Monday, 23 November 2015

TV review: The Beautiful Lie, episode 6, ABC (2015)

The reason why Anna in the end takes her own life is because noone thought she would, and so a lack of maturity and imagination lies at the root of society's inability to rid itself of this seductive curse. Anna for her part is full of imagination. She even has delusions that Skeet is back in her arms kissing her. But it's just that: an illusion. Skeet is miles away with his new girlfriend.

Once the property settlement comes through Anna is able to move into her own house but Skeet does not like living in the countryside, where she has chosen to reside. He spends less time at home. Meanwhile, Peter and Kitty are on the cusp of bringing new life into the world. The program's makers try to inject a touch of realism into the drama by making Skeet bump into Kitty at a bookshop. Then Peter and Anna drunkenly flirt. But it's not enough to stop the onward rush of the vehicle all these actors find themselves trapped in.

Dolly and Kingsley, having gone through their own troubles early on in the piece, end up being the ideal couple, addicted to their au pair and probably a few other things besides. We don't ask and they won't tell us. I remain staunch in my early appraisal of Celia Pacquola as the stand-out in this short series. It wasn't a bad series, just a tad too sentimental. Thankfully it was not infected with the same disease that taints Australian theatre, the "fuck" disease, where every character is a potential junkie and they all say "fuck" a lot. At least we were spared exposure to an entirely mundane abomination.

There were moments of real beauty in this TV series but in the end the book that inspired it deserves to remain a bit smug. This attempt at recreating in a modern Australian setting one of the great dramas of world literature was brave and aspirational. I give it that. It is just in the end the people who made it didn't really believe in the probability of Anna's death. It had to come in earlier. And we needed to have more from Skeet, who ended up being quite a thin invention. More substance at this pressure point might have given Anna's tragic end a greater sense of gravitas.

2 comments:

MalindiAdventures said...

I agree Skeet's character was largely unsubstantial unlike Vonsky in Tolstoy's masterpiece. Vronsky had a substantial standing in society and was not Skeet's weak cool kid. This detail for me put Anna in the same basket as a love struck teenager as opposed to a woman of substance.

murfomurf said...

To my mind IRL Anna might have been expected to commit suicide without any reference to the "original" novel. She had been through a whirlwind of emotion, interpreted it mostly as lust and love, quickly become pregnant and endured massive change in her life, both physically and psychologically. The series didn't really look at her side of falling out of love with her first child amid falling in love with her newest conception. It IS rather unusual for a woman to "forget" to care for a child, even when she falls in love with another man. So often women bring their children with them and the second partner is not so keen on caring for another man's child. Anyhow, Anna loses the attachment to her son, which would be quite a wrench and at the end she is left without any reliable human and material resources while looking after another helpless little human. With no back-up at all,feeling destitute, she just wants to cease her existence and accomplishes that quickly and sadly. And I agree- Skeet didn't seem quite in the story. He was obviously successful in whatever life he had but none of that seemed to affect his boy-like lack of responsibility regarding Anna and his baby.