What’s on TV Friday: ‘Young Ahmed’ and ‘Hamilton’


YOUNG AHMED (2020) Stream on Criterion Channel; rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. A bespectacled Belgian teenager gets swept up by radicalism in this most recent film from the brothers Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne. The teenager, a 13-year-old named Ahmed (Idir Ben Addi), falls under the influence of an extremist imam (Othmane Moumen). As Ahmed grows apart from his family, his attention falls on his math tutor, Inès (Myriem Akheddiou) — a fixation that leads to catastrophe. “The plot may hinge on Ahmed’s actions and motivations,” A.O. Scott wrote in his review for The New York Times, “but the film’s real drama revolves around a central moral and political conflict, between religious extremism and a humanist ethos that is more behavioral than doctrinal.”

#ANNEFRANK — PARALLEL STORIES Stream on Netflix. This year is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, where Anne Frank was held before being transferred to Bergen-Belsen, the camp where she died. Helen Mirren hosts this new educational documentary, which revisits Frank’s diary alongside other stories of people who lived during the Holocaust. It includes interviews with Holocaust survivors and historians, who, among other things, discuss the ways the public’s understanding of the Holocaust has evolved in the decades since.

HAMILTON (2020) Stream on Disney+. How does a “bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman” fare when he moves from stage to screen? Find out in this immensely hyped filmed version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton.” In his review for The Times, A.O. Scott wrote that the “close-ups and camera movements in this version enhance the charisma of the performers, adding a dimension of intimacy that compensates for the lost electricity of the live theatrical experience.” But with Broadway theaters — including the Richard Rodgers, which usually hosts “Hamilton” — closed through at least the rest of the year, you don’t really need to compare: For now, it’s the only way you’re going to see the show.

AD ASTRA (2019) 11:15 p.m. on HBO. Brad Pitt plays an astronaut who travels to the dark side of the moon in the shadow of his famous father in “Ad Astra,” the most recent movie from James Gray. Pitt’s character, Maj. Roy McBride, is the son of an admired astronaut (Tommy Lee Jones) believed to have died in space. When the government learns his father may still be alive, they send the younger McBride to make contact — a quest that involves the exploration of both outer space and paternal relationships. “Visually austere and narratively clotted, ‘Ad Astra’ tends to work best in isolated scenes rather than in the aggregate,” Manohla Dargis wrote in her review for The Times. She added that “Pitt’s soulful, nuanced performance — which becomes incrementally more externalized and visible, as if McBride were shedding a false face — holds the film together even when it starts to fray.”

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