Every month, all the major streaming services add a host of newly acquired (or just plain new) shows, movies, and documentaries into their ever-rotating libraries. So what’s a dedicated reader to watch? Well, whatever you want, of course, but the name of this website is Literary Hub, so we sort of have an angle. To that end, here’s a selection of the best (and most enjoyably bad) literary film and TV coming to streaming services this month. Have fun.
Black Cake (Series Premiere)
Hulu, November 1
Literary bona fides: based on Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson (2022)
In Marissa Jo Cerar’s adaptation of Wilkerson’s bestselling novel, two estranged siblings are faced with shocking secrets—and mysteries—about their family’s history after their mother dies. Food, danger, tragedy, and intrigue abound.
All the Light We Cannot See
Neflix, November 2
Literary bona fides: based on All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (2014)
The long-awaited series based on Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel—which alternates between the stories of a blind French girl and a confused German soldier, both in occupied France during WWII—stars Aria Mia Loberti, who won the part of Marie-Laure during the production’s global search for a blind or low-vision actor, in her very first role, as well as Mark Ruffalo, Hugh Laurie, and Louis Hofmann as Werner.
Apple TV+, November 8
Literary bona fides: based on The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton (1938)
American women invade 1870s London in this adaptation of Wharton’s unfinished final novel, with results that might just make one clutch their pearls. Written by Katherine Jakeways and directed by Susanna White.
Netflix, November 10
Literary bona fides: based on The Killer by Matz and illustrated by Luc Jacamon (1998)
David Fincher directs and Michael Fassbender stars in Andrew Kevin Walker’s noir-tinged adaptation of the French graphic novel series, in which a Smiths-obsessed assassin finds himself the target of an international manhunt after a job goes awry.
Stamped from the Beginning
Netflix, November 15
Literary bona fides: based on Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi (2016)
This “hybrid documentary” (it contains scripted and animated elements) based on Kendi’s work, which traces the evolution of racist concepts in America, and explains why and how we are where we are, was directed by Ross Williams, who said in a press release: “Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You are powerful and essential pieces of literature that clearly outline how deeply rooted racist ideas are in the United States. I hope these films crystallize Dr. Kendi’s message that ‘the only thing wrong with Black people is that they think something is wrong with Black people’ and encourage everyone to fight for a more equitable society. I am thrilled to be partnering with Netflix to bring Dr. Kendi’s incredible work and crucial insights to a broader audience.”
Max, November 1
Literary bona fides: based on Dune by Frank Herbert (1965)
Love the shiny new Timothée version? Try the original David Lynch/Kyle MacLachlan monstrosity—not because it’s any good, really, but just for kicks, and/or because it’s David Lynch, and/or for the profane knowledge of it all.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Prime Video, November 1
Literary bona fides: based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (1594)
What can I say? I love this movie.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Max, November 1
Literary bona fides: based on The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (2003)
As I’ve written before, this is a modern classic of the genre, thanks in large part to Meryl Streep as Anna Wintour as Miranda Priestly (Wintour, by the way, found the whole thing fairly boring), but also everyone else in it: Emily Blunt as the perfect poisonous fashion girl, Stanley Tucci as Stanley Tucci working at Vogue, and Anne Hathaway doing her level best to convince us she’s unattractive and bumbling. Even Adrian Grenier does his job with aplomb. It’s the perfect thing to watch when you’re sick, or it’s raining, or you just need to cool your heels in an emotional time capsule for a while.
Winter’s Bone (2010)
Max, November 1
Literary bona fides: based on Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell (2006)
As Olivia Rutigliano writes, “Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone (which she also co-wrote with producer Rosellini) is a beautiful, gritty, horrifying masterpiece. Based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell and released in 2010, it is the story of a teenage girl named Ree (Jennifer Lawrence, before her rise to fame and giving the best performance of her career) who lives in the Ozark Mountains with her mother and younger siblings. She serves as the primary caretaker for her whole family—her drug-dealing father has disappeared, and her mother suffers from mental illness. When her family is threatened with eviction, she decides to track down her father. But the neighbors are resistant to her attempts to pry into her father’s life—and she is emphatically discourages by her uncle, a conflicted meth addict named Teardrop (John Hawkes) from searching any further. It is a brutal, cutting film—its pacing is incredibly suspenseful and the acting (often stony), is pitch-perfect. It is a movie of silence, of snow—muted sounds and colors. Until it isn’t, and it transforms into a shocking, scarring, and vibrant spectacle of horror. Debra Granik should direct every movie.”
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
Hulu, November 7
Literary bona fides: based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s All You Need Is Kill (2004)
A science fiction action movie that is so, so much better than it needs to be. As Emily Firetog put it, “the 2014 Tom Cruise sci-fi actioner The Edge of Tomorrow AKA Live Die Repeat is adapted from Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s light novel, All You Need Is Kill, but perhaps the true ur-text is the 1993 Harold Ramis/Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day. What’s it about? Well, the plot is almost beside the point; its the premise here that’s everything: it’s the near future, and aliens have invaded Europe, and Cruise—a combat-unready military PR sleazeball—is dragooned by Brendan Gleeson into active duty for a D-Day style invasion, where he is almost instantly killed only to awaken the day before with his memory intact and forced to live through the slaughter again and again and again. Until, that is, with the help of badass warrior Emily Blunt, he learns to become a mechanized-bodysuit-fighting master and to better understand his enemy and, maybe, himself? I know, but it’s incredibly satisfying. There’s just so much glee to be had in the bonkersness and boldfaced derivativeness of the conceit, the video-game action sequences and the scenery-chewing supporting performances—and, of course, in watching Cruise (as the type of smarmy bastard that usually gets described as “playing against type” but always seems to suit him best) get 86-ed over and over. To watch this movie is to appreciate how little so many of its genre-mates are able to enjoy themselves, and how little they seem interested in your enjoyment. The Edge of Tomorrow, above all else, knows what I need to enjoy myself, and it wants me to have it.”
The Personal History Of David Copperfield (2020)
Hulu, November 1
Literary bona fides: based on David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850)
A wonderfully fun twist on Dickens (starring my guy Dev Patel) that was pretty well swallowed by the pandemic—it’s worth a watch now, if you missed it the first go-around.
Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
Freevee, November 1
Literary bona fides: based on Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians (2013)
Boundary breaking and nonstop fun. Can’t beat it.
Cold Mountain (2003)
Paramount+, November 1
Literary bona fides: based on Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (1997)
A top-notch adaptation of Frazier’s novel, set in Appalachia during the dregs of the Civil War, as a deserter tries to find his way home to his beloved, bolstered by a magnificent cast.
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