Five wonderful, lead female performances on Netflix

Netflix provides a truly remarkable convenience to its millions of subscribers, with thousands of movie choices available at a simple click of a button.  At the same time, so many film possibilities can create a conundrum:  Which movie to choose?   When an evening hinges on the quality of your movie experience, it is not a decision to be taken lightly.

Art House Film Wire searched through hundreds of movies and found scores and scores of terrific films.  There are lots of movies with wonderful female performances, but here are five.

Judy Dench in “Philomena” (2013) – Based upon a true story, Philomena Lee (Judy Dench) attempts to find her long-lost son, and her search takes her from her home in Ireland to the United States and then back to the Emerald Isle.  Director Stephen Frears’ film portrays the Catholic Church in a less than Christian light, and Dench’s performance will pull tears down your face and rip at your heartstrings.  This woman with a unique name has an unforgettable story.  Steve Coogan costars.  (3/4 stars, Streaming)

Adele Exarchopoulos/Lea Seydoux in “Blue is the Warmest Color” (2013) – Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos) copes with the usual high school complications, but one day while walking along the streets of Paris, she spots a girl with blue hair (Lea Seydoux) and instantly feels sparks of attraction.  You know, the type of heart-stopping butterflies that compel to one engage in immediate discovery.  This French film spans three hours and includes two very, very frank and lengthy sex scenes that create some cause for pause, but the movie covers the relationship lifecycle in a completely organic and honest way.  (3.5/4 stars, Streaming)

Rebecca Hall in “Christine” (2016) – Christine Chubbuck (Rebecca Hall) was a real life television reporter for a local station during the 1970s but suffered from mental health issues and career setbacks that eventually set off a firestorm.  Hall plays Chubbuck as an individual who begats her own personal and professional dilemmas, and as the movie plays out, this critic wanted to reach out to the screen and offer suggestions for help.  A visceral and difficult film, “Christine” also stars Michael C. Hall and Tracy Letts in terrific supporting roles. (3.5/4 stars, Streaming)

Isabelle Huppert – “Things to Come” (2016) –  Isabelle Huppert had quite a year in 2016, as she starred in not one but two critically-claimed dramas.  She won the 2017 Best Actress Golden Globe for “Elle” (2016), but she also delivered an excellent performance in director Mia Hansen-Love’s “Things to Come”.  Nathalie’s (Huppert) life is turning upside-down with her mother’s health issues and problems at work when – suddenly – her husband wants a divorce.  When watching this film, notice that Nathalie constantly moves (physically moves) as an outlet for her determined spirit that life is seemingly trying its best to stifle.   (3.5/4 stars, Streaming)

Mia Wasikowska in “Tracks” (2013) – Mia Wasikowska stars as Robyn Davidson, who – in real life – attempted to walk 1,700 miles across the brutally hot and rugged Australian desert with four camels and her dog.  Director John Curran and Wasikowska recreate Davdison’s jaw dropping journey which fully captures her hardships and determination, as the movie offers a spiritual quality that truly emotes.  Adam Driver costars in this beautiful movie.(4/4 stars, Streaming)

“Tracks” (2013) credits: Image: See-Saw Films; Trailer: Movieclips Coming Soon

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