Having offered horrors, action movies, thrillers and more in the past, we're looking at the best biography movies on Netflix this week.
In recent weeks, we covered the best romantic comedies, sci fi movies, musicals and war movies on Netflix. We've gone in a totally different direction again for this week, looking at biographies, or biopics, on Netflix.
The genre has often found success in awards season. After all, there are few things more moving than true life stories. Seeing big names step into and transform themselves into real-life icons consistently impresses audiences.
There are plenty of biographical dramas, or biography movies, to choose from.
With the combination of a script from Aaron Sorkin; Danny Boyle as the director; and leads in Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet, audiences knew they were going to get something really interesting out of 'Steve Jobs'. The flick takes place over the course of 14 years, examining three pivotal moments in the Apple co-founder's life. Fassbender, who lost the Best Actor Oscar that year to Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant', has called it the most challenging role of his career.
The Social Network
Sure we all know about Facebook. So why not watch the movie that depicts how the social media platform started? The film’s phenomenal cast boasts Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin, Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, and Armie Hammer as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Aaron Sorkin’s incisive script earned the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Its opening has got to be one of the best movie breakup scenes ever.
The Theory of Everything
This engrossing romantic drama depicting the life of Stephen Hawking and his relationship with his wife Jane earned Eddie Redmayne an Oscar and was a breakthrough performance for Felicity Jones. (She went on to star in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' and 'On the Basis of Sex'). Their marriage gradually, sadly disintegrates and 'The Theory of Everything' tenderly and sympathetically depicts the breakdown from both sides.
The Young Victoria
As well as 'The Devil Wears Prada', 'The Young Victoria' features another early performance from Emily Blunt that showed her talent as an actress. The movie takes the romance between the titular queen and Prince Albert (played here by Rupert Friend) as its focus. Director Jean-Marc Vallée would go on to helm 'Dallas Buyers Club' and 'Big Little Lies'. This isn't any old costume drama.
Brad Pitt leads an ensemble cast in this sports drama about a struggling baseball team who uses maths, statistics and a whole lorra gumption to turn their team into a powerhouse. With a screenplay co-written by Aaron Sorkin, 'Moneyball's much more than just sports stats and Brad Pitt looking sad. There's a lot of heart and courage to the whole thing. And you don't need to know a thing about baseball.
12 Years a Slave
Michael Fassbender's most terrifying role to date is his performance as slave owner Edwin Epps in '12 Years a Slave.' The multi-Academy award winning movie follows Solomon Northup, a free African-American man who was kidnapped by con men and sold into slavery in 1841. Brilliant performances are given by Chiwetel Ejiofor as the lead; Lupita Nyong'o as Patsey (who won an Oscar for her performance); and Paul Dano as the cruel John Tibeats.
A Beautiful Mind
The biopic depicts the life of the brilliant American mathematician John Nash. Nash's prospects of a promising career with the CIA become confounded by paranoid delusions and schizophrenia as the stress of the job proves too much. The Russell Crowe starrer proved a big box office success. It was also the big winner of the 2002 Academy Awards, earning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress (for Jennifer Connelly).
The King’s Speech
We can all appreciate how dastardly handsome and talented Colin Firth is. It transcends gender and generation, so all audiences should enjoy this, his career best (no, it's not 'Mamma Mia!'). Firth won an Oscar for playing King George VI, who suffers with a stammer and requires a speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) to cope. Helena Bonham Carter, a regular in historical and costume dramas, makes a brilliant Queen Elizabeth.
Basketball became big on Netflix this year with the success of Michael Jordan's docuseries 'The Last Dance'. If you can't get enough of that content, 'Coach Carter' is a great one to check out. It's a very entertaining if not slightly schmaltzy sports drama (but sure they're all a bit sentimental, if we're honest). Samuel L Jackson plays the real life figure, who benches his team of high school players when they break their academic contracts with him. Wonder if that will get them motivated...
If you're a fan of 'Creed' and 'Black Panther' star Michael B. Jordan, then you should check out the film that launched his career. Interestingly enough, like 'Creed' and 'Black Panther', it has the same director in Ryan Coogler. Based on a true story, 'Fruitvale Station' depicts the events leading to the death of Oscar Grant. Grant was killed in 2009 by a police officer at the titular Fruitvale district station in Oakland. Clocking in at an hour and a half, it's a succinct and very powerful feature that's more relevant than ever.
Dolemite is My Name
Once you watch the movie, it'll be impossible to read the title without hearing/saying: "Dolemite is my name, and f***in' up motherf***ers is my game!" The biography based on the eccentric comedy and movie career of Rudy Ray Moore features Eddie Murphy's best performance in years. It's smart, it's funny and stars an abundance of black talent, including surprise appearances from the likes of Wesley Snipes and Snoop Dogg.
Based on a true story, this is the movie that finally turned Julia Roberts in Oscar-winning Julia Roberts. Her turn as Erin found the actress at her most charming and down to earth since 'Pretty Woman'. It relates how an unemployed, single mother gets caught up in a lawsuit with her new boss (Albert Finney), eventually leading them to take on a massive Californian power company who may have been polluting the city's water supply.
‘First Man’, which stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and is directed by Damien Chazelle, got overlooked when it came to the Oscars, possibly due to the huge degree of attention 'La La Land', the prior collaboration between the actor and director, got the year before. Probably just as well you can watch it on the smaller screen platform of Netflix now; the cinematography, impressive as it is, can make the viewer a little seasick. 'The Crown's Claire Foy, it's also worth mentioning, is fantastic.