Sunday 10 March 2024

Alice and Jack (2023)

Anyone seen this Channel 4 drama? I stumbled into it and got hooked pretty quickly as we accompany the two characters through 15 years of their up/down relationship during the 6 x 45-minute episodes.

Alice is a dreadful person at the outset, in lots of ways, damaged by her past, but out dating anyway (for sex). She has a successful job but few friends, as she's like she is. Keeping real life at a distance and treating those around her fairly abusively. Along comes Jack, via a dating app, and her chance to change all that is rotten about her.

Jack is a research scientist and deeply engaged with his work, trying to make the world a better place for those suffering with illness and disease. He's a man with a soft heart and prime candidate for Alice to destroy, break the heart of. But there's a chemistry going on from the start which will, or won't, overcome the usual Alice-style approach to life and commitment to anything outside of her bubble.

The series takes us through a long passage of time (in which, incidentally, they don't seem to really age much)! Alice disappears from his life at various points for lengths of time and we pick up the story again later. During one of these periods, Jack gives up on her, meets Lynn, gets married, has child (though not in that order)! This complicates the whole issue in relation to Alice when she pops up again.

The whole series sweeps the viewer between emotions, it's hugely moving in parts, particularly towards the end when events transpire to challenge the pair even more, those with whom they are involved (especially his daughter), the wealth and health issues which follow and eventual outcomes.

Domhnall Gleeson (Ex_Machina, The Revenant, Brooklyn) is excellent in the lead alongside Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, Shepherds and Butchers) as they both ensnare the viewer, well, this one, anyway, not letting go until the last frame of the last episode. The deep roots of their underlying strangely-enacted love and devotion for each other, often destroyed by life events both present and previous, are portrayed beautifully by them and it was also great to see Aisling Bea (Trollied, This Way Up, Love Wedding Repeat) pop up again as his wife, doing equally well with her lesser role.

It's a super little heavily-Irish casted drama which often tugs on the heartstrings, is smartly written and intelligent, never soppy but hugely engaging, the time flying through each episode. Watch it for excellent core performances (along with other Brit actors doing great jobs) but be in the mood for a moving, quirky but emotional tale. And detesting Alice for the first half of it!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Perfect Days (2023)

This Wim Wenders (Paris, Taxas, The American Friend) film is a moving and beautifully created character study depicting the everyday life of...