Booksmart to Jerry Maguire: the seven best films to watch on TV this week

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Pick of the week

Booksmart

Beanie Feldstein (left) and Kaitlyn Dever in Booksmart.
Beanie Feldstein (left) and Kaitlyn Dever in Booksmart. Photograph: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

What if you can be an academic high-achiever and have a wild social life at the same time? The horrible realisation that you can dawns on nerdy friends Amy and Molly on the last day of high school in Olivia Wilde’s terrific comedy. Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein play the joined-at-the-hip pals who struggle to get to a house party the night before graduation, hoping for the extracurricular experiences they’ve missed out on. With a whip-smart script, a big dose of narrative rug-pulling (the slut-shamed girl is going to Yale; the stoner has been recruited by Google) and even some hallucinatory animation, it’s a film infused with the joys of youthful but enduring friendship.
Saturday 12 February, 10pm, BBC Three

***

Sicario

This tremendously tense, edge-of-your-seat 2015 thriller saw future Dune and Arrival director Denis Villeneuve break out of his “best in Canada” reputation into global recognition. Emily Blunt was an unusual pick to play an FBI special agent in Arizona, but she’s surprisingly convincing as an ethical, if naive, character drawn into a semi-legal, cross-border war against Mexican drug cartels. Josh Brolin brooks no dissent as the murky CIA operative running the show, while Benicio Del Toro is even murkier as a Mexican lawyer with opaque motives.
Saturday 12 February, 11.35pm, Channel 4

***

The Most Beautiful Boy in the World

Bjorn Andresen in Death in Venice.
Bjorn Andresen in Death in Venice. Photograph: Everett Collection/Alamy

He may be familiar currently as the white-haired, bearded old man who had a fall in Midsommar, but Björn Andrésen was once idolised around the world after playing the young Tadzio in Luchino Visconti’s 1971 film Death in Venice. The 15-year-old Swede, as Kristina Lindström and Kristian Petri’s intimate documentary reveals, was pitched into a “living nightmare” of celebrity and dubious male attention due to the role – and it’s a period with which he still seems to be coming to terms. He has a heart-breaking story to tell, which he does with almost painful diffidence.
Sunday 13 February, 9pm, BBC Four

***

The Innocents

From left: Martin Stephens, Deborah Kerr and Pamela Franklin in the Innocents.
From left: Martin Stephens, Deborah Kerr and Pamela Franklin in the Innocents. Photograph: Alamy

Among the many adaptations of Henry James’s horror novella The Turn of the Screw, Jack Clayton’s crisply shot 1961 film deserves its reputation as one of the best. It’s all in the ambiguity, with Deborah Kerr bringing her febrile upper-class energy to the role of governess Miss Giddens. Hired to look after an orphaned boy and girl in a country house, she suspects ghostly forces – the spirits of two dead servants – are at work on the young children, manipulating and corrupting them. Or is the unworldly vicar’s daughter just imagining it?
Sunday 13 February, 11.50pm, Talking Pictures TV

***

Jerry Maguire

A top-notch Valentine’s Day double bill starts with Cameron Crowe’s 1996 romantic drama. Tom Cruise is at peak Cruise – all sharp dressing and slick patter – as sports agent Jerry, whose “mission statement” about caring more and earning less gets him fired. But the NFL-based story of him and his sole remaining client, Rod (an effervescent Cuba Gooding Jr), is a sideline to his relationship with Renée Zellweger’s infatuated employee Dorothy – as he first gets the girl, and then realises he doesn’t deserve her.
Monday 14 February, 9pm, Film4

***

Disobedience

A subtle choice for a date-night movie, Sebastián Lelio’s even-handed drama set in London’s Orthodox Jewish community, is at heart all about love. Rachel Weisz simmers as Ronit, a New York-based photographer who returns to Britain for her rabbi father’s funeral. Having abandoned her religion, she gets a chilly reception, save for childhood friends – and now-married couple – Esti (Rachel McAdams) and Dovid (Alessandro Nivola). Ronit disrupts their committed but passion-free existence, and Esti finds taboo emotions she had repressed for years becoming unavoidable.
Monday 14 February, 11.50pm, Film4

***

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

“Try anything and you’re cancelled, bro.” Find out if that threat works on Leatherface in this social media-era reboot of the slasher saga. Ignoring the seven sequels, and taking up 50 years after the events of the 1974 original, it follows Lila (Elsie Fisher, so good in Eighth Grade and here facing terrors of a more visceral nature), her sister Melody (Sarah Yarkin) and other friends. They set up a business in a ghost town in the Lone Star State, only to fall foul of the hitherto dormant killer. So it’s lucky the “final girl” from the first film is still around and tooled up, isn’t it?
Friday 18 February, Netflix

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