14 August 2015 | annlevtex
This is not an easy drama to watch....but the rewards make it all worthwhile. Yes, it starts off a bit slow. You have to adjust yourself to the pace and, for lack of a better word, the quietness of the piece. The score is fairly minimal, aside from a few intense strains that play during moments of torment for the main character. And it works perfectly.
No one says more than they need to, and the silences enrich the drama. This is a story of people who have secrets, who struggle to express themselves and communicate. There is no unneeded expository dialogue; it trusts the viewers to pay attention. And the visual setting, the performances, the story are so riveting that you can't stop paying attention.
The acting is consistently wonderful. I agree with another reviewer who said it took some adjusting to MacKay as Older Lewis and JBF as Alice, but I can't fault either of them for that. Alice almost dropped out of the sky (one reviewer said it was like Gilbert had ordered her from Harrods, LOL), so it made sense that she seemed awkward at first. And MacKay is not only much older than Finn Elliot but does not particularly resemble him. So to me, that was more a matter of how they were introduced than of the acting.
MacKay is quite brilliant, and I was very impressed with Greg Wise. The secondary characters are seamless and strong. Jessica Bardem is thoroughly winning. And JBF really hit her stride in the scene in the restaurant with Young Lewis (around the middle of the first episode) and never broke it after that. Alice became a compelling character in what is, IMO, her best performance to date. Granted I have not seen everything she's done, but this was a great showcase for her talent and I think she is growing exponentially as an actress.
When it came to and end I felt like I had just watched a classic. In retrospect the entire story became an almost perfect whole and it stayed with me. I watched it again and enjoyed it even more the second time. Haunting, beautiful, bittersweet. Just a wonderful series.