Danni Wang/Netflix

July 2, 2021

Ten Hidden Gems on Netflix to Watch This Summer

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There’s nothing like a good Netflix bender to restore your mental health after a stressful semester and finals season. Are you tired of endless seasons of Grey’s Anatomy? Are you still pissed that Netflix took The Office away? Do you not want to watch your favorite romantic comedy for the 10th time? Then check out one of the shows or films listed below. 

TV Shows

Blown Away

For Fans of: The Great British Bake Off

For me, The Great British Bake Off is the pinnacle of reality TV. If you love Bake Off’s lack of unnecessary drama and the contestants’ unwavering devotion to their craft, you will love Blown Away. The show centers on a glassblowing competition in which glassblowers design, create and present a new piece of art to the judges each episode. You learn a lot about the art form itself, which is both fascinating and terrifying, and you will also end up screaming at your computer after your favorite contestant gets sent home.

Tabula Rasa 

For Fans of: Gone Girl, Behind Her Eyes

This show is in Flemish, but even if you normally avoid subtitles, it is worth the watch. Tabula Rasa is a fascinating psychological thriller about Mie, a woman who struggles with amnesia following an accident. After waking up in a mental hospital without her own memory to rely on, she struggles to piece together the last few months of her life. Tabula Rasa utilizes flashbacks and an unreliable narrator to craft an engrossing and important story about trauma and how it impacts relationships as well as one’s self-image. 

Wild Wild Country 

For Fans of: Murder Among the Mormons, Tiger King 

Wild Wild Country is a docuseries that may be stranger than fiction. Like many true crime stories, it is best to start with no context, but the basic storyline chronicles the rise and fall of the Rajneeshpuram, a religious community that begins to establish its headquarters in rural Oregon, angering and worrying its residents. This story gets, appropriately, wilder and wilder through its run, and is a great case study on the extremes that people will go to maintain power and influence.

Babylon Berlin 

For Fans of: Cabaret

This German historical drama is inspired by works of film noir and follows the troubled Inspector Rath as he attempts to uncover a hidden extortion ring in Berlin. Meanwhile, Charlotte Ritter, a clerk and flapper girl, pursues Rath with the goal of becoming Berlin’s first female investigator. Babylon Berlin pairs an exciting mystery thriller with an introduction to Berlin’s early queer and cabaret scene.

The End of the F***ing World 

For Fans of: You

If you need a series to blow through in one weekend, this is it. This teenage horror-comedy has eight 20-minute episodes in each of its two seasons, and the storyline is so fast paced that it feels more like two movies back to back. The storyline revolves around 17-year-old budding sociopath James and his evolving relationship with social outcast Alyssa, after they spontaneously decide to run off together. The show also has an amazing soundtrack.

Movies

American Factory 

For Fans of: Becoming, The Social Dilemma

The 2020 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature, American Factory is a riveting, cleanly-made glimpse into modern American labor economics and its impact on civilians. American Factory tells the story of an industrial town in Ohio that receives a second chance after its General Motors factory falls to the Great Recession: Chinese ownership. When a Chinese billionaire buys the factory and begins hiring both American and international workers, the local population feels a mixture of hope and suspicion. A worthwhile watch for anyone interested in America’s shifting workforce.

The Florida Project 

For Fans of: Nomadland, A24 movies

The Florida Project is the type of movie where nothing much happens; instead, it is a couple-hour long glimpse into the everyday lives of a group of children living in a motel in Orlando — just outside of Disney World. This film benefits from its childhood actors, especially Brooklynn Prince, who plays her role of six-year old Moonee remarkably. Another highlight is newcomer Bria Vinaite as Moonee’s loving but often careless mother, Halley. The Florida Project shows the innocence of childhood in a way that neither lingers on nor ignores the tragedy of its setting.

Yes, God, Yes 

For Fans of: Sex Education, Booksmart

Yes, God, Yes stars Natalia Dyer of Stranger Things fame as a repressed Catholic teen in the early 2000s. It is a film about discovering one’s sexuality, but is also a funny and frank portrayal of a teenage girl’s often confusing quest to find her own independent values and morals, and her discovery that the most judgemental people are often the ones with the most to hide. 

Set It Up 

For Fans of: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Pete Davidson

Are you tired of romantic comedies taking place in high school? Are you sick of bad acting and concerning relationship dynamics? Have you ever had a terrible internship? Then this movie is for you. Set It Up follows two overworked interns who decide to team up and play matchmaker for their overbearing bosses. You can probably guess where the story goes from the beginning, but that’s part of the charm, and it makes the end result all the more satisfying. 

20th Century Women 

For Fans of: Lady Bird

20th Century Women does not have Timothee Chalamet in it, but it is exactly the kind of film that would have Timothee Chalamet in it. It is a charming but layered portrayal of a house in 1979-era Santa Barbara, run by single mother Dorothea. Among its inhabitants are Dorothea’s 15-year-old son Jamie, Jamie’s best friend Julia, of which the two share a complicated relationship, and an artsy photographer named Abbie. 20th Century Women is a quiet but immersive story about coming of age and the relationships that ground us.

Ayesha Chari is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].