Stay-at-Home Seven: March 28 to April 3

TV and streaming highlights for the week ahead

by Amber Wilkinson

Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight.
Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight.
Spotlight, 11.40pm, BBC2, Monday, April 28

Considered a "surprise" winner when it took home the Best Picture gong at the 2016 Oscars - where it beat stiff competition from The Revenant, The Bridge Of Spies and Mad Max Fury Road - this is a slow burn film that packs real emotional punch. Tom McCarthy - who also shared the screenwriting Oscar with his co-scribe Josh Singer, who would go on to co-write The Post - champions the sheer hard work of journalists in this retelling of how Boston Globe journalists broke a Catholic Church abuse scandal. Spotlight - which features cracking performances from Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Michael Keaton, among others - has a complexity that goes beyond the specific case to ask questions about the way institutions and communities can cover up wrongdoing. Read our interviews on Spotlight with Tom McCarthy, actors Neil Huff, Brian d'Arcy James, Bobby Cannavale and writer Josh Singer.

A Monster Calls, 11.15pm BBC2, Tuesday, March 29

Patrick Ness adapts his own award-winning children's novel for Juan Antonio Bayona's film about a youngster's turbulent emotions in the face of his mum's terminal illness. Conor (Lewis MacDougall) is left vulnerable by his situation, bullied at school and suffering nightmares, until, in the small hours, a yew tree from the nearby churchyard uproots itself and comes to visit - promising to tell Conor three stories in return from one from himself that will reveal "the truth" about his nightmare. Although this is dealing with tough themes that some sensitive children, or those who have suffered loss, may find too much, the monster presents interesting themes to its target audience (not that they'll be staying up to catch it this late) with just enough danger mixed in with the magic.

Get Out 11.15pm, Film4, Saturday, April 2

Jennie Kermode writes: Jordan Peele’s blistering directorial début, which draws on classic science fiction traditions but is absolutely up to the minute, presents the viewer with several layers of trap to try and escape from. As the opening sequence reminds us, simply being a young black man in a white supremacist society means it could be necessary to escape from a pursuer at any time, but for Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), life seems pretty sweet. He’s happy with his white girlfriend and not too worried about getting along with her parents – until, that is, a little incident with a teacup which takes him to an unexpected lace. All is not what it seems and the danger here goes beyond the physical. Though he will still need to run and fight in order to follow that titular advice, there are also psychological and emotional hurdles to be overcome in a film that blends black comedy with sharp social observation.

All The President's Men, 11.10pm, BBC2, Sunday, April 3

If watching Spotlight earlier in the week puts you in the mood for a movie about investigative journalism, you'll not go wrong by catching Alan J Pakula's take on how Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) broke the story of the Watergate scandal. This gripping film was made in close collaboration with Woodward and Bernstein and really gets down to the nitty-gritty of piecing together the puzzle behind the story. While Redford and Hoffman need no introduction, the strength of the cast runs wide and deep, also including great turns from the likes of Ned Beatty, Jane Alexander and Hal Halbrook. An adult treatment of an adult subject that celebrates the less glamorous side of reporting.

Thelma, Film4, 1.40am, Wednesday, March 30

With its broody themes of adolescence and religion recalling Seventies classics like The Omen and Carrie, Joachim Trier's slowburn psychological chiller is a worthy descendant. Eili Harboe is magnetic in the lead role as a young woman from a strict religious background who finds herself struggling to control both her faith and her feelings for her new friend Anja (Kaya Wilkins) after going to university. Trier and his writing partner Eskil Vogt let ambiguity flow through the veins of the film as Thelma discovers she has telekinetic abilities and darker undercurrents come to the fore.

Stray, Netflix, from Friday

This philosophically charged charmer of a documentary is out on Netflix this week, as director Elizabeth Lo pads about Istanbul in the company of some of its many street dogs - once exterminated in large numbers but now tagged and mostly left to do their own thing. Chief in her focus is Zeytin, a statuesque hound, whose perambulations offer us a chance to reflect not just on the life of these street dogs but of the humans around them. The full spectrum of human attitudes is captured here, with Lo, in particular, drawing parallels with the resilience of the animals and the struggles faced by human refugees in the city, although she doesn't push the politics.

Becoming Cary Grant, 11.45pm, BBC4, Sunday, April 3

Movie stars don't shine much brighter than Cary Grant did, good looking and with the acting ability to match, he started out in dramatic roles before showing an aptitude for comedy in films including HIs Girl Friday. This absorbing documentary from Mark Kidel uses his own words - from an unpublished autobiography and film that he shot himself - to explore his life and his attempts at therapy for his mental health issues. The film considers his status as a film idol from his perspective, as he began to use LSD to unpick the trauma of his past. Although perhaps not always digging as deep as it might into the star's contradictions, it nevertheless offers an interesting perspective of a man who became defined by his fame that just being himself was a role.

We're stepping back in time with our short selection this week, to archive film Listen To Britain, which paints a picture of life on the homefront during wartime.

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