Bound’s Ultimate Netflix Binge List For Writers & Lit Nerds
By Rhea Pereira
Whether you are a writer with a looming deadline or a reader with a never-ending TBR, once in a while we recommend a good Netflix binge. We all love a good story no matter the medium. So we are giving you a free license to procrastinate for a bit. Does a Netflix binge count as research? Sure, let’s call it that.
This list has something for everyone, with book adaptations, documentaries, wartime romances, you can have your pick. So read on, you can thank us later for sorting out your Netflix watchlist.
Carrie Pilby (2016)
Carrie is a 19-year-old, highly intelligent teenager trying to make sense of the world. Fighting isolation in New York City, the film depicts a character so filled with angst. Carrie questions media, relationships and morality as she comes of age and attempts to make a friend and get a job. Adapted from Caren Lissner’s novel by the same name, director Susan Johnson describes Carrie as the female version of Holden Caulfield. A girl who is lost in her world of books and in therapy to learn how to adult, relatable much?
Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold (2017)
Joan Didion is one of the most celebrated American writers of her generation. In this limited series, director Griffin Dunne, Didion’s nephew, captures an intimate portrayal of Didion in her own words as she looks back on her career and personal life. Didion was most well known for examining the realities of the counterculture. The documentary reveals how she developed her investigative writing style. She also reflects on how her book ‘The Year Of Magical Thinking’ emerged as a coping mechanism to deal with the loss of her husband and then her daughter. If you are someone looking to make your non-fiction writing better then Didion is definitely someone you can learn a lot from. This documentary is revealing of a great mind and is a must-watch as Didion offers a distillation of her art.
Pretend It’s A City (2021)
If you have always been obsessed with New York, then Martin Scorsese’s sit down chat with author Fran Lebowitz is a must-watch. I confess I didn’t know who Lebowitz was when the show dropped but her style was definitely something that had me hooked. Candid, outspoken and often politically incorrect, Lebowitz is an icon in her own right. In this six-part series, Fran a typical New Yorker complains about the annoying tourists in the city, explores the lifeline that is the transit system and throws it back as she recalls her time as a cab driver in the male-dominated profession. New York City is as much of a character as Fran in this documentary that reveals hidden facets of both the city and the author.
Magic Beyond Words: The JK Rowling Story (2011)
We’ve all grown up on Harry Potter, so this film is for those nostalgic as well as the self-doubting moments. JK Rowling has been recently been called out for her transphobic opinions and we understand that this film might be a controversial pick for many. But if you put that aside for a moment you can learn a lot from the author’s early life struggle and how she rose from living on state welfare to being one of the world’s richest authors. Love it or hate it, we leave the choice up to you.
#AnneFrank — Parallel Stories (2019)
Narrated by Helen Mirren, the documentary traces the lives of 5 women Holocaust survivors and their memories and experiences of the ghastly concentration camps. The documentary also creates a fictionalised character of Katarina Kat that parallels Anne Frank in age and is meant to act as the modern thread that holds the stories together. If history fascinates you, then you will love this unique take on storytelling. Watch for the interweaving of testimonies and for the depiction of intergenerational trauma.
This mini-series is based on Deborah Feldman’s memoir ‘Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection Of My Hasidic Roots’. It follows the life of Esther aka Etsy Shapiro who is born in the traditional Satmar Hasidic Jewish community in New York City. The nineteen-year-old flees to Germany away from the binds of the community and her challenging marriage to Yanky. Alone in a new city and equipped with no knowledge about the real world, Etsy embarks on a journey of finding herself and her true calling. Shira Haas who plays Etsy can convey a range of emotions with a simple smile and imbibes the essence of the character beautifully. If you are interested in how the series was shot, watch ‘Making Unorthodox which takes you behind the scenes of how the directors recreated an authentic representation of the community.
The Queen’s Gambit (2020)
Based on Walter Tevis’ 1983 novel, this show can make even chess sexy. Through meticulously planned costumes and wigs, the series depicts the coming of age of Elizabeth Harmon played by Anya Taylor-Joy. Beth grows up as an orphan at Methuen Home where she learns to play chess from the janitor and also gets addicted to mood stabilisers. As a female chess prodigy, Harmon battles with her inner demons and her various addictions along with her super talent. The show does a brilliant job of showing inner turmoil through external actions. Beth is a peculiar, dysfunctional character who gets you hooked at every turn. Fun fact the series led to a surge in the sale of chess boards, that just goes to say how addictive it is.
The film is based on the true story of the famed French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. It tells the story of Colette’s marriage to Willy, the famous Parisian author and how she ghostwrote the character of Claudine that shot him to fame. Keira Knightley’s depiction of Collete transgressing boundaries of sexuality and societal conventions is so on point. Colette was well ahead of her times and the film portrays her coming into being and writing fearlessly about her sexual preferences in early 1903.
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society (2018)
This feel-good wartime drama is set in German-occupied Guernsey. It has been adapted from the historical novel by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. Inspired by her correspondence with Tom, a Guernsey pig farmer Tom, novelist Juliet decides to visit the island and uncover the stories of a secret society. Juliet quickly forms a bond with the members of the society. For all the romance lovers there is also a love triangle with Juliet’s fiance back home and her instant chemistry with Tom. With several memorable and endearing characters, this one is definitely a must-watch for book lovers.
Marie Antoinette (2006)
This historical film based on the life of Marie Antoinette shows the queen in a new light. It takes off from the point where the 14-year-old Austrian princess is being shipped off as part of a strategic deal to France to be married to the future King Louis XVI. At the centre of the story is the misunderstood and deeply lonely princess who has always been treated as a commodity, and been encased in the court’s protocol. The blend of pop culture, parody and over-exaggerated opulence make this a fun watch and at the same time makes a powerful statement about the time period.
About the author
Rhea was born and raised in Mumbai. She has completed her Masters in English at SNDT Women’s University. Her key research interests are postcolonial studies, mainly focussing on women’s narratives and their experience of citizenship. She loves to dance, eat cake and have long conversations.