Each week we highlight the noteworthy titles that have recently hit streaming platforms in the United States. Check out this week’s selections below and past round-ups here.

Actors (Betsey Brown)

With its central storyline revolving around a male actor (Peter Vack) adopting a phony trans identity in order to secure roles, Betsey Brown’s Actors is engineered to court controversy. But the film is more than empty provocation. Actors is about the inherent vulnerability it takes to be a working actor, and we catch glimpses of the ceaseless cycle of auditions and self-tapes listed as private on Vimeo. This includes one very funny early sequence in which Brown’s mother and father (played by her actual parents) walk her through a self-tape for a lewd part. It’s a role Brown knows she has little chance at landing, so why go through with the humiliation? Because born performers have no choice. Leads Vack and Brown are also siblings in real life, and the film’s connective tissue of meta, real-life elements surround a constructed central narrative in a seamless and fresh way. Shot on a mix of laptop webcams, iPhones and traditional cinema cameras, this mismatch of mixed media could easily feel unwieldy, but DP Barton Cortright—known for his static frames in Ricky D’Ambrose’s films—connects them all together in a way that plays as almost-miraculously coherent. After a 2022 film festival tour that concluded with a buzzy string of sold-out screenings in New York and Los Angeles, Brown’s provocative Actors is back on the scene, available on demand. – Caleb H.

Where to Stream: VOD

American Fiction (Cord Jefferson)

Thelonious “Monk” Ellison is in a rut. He’s still trying to get a publisher to accept his latest book in a market that doesn’t exactly embrace his erudite style. His gig as a college professor lecturing to students that are too “goddamn delicate” to embrace thorny topics of race has him ostracized from colleagues. He’s estranged from family, all of whom are juggling their own issues––health problems, divorce, the financial strain that comes with both. When Monk concocts an elaborate joke to get more fame and acceptance, it’s taken shocking seriously, setting off a series of misadventures exploring how white America is more willing to accept the most reductive, pandering stories of Black trauma versus something that rings holistically authentic. With American Fiction, Cord Jefferson––who has worked on series such as Succession and 2019’s Watchmen––has crafted a directorial debut of biting satire but one that smartly stays grounded in the perspective of Monk’s journey. – Jordan R. (full review)

Where to Stream: MGM+

Four Daughters (Kaouther Ben Hania)

Inserting yourself into the story you’re telling is always a risk. Kaouther Ben Hania, the director of Four Daughters, makes herself known in her docu-fiction experiment, seen coaching to some extent her subjects. The film moving between the rooms of their family home and a backstage setting with makeup being applied (perhaps admitting to the surprisingly glossy look of much of the film), it readily anticipates criticism of itself for exploitation. Though lining a couch for much of the runtime, our five subjects are very comfortable in front of the camera, and you kind of just trust them. – Ethan V. (full review)

Where to Stream: Netflix

Full Time (Éric Gravel)

A single mother lands a job interview for a role that can get her career back on track, but the world appears hellbent on sabotaging her in Éric Gravel’s nail-biting Full Time. A transit strike disrupting workers’ commutes, a tense work environment in her current job as a hotel maid, and the day-to-day struggles of raising two children are just some of the hassles Gravel immediately drops viewers into from frame one without slowing down for one second. Anyone who’s worked their ass off just to survive will both relate to and get triggered by Full Time, which stacks the deck against its lead character to portray the harsh reality of a working-class life, where trying to achieve upward mobility has stakes as high as a Mission: Impossible film. – C.J. P.

Where to Stream: MUBI (free for 30 days)

Perfect Days (Wim Wenders)

Every work day, Hirayama (Koji Yakusho) wakes, waters his plants, washes up, dresses in his coveralls, and leaves his house before the sun fully rises. He buys a coffee can from the vending machine next door and hops in his van, which is filled to the brim with cleaning products. Before turning on his vehicle and going to the various public toilets in Tokyo he thoroughly, he puts a tape in the cassette player. The Animals, Patti Smith, the Velvet Underground fill the air as we witness Hirayama’s Perfect Days. Maybe the best representation of “mono no aware” this decade so far. – Jaime G.

Where to Stream: VOD

Poor Things (Yorgos Lanthimos)

Bella Baxter––whose organic internal makeup I’ll leave to shocking reveal––was born an adult woman. The furiously beating heart of Yorgos Lanthimos’s new film, Poor Things, she was found dead at the bottom of a bridge, an unknown life left behind her, and reanimated from Jane Doe into Bella (Emma Stone) by a bubble-belching monster. Though, that’s not what he calls himself. – Luke H. (full review)

Where to Stream: Hulu

Social Skills (Henry Hills)

Experimental film mainstay Henry Hills captures a sixty-day dance workshop in liberatory body movement led by Venezuelan choreographer David Zambrano. Editing quicksilver visuals to eclectic pop samples and harp improvisations, Hills creates a delightful cacophony of his own personal rhythms.

Where to Stream: Le Cinéma Club

The Teachers’ Lounge (İlker Çatak)

In a penetrating essay on the life and work of Salvador Dalí, George Orwell observed the following about intellectual ambition: “It seems to be, if not the rule, at any rate distinctly common for an intellectual bent to be accompanied by a non-rational, even childish urge in the same direction.” Orwell was thinking mainly of artists and scientists, but I am sure he would have agreed that the same is true of politicians––that urges to hold office and curry favor with the crowd are often more explicable in terms of childish fancies of kings and courts than they are in terms of highbrow things like duty and virtue. İlker Çatak, the German-Turkish director and screenwriter, is clearly aware of this idea, and in his latest film, The Teachers’ Lounge (Das Lehrerzimmer), he goes some way toward proving its validity. – Oliver W. (full review)

Where to Stream: VOD

The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)

For his entire career, Terrence Malick has been contending that the divine can be found on Earth. With The Tree of Life, his case was firmly put to rest, with cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki helping prove it in every vivid frame. The stirring reflection on our place in the universe is book-ended by eloquently orchestrated sequences concerning life’s origins and demise, but its central story ruminates on the journey in-between. And while we specifically follow a family in late-50s Texas, there’s a universality that provides a mirror into timeless questions of significance and meaning that humanity has grappled with for ages. An ethereal odyssey into what came before us, what makes us human, and our certain future, The Tree of Life is an enrapturing testament to the profound beauty of cinema. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Hulu

What Happens Later (Meg Ryan)

Despite being publicized as Meg Ryan’s return to the rom-com, her latest directorial (and acting, producing, and first writing) effort What Happens Later is a rather well-observed, aching reckoning of the love and life left beyond when one achieves the proper distance for reflection. While this one-location tale of two ex-lovers (Meg Ryan and David Duchovny) trapped at an airport overnight has its fair share of slightly clunky, humorous banter (and a peculiar fantasy element that may convince one they are in purgatory), the residual feeling is one of regrets and longing, a bitter but more emotionally impressive pill than what could’ve been a simplified return to the genre that made Ryan famous. – Jordan R.

Where to Stream: Paramount+ with Showtime

Also New to Streaming

Apple TV+

Edge of Tomorrow
Saving Private Ryan
The Wolf of Wall Street


The Marsh King’s Daughter



Metrograph at Home

Bisbee ’17
Fireworks Wednesday
Los Reyes

MUBI (free for 30 days)

Thursday Till Sunday



Prime Video

Ricky Stanicky
The Untouchables

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