Together is a new drama about – and shot during – lockdown where, for the most part, the two leads – played by James McAvoy (IT Chapter Two, X-Men: Dark Phoenix) and Sharon Horgan (This Way Up) – talk directly to us, sometimes telling us how much they hate each other, but with the actors bounding off each other incredibly well.
For example, early on, he says how she’s very attractive but that he can’t stand the look of her, while she retorts that he looks like a cancer, “Not skin or testicle, but one of the really bad ones, like liver and colo-rectal”.
Before we get into more heartfelt scenes, when the pair are bickering, it’s amazing they both manage to complete a scene without cracking up, and there’s quite a number of one-take scenes, but once or twice, they’re broken up by occasional camera angle changes, presumably to mask a necessary cut.
There’s a handful of monologues – and I’ll only give mention to some that are not plot-spoiling, such as one where McAvoy recounts being in a supermarket, wanting to buy some aubergines, and how he can see them behind the ‘flappy curtain’, but the woman he speaks to refuses to serve him one because her manager has told her she can’t put them out yet. For scenes like this, as he tells us how this plays out, it’s like a one-take Talking Heads play. Another time, he talks about how he should always try doing something new like growing his own veg, and now, in lockdown, he has the chance.
However, things do get much deeper, as meanwhile, Horgan tells us how her ill mother has carers coming in – which is the position my mum was in, both before and during 2020 before she died in February this year, so I was gripped to learn how her mother’s situation would turn out.
Broken into segments, we get the start of lockdown, then April 8th 2020 – punctuated with a radio news briefings, such as that being the day that Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital with COVID systems (and if you believed that, then I’ve got some magic beans to sell you), and it goes on into early 2021.
The acting in Together, from both leads is first-rate. My only complaint… at one point, James McAvoy puts his hair in a man-bun 😉
As an aside, 43 mins in, a boom mic arm drops into shot, along with a boom mic, itself, in the next minute 🙂
I’m guessing they’ll stay in the final edit, unless the 16:9 frame is masked to 2.00:1 like a lot of TV shows these days, but quite frankly, it doesn’t matter. We have two leads at the top of their game, putting on a fantastic performance, and given the COVID19 restrictions on all actors, they’re all doing a stirling job, and if it wasn’t for them, 9pm would be spent watching the 394th repeat of an old Bargain Hunt.
At 91 minutes, Together perhaps goes on a little too long, and is very intense, but is well worth watching in full.
Together is on BBC2 at 9pm on Thursday June 17th, but is not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
After broadcast, it will be on the BBC iPlayer.
Director: Stephen Daldry
Producers: Sonia Friedman, Guy Heeley
Writer: Dennis Kelly
He: James McAvoy
She: Sharon Horgan
Artie: Samuel Logan
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.