Watching: What to Watch This Weekend

A Tiger Woods documentary.

Author Headshot

By Margaret Lyons

Television Critic

Dear Watchers,

What a horrific few days. I hope you’re finding room for things other than despair and doomscrolling.

Have a safe weekend.


This weekend I have … and hour, and I’m fragile

Nicholas Ralph in a scene from the new version of “All Creatures Great and Small.”Matt Squire/Playground Television

‘All Creatures Great and Small’

When to watch: Sunday at 9 p.m., on PBS. (Check local listings.)

When someone on a gentle British period drama earnestly pleads for another character to “give the boy a chance,” you know you’re in for some sweater-clad breakthroughs. “Masterpiece” is not immune to reboot mania, and this new adaptation of James Herriot’s memoirs has all the farm wisdom and charm one could want. James (Nicholas Ralph) finally lands a job as a veterinarian in Yorkshire, where he learns a lot about animals and a little about people. If you’re a PBS lifer, or if you’ve been thinking about incorporating baggier pants into your winter wardrobe, watch this.


… an hour, and I’m fragile in a different way

Tiger Woods competing in the 1995 U.S. Amateur Championship tournament. J.D. Cuban/Allsport, via Getty Images


When to watch: Sunday at 9 p.m., on HBO.

This terrific two-part documentary about Tiger Woods is rich and well-paced, and along with “Last Chance U” and “Cobra Kai,” completes a “what’s up with dads and sports?” trifecta so potent that Freud might as well have a show on ESPN. There are a ton of interesting, illuminating details here, but the doc is even more intriguing as a meta-textual commentary on sex and gender roles, growth and change, and especially celebrity and intimacy. Part 2 is scheduled for Jan. 17.


… several hours, and I am a third kind of fragile

Omar Sy in a scene from “Lupin.”Emmanuel Guimier/Netflix


When to watch: Now, on Netflix.

For those who just want to be swept away for a few hours, this zippy French drama (in French, with subtitles or dubbed) is a perfect binge, serious but not too miserable, clever in all the fun ways. Assane (Omar Sy) is a huge fan of Arsène Lupin, the fictional genius thief created in 1905 by Maurice Leblanc — so much so that he sets up a jewel heist himself. But like all the best heists, it’s not just a job: It’s also revenge. If you like “Sherlock,” or if you want something recreationally bleak but not wall-to-wall violent, watch this.

Your newly available movies

Vanessa Kirby in “Pieces of a Woman.”Benjamin Loeb/Netflix

Premiering on Netflix this week under a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations against its co-star, Shia LaBeouf, “Pieces of a Woman” is nonetheless an audacious drama about the loss of a child, with a powerful lead performance by Vanessa Kirby. Meanwhile, new documentaries about art obsessives (“My Rembrandt”) and the inner lives of nonspeaking autistic people (“The Reason I Jump”) fall short of their ambition.

Some independent films are available via “virtual cinemas,” which share the rental fees between distributors and theaters. Unless otherwise noted, other titles can generally be rented on the usual platforms, including Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube. — Scott Tobias

‘Herself’ (Amazon Prime Video only)

As a character, Sandra hasn’t a huge amount of depth — she’s mostly defined by traits, like anger and resilience. But that’s part of the movie’s point; her state is something to which the world has ground her down. — Glenn Kenny (Read the full review here.)

‘My Rembrandt’ (Film Forum virtual cinema)

While “My Rembrandt” poses heady questions about the difference between acquisitiveness and appreciation, it mostly plays like a straight art-world documentary that itself would have benefited from a more vertiginous, obsessive approach. — Ben Kenigsberg (Read the full review here.)

‘Pieces of a Woman’ (A Critic’s Pick; Netflix only)

Set over eight harrowing months, “Pieces of a Woman” is a ragged, mesmerizing study of rupture and reconstruction. The ending is ill-judged, but the movie understands that while we love in common, we grieve alone. — Jeannette Catsoulis (Read the full review here.)

‘The Reason I Jump’ (Kino Marquee virtual cinema)

As an aesthetic endeavor, “The Reason I Jump” is questionable, regardless of how much sensitivity the filmmakers took in their approach. It is presumptuous to assume a mere movie could simulate, even for an instant, the inner world of an autistic person. — Ben Kenigsberg (Read the full review here.)

‘White Lie’

Yet as Katie veers from pathetic to vicious, “White Lie” observes her shameless behavior without attempting to elucidate. The result is a movie that’s too vague to capitalize on its jittery tone and too timid to fully wrestle with the monster at its core. — Jeannette Catsoulis (Read the full review here.)

Also new available:


Marvel’s Latest Frontier? In ‘WandaVision,’ It’s the Suburbs

Marvel’s first series for Disney+ is part drama, part homage to vintage sitcoms, following the misfit heroes played by Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany to some weird places.

By Dave Itzkoff

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Critic’s Notebook

Donald Trump’s Last Picture Show

The Capitol mob had reason to believe the president would be watching them. For the rest of us, it was a horror story.

By James Poniewozik

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Critic’s Notebook

‘Dickinson’ Is an Offbeat Literary Origin Story, Written in Fire

In the eerie, gleefully absurdist second season, the young poet ponders whether it’s better to be Nobody.

By James Poniewozik

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On Alex Trebek’s Final ‘Jeopardy!,’ a Last Introduction From a Friend

Johnny Gilbert, 92, started on the game show with Trebek in 1984. Now, he must imagine a ‘Jeopardy!’ without his longtime colleague.

By Julia Jacobs

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The Force (and a Lenient Disney) Is With ‘Star Wars’ Fan Filmmakers

Whether as tribute or corrective, these movies have proliferated in recent years in part because the studio’s trilogy has inspired strong reactions.

By Ian Prasad Philbrick

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Gateway Movies

What Makes a French Comedy One of the Greatest Films of All Time?

“The Rules of the Game,” directed by Jean Renoir, may not seem revolutionary, but thanks to its balance of form and content, it’s an enduring classic.

By Ben Kenigsberg

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