Our top picks in TV, books and movies
Our top picks in TV, books and movies.
1 MY BRILLIANT FRIEND
Two girls grow up poor in Naples: they’re both razor-sharp, but Lila burns a little brighter and Elena knows it. Their complicated and competitive friendship stretches over the four books and 60 years that make up Elena Ferrante’s international blockbuster. For this eight-episode adaptation of the first novel, set in the 1950s, director Saverio Costanzo auditioned nearly 9,000 children before choosing his young leads. Nov. 18.
2 ALL THE LIVES WE NEVER LIVED
Real-life figures—the German painter Walter Spies, the Indian singer Begum Akhtar—mingle with fictional creations in Anuradha Roy’s first novel since Sleeping on
Jupiter. The story is told by sixtysomething horticulturalist Myshkin, but its beating heart is his free-spirited mother, Gayatri, who ran away from her marriage and young son in 1930s India for a life of art. Nov. 20.
3 MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS
House of Cards creator Beau Willimon is no stranger to political power plays, and his script for this epic battle of the monarchs doesn’t stint on intrigue. Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) and Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) each believe they’re the rightful heir to the British throne—but only Liz has an on-call executioner. The smart money is on one of these stars to claim the best-actress Oscar denied to them both last year. Dec. 7.
4 TO THE RIVER
In 2005, at the age of 48, the author’s estranged brother, David, parked his truck outside of Whitehorse and walked into the Yukon River. Through his tender and unflinching memoir, Don Gillmor chases the ghost of his sibling north of the 60th parallel, trying to better understand a man he’d hardly known in adulthood. Dec. 31.
5 MARY POPPINS RETURNS
In this reboot of the children’s classic, Emily Blunt picks up Julie Andrews’s levitating umbrella and Lin-Manuel Miranda fares better than Dick Van Dyke at the cockney accent. Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Angela Lansbury, Julie Walters and a stillspry Van Dyke are all on hand as Mary Poppins returns to the now-grown Banks siblings, who find themselves in need of care and whimsy. Dec. 19.