Ten essential films and TV series to watch while you're confined to home

Guaranteed to take your mind elsewhere, here's our film critic's must-watch list


In these difficult times, it is important to find ways to elevate the mood. 

With this in mind, we’ve picked out 10 great Jewish-interest films or TV shows available on streaming services — and present them in no particular order. 

The Meyerowitz Stories (2017), available on Netflix, stars Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Dustin Hoffman in a delightful drama comedy courtesy of prolific writer/director Noah Baumbach. It tells the story of a dysfunctional and estranged family gathering in New York City for an event celebrating their father’s artistic work. 

If you haven’t already got addicted to this one, now’s your chance: Shtisel Seasons One and Two is a critically acclaimed Israeli TV series that tells the story of a Charedi family living in Geula, an strictly-Orthodox neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Both seasons of this hugely popular series are available on Netflix, with a third season rumoured to be in the works. 

If you have any spare adrenaline, Netflix drama Uncut Gems (2019) from Josh and Benny Safdie (Good Time) is a top-drawer thriller. Set in the New York Diamond District and stars Adam Sandler as a hapless Jewish jeweller in the midst of a destructive midlife crisis and mounting gambling debts. It is genuinely anxiety-inducing and has to be the Safdis most Jewish film to date. 

Disobedience (2017), on Amazon Prime Video, stars Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams in Sebastian Lelio’s critically acclaimed adaptation of Naomi Alderman best-selling novel. The story centres around a woman (Weisz) who returns to her Orthodox Jewish community in Hendon years after being shunned over her attraction to a female childhood friend (McAdams). Recommended.

No Jewish must-watch list would be complete without an entry by the brilliant — and haimishe — Billy Wilder. The Apartment (1960), on Amazon Prime, is one of the director’s most loved works. It stars Jack Lemmon as a man who rises in his company by allowing executives to use his bachelor pad for illicit affairs. Shirley MacLaine is the lowly lift attendant who steals his heart and leads him back to the straight and narrow. 

One of the offerings on UK Jewish Film’s new streaming service is the moving Apples from the Desert (2014). Nominated for three Israeli Academy Awards, the movie was adapted by directors Matti Harari and Arik Lubetzky from Savyon Liebrecht’s much-loved short story of the same name. It centres around Rebecca, an only child living a sheltered existence with her strict Sephardi parents in Jerusalem. She dreams of breaking away from tradition and living her life to the fullest. 

Call Me By Your Name (2017), on Netflix, stars Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer in a beautifully intricate gay romance which was adapted by Luca Guadagnino from Jewish author André Aciman’s novel of the same name. Chalamet, son of an American Jewish mother, stars as 17-year-old Elio, the son of an Italo-American Jewish family, who falls in love with an older man (Hammer) during a hot Italian summer in the 1980s. 

Woody Allen’s fantasy comedy Midnight In Paris (2011), on Amazon Prime, will get your mind well away from apocalyptic thoughts. Critically acclaimed, it stars Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates. While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée’s family, a screenwriter (Wilson) finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight.

For those looking for inspiration,  Zuzana: Music is Life (UK Jewish Film streaming service)  is not to be missed. Winner of Best Documentary at the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival in 2017, Harriet Getzels and Peter Getzels gorgeous account of hope and resilience tells the story of 90-year-old Zuzana Ruzickova. After surviving three concentration camps, including Auschwitz, and decades-long oppression under the Czech Republic totalitarian regime, Zuzana went on to achieve global fame as a gifted harpsichordist. She is the only musician to ever record all the keyboard works of Bach. 

Last, but by no means least, we recommend The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (TV series from 2017), available on Amazon Prime Video. Amy Sherman-Palladino directs this wonderfully original series about a 1960s Jewish housewife (Rachel Brosnahan) who decides to become a comic after being deserted by her husband for his mistress. The Marvelous Mrs Maisel is truly one of the funniest, most uplifting TV series of the last decade — and that is mostly thanks to Brosnahan’s hugely likeable persona.

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