The lockdowns might be over — for now — but that doesn’t mean you no longer want to be entertained. Here are our picks for what you can stream in the comfort of your homes. One documentary, one docu-series and a film. Go.

Wonder Boy (Netflix, 2021)

Wonder Boy (Netflix, 2021)
Wonder Boy (Netflix, 2021)

He’s one of contemporary fashion’s most iconic names. A star that just keeps on rising. Olivier Rousteing was only 24-years-old when he got the job he currently holds as the creative director of the powerhouse fashion brand, Balmain. At that time in 2011, he was the youngest person in the world to head a luxury fashion brand since Yves Saint Laurent, back in the day. Since his appointment, he’s improved the brand’s earnings six-fold yet, behind the scenes, he was suffering.

A fashion icon on a personal quest. A nostalgic history of pop music. And a tigress on the loose. There’s something for every taste

In the Netflix documentary, Wonder Boy, we’re introduced to Olivier’s most private and enduring pain: being abandoned at birth by his biological mother. In Wonder Boy, the 32-year-old fashion designer decides to go on a search for his birth mother. He’s quick to stress that he has received an immense amount of love from his adopted family and is very close to his grandparents, but all that love never truly covered a deep-rooted sense of abandonment that he always carried with him.

And in the backdrop, we have the riveting and glamorous Paris fashion scene, where Olivier brings his somewhat bold and avant garde designs to life.

This Is Pop (Netflix, 2021)

This Is Pop (Netflix, 2021)
This Is Pop (Netflix, 2021)

Nostalgic for the good ol’ days that seemed to have gone past way too soon? Netflix’s eight-part series, This Is Pop, is a fun look at some of the most significant moments in American pop music history.

Everything is covered here — from the introduction of popular bands such as Boyz II Men, whose ground-breaking style was turned into a formula by the music industry and emulated by acts such as NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and Boyzone among others. There is Oasis and Wynonna Judd, among others, as well as interesting little tidbits of information such as on the rise of music festivals and the era of the Autotune — who can forget Cher’s autotuned sensation, Believe, which had everyone believing in life after love? In fact, we learn in This Is Pop that rapper T-Pain delayed releasing his finished album for a whole year while he searched for an unusual vocal effect he had once heard in Jennifer Lopez’s debut single, If You Had My Love. It was the Autotune.

One of the more surprising reveals in the docuseries — spoiler alert — is Sweden’s influence on pop music. From Baby One More Time by Britney Spears, I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys, It’s Gonna Be Me by NSYNC, So What by Pink and, more recently, Shake It Off by Taylor Swift — and many, many others — these songs have been either written, recorded or produced in that Nordic country, also otherwise known as the birthplace of Abba.

Watch This Is Pop to take a fun trip down memory lane. And learn something completely new about acts you thought you knew everything about.

Sherni (Amazon Prime, 2021)

Sherni (Amazon Prime, 2021)
Sherni (Amazon Prime, 2021)

If you want to take a break from Netflix’s usual fare, watch Amazon Prime Video’s latest release, Sherni. Vidya Balan delivers a quiet, almost understated yet very powerful performance as a park ranger in search of a tigeress.

Set in the stunningly beautiful forests of Madhya Pradesh, Vidya Balan is Vidya Vincent, an Indian Forest Services (IFS) officer. It’s 100 percent a male-dominated field and Vidya is challenging sexist stereotypes by simply existing as an IFS officer. She’s trying to track a tigeress on the loose, who’s blamed for the death and loss of both livestock and humans.

While the locals are rightly concerned about safety, officers and politicians try to use the ‘threat’ as a tool to further their own corrupt plans. At the same time, there are those that are deeply threated by the ‘real’ sherni among them — Vidya, of course — and do what they can to stop her. It goes without saying that Vidya is up for the challenge — both in real and reel life. Some shernis just cannot be ‘tamed’.

Published in Dawn, ICON, July 11th, 2021

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