Do you wonder why people do things? Do you try to figure out the path people have taken? Do you feel for those society casts out?
At Pushkin Press we’re getting ready to publish the morally challenging debut, Tench, so we’ve put together a list of Netflix shows which will make you question what you believe to be right and wrong and take you to some rather dark places…
1: 13 REASONS WHY
Can we ever know why someone takes their own life?
In an age where the main cause of death for children and young adults is suicide, how do we understand the desire to do it and the contagion that so often follows.
Clay finds a curious box outside his porch. It has been left by his crush Hannah but she’s already committed suicide, two weeks ago. Over the next episodes the tapes within the box expose both why she chose to do it and who drove her to this desperate measure.
2. GONE GIRL
Can you ever know who your partner really is?
Nick and Amy appear as the couple everyone wants to visibly be. However, she disappears and not only does Nick become the prime suspect but the gap between the fantasy and the brutal reality of their relationship is also startlingly exposed.
In an clawingly recognisable speech, the missing Amy explains how the reviled “cool girl” is condensed and confined through marriage into a wife who is used while becoming full of malice and resentment…
3. AN EDUCATION
Why do young women fall for older men?
Carey Mulligan’s character, Jenny, is a smart, pretty teen desperately trying to pass her Oxbridge exams. She continually attempts to seem like the cultured, bohemian women she’s heard about and when David, a charismatic suitor, drives into her life offering this glamour she is completely taken in.
This film shows grooming from the victim’s perspective. The otherwise bleak issues are handled with superb style, humour and thankfully for once the film shows a ‘victim’ who doesn’t identify as such, at all. Jenny is as charming and strong at the end as she is at the beginning, just maybe a little wiser.
5.WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
If you’re a good parent will your children do good things? What happens if they do something terrible, something worse than you could ever have imagined?
Eva, a free-spirited travel-writer, decides to leave her life in order to have child. Except she can’t bond with the baby. That baby becomes Kevin. Kevin who as a teenager kills a large amount of his classmates. Since he can’t be sentenced as an adult, the responsibility rests on the parents. Is Eva to blame? If it’s a question of nature or nurture either way, the mother has created the monster.
A dark psychological tale of the horrors of parenthood and of what children can become.
4.MAKING A MURDERER
How do you know when a person is guilty and what’s the price if you get it wrong?
Avery was sentenced for a rape he didn’t commit. After years his name was cleared and he was released, only to be tried for the murder of a 25-year-old photographer.
Throughout the episodes, constructed from interviews, court footage and other more personal media, the documentary makers withhold their opinions overtly, letting the audience weigh judgement. This highlights powerfully the abuse going on in the justice system and what happens when those in power don’t believe the vulnerable.
It’s wonderfully put together and makes you wonder how far humans will go to conceal the most unpleasant sides of themselves.
How do you know if you are talking to a real person online?
Nev, receives a package from an 8-year old girl. It contains a stunning, mature painting. As he talks to her on Facebook, he is drawn into a web which includes her mother and older sister, Megan. He decides to take a road trip to meet them in person – but what he finds in Michigan is totally unexpected.
Throughout, the dizzying sense of distance between the virtual world and who is behind the screen draws attention not just to internet security but also asks of us how truthful our own online representations are.
When is a crime not a crime but a public service? If a child is at risk is it right to take responsibility for them?
Lu has headed to New York to track down her boyfriend. However, as she searches a hotel for left-over food an alcoholic housewife ropes her in to baby-sitting a toddler. It becomes clear the child isn’t safe with its mother and so Lu decides to take the child on. What follows is a tale of bonding, post-natal depression and what it means to try and be “good”.
Ellen Page and Tammy Blanchard perform wonderfully in this uplifting and hilarious film which has darkness woven through and creeping in at its edges.
Ready for some more morally complex storytelling? Click here to get your copy of the extraordinarily powerful Tench, a searing insight into one of the most taboo topics in human existence.