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The ten best films and TV series to watch on streaming in May

The most unmissable movies and TV shows coming to your smaller screens this month

Space Force
Photograph: Netflix ‘Space Force’
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With Netflix UK, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Apple TV and numerous other streaming options available, figuring out what to watch feels a little terrifying these days. To make life a little easier, we’ve trawled the streaming-verse to pick ten guaranteed winners to feast your eyes on over the month ahead.

Look out for a pair of American indie gems in ‘The Assistant’ and ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’, the arrival of Greta Gerwig’s glorious ‘Little Women’ to streaming, as well as Mark Cousins’s epic ‘Women Make Film’, which is a documentary, and Steve Carell’s ‘Space Force’, which very much isn’t.

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The ten best things to watch on streaming in May

Ema
Photograph: MUBI
Film

Ema

Newcomer Mariana di Girolamo is sensational as a twentysomething dancer and Gael García Bernal shows a darker side of his range in Pablo Larraín’s (‘Jackie’) dazzling, loose-limbed human drama.


Available on Mubi now.

Photograph: Courtesy of Sundance Institute
Film

The Assistant

Julia Garner plays a young, striving relative newcomer into the intimidating, exploitative world of a major Hollywood player in this quietly devastating sorta-thriller. The shadow of Harvey Weinstein is a long one but Kitty Green’s film never lets itself be defined purely by recent events, instead probing endlessly into the flaws of a system that allows men like that to flourish.  

Available on iTunes/Apple TV, Amazon, Sky Store, Virgin, Google Play, Microsoft, Curzon Home Cinema and BFI Player now.

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In Search of Greatness
Photograph: Gabe Polsky
Film, Documentaries

In Search of Greatness

Gabe Polsky investigated the rare and logic-defying genius of the Cold War-era Soviet army ice hockey team in ‘Red Army’. Here, he returns with another doc restless to uncover what separates the merely exceptional from the true sporting deities. Lining up to help him are Wayne Gretzky, Pelé and American football superstar Jerry Rice.

Available on Amazon Prime, Google Play and iTunes on Wed May 6.

The Eddy
Photograph: Lou Faulon

The Eddy

A buzzy-looking collaboration between ‘La La Land’ director Damien Chazelle and ‘Skins’ writer Jack Thorne, this eight-part Netflix series is set in a Paris jazz club run by André Holland’s (‘Moonlight’) put-upon impresario. Expect plenty of bebop, style in abundance and shady criminals trying to bring it all crashing down. Do not expect a man in a roll-neck to turn to the camera and say ‘Nice!’

Available on Netflix on May 8.

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Photograph: Vlad Cioplea
Film, Comedy

The Whistlers

Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu’s mordant skew on cops and crims was first showcased in ‘Police, Adjective’. With his new film, he drops the introspection and amps up the Hitchcockian fun, concocting something genuinely fresh from the familiar ingredients of the crime thriller.

Available on Curzon Home Cinema on Fri May 8.

Little Women
Photograph: Wilson Webb/Sony Pictures
Film, Drama

Little Women

Greta Gerwig’s multi-Oscar-nominated adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel arrives on streaming this month – and not a moment too soon. The ultimate in comfort viewing for anyone who loves great acting, spot-on directing, amazing costumes and endless good vibes, it’s the next best thing to a big hug from an old friend.

Available on Sky Store, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Apple TV and other streaming sites on May 11.

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Seven Samurai
Photograph: © Toho Co., Ltd. A BFI release

BFI Japan

The BFI’s epic new six-month season of Japanese cinema kicks off with a big bunch of Akira Kurosawa films on BFI Player on May 11, alongside a wealth of true classics from Japan’s gilded cinematic history. Look out for Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘After Life’ (1998), Teinosuke Kinugasa's ‘Gate of Hell’ (1953) and Kaneto Shindô's majestically creepy ‘Onibaba’ (1964) – all on BFI Player this month.

Available on BFI Player on May 11.

Photograph: Focus Features
Film, Drama

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Backdropped by a familiar but somehow oddly distant New York cityscape, and full of the anxieties of youth, Eliza Hittman’s poignant, Sundance-acclaimed drama plays like a Gen Z take on ‘Midnight Cowboy’. It follows a teenager (newcomer Sidney Flanigan) whose unintended pregnancy sends her across state lines and on a path of quietly devastating indignities.

Available on 
Sky Store, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Apple TV and other streaming sites on May 13.

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Wayne’s World
Photograph: BFI

Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema

If you caught Mark Cousins’s encyclopedic sweep through the history of cinema, ‘The Story of Film: An Odyssey’, you’ll know what to expect from this similarly epic look at the work of female filmmakers. This one clocks in at a cheeky 840 minutes and covers practically everything from Alice Guy-Blaché’s 1907 film ‘Course à la Saucisse’ to Ioana Uricaru’s ‘Lemonade’ in 2018. Block out a day or two.

Available on BFI Player and Blu-ray box set on May 18.

Space Force
Photograph: Aaron Epstein/Netflix

Space Force

When Donald Trump demanded the creation of ‘Space Force’, everyone laughed, but here it is – with no less than Steve Carell and John Malkovich in the cast. Sure, it’s an office comedy rather than an elite intergalactic military unit, but you can’t have everything. ‘Parks and Recreation’ legend Ben Schwartz plays someone called Tony Scarapiducci, who may or may not be a spoof of Anthony Scaramucci but almost certainly is. If this series is good, Trump will take the credit.

Available on Netflix on May 29.

The best movies on Netflix UK

Call Me By Your Name
Photograph: Memento Films International
Film

The 30 best movies on Netflix UK

Feeling overwhelmed or uninspired by the choice on Netflix UK? We’ve all been there. If you can’t decide what to watch, try one of these solid gold winners – and take your pick from hilarious comedy movies, reach-for- the-tissues heartwarmers and Oscar-winning nail-biting dramas.

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