Stunning docs and sexy thrillers in our monthly roundup of all the films and television you want to get watching this June
Film of the month: L'amant Double
A young woman discovers that her lover is concealing a crucial aspect of his identity in this racy French thriller
Director François Ozon sure likes to keep us on our toes; as a follow up to his last film—the clean-cut, black and white historical drama, Frantz—he brings us a sex-fuelled sucker punch of a movie, L’Amant Double. A young, mentally troubled woman, Chloé, falls in love with her therapist, Paul. As their relationship progresses and they move in together, strange things begin to happen. Is Paul really who she thinks he is? Is she just getting a bit paranoid? Or is something truly sinister taking shape behind the scenes?
It’s an incredibly twisty, bold and graphic thriller that seems to follow only one constant: just when you think it couldn’t get any weirder, it always does. And while it falls back on some over-familiar, psychological horror tropes (Rosemary’s Baby, anyone?), it does so with such wild abandon that you can’t help but let yourself get lured into its nightmarish madness.
But the true delight here is the actress playing Chloé, Marine Vacth. With words rolling gently off her tongue in silky whispers, her messy, boyish haircut and dainty features, she belongs in a Jean-Luc Godard movie from the 1960s. Not for the faint of heart, but if you like your mysteries dressed in bizarre erotica, this one’s for you (you might want to skip food before you watch it though).
Four women spice up their book club with Fifty Shades of Grey, which has an unexpected effect on their own love lives. What could have been a mind-numbingly boring Hollywood comedy is redeemed here by the formidable leading ladies; Diane Keaton is the ditsy widow Diane, Jane Fonda plays the man-eating businesswoman Vivian, Candice Bergen is the no-nonsense judge Sharon, and Mary Steenburgen is the warm-hearted Carol.
Together, they support each other through thick and thin, as they all meet or reconnect with the men of their lives with varying results. Expect hearty laughs, witty one-liners and an unpretentiously positive message about love.
My Friend Dahmer
A carefully crafted dramatisation of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s early life as a teenager. If you’re familiar with his monstrous murders of the 1970s and 80s, this film will act as a morbidly fascinating prequel, offering a portrait of a deeply troubled young man, struggling with his sexuality, dysfunctional parents and all-consuming loneliness which he tried to suppress with alcohol. It’s a worthwhile biopic that’ll make you laugh when you least expect it, have you torn between feelings of sympathy and disgust, and ponder the eternal debate of nature versus nurture.
The story of a boy from an East London council estate who went on to conquer the fashion world. It’s a collection of insightful interviews with those who knew him best, revealing a savagely ambitious, visionary craftsman with a penchant for bawdy jokes and spontaneous shenanigans. With a Greenaway-esque soundtrack and lush costumes filling every frame, it’s one grand affair.
Out on June 8
Join Cher, Elton John, Elizabeth Taylor and a whole host of other top A-listers in the sweltering, sweaty, thumping world of Studio 54. The Olympus of the 1970s disco world, this club was known for its extravagant, theatrical parties, lecherous, drug-fuelled shenanigans and nightly visits from the biggest celebrities in the world. This exhilarating, sparkling doc follows the rise and decline of the discotheque alongside the tumultuous lives of its co-owners, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell.
By Mike McCahill
The Bridge: Series 4 (BBC1)
What is it?
The best Scandie crime drama returning for one final run.
Where do we join in?
With obsessive-compulsive detective Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) in a bad place after her mother’s death, leaving partner/lover Henrik (Thure Lindhardt) to pick up the investigative slack.
Why should I watch it?
Creators Hans Rosenfeldt and Camilla Ahlgren are masters of the socially engaged jigsaw puzzle: this series fills in the missing pieces around the fatal stoning of a Danish immigration bigshot.
A Very English Scandal: (BBC1)
What is it?
A three-part adaptation of John Preston’s excellent novel about the Jeremy Thorpe affair, with the newly resurgent Hugh Grant playing Thorpe.
Why should I watch it?
If the extraordinary story—Liberal MP from Somerset is accused of plotting a bungled hit on his gay lover—doesn’t grab you, the five-star talent assembled here might. Russell T Davies adapts, the generally dependable Stephen Frears directs, while Ben Whishaw plays Thorpe’s intended victim Norman Scott.
No previews available, but expect Hugh Grant to do something really special with Thorpe’s peculiar mix of high privilege and low cunning.
What to stream this month
Cunk on Britain: Series 1 (iPlayer)
A strong month for comedy starts with Charlie Brooker and Diane Morgan’s hilarious send-up of history TV.
Famalam: Series 1 (iPlayer)
After last year’s funny pilot, this lively, unusually consistent sketch show—featuring Samson Kayo—earns a full four-episode run.
James Acaster, Repertoire (Netflix)
Offbeam stand-up Acaster has always been an original thinker, but these collected specials highlight his superb stagecraft.