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The Dressmaker
Photo: Universal The Dressmaker

You need this incredible free movie service in your life

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If you hadn’t signed up for Netflix before the Great Indoors took hold, chances are you’re a paid-up subscriber of the world's most popular streaming service now.

But did you know you can also access thousands of fantastic movies for free with nothing more than a virtual library card on Kanopy? Just sign up to your local library online or use your university ID, then jump over to the Kanopy website (or app). Register for free using your library ID and you can access their vast repository of awesome, streamed direct to your TV.

Delivering everything from top-notch crowd-pleasers like Taron Egerton’s Golden Globe-winning turn as Elton John in Rocketman and Aussie hit The Dressmaker starring Kate Winslet, it also has a stockpile of cracking American indies, like writer, director and star Jim Cummings' awks-comic drama Thunder Road.

Whether you’re in the mood for some apocalyptic blues a la Lars Von Trier’s Kirsten Dunst-led Melancholia, or a much-needed chuckle care of Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in The Trip to Spain, there’s literally something for everyone.

Movie history buffs will dig deep into the archive made available by prestige distributors the Criterion Collection. Soak up the black-and-white soul of Ingmar Bergman’s seminal The Seventh Seal, starring the late, great Max von Sydow. And Martin Scorsese described Michelangelo Antonioni’s emotionally thrilling L’Avventura as giving him “one of the most profound shocks I’ve ever had at the movies”.

There’s brilliant Australian content on there too. Check out Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman in heartbreaker Lion, or have a giggle with romcom misadventure Ali’s Wedding and indie cutey That’s Not Me. Then there are the classics like Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout and Ted Kotcheff’s Wake in Fright.

Documentary lovers are sorted too. Queer classic The Queen is a must-see, as are Raoul Peck’s James Baldwin-channelling I Am Not Your Negro and Laura Poitras’ Edward Snowden-focused docu-thriller Citizenfour. Thank You for Playing will get you weeping, and don’t miss much-missed French legend Agnes Varda’s The Gleaners and I.

And while we have all the time in the world for self-improvement, why not check out the Great Courses collection, where you can bone up on history or learn a new skill, with features on everything from cognitive behavioural therapy to learning French. Parents rejoice, the huge Kanopy Kids selection is also at your service.

There's normally a 10-film limit per month, but heaps of films have been made credit-free during these crazy days, so get stuck in. 

Sign up for Kanopy here or download the app here.

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