Mare and Arabella

I watched two miniseries that were on my need-to-see list recently. They have both really stayed with me and when things stay with me like that, I need to blog about them (without spoilers).

First off, Mare of Easttown with Kate Winslet and she’s really as good in this as everyone says she is! She won an Emmy for this role recently and deservedly so…

Mare is a police investigator in a small town in Pennsylvania, investigating the murder of a teenage girl. She’s divorced, lives with her two kids and her mom and, really, all she tries to do is keep her life running while investigating this murder and also dealing with some past trauma of her own. Yes, I liked the mystery aspect of this but what I loved most of all were the layered characters. No one is all good or all bad, including Mare, they are all just different people with highs and lows who make certain choices, some good, some not so good that feel very real and true to life. Life isn’t just black and white, good or bad and it has its ups and downs where little in the moment choices can occasionally have big consequences. And even when something Mare does turns out to be ‘heroic’ it’s doesn’t feel heroic in that moment, it just feels like something that needs to be done with both good and bad consequences. I love that Mare is this no-nonsense woman who just wants to get on with it but also very much cares about the people in the town. She looks like the normal, non-glamourous person next door, which I love too. Like all of us, she has to balance work and life with her family, her friends, her ex-husband and even a potential romance and it really isn’t always easy. Things get resolved at the end but, just like in our own real lives, one thing may end but there are other paths that still need to be taken and new decisions that still need to be made. Yes, this was good and felt real and I’m sure I’ll go back to this series again.

Another Emmy award went to actress and writer Michaela Coel for writing I May Destroy You and, again, deservedly so! She also played the main role.

Michaela plays a young writer, Arabella, who is trying to follow up her first besteller debut with a second book but finding it hard to do so. She goes out with friends one night, her drink gets spiked and the next morning she wakes up without any memory of what happened except for an occasional memory flash that unsettles her. As she tries to piece together what happened that night she finds out she was sexually assaulted. It turns her world upside down and she must find a way to deal with it all, not only with what happened but also with how other people react to it. In this series, just as in Mare, the characters aren’t all good or bad either, they are layered and here too the characters make small, almost innocent choices that can have detrimental effects. The lives Arabella and her friends live are so different from what my own life was and is (I have never been big at partying or having many sexual partners like these young people do) and yet, I can relate to and feel for every one of them. Not only are the characters layered and real, also the grey areas of consent and what amounts to sexual harrassment or assault are explored here and really leave you with food for thought. How do you move on from and live with something like this? The title of the series suddenly makes even more sense in the final episode, I will not spoil more than that. In addition to all this, Michaela Coel has such a fascinating face that I could never tear my eyes away from her. An excellent performance and a story based on her own life experience make this very real but sometimes also difficult to watch.

Bottom line: very real layered female characters, played by real looking actresses, and with a good story set in the real world make for gripping television. Congratulations to Michaela Coel and Kate Winslet on their deserved Emmy wins…

I want more!