Shelf Survey: The Best Things We Watched In May

Old favourites and new discoveries to watch at home

With another month of movie-watching from home in the books, the writers of That Shelf are looking back and sharing the best movies and TV shows they watched in May 2020.

A wild and unpredictable 2020 has shaped our viewing habits and pushed us towards all kinds of content, most of which you can currently watch from your couch. See what made our list in January, February, March and April.

From rediscovering old favourites, seeking out new VOD releases while cinemas are shuttered and finding gems on streaming platforms, there’s plenty to watch at home.



Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind (2020)


From a child star wise beyond her years to a three-time Oscar nominated actress to a woman who left Hollywood behind to focus on being a mother, Natalie Wood had her fair share of personal and professional triumphs and challenges. Wood’s daughter (and the film’s producer) Natasha Gregson Wagner, alongside director Laurent Bouzereau, expertly uses home movies, diaries, archival footage, and interviews with family, Wood’s two husbands (Robert Wagner and Richard Gregson), and close friends like Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, to shine a light on Wood’s impressive life and career, both too often overshadowed by the icon’s tragic end. It’s a loving, intimate, and informative portrait of a mother and actress gone way too soon. – Emma Badame

Where to watch it: Crave, HBO


The Servant (1963)

Subversive. Joseph Levy surreptitiously showing prejudice. – Kaleem Aftab


Where to watch it: Mubi


The Half Of It (2020)

Alice Wu’s long-awaited returning to filmmaking is a delightful adaptation of the classic Cyrano de Bergerac tale. Cue love letters (texts in this case) and much yearning from afar, but in this witty queer reimagining, it’s the friendship that develops between isolated intellect Ellie (Leah Lewis) and misunderstood jock Paul (Daniel Diemer) that’s the true heart of the story. Beautifully shot and achingly earnest, let’s pray we don’t have to wait another 16 years for Wu to dazzle us again. – Joe Lipsett

Where to watch it: Netflix



The Last Dance (2020)

I’m an easy mark for narratives focusing on defeating the other team! Somehow they made Michael Jordan feel like an underdog on his journey to winning six championships and I enjoyed every second of it. The amazing soundtrack (available on Tidal) is also a big plus! – Daniel Grant

Where to watch it: Netflix


Stray (2020)


It’s weird doing Hot Docs as an online festival this year. (I’ve only seen about a quarter of the number of films that I watched last year.) However, the top dog of the festival isn’t even in the online edition. It’s Stray by Elizabeth Lo, and a very worthy winner of the Jury Prize for Best International Feature. If you love Kedi, this film’s for you. Stray is a portrait of homeless dogs in Istanbul that captures the sights and sounds of the city from a canine’s point of view. Besides finding three adorably endearing subjects in mutts Zeytin, Nazar, and Kartal, Lo’s film provides a compelling human rights essay as the dogs’ wanderings through the streets intersect with the homeless people surviving day by day. Stray, like Kedi, is a provocative essay about how we treat our fellow animals, human and non-human alike. – Pat Mullen

Where to watch it: Not currently available, but stay tuned!


Paris 05:59: Theo And Hugo (2016)

Ducastel and Martineau’s films are always delicate romances laced with a fresh and frank sense of eroticism, and here they take their biggest chance with graphic content. The film opens with a very hot half hour scene in a sex club where Theo and Hugo meet, have mind-blowing coitus and then spend the rest of the night wandering the empty streets of Paris, dealing with the consequences and accidentally reinforcing the connection they made at the beginning. Aside from the palpable chemistry between the leads, the film has a refreshing attitude towards movie sex, suggesting the idea that a physical connection is a legitimate way of getting to something more permanent. – Bil Antoniou


Where to watch it: nowhere, currently


Ready Or Not (2019)

If you’re looking for a quirky horror/thriller with some light jump scares and great one-liners, then check out Ready or Not. – Erin Fernie

Where to watch it: Crave, iTunes


Hagazussa (2017)

While a snail-paced, atmospheric horror film might not be the natural choice when everywhere we turn is filled with real-life horrors, Hagazussa was escapist in the best way possible. I put on the movie, turned off all my lights, put my cell phone in the next room, and let myself sink into the world of German witches and spooky skulls. The film is nearly dialogue-free, but the sweeping visuals and quiet reflection acted like someone whispering a story to me, and I leaned in to hear everything. It is a privilege to be able to retreat into art. – Deirdre Crimmins

Where to watch it: Prime Video, Shudder, Kanopy, and for rent elsewhere


Moonstruck (1987)

True confessions time: I’ve watched Moonstruck twice already during this time of isolation, a film I’ve seen probably a hundred times before this. Why? It’s comforting, I guess, and it’s certainly funny but I think that during times of insanity a crazy film really resonates. Moonstruck‘s brilliance comes from the manner in which it continuously teeters on that precipice where comedy can plunge headlong into tragedy. The film is a joyous send-up of our most passionate selves and while people and situations are exaggerated for comic effect, there’s an authenticity at its core. Olympia Dukakis, hilarious as the weary mother, brilliantly anchors the film. She’s glib and embittered but wiser than us all: “When you love them they drive you crazy because they know they can.” She’s the kind of woman I like to have a glass of wine with. – Barbara Goslawski

Where to watch it: DVD/Blu-ray, iTunes, Cineplex Store


Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

You can see the beauty, precision, and passion oozing out of every shot in the film. A spectacular blend of dark fantasy with a dark chapter in Spanish history. Probably the best thing Guillermo Del Toro has made and will ever make. – Kevin L. Lee

Where to watch it: Prime Video, DVD/Blu-ray, iTunes

Sour Grapes (2016)

The 2016 documentary is a stranger-than-life look at the complex and complicated world of wine auctions with all the pacing of a thriller. Tracing an audacious con artist who swindled wine collectors out of millions with forgeries, Sour Grapes is best enjoyed with a glass of Malbec in-hand. – Rachel West

Where to watch it: Netflix



Six Feet Under

The Eddy

True Detective Season 2 – All good things must come to an end, including the Colin Farrell Film Festival

BoJack Horseman


Call My Agent

RuPaul’s Drag Race


What We Do In The Shadows

You’re The Worst –  I’m not totally comfortable how much I relate to the characters