The Undoing is a new limited series (i.e. one series only) on both HBO and Sky Atlantic with a very posh well-to-do couple for whom things are about to go South.
Jonathan Fraser (Hugh Grant – A Very English Scandal) is an oncologist for treating cancer in children, who’s trying to be a good Dad, but realises he’s not really paying as much attention to his son, Henry (Noah Jupe – Honey Boy), as he should. Meanwhile, Grace (Nicole Kidman – How to Talk to Girls at Parties) is a psychotherapist who seems to be making easy money with clients who are such a bunch of wet blankets, they all look like they’d crumble if they missed an Amazon delivery, let alone have any real problems in life.
Before long, there’s a big do planned at Henry’s school which involves auctioning off experiences – i.e. donating money to the school for not a lot in return. Amongst the rather snooty women in the committee with whom Grace has to work is newcomer Elena (Matilda De Angelis), who rather catches them all off-guard when she decides to breastfeed at a meeting, which is rather odd for some of them to be put off by it, since they’re all women and they all would’ve gone through the exact same experience. Naturally, this doesn’t help her as she feels overwhelmed with her new arrival, leading Grace to take her under her wing.
Still, like with all the best thrillers… there’s been a murder! But who did it, how and why? And since Hugh’s gone to an oncology convention in Cleveland, Ohio, why is Grace having trouble getting hold of him?
At the point of posting this, I’m just two episodes in out of the six, and similar to the recent release of Rebecca, on Netflix, it’s turned into one of those thrillers where everyone seems to know what’s going on apart from the lead protagonist – Grace, in this case. Seemingly, no-one will talk to her about whatever’s going on, leading her to think of all kinds of mad outcomes. But are any of them right, or is there a perfectly logical explanation for it all?
After all, it’s like when two things in the house break down at the same time, and you think the issues are related, but no, it’s just happened; and there’s a rational explanation/solution forthcoming. But will that be the same for this couple? That’s what I’ll find out over the series, I expect.
Hugh Grant gives a great performance as always, following on from the fairly recent A Very English Scandal. Nicole Kidman is also fine, but spends a bit too long looking like a rabbit trapped in the headlights of a car. It’s always good to see Donald Sutherland, who at 85, plays Grace’s father, Franklin, while I still can’t forgive Edgar Ramírez, as cop Joe Mendoza, for the godawful 2015 Point Break remake. Meanwhile, Noah Jupe is the go-to kid-in-a-film-or-TV-series since he’s in everything. The story’s a bit implausible so far, but I’ll stick with it, though.
UPDATE: In finishing off this series, I’ll give no spoilers obviously. The question everyone wants to know is: Did he kill her?
Of course, he should really answer, “Hey, I’m the famous actor Hugh Grant! I’m a nice chap, so no way could it have been me!”
Talking seriously, though, I’d rather they had made all episodes available from day one, though. I saw the first two at the beginning, and then since I found out it would be weekly, I left the rest until the end of the run so I didn’t watch five episodes and then forget everything that had happened.
Overall, The Undoing has passed the time, and didn’t need to last as long – 4 episodes would’ve been fine. However, between this and A Very English Scandal, Hugh Grant is giving us some of his best work, lately.
It’s always enjoyable to watch Donald Sutherland, even if he does mostly act with his eyebrows. Meanwhile, Nicole Kidman has a permanent stare, caused by her botox, which gives her all the facial range of an Easter Island statue.
The Undoing is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but starts on HBO Max in the US tonight at 9pm, and is also on Sky Atlantic in the UK at 2am tonight and into tomorrow morning, i.e. at exactly the same time, due to the time difference. It will also be on Sky Atlantic on Monday October 26th at the more usual time of 9pm.
Series Score: 6/10
Director: Susanne Bier
Producers: Deb Dyer
Creator: David E Kelley
Writer: Jean Hanff Korelitz
Music: Evgueni Galperine, Sacha Galperine
Grace Fraser: Nicole Kidman
Jonathan Fraser: Hugh Grant
Henry Fraser: Noah Jupe
Franklin Reinhardt: Donald Sutherland
Elena Alves: Matilda De Angelis
Miguel Alves: Edan Alexander
Fernando Alves: Ismael Cruz Cordova
Detective Joe Mendoza: Edgar Ramírez
Detective Paul O’Rourke: Michael Devine
Haley Fitzgerald: Noma Dumezweni
Sylvia Steineitz: Lily Rabe
Shelby McGibbons: Naledi Murray
Natalie: Alma O’Brien
Jennifer: Laura Suddith
Kayla: Sara Koviak
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.