23 Films to See in November

  • Publish Date: October 28, 2019
  • Comments: ↓ 1 user comment

This month's notable theatrical releases

Below, our editors have selected the most interesting films debuting in North American theaters this month, listed in alphabetical order.

Atlantics Watch trailer(s)
Foreign/Drama | November 15 | Directed by Mati Diop

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In May, actor turned director Mati Diop became the first woman of African descent to screen a film in the Cannes competition. Her debut feature was awarded the Grand Prix (the festival’s second-place prize). A magical-realist tale with strong socio-political undertones, the film is at once a love story, a ghost story, and a detective story that follows 17-year-old Ada, who is in love with a construction worker named Souleiman but is about to enter an arranged marriage. When Ada’s wedding is attacked by an arsonist, the detective on the case suspects Souleiman, but he had already decided to board a boat in hopes of making it from Dakar, Senegal to Spain (thus the title). Is he still alive? If so, where is he? The film will begin streaming on Netflix on November 29 following a limited theatrical run.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 22 | Directed by Marielle Heller

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Following The Diary of a Teenage Girl and Can You Ever Forgive Me?, director Marielle Heller looks to have her third critical success in a row with this Tom Hanks-starring tribute to the power of Fred Rogers. Based on journalist Tom Junod’s Esquire article about the beloved children’s television host, the film stars Matthew Rhys as Lloyd Vogel, an emotionally stunted writer assigned to profile Mister Rogers. With strong reviews for his performance, Hanks should be in play for the Best Supporting Actor category come awards season, unless he suffers the same surprising fate of last year’s Morgan Neville-directed documentary, Won't You Be My Neighbor, which failed to earn a nomination.

Charlie's Angels Watch trailer(s)
Action/Comedy | November 15 | Directed by Elizabeth Banks

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Do we need another Charlie’s Angels movie? Probably not. But if we are going to get one anyway, it may as well star Kristen Stewart and be directed by Elizabeth Banks. McG’s Charlie's Angels and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle starring Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu were mostly satisfying entertainments, but they failed to earn an overall positive rating from critics. Can Banks, who also stars and wrote the script, guide this one to a green Metascore as she did Pitch Perfect 2? That may depend on the chemistry between Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska, and how well it hits the sweet spot between action and comedy. If it nails it, surely a sequel will follow.

Citizen K
Documentary | November 22 | Directed by Alex Gibney

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The prolific documentarian Alex Gibney has made what many consider his best film since the Academy Award-winning Taxi to the Dark Side with this profile of former Russian oligarch turned political dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Gibney uses Khodorkovsky’s story to create an intimate yet sweeping look at post-Soviet Russia, where a man can swindle citiizens and become the richest man in Russia, only to get on the wrong side of Vladimir Putin, a man he helped put in place, and end up imprisoned in Siberia for ten years.

Dark Waters Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 22 (limited) / November 29 (wider) | Directed by Todd Haynes

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The latest drama from Todd Haynes (Wonderstruck, Carol) is a last-minute entry into the awards-season fray. Based on Nathaniel Rich’s New York Times Magazine article "The Lawyer Who Became Dupont's Worst Nightmare", the film stars Mark Ruffalo as Robert Bilott, a corporate defense attorney who took a case for a West Virginia farmer and uncovered brazen chemical pollution by DuPont. With Haynes’ track record, a strong supporting cast (Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Camp, Victor Garber, Mare Winningham, William Jackson Harper, and Bill Pullman), and timely subject matter, it makes sense that Focus was eager to rush Dark Waters into theaters this year, even though filming only began in January.

Doctor Sleep Watch trailer(s)
Horror | November 8 | Directed by Mike Flanagan

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Mike Flanagan (Gerald's Game, Before I Wake) directs this sequel to Stephen King’s The Shining. Based on King’s 2013 novel but also a sequel to Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation, the film combines elements from both to tell the story of a barely coping adult Danny (now Dan) Torrance (Ewan McGregor) and Abra Stone (newcomer Kyliegh Curran), a teenager who also has the shine. They face off against Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) and her cult, The True Knot, who feed off those with the shine in a quest to become immortal. Early buzz has been solid but not spectacular, and the film could struggle to stand out among all the other King adaptations released this year.

Everybody's Everything Watch trailer(s)
Documentary/Music | November 15 | Directed by Ramez Silyan and Sebastian Jones

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Lil Peep’s career was just getting started when he died of a drug overdose at 21. Mixing genres like punk, emo, and trap, the rapper/model born Gustav Ahr touched many young lives with his unique, open-hearted style. With Peep’s mom, Liza Womack, and Terrence Malick among its producers, this documentary from director Sebastian Jones and Ramez Silyan includes passages of Peep’s grandfather reading letters he wrote to his grandson as well as standard talking-head interviews. It may not be a complete portrait, but it’s a compelling one. A one-night nationwide event screening on November 12th will be followed by a limited theatrical run on the 15th.

Ford v Ferrari Watch trailer(s)
Drama/Sports | November 15 | Directed by James Mangold

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In this film from director James Mangold (Logan, Walk the Line), Matt Damon plays car designer Carroll Shelby, and Christian Bale is race car driver Ken Miles. Together, with the backing of the Ford Motor Company, they take on the dominant Ferrari team at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. Reviews have been better for Bale and Damon than for the film overall, with many critics finding Bale the dominant presence (though both stars will surprisingly be slotted in the very crowded best actor race this year) and the direction a little too safe.

Frozen II Watch trailer(s)
Animation/Family | November 22 | Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee

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How will Disney follow up the 2013 mega-hit Frozen? By reassembling the team that made the first film so successful. Director Chris Buck and writer-director Jennifer Lee return, as do Idina Menzel as Elsa, Kristen Bell as Anna, Jonathan Groff as Kristoff, and Josh Gad as Olaf. This time, their adventure leads them north to an enchanted forest where no one can get in or out (except Elsa, who gets in because, you know, magic). Expect seven new songs as well as new voices from Evan Rachel Wood, Sterling K. Brown, Martha Plimpton, Alfred Molina, Jason Ritter, and Rachel Matthews. How big of a hit will it be? If it can push Spider-Man: Homecoming out of the top five of domestic box office grossers, it will give Disney a clean sweep. (And if it can match the original film’s total of $400 million, it will do so.)

The Good Liar Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 15 | Directed by Bill Condon

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For this adaptation of Nicholas Serle’s novel, director Bill Condon and actor Ian McKellen join forces for a fourth time, following 1998’s Gods and Monsters, 2015’s Mr. Holmes, and 2017’s Beauty and the Beast. They are joined by Helen Mirren, who plays wealthy widow Betty McLeish. She becomes the target of McKellen’s con artist Roy Courtnay, but his swindle goes awry when he develops feelings for her—or maybe he’s just met his match.

Hala Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 22 | Directed by Minhal Baig

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Writer-director Minhal Baig’s follow-up to her feature debut, 1 Night, is an expansion of her 2016 short film about a Pakistani-Muslim high school senior trying to balance life as a teen and her obligations to her faith and family. Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers) gives a quietly powerful performance in this well-observed, poignant film. The film will also appear on the new Apple TV+ streaming service in December.

Harriet Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 1 | Directed by Kasi Lemmons

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The latest from director Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayou, Talk to Me) is a biopic about famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman starring Cynthia Erivo (Widows) in the title role. Her performance earned plenty of praise when the film premiered at TIFF in September, but overall, critics were more mixed on the film’s ability to balance its action elements with the human being involved in the liberation of hundreds of slaves. So, while Harriet has faded from the best picture race, Erivo is still in contention for best actress.  

I Lost My Body Watch trailer(s)
Animation/Drama | November 15 | Directed by Jérémy Clapin

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Based on the novel Happy Hand by Amélie writer Guillaume Laurant, this debut animated feature from director and co-writer Jérémy Clapin won the Grand Prize at the International Critic’s Week in Cannes and the Animation Is Film Festival, as well as the Cristal (Best Film) and Audience award at this year’s Annecy Festival. Following a severed hand on its adventure to reconnect with Naoufel, a pizza delivery boy who has fallen for librarian Gabrielle, the film moves back in forth in time through Naoufel’s memories,  creating a wholly original and surprising experience. The film will also stream on Netflix beginning on November 29.

The Irishman Watch trailer(s)
Drama/Thriller | November 1 | Directed by Martin Scorsese

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Debuting in a limited number of theaters on November 1 and expanding to additional cities throughout the month before moving to Netflix on November 27, the latest mob epic from Martin Scorsese brings Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci back together and adds Al Pacino (working with the director for the first time in his career) to tell the story of Frank Sheeran (DeNiro), a WW II veteran who had a decades-spanning career as a hitman. Using Charles Brandt’s 2004 book I Heard You Paint Houses as a jumping off point, Steven Zaillian’s script delves into the inner workings of organized crime and the disappearance of union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino). Before it premiered at the New York Film Festival, there were questions about how effective the film’s de-aging effects would be. After its screening, while some critics had a few quibbles about the CGI, the discussion instead turned to how highly the film should rank in Scorsese’s consistently great filmography. (On our list, it’s up rather high.)

The Kingmaker
Documentary | November 1 | Directed by Lauren Greenfield

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Photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles, Generation Wealth) trains her camera on another wealthy subject with her latest documentary, a portrait of Imelda Marcos, the former First Lady of the Philippines. Greenfield goes beyond Marcos’ infamous shoe collection to document her notorious past and reveal her current, dangerous impact on the Philippines. It’s a picture of corrupt power that should resonate with audiences across the world.

Knives Out Watch trailer(s)
Drama/Thriller/Comedy | November 27 | Directed by Rian Johnson

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Rian Johnson’s intermezzo between Star Wars projects is an Agatha Christie-like whodunit starring Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, a Southern detective enlisted to solve the mysterious death of wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombrey (Christopher Plummer). With a cast that includes Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, and LaKeith Stanfield, Johnson has another critical hit on his hands. Hopefully, murder-mystery fans will be more accepting of Johnson’s irreverence than a certain segment of Star Wars devotees.

Light From Light Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 1 | Directed by Paul Harrill

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Something, Anything director Paul Harrill’s second feature is another small, spiritual drama, but this time he uses a haunted Tennessee farmhouse to explore his themes. The story revolves around the relationship of Shelia (Marin Ireland), a paranormal investigator and single mom, who comes to the aid of Richard (Jim Gaffigan), a widower who believes his wife may be haunting his farmhouse. Her investigation ultimately involves her son, Owen (Josh Wiggins) and his classmate Lucy (Atheena Frizzell). Excellent early reviews and a soundtrack by The War on Drugs’ Adam Granduciel and Jon Natchez make this an independent feature worth seeking out.

Marriage Story Watch trailer(s)
Drama/Comedy | November 6 | Directed by Noah Baumbach

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Currently tied with Parasite for the best Metascore of the year so far, the latest from writer-director Noah Baumbach looks to be a culmination of his extremely strong career that has recently featured The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), Mistress America, While We're Young, and Frances Ha. Pulling from his personal history (not unlike his earlier excavation of his parents’ divorce The Squid and the Whale), the story’s simple premise belies its surprising impact. Charlie (Adam Driver), a theater director, wants to stay in New York. Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), an actress, gets a coveted role in Los Angeles. This change, an eight-year-old son in the middle, and lawyers are all their tenuous relationship needs to begin its ending. A laser-sharp specificity and an ability to balance comedy and tragedy, as well as two excellent lead performances, will surely result in many nominations and awards in the coming months. Following a one-month theatrical run, Marriage Story moves to Netflix on December 6.

Motherless Brooklyn Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 1 | Directed by Edward Norton

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Edward Norton writes, directs, and stars in this major reworking of Jonathan Lethem’s 1999 novel. Moving the story from the 1990s to the ‘50s and layering on a new, resonant to our times conspiracy, Norton stars as Lionel Essrog, a private investigator with Tourette’s syndrome whose attempt to solve the murder of his mentor (Bruce Willis) leads him to the most powerful man in New York City. Critics split on Norton’s ability to pull off his passion project, but his ambition makes it an enticing option despite its nearly two-and-a-half-hour length.

Queen & Slim Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 27 | Directed by Melina Matsoukas

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With her debut feature, award-winning music video (Beyoncé’s “Formation”) and TV (Insecure) director Melina Matsoukas collaborates with writer Lena Waithe for a second time, after directing the widely hailed Thanksgiving episode of the second season of Master of None. Waithe’s screenplay chronicles the relationship of Jodie Turner-Smith’s Queen and Daniel Kaluuya’s Slim from first date to fugitives on the run, which happen on the same night after they are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. While on the run, they get to know each other and form a powerful, lasting bond, finding support when a video of the incident goes viral.

The Report Watch trailer(s)
Drama/Thriller | November 15 | Directed by Scott Z. Burns

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Earning comparisons to Spotlight and The Post, this look at Daniel Jones’ investigation into the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program earned very good reviews when it premiered at Sundance earlier this year. Written and directed by frequent Steven Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z. Burns, this procedural stars Adam Driver as Jones and Annette Bening as Senator Dianne Feinstein, as well as Jon Hamm, Michael C. Hall, Ted Levine, Jennifer Morrison, Tim Blake Nelson, Matthew Rhys, Corey Stoll, and Maura Tierney. A story about large-scale government corruption and the attempt to bring people to justice seems like a pretty timely subject. The film will also stream on Amazon's Prime Video beginning on November 29.

The Two Popes Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 27 | Directed by Fernando Meirelles

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In this crowd-pleasing two-hander, director Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener) and screenwriter Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour) imagine what traditionalist Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Joanthan Pryce), the reformist future Pope Francis, discussed behind Vatican walls (with a few scenes taking place in Bergoglio native Argentina). As expected, the performances are the centerpiece, and they will be featured come awards season as Pryce vies for best actor and Hopkins enters the supporting actor race. Find it on Netflix beginning December 20th. The film will also stream on Netflix beginning on December 20.

Waves Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 1 | Directed by Trey Edward Shults

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The latest from director Trey Edward Shults (It Comes at Night, Krisha) is a bifurcated narrative about a family in crisis. The first half focuses on Tyler (Kelvin Harrison, Jr. from this year’s Luce), a senior in high school in love with his girlfriend (Alexa Demie) but also a star wrestler pushed to achieve by his father (Sterling K. Brown). The second half shifts to Tyler’s sister Emily (Taylor Russell), and her romance with Tyler’s teammate, Luke (Lucas Hedges). This structure troubled many critics, with most favoring the first half, but overall Shults’ ambitious gamble pays off.

Bonus pick: Special screening event

Spirits in the Forest Watch trailer
Documentary/Music | November 21 | Directed by Anton Corbijn

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Photographer turned director Anton Corbijn (A Most Wanted Man) has been working with alt-electronic band Depeche Mode for decades, directing over 20 of their music videos (plus the 2014 concert film Live in Berlin) and contributing to the designs of their album covers (Violator) and stage shows. Now, he reunites with the group for an unconventional concert documentary that tracks the stories of six Depeche Mode fans from around the globe as they travel to a DM show in Berlin during the group's recent Global Spirit tour. Spirits will screen in theaters around the world on the night of November 21st.

Bonus picks: Streaming at home

Burning Cane Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 6 (Netflix) | Directed by Phillip Michael Youmans

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At just 19 years old, New Orleans native Phillip Youmans became the youngest director ever to enter a film in competition at the Tribeca Film Festival. But he is now the owner of two Tribeca awards after his debut feature (filmed while he was still in high school!) earned top honors at Tribca in May. Youmans also collected a cinematography award for Burning Cane, a blues-inspired drama that focuses on a group of troubled residents of rural Southeastern Louisiana, including an alcoholic preacher played by Wendell Pierce (who also picked up an award as the festival's best actor). Critics compared the result to both William Faulkner and Terrence Malick, though some found it a bit rough around the edges. After playing one one screen last week, the film moves to Netflix on Wednesday.

The King Watch trailer(s)
Drama | November 1 (Netflix) | Directed by David Michôd

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After a taking a dip into comedy with War Machine, director David Michôd (Animal Kingdom, The Rover) returns to the warm waters of drama with his latest, a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, and Henry V. Appearing first as Prince Hal and then King Henry V, Timothée Chalamet stars alongside Joel Edgerton (who co-wrote the script with Michôd) as Falstaff, Ben Mendelsohn as Henry IV, Lily-Rose Depp as Catherine of Valois, and, for a little “razzle-dazzle," Robert Pattinson as The Dauphin. A historical epic that divided critics at its Cannes premiere, the film might be inspired by the Bard’s pen, but don’t underestimate the influence of Game of Thrones on Michôd’s blood and mud-filled battles. After playing in theaters in October, the film heads to Netflix on Friday.

Lady and the Tramp Watch trailer(s)
Family/Adventure | November 12 (Disney+) | Directed by Charlie Bean

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Disney's latest "live-action" remake of an animated classic (using actual talking dogs, presumably) won't be heading to theaters. Instead, the canine romance is exclusive to the new Disney+ streaming service (also debuting November 12) and features a screenplay by mumblecore master Andrew Bujalski. Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux head a voice cast that also includes Thomas Mann, Janelle Monáe, Kiersey Clemons, and Ashley Jensen. And, yes, there is a spaghetti scene.

What do you think?

Which films are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments section below. For a complete, updated listing of all upcoming film releases by date, including films arriving later in 2019 and in 2020, visit our Movie Calendar.

Comments (1)

  • HealingToolbox  

    nicely observed from an Oscars-awards perspective instead of a teen-20-something fan perspective.

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