Just because you are sheltering at home, doesn’t mean you have to watch movies alone. Invite your friends to join you on a video conference app for a special screening event. Craft a party to fit the theme of the film. Dress up as your favorite characters. Whip up some of your favorite treats. You and your friends can make up the rules as you go along. Then everyone can dial in to watch the movie together. To get you started, we've put together a few screening parties to consider.
Hanging with friends for Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Eliza Hittman’s drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always (available On Demand today) is one of the best reviewed films of the year. In addition to its empathetic look at women’s health care, audiences and critics have praised its remarkable story of a friendship. Forced to deal with an unwanted pregnancy, Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) travels from her home in rural Pennsylvania to New York City with her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) in search of necessary medical attention. The two women, stuck in an indifferent city with almost no money, find the support they need in each other. “The bond between Autumn and Skylar is the beating heart of Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” exclaims IndieWire. Connect with your best friends, open a bottle of wine, clink to your monitors, and honor (without even having to say it) how much they mean to you during times like this. They will be the perfect companions to watch Never Rarely Sometimes Always together while being at home alone.
Tea with EMMA.
With EMMA., Autumn de Wilde’s scrumptious new adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic romantic comedy (now available for streaming), why not organize a Regency-style tea party to accompany your screening. For Emma (Anya Taylor-Joy), afternoon tea was the perfect place to orchestrate the social life of Highbury. In front of a cozy fire with a cup of tea and plate of petit fours, Emma masterfully acted as a matchmaker to her friends’ romances. In many ways, de Wilde styled her colorful adaption to be the perfect accompaniment to tea. “I wanted it to be like a pastry shop,” de Wilde told The New Yorker. “I told all my departments, ‘The colors need to feel edible.’” So brew a pot of Earl Grey, put out some delectable pastries—or whip our Focus Foodie Victorian Sponge Cake—and reconnect with your friends over the always delicious tale of EMMA.
Cocktails at Downton Abbey
When cocktails were introduced into British high society in the 1920s, the television series Downton Abbey was quick to incorporate these new libations into their storyline. Cocktails quickly became such an essential part of the Crawley family’s routine that PBS celebrated the release of Michael Engler’s film Downton Abbey by offering an array of special concoctions, from The Dowager Countess Cocktail to the Lady Mary Cocktail. If you really want to get into the spirit you might want to reference The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book: Appropriate Libations for All Occasions. Suit up in your best cocktail garb, grab the ice bucket and necessary glasses, and make yourself a drink. Toast to your friends as you settle down to join Mr. Carson (Jim Carter), Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), Tom Branson (Allen Leech), and, of course, the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) as you return to Downton Abbey.
A picnic at Moonrise Kingdom
In Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, when Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) run away together to form a new life in the idyllic cove of Moonrise Kingdom on New Penzance island, they only take what is most precious to them. Suzy brings her six most beloved library books, a portable record player, her cat, and ten cans of cat food. An experienced Khaki Scout, Sam remembers to bring along a tent, a canoe, his survival skills, and mustard for the hot-dog picnic he prepares for Suzy. Although you are inside, you and your friends can virtually roll out the sleeping bags and tablecloth on the floor to get ready for a picnic. Roast up a few hot dogs, like Sam did. Or create your own favorite picnic fare, like S'mores. Then prepare to take an enchanted trip to Moonrise Kingdom.
A fashion show for Phantom Thread
Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread brings to life the haute couture world of London in the 1950s, a privileged sphere of private showings in beautiful settings of the world's most luxurious gowns. While Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is celebrated for his one-of-kind creations for England’s elite, his real muse becomes Alma (Vicky Krieps), a foreign-born waitress who changes his life. Before–or after—you and your friends settled down to enjoy what The Guardian calls “the pure delicious pleasure in this film,” maybe you can create some beauty of your own. Have your own fashion show, showing off your latest glam creations in the privacy of your own fashion house. Like with the House of Woodcock, this preview is an invite-only affair.
A Russian buffet for Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina, Joe Wright’s ingenious interpretation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel, provides a fascinating take on the art and artifice of Imperial Russia. When Anna (Keira Knightley) suddenly finds herself drawn to the dashing Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), she risks everything—her marriage to Count Karenin (Jude Law), her family, her gilded life of court balls, ice rinks and elegant parties—for a touch of passion. The film’s central love story, captured in a blur of sumptuous decors, swirling gowns, and glittering jewels, speaks to feel of desire. As Metro UK explains, “This gorgeous whirlwind of a movie is all about bottling Anna’s giddy infatuation.” Tap into your own deep Russian soul by setting up a buffet of borscht, wild mushroom soup, blinis (with caviar, of course), and whatever else seems appropriate or you have in your pantry. Don't forget to put some vodka on ice. Greet your friends via video conferencing with an upraised glass and the toast "Za Zdarovje" (Nah zda-rovh-yeh), a salute to everyone’s health, before traveling to Moscow and St. Petersburg for Anna Karenina.