weekend away.

Co-written and directed by Dave Franco – brother of James and severely underrated actor – he creates a genre picture with some substance.

Starring Beauty & The Beast lead Dan Stevens, Alison Brie, Sheila Vand, and Shameless alum Jeremy Allen White, it's a stacked young cast.

This is a movie about relationships, and the cracks in friendships and romantic unions that can cause havoc. I, for one, absolutely adore this movie.

4/5 Stars

Sleeping Giant

This beautiful little Canadian drama was almost entirely ignored upon its 2015 release, but I was enthralled.

It's a vacation movie about three young teenagers, and the bonds of friendship that can both enrich our lives and put us through huge tribulations.

Adam, Nate and Riley are spending their summer on Lake Superior, and begin to get up to more trouble than they should, culminating in some unexpected consequences.

Starring Nick Serino (Cardinals), standout Jackson Martin, and Reece Moffett, the performances are top-notch. Casting agents are still sleeping on Martin around here, and that's a huge problem.

This is a tense, evocative film that I'm so proud came out of my country.

4/5 Stars

Persuasion

The weirdest movie on this list by far, Persuasion is a love-it-or-hate-it endeavour I simply couldn't get enough of.

A biting period piece satire, it plays like a mini-The Favourite mixed with the Jane Austen novel it's based on.

It follows Anne Elliot, a single woman who yearns for the man she denied eight years prior, due to his low class and standing.

She loved him, but let her family persuade her to stick it out for something more lucrative. Anne has been suffering ever since.

But when she meets her ex-lover, Wentworth, once again, all the feelings come rushing back. But now, he is a rich naval captain who presumably wants nothing to do with her.

Does she come clean about how she feels or let her pride get the best of her?

The cast is fabulous, with Dakota Johnson in a deliciously invigorating role as the lead. She pairs with Cosmo Jarvis as Wentworth.

Joining them are Henry Golding, Ben Bailey Smith, Nikki Amuka-Bird, and Oscar nominee Richard E. Grant.

It's a film that is quirky and entirely offbeat. Watch the trailer, and if it makes you laugh even once, then you need to check this out.

4/5 Stars



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About the Author: Jordan Parker

Jordan Parker is a freelance journalist and runs entertainment firm Parker PR. He's been a movie nerd since he was old enough to walk.
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