Every month, Netflix adds movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for some of December’s most promising new titles. (Note: Streaming services occasionally change schedules without giving notice. For more recommendations on what to stream, sign up for our Watching newsletter here.)

‘May December’

Now streaming

Based loosely on the story of Mary Kay Letourneau — a woman who made tabloid headlines in the 1990s for having a sexual affair with a teenage boy, whom she later married — this arch melodrama stars Julianne Moore as the scandal-plagued Gracie Atherton-Yoo, who is about to be played in a movie by Elizabeth Berry (Natalie Portman), a popular TV actress. As Elizabeth spends time with Gracie to try and understand her life better, her questions disrupt the Atherton-Yoo family and push Gracie’s husband, Joe (Charles Melton), to reflect more deeply on what happened to him when he was a kid. Directed by the venerable indie filmmaker Todd Haynes (best-known for “Far from Heaven” and “Carol”), “May December” is at times discomfiting and at times darkly funny. It’s an artful, absorbing look at a performer using the excuse of researching a role as a way to explore the taboo.

‘Leave the World Behind’

Starts streaming: Dec. 8

The “Mr. Robot” writer-director Sam Esmail adapts Rumaan Alam’s novel “Leave the World Behind,” about a Brooklyn family that rents a vacation home on Long Island, right before a massive cyberattack leads to power blackouts and internet outages across the country. Complicating the situation further, the house’s owner G.H. Scott (Mahershala Ali) shows up with his daughter, Ruth (Myha’la), asking to take refuge — a request that rankles his renter, the cynical misanthrope Amanda Sandford (Julia Roberts). Ethan Hawke also stars as Amanda’s genial husband, Clay, who tries to make peace and to protect the Sandfords’ kids as the natural world around them starts to go haywire. Esmail leans into the eerie beauty of a collapsing society while also probing the tense relationship between these privileged strangers — of similar social backgrounds, yet divided by race — as together they navigate the early days of a possible apocalypse.

‘Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget’

Starts streaming: Dec. 15

This sequel to Aardman Animation’s hit 2000 film “Chicken Run” features a mostly new cast, voicing the original’s beloved characters. Thandiwe Newton now plays Ginger, who in the first movie led a band of rebellious poultry on an escape mission, fleeing an egg farm for the safety of a remote island bird sanctuary. In “Dawn of the Nugget,” Ginger and her mate Rocky (now voiced by Zachary Levi), need to break into a factory, to save their daughter, Molly (Bella Ramsey), and to keep their former captor Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) from exacting revenge on all of chicken-kind with her fast-food innovations. The veteran animator Sam Fell (who previously co-directed Aardman’s “Flushed Away”) takes over as the film’s director, working from a script co-written by the original’s screenwriter, Karey Kirkpatrick.



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