My Mother and Other Strangers (2016– )
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Teenagers should watch this show and the subject should be discussed if they are willing to do so of course. Our kids know that adults and parents are not perfect but they might not know that falling in love is not always expected or avoidable. Married people that wish to remain loyal to their spouse and family need to be keenly aware of the possibility and know when to stop interacting with a co-worker, a neighbor, a "liaison officer or married woman" etc when the unexpected attraction becomes more than the usual friendly banter. If it does, it is difficult to stop because it is exciting and emotionally gratifying to continue. As Rose said,(paraphrased) "I tried to tell myself that not seeing you was for the best." The Captain replied, "It was for the best." Their virtuous, rational sides know it is wrong but they failed to stop their interactions earlier when it would have still been hard to do so but easier than later. The outcome hinges on which love will prevail over the other. Rose's love for Michael and her kids or for the fanciful "Yankee Heathcliff."
In a world with an overabundance of hate and violence, it is bizarre to me that loving another person can also be so destructive and life altering. It is a subject worthy of a family discussion as are many other elements and story lines in this brilliant series in Moybeg. (ie. The fabulous Hattie Morahan should win an Oscar and Vera's story starting before she was married would be a great Fiona Button series by itself. 2 great actresses at their very best)
Narrated by the grown up son, Francis, the focus is on Rose Coyne the displaced Englishwoman, A loyal wife, mother of three children who has left a glamorous and educated world behind to be in Ireland with her husband Michael who runs a pub. Michael might run a few scams but he is a decent man and but the dullness she feels in her life hits home when she encounters the thoughtful and educated US air base liaison officer Captain Ronald Dreyfus.
At first they have casual chit chats, the Americans are seen as being brash and their presence in the village meets with resentment from the locals and it is Captain's Dreyfus's job to smooth things over. Over time both feel passion for each other which they try to keep in check as both are married.
This is a nice twee drama, not very original and rather predictable. The final episode hints that there is more to come, I think the story should had stopped at the fifth episode.
Surprisingly, the program is also an engaging drama despite its soap opera elements (including Poldark style music). Syd Field, author of the classic screen writing book, sagely observed that scenes are never good or bad; they either work or don't work. This program shouldn't work but it does. The tone, mood and pace are seductive and Hattie Morahan is just great as a earth mother woman of hidden strength and toughness. She's Mrs. Miniver who isn't afraid to threaten to shoot someone. It also succeeds in the most basic, yet difficult aspect of drama by making you believe that you are watching another time and place that actually existed. Granted, the plot has some glaring discontinuities that leave you thinking, "where did that come from?", but adult TV is so rare that it is easy to forgive.
Worst of all ... the lead character ... the bug-eyed Rose Coyne ... as played by Hattie Marahan. Dear God, did Marahan over act the part (watch for the non-stop bulging eyes and you will know what I mean ... she acts as if everything is horrifying). This is honestly one of the worst performances I have seen on Masterpiece and I couldn't help but wonder why the director did not intervene???
Sadly, it is nothing more than a silly soap opera ... that features a lot of bad acting & directing & writing ... and it's easy to understand why a season 2 never occurred. Twas a merciful "cutting of bait."
3 of 10 stars in respect of the production values