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  • This TV mini-series is as relevant today - perhaps more so - with respect to its refreshing examination on attitudes towards aging. Judi Dench is marvelous as a middle aged divorcée who defies conventional wisdom and the expectations placed upon a woman in such circumstances by her family and contemporary society. Viewers may find some discomfort in the early parts of the series as the Dench character maneuvers to turn these expectations on their head. However, the clever script and top notch performances by a first rate supporting cast, should raise insights into the double standards regarding sexual roles, as well as discriminatory attitudes regarding generational differences. Co-stars include Ronald Pickup, Joely Richardson and Frances Barber.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I had not heard of this prior to spotting it on Channel 4, but seeing as I would have been ten years old when it was originally aired, it's not a huge surprise. It's an interesting take on some cliché'd ideas, deconstructing them, dealing with gender role stereotypes etc, but the problem is the script, the direction, and the supporting basically, everything. The mother in law makes very painful irritating viewing, and it's almost as if she's in another production and has accidentally wandered onto the set, so bizarre and jarring is her ranting. The flat-share is badly thought through, and Joely Richardson is so horrifically BAD at acting that she fills the screen every time she appears, so much so I had to stop myself from punching it! Then the love affair with the Giles character, it just crops out of nowhere, no indication it's going to happen, no build towards it, and then they're away,'re just left a bit confused as to why you bothered watching it. Yes, it tells us that nothing in life is certain, that we must be strong and self sufficient, that we should be brave and live our lives, however, the way it tells you is rather hollow, badly constructed and irritating. I would recommend you watch it, just to see how bad it is....
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I didn't have high expectations for this series to begin with. While it is true that the pacing is slower than As Time Goes By, and I didn't grapple too much on the dialogue as much as I did with ATGB. I found the pacing to just fit the storyline. The plot is not in a hurry to tell a dozen incidences of comic nature but rather delves on the inner psyche of a lonely person and how she is coming to terms with the reality and fighting her unhappiness. The storyline is simple, a middle-aged woman is divorced by her husband for another woman. She tries to make her single life work but is just too lonely to be alone. From moving in with her ex-husband and his lover and a very naggy mother-in-law to camping in her daughter's flat along with 4 other people to falling in love (or simply fancying the thought of "love") to a much younger man. In 4 episodes, we will see that it's not only Brigette (Judi Dench's character) that behaves badly. This little dark comedy series gives warmth and compassion to those who had been neglegted and had risen up to fight loneliness. And don't miss Joely Richardson who is absolutely incredible from her Nip/Tuck-sultry persona to playing this gawky, hypochondriachal pansy. A blast!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Let me first of all say that I typically love British series, and I particularly admire Judi Dench. But this... Everybody was so stereotyped; disgusting, coughing and spitting old grandfather; catty older mother-in-law; neurotic young woman--you name it. I, too, have no idea why the love-interest preacher was black, yet alone why he was American; and Giles' bi-sexuality seemed completely irrelevant to me. I suppose the latter two characters were written and cast that way to provide for the injection of certain token minorities. Francesca Folan, who played daughter Phyllida, seemed to be overacting to the nth degree, and in my opinion the plot had more holes than a colander. I'm not sure, but I don't believe this was ever released in a VHS format and was not released as a DVD until 2005, some sixteen years after the original series aired. This smacks of an attempt to capitalize on Ms Dench's recent increase in popularity. She has performed so well in so many films, I would not waste your time renting this.
  • Well, this is definitely a story with flaws, but I took it to be more of a work in the tradition of dry British comedy, and enjoyed it as such. It isn't quite light-hearted enough or fast-paced enough as comedy, but the situations are so clearly ridiculous, and one does so enjoy seeing the dirtbag husband placed in such awkward predicaments, I can't say I'm sorry to have watched it. Among the flaws are a serious miscasting of the part of Rebecca with Frances Barber. I am an admirer of Ms. Barber's acting, but frankly, she is simply too old for this part. Instead of looking at least 20 years younger than Judi Dench, she looks more like maybe only 10 years younger. And Ms. Barber has a rather worldly look about her (due to age, I suppose) that doesn't make the points this series attempts to make about age as clearly as it wants. All in all, I'd have to say this was an unbelievably poor mistake. The mother in law is rather tedious, but even so, she had her moments of the fantastic. I can understand that there are few people who would find this entertaining, but for what it's worth, I enjoyed it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Behaving Badly: 1/10: I have a very high tolerance for cinematic pain. I'm willing to sit through almost anything. Heck forget Jar Jar Binks that's child's play, forget got some undubbed Japanese ghost story sans subtitles… cakewalk, forget some sixties experimental film feature two characters in a white room for six hours.

    Behaving badly broke me.

    I kept watching all the way through and it kept getting worse. I like Judi Dench but she is simply unwatchable in this. She plays a dowdy church mouse whose husband leaves her for a younger woman and she decides to think for herself. The choices that she makes are insane and distinctly unfunny.

    Ah the pain. Joey Richardson as the younger husband stealing harlot suffers from theater acting disease common in BBC productions but it's the grandmother/mother-in-law (Gwen Watford) that did me in. Gwen plays the most painfully irritating stereo type in television history. (Overbearing Jewish shrew that performs voodoo) Oh and the series features "kids" each more banal than the last. (The girl under going a nervous breakdown may send you to your own she is that contagious) Why the kids are even in this series is beyond me. (A younger demographic perhaps?) They are a Real World episode gone horrible wrong. Why is there a black American preacher/love interest? Why would anyone steal Judi Dench's husband? (He is such a wimpy cad and come with more baggage than the Howell's on Gilligan's Island.) In four episodes there is not one laugh. There is only confusion and pain. It is like a Mike Leigh sitcom.
  • selffamily21 November 2009
    I started to watch this - I rented it and I'm not sure that I'm sorry. It is unbearably slow to start with, and as a previous comment has said, the mother-in-law was excruciating, so much so in fact that I started fast-forwarding her by the third installment; it didn't affect the story. (It's not as though there are no older women in the British film or television industry, who could act. The story was simple but silly - hard to imagine a middle-aged woman in such circumstances simply moving back to the marital home after five years; hard to imagine a hard-core black baptist church in Croydon (am I wrong? have I been away too long?) and hard to imagine a daughter as this one is; also that there was no autopsy on the old man? Well knitted all together, it begins to work by episode 3, to the extent that I wanted to see what happens. The ending is so improbable it's lovely. You know from discussion that it may not last, but she doesn't care. And neither did I. I think by then I was numb. This production was a bit of a conundrum - all these very clever people doing something so mediocre.
  • vgwelland26 November 2012
    I don't believe there are so many negative reviews of this brilliant series. There is nothing as comparable in today's TV fare - mostly crime and police series! How refreshing it was to have a series so well scripted, directed and acted about PEOPLE for a change. The USA is lucky in that practically everything seems available on DVD. I wish this series were to be released on Region 2 DVD! How lucky we are though to have 4OD where i was able to see this series again. There is a rich vein of archive material in the vaults of our TV and film studios which should more easily be accessed. In Britain we are not even getting the very best films from the MGM archive on DVD.