Fire of Love (2022: Disney+: 83 mins)
Undoubtedly in my top ten films of the year, this is a sublime documentary. Boy who loves volcanoes meets girl who loves volcanoes. They fall in love, get married and spend their lives researching volcanoes, taking incredible risks to discover as much as they can about one of nature’s most destructive forces. Told only via archive footage and voiceover, with no talking heads, this is an insanely beautifully story on two levels. One, the love story that drives it and two, their footage of the volcanoes is unlike anything ever seen before. Total must-see.
Killer Sally (2022: Netflix: 3 x 50 mins)
Now onto a docuseries that is far less subtle but is still extremely compelling. Along with family and friends, former professional bodybuilder Sally McNeil charts her rocky marriage and its end in a Valentine’s Day murder. A well-constructed series, the very fact the ‘killer’ in question is at the centre of telling ‘her’ story makes for an increasingly intriguing watch.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022: Amazon Prime: 106 mins)
County Lines (2020: BBC iPlayer: 83 mins)
One of the most essential British movies in recent years, a 14-year-old boy (Conrad Khan) is groomed into a lethal nation-wide drug-selling enterprise which exploits vulnerable children and traffics them across Britain. Simon (Harris Dickinson) is the malevolent heart of the operation. Blistering performances tell a story that writer-director Henry Blake witnessed first hand as a youth worker in a Pupil Referral Unit. For those who work alongside young people, I cannot implore you to watch this enough.
The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019: All4: 114 mins)
And now for something entirely different, an incredibly warm-hearted adaptation of Charles Dickens. Dev Patel is the eponymous character, with an insanely good ensemble cast made up of Hugh Laurie, Tilda Swinton, Peter Capaldi, Fisayo Akinade, Gwendoline Christie, Darren Boyd, Morfydd Clark and Daisy May Cooper to name but a few. Perfect watching for a Sunday afternoon, a proper comfort-watch.