51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
A spellbinding achievement,
This review is from: Perfect Strangers  [DVD] (DVD)
A gentle, yet powerful and moving tale of family history, secrets and relationships, set over the weekend of a family reunion event, and then a later weekend at a family wedding.
As with all Poliakoff dramas, the pace of the story-telling, the length of scene, the camera work, are all designed to slow the tale down, to make the viewer ease into the story and the characters, to extend and challenge their 21st century attention span.
The casting is superlative, and every actor turns in flawless performance: Matthew MacFadyen's combination of youthful arrogance with a pervasive uncertainty and inferiority around his family; Lindsay Duncan's graceful noblesse which hides a painful story; Michael Gambon's irritable yet troubled father. Each character is a finely worked, intricate creation.
Another Poliakoff trait used here (and seen even more strongly in Shooting the Past) is the use of historical documents, particularly photographs, to flesh out characters' stories. He uses the images, breathing life into them through flashbacks, to draw meaning from the past, lighting on modernist "moments of being" to create empathy and understanding for his characters.
I could go on with the purple prose as this really is one of the finest examples of TV drama I have ever seen. In short, I couldn't recomend it enough.