A murder in the upper-class milieu and a family that only looks perfect on the surface: In “The Undoing”, series creator David E. Kelley combines motifs similar to those in his great success “Big Little Lies”. Why the original remains unmatched.
The HBO series “Big Little Lies” won the prize for best miniseries at both the Emmys 2017 and the Golden Globes 2018. In addition, some of the actors in the top-class ensemble received awards – including Nicole Kidman, who played splendidly in the drama series. In addition to the excellent reviews, the HBO production also received a great response from viewers. While fans of the series are hoping for a third season after a telling tip from Nicole Kidman, they can pass the time with a new psychodrama from HBO: Sky is showing the six-part miniseries “The Undoing” from November 30th.
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And so much can be revealed: If you liked “Big Little Lies”, you will also be fascinated by “The Undoing”. This is not only due to Nicole Kidman, who once again proves her acting talent in an ambivalent leading role. The handwriting of “Big Little Lies” maker David E. Kelley, who wrote the script based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s novel “You Had Knowledge Can”, is also unmistakable.
A death in a glamorous setting
As in the successful model, the action takes place in the upper-class environment of well-heeled families, although Kelley has moved the location from the west coast of California to the other side of the United States to New York City. The therapist Grace (Kidman) lives there with her busy husband Jonathan (Hugh Grant) and their son Henry (Noah Jupe), who goes to a prestigious private school – just as it should be for a wealthy family in the Big Apple.
Together with the other mothers, Grace celebrates drinking champagne together, superficial welcoming rituals and swims in a vortex of exaltation and decadence. Only one mother seems out of place in the exclusive group that organizes a fundraising campaign for the school: Elena (Matilda De Angelis), her son Miguel (Edan Alexander), not because of the wealth of his parents, but because of his outstanding achievements to them Made it to school.
She unsettles the other mothers with her open-hearted outfits and outrags the society ladies at a meeting when she breastfeeds her baby in front of the assembled team. Elena had “spectacular breasts”, as Sylvia (Lily Rabe) later stated condescendingly during a phone call with Grace. A little later, however, the plot experiences its first tragic turn: Elena is found dead, apparently cruelly slain. At the same time, Jonathan disappears without a trace and is targeted by the police – just like Grace, whose world threatens to be turned upside down.
The new Hugh Grant
“The Undoing” is supported by strong acting performances. Kidman’s role is strikingly similar to her role as Celeste Wright in “Big Little Lies”. Even in the darkest moments, Grace tries to outwardly appear to be a strong woman and tough mother – which is by far not always successful. Hugh Grant is also allowed to shine, once again distancing himself from his 90s heartbreaker image and presenting the mysterious man with two (or three?) Faces.
Still, “The Undoing” cannot compete with “Big Little Lies”. But the new HBO psychodrama lacks the multifaceted nature. “Big Little Lies” was not only prominently cast right down to the supporting roles, the different narrative threads revealed fraud, physical violence and alienation sometimes with full force, sometimes subliminal and creeping.
In “The Undoing” the secondary characters remain very pale except for a lovable yet grumpy Donald Sutherland. The lack of interesting counterparts to the omnipresent Grace also affects the narrative speed: Because the plot is almost exclusively limited to her family drama, the tension curve flattens out again and again. The effective cliff hangers at the end of the episodes only help to a limited extent.
“The Undoing” runs from Monday, November 30th, every Monday on Sky Atlantic HD. The series is also available on Sky Ticket and Sky Q.
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Source: teleschau – the mediendienst GmbH