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3 great dramas you need to watch on New Year’s Day

Now that the end of 2023 has arrived, how do you want to spend New Year’s Eve? We’ve already put forth some comedies, thrillers, rom-coms, and sci-fi films that are appropriate for the last day of the year. Now, it’s time to suggest three great dramas that you should watch on New Year’s Eve.

Because many of 2023’s best dramas are not currently available to stream, we went with three of 2022’s best dramatic offerings: The Whale, To Leslie, and Thirteen Lives. There’s a lot of heartache in our first two picks, but there’s also a chance for redemption. As we enter 2024, remember that dramas aren’t always about trauma and tragedy. These are also the stories that can lift us up.

For more New Year’s Eve selections, check out 3 great action movies to watch on New Year’s Eve, 3 great rom-coms to watch on New Year’s Eve, 10 best Netflix movies to watch on New Year’s Eve, 3 great Netflix thrillers you need to watch on New Year’s Eve, and 3 great sci-fi movies you need to watch on New Year’s Eve.

For New Year’s Day suggestions, try 3 great Hulu shows you need to watch on New Year’s Day and 3 great Prime Video movies to watch on New Year’s Day.

The Whale (2022)

Brendan Fraser smiles in The Whale.
A24

The Whale can’t really be called Brendan Fraser’s comeback because he had been working in Hollywood again before the buzz for this film picked up. But winning the Oscar for Best Actor was the validation of a lifetime. Darren Aronofsky directed the story of Charlie (Fraser), a man who abandoned his wife and child for his male lover, Alan, years ago. After Alan’s premature death, Charlie became a morbidly obese recluse who barely had any human contact.

Because Charlie hopes to reconnect with his daughter, Ellie (Stranger Things‘ Sadie Sink), he offers to pay her if she will spend time with him. Meanwhile, Charlie’s nurse, Liz (Hong Chau), and a local missionary, Thomas (Ty Simpkins), have their own ideas about what Charlie needs. Liz wants Charlie to seek medical aid to save his life, while Thomas claims that it’s his mission to save Charlie’s soul.

Watch The Whale on Paramount+ with Showtime.

To Leslie (2022)

Andrea Riseborough in To Leslie.
Momentum Pictures

To Leslie is another potential tale of redemption, but Leslie Rowland (Andrea Riseborough) really doesn’t make it easy on herself. Leslie is infamous in her small town for winning the lottery and squandering every cent she had on alcohol and drugs, in addition to abandoning her son, James (Owen Teague). Suffice to say, there’s not a lot of love for Leslie.

The one guy who gives Leslie a real chance to turn her life around is Sweeney (Marc Maron), the co-owner of a local hotel who gives her a job and a place to stay when no one else will. But ultimately, the only one who can save Leslie is Leslie herself. This film constantly makes the audience wonder if Leslie can change and if she really wants to.

Watch To Leslie on Netflix.

Thirteen Lives (2022)

Thirteen Lives - Official Trailer | Prime Video

If you even lightly follow world news, then you’ve probably heard the story of the Thai soccer team, the Wild Boars, and their assistant coach, Ekkaphon Chanthawong (Teeradon Supapunpinyo), who were trapped in the Tham Luang cave by flood waters for 18 days in 2018. Knowing the outcome of that rescue doesn’t lessen the drama of Thirteen Lives, a Ron Howard film that chronicles a behind-the-scenes look at the efforts to save the team.

Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell (The Batman) co-star as Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, two British diving experts who were recruited to help locate the boys and their coach, respectively. That turned out to be the easy part. Getting the kids out alive through a six-hour dive for each boy was much more difficult, and not all of the rescuers escaped with their lives.

Watch Thirteen Lives on Prime Video.

Editors' Recommendations

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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