Play Hard

What we’re watching, reading and doing this October

It's October already (how did that happen?!) and the restrictions posed by Covid 19 have made it difficult for cinema outlets to screen the big blockbuster movies, but never fear.

Written by High Life North
Published 02.10.2020

By Chris Kingston

It’s October already (how did that happen?!) and the restrictions posed by Covid 19 have made it difficult for cinema outlets to screen the big blockbuster movies. But never fear – this Autumn season still has the usual movies and TV to stream, including Netflix’s The Haunting of Bly Manor and the newest adaptation of Rebecca – perfect for your Autumnal October evenings.            


The Glorias – 30th Sept – Amazon Prime

Alicia Vikander (Tomb Raider) and Julianne Moore (Kingsman: The Golden Circle) play a young and old Gloria Steinem. The Glorias is a biographical film based upon ‘My Life on the Road’ by feminist icon Gloria Steinem, and follows her life as a writer, activist, and organizer for women’s rights worldwide. A moving story about the empowerment of woman, with a cameo from Bette Midler as Bella Abzug.


Spontaneous - 2nd Oct (limited cinema release and streaming platforms) - 6th Oct

Based on the young adult novel by Aaron Starmer. This dark comedy follows Mara Carlyle (played by Katherine Langford of 13 Reasons Why) who falls for a boy named Dylan (Charlie Plummer) at the same time as a mysterious pandemic starts causing the high school students to, quite literally, explode (and you think we’ve got it bad!). Can their romance survive today knowing there may be no tomorrow? 

Clouds – 16th October - Disney +

Based on a true story, young musician Zach Sobiech turns his world upside down when he finds that his cancer has spread, leaving him with six months to live. With his time limited he decides to follow his dreams and makes an album, unaware that it will soon be a viral hit. However, with time growing short, Zach is confronted with the reality that no matter what he does with his time, he will eventually hurt the people who matter most to him. Ultimately he discovers the best way to say goodbye is with music. This is a heartbreaking look at life set to uplifting music and an inspiring true story of what can happen when you start to live each day like it could be your last.   

The Trial of the Chicago 7 – 16th October - Netflix

Set in 1968 with the whole world watching, democracy refused to back down. A peaceful protest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago turns into a violent clash with police and the National Guard when the Chicago Seven, a group of anti-Vietnam War protesters crossed state lines with the intention of inciting riots. The organisers are then put on trial for various charges and charged. Written and directed by Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) and starring Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II among others and is strongly reminiscent of what is happening in the world today. 

Rebecca - 21st Oct - Netflix and select cinemas

Lily James (Downton Abbey) and Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name) star in this lavish adaption of the classic book by Daphne Du Maurier. We follow young newlyweds Mrs. De Winter (James) and her husband Maxim de Winter (Hammer) as they arrive at Manderley, an imposing family estate. As she begins to settle into her new life, Mrs de Winter finds herself battling the shadow of his first wife, Rebecca, whose legacy lives on in the house long after her death. Her legacy is also kept alive by the sinister housekeeper Mrs Danvers, played by the magnetic Kristin Scott Thomas. 

David Attenborough - A Life on Our Planet – Out now in select cinemas & out 4th October on Netflix

The worlds most loved naturalist returns as we see Sir David reflect on his many amazing moments from his TV back catalogue, as well as offering his witness account of the devastating impact of climate change that he has seen during that time, with a powerful message of hope for the future generations. This is must watch viewing for everyone. Available from the 4th October on Netflix, but you can also head to the cinemas to see it, where you get a bonus of watching an exclusive conversation between Sir David Attenborough and Sir Michael Palin.


Emily in Paris – 2nd Oct – Netflix

Lily Collins plays Emily Cooper, a young marketing exec who after landing her dream job in Paris, learns to embrace her new life and offer an American point of view to the French industry, while juggling work, friends and romance. Created by Darren Star, the genius behind the Sex and the City tv series, this is the ideal addition to a girls’ night in.

The Haunting of Bly Manor - Oct 9th - Netflix

The Haunting of Hill House was a huge hit for Netflix, and was created and directed by Mike Flanagan who was also behind the adaptions of Steven King’s Doctor Sleep and Gerald’s Game. This second instalment of the anthology series, The Haunting of Bly Manor, is loosely based on the 1898 horror novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. We follow a young nanny as she is hired by a man to look after his orphaned niece and nephew at their family house. However, soon after her arrival she experiences strange occurrences – be sure to watch with the lights on and don’t watch it on your own. Perfect binge watch viewing in the run up to Halloween.  

The Sister - Coming Soon - ITV

From Luther creator Neil Cross, The Sister stars Russel Tovey (Being Human) as Nathan, who has been carrying a secret that he has managed to keep hidden for years, but when a face from his past returns, he faces the prospect of his secret being revealed. Also stars Doctor Foster Star Bertie Carvel. In a four-part mystery that is sure to keep us glued to our screens.    

Tommy – Oct 7th - Alibi

Award-winning actress Edie Falco (The Sopranos) stars in her latest series as Abigail “Tommy” Thomas, a former NYPD officer who becomes the first female chief of police for Los Angeles using hardball tactics and her New York knack for honesty. This latest crime drama is not one to be missed.

Brave New World – 2nd Oct - Sky One

Based on the 1932 novel by Aldous Huxley, Brave New World stars Harry Lloyd and Jessica Brown Findlay who appear to lead a perfect life in London. However, this dystopia is a world where perfection hinges upon control of monogamy and privacy, and members of the collective begin to question the rules, putting their regimented society on a collision course with forbidden love and revolution.

The Undoing - 26th Oct – Sky Atlantic

Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant star in this gripping thriller. Grace Frazer (Kidman) is a successful therapist in New York with a devoted husband Jonathan (Grant) and Henry her young son, but on the eve of publishing her first book their lives begin to unravel, and her husband may not be all that he seems in this psychological drama.


Rebecca – (Virago Modern Classics) by Daphne Du Maurier – out now

A perfect October read while we await the newest movie version

“On a trip to the South of France, the shy heroine of Rebecca falls in love with Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower. Although his proposal comes as a surprise, she happily agrees to marry him. But as they arrive at her husband’s home, Manderley, a change comes over Maxim, and the young bride is filled with dread. Friendless in the isolated mansion, she realises that she barely knows him. In every corner of every room is the phantom of his beautiful first wife, Rebecca, and the new Mrs de Winter walks in her shadow.”

Dear Reader - The Comfort and Joy of Books - Cathy Rentzenbrink

“For as long as she can remember, Cathy Rentzenbrink has lost and found herself in stories. Growing up she was rarely seen without her nose in a book and read in secret long after lights out. When tragedy struck, books kept her afloat. Eventually they lit the way to a new path, first as a bookseller and then as a writer. No matter what the future holds, reading will always help.”

Grandmothers - Sally Vickers - Out Now

The new novel from Salley Vickers, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Librarian

Grandmothers is the story of three very different women and their relationship with the younger generation: fiercely independent Nan, who leads a secret life as an award-winning poet when she is not teaching her grandson Billy how to lie; glamorous Blanche, deprived of the company of her beloved granddaughter Kitty by her hostile daughter-in-law, who finds solace in rebelliously taking to drink and shoplifting; and shy, bookish Minna who in the safety of shepherd’s hut shares with her surrogate granddaughter Rose her passion for reading. The outlook of all three women subtly alters when through their encounters with each other they discover that the past is always with us and that we go on learning and changing until the very end.”

The Day I Fell Into a Fairy Tale By Ben Miller - out now

“Lana loves stories. Especially the ones she and her brother, Harrison, share in their make-believe games. But when Harrison decides he’s too grown-up to play with Lana she finds herself feeling lonely. Until something magical happens…
“Hidden in the strange new supermarket in town, Lana discovers a portal to a fairytale world! But these aren’t the happy-ever-after fairytales that Lana knows, they are darker and more dangerous, and the characters need Lana’s help to defeat an evil witch. But she can’t do it alone. Can she convince Harrison to believe in stories again and journey to the world with her…  before it’s too late?
This is a story about stories, but it’s also about a brother and a sister finding their way back to each other through the power of imagination.” 

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