Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Widow

Who's in it?: Kate Beckinsale (Much Ado About Nothing, Cold Comfort Farm, the Underworld movies), Alex Kingston (River Song on Doctor Who), and Charles Dance (The Golden ChildAlien³Game of Thrones).

What's it about?: A woman (Beckinsale) goes looking for her supposedly dead husband when she thinks she spots him on a TV news report.

How is it?: It's not going to be for everyone, but I really really enjoyed The Widow. I recommended it to a friend who's a big Alex Kingston fan, but he couldn't get through it. It stuck with me though and I'm currently rewatching it with Diane.

The mysteries (there are many) unfold slowly. There are multiple plot lines that eventually converge, but the mini-series takes its time revealing how they're connected. It's non-linear with tons of flashbacks that sometimes uncover aspects of the story that you didn't even know were mysteries. For me, that means that it gets increasingly richer and deeper as it goes, but it could be frustrating for some. And then there are some of the mysteries whose revelations are fairly mundane. If you're looking for Lost or 24-like twists, you'll be disappointed. The Widow is exciting, but it's also very grounded and real.

The two things I liked best about it - no, three things if I count just spending time with Beckinsale and Dance (who plays an ally of Beckinsale helping with her investigation) - are the setting and one of the big themes. The series is mostly set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is part of the world I knew very little about. I feel like I know it better now though (it reminds me a lot of Haiti, which I've visited) and that's a very cool aspect of the show. I also like that it shows multiple sides of living in the DRC, both positive and negative.

Even better than that, I love the relentlessness of Beckinsale's character. She constantly makes choices where the potential consequences seem so much bigger than her ability to handle them. And while I don't exactly worry for her (she's the star of the thing after all) the tone is so real that I constantly wonder how she's going to make it through whatever situation she's about to rush into. Her perseverance is head-scratching at first, but it quickly moves to admirable and finally becomes the whole point of the show, which contrasts her with weaker-willed characters. What I thought was just a cool way of driving action becomes a remarkable, provocative challenge to face trials and struggles in my own life with courage and determination, as opposed to avoiding them or ignoring them until they solve themselves.

Rating: Four out of five single-minded spouses.

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