November is here, and for culture fans, this means the best in film, books and TV is upon us. Award season is around the corner; artists are tentatively saving new releases for as close to the Christmas rush as they can get it and us? We're just happy to have an excuse for more cosy duvet days if we're honest. Jennifer McShane rounds up her culture picks for the month ahead, only some of which you'll need to leave the house for...
Call Me By Your Name
I read the novel on which this is based too long ago, and reviews have already said this is the film of 2017. Precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman is spending the days with his family at their 17th-century villa in Lombardy, Italy. He soon meets Oliver, a handsome doctoral student from the US who's working as an intern for Elio's father and their relationship flourishes over a heady summer. It's a gloriously beautiful coming-of-age drama.
In cinemas now
In case you missed it over the long weekend, The Crown's Claire Foy stars alongside Andrew Garfield in this biographical film about the lives of Robin Cavendish, who was paralysed from the neck down by polio aged 28 in the Fifties and became a pioneering advocate for disabled people, and his devoted wife, Diana. I loved it, it's triumph-over-adversity formula completely works, and it's heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measure.
In cinemas now
Netflix is adapting Atwood's award-winning novel Alias Grace into a six-episode miniseries starring actress Sarah Gadon as the titular Grace Marks, a poor Irish servant in the 1840s in Canada who finds herself convicted of brutal murders without memory of why. Along with stable hand James McDermott, she was convicted of the brutal murders of Thomas Kinnear, who employed them both, and his housekeeper and lover, Nancy Montgomery. The book remains as brilliant as ever so let's hope its TV adaptation lives up to it.
On Netflix, Friday, November 2nd
Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
Quite a few stars are trying their hands at fiction these days (and you can see more of this in the November issue of IMAGE Magazine, on shelves now) but it's actress Krysten Ritter's that had the biggest impact on me. It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and her small town roots. But when her job as an environmental lawyer leads her back she begins to find strange connections to a decade-old scandal involving Kaycee Mitchell – the popular girl who vanished without a trace. Soon troubling secrets and dark memories begin to resurface - and consume Abby. It’s dark but compulsively readable.
Hutchinson, approx. €10.99, out November 9th
Synthesis by Evanescence
It's been 15 years since the hidden goth in me made an appearance thanks to the arrival of Evanescence on the music scene. And despite their success, it may surprise some that they are still around. Nostalgia is the most powerful tool at our disposal when it comes to the arts these days - reboots and reworks are everywhere we turn - and Evanescence and frontwoman Amy Lee are serving up their sprinkle of this with their latest release. They've taken out the heavy guitars but kept the same lyrics and songs that resonated with so many, and this time they have only an orchestra, some mild electronics and the soaring vocals of Lee to carry them. The results are hauntingly beautiful at a time when every artist is seemingly converting to type. This work sounds fresh, modern and is made for those nights by the fire.
Synthesis is released on November 10th
Romeo & Juliet at The Gaiety Theatre
This month, Ballet Ireland present their critically-acclaimed version of Romeo and Juliet, the tale of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, accompanied by Prokofiev's incredible music and performed by a cast of world-class dancers. It's a mesmerising and lavish production and perfect for the pre-Christmas build-up. The production will be shown in 24 venues throughout Ireland this autumn, from the 3rd November – 23rd December, including performances in Dublin's Gaiety Theatre Wednesday 15th – Saturday 18th November.
Get tickets HERE