The more American content I am exposed to, the more confused I become. Are the characters and situations in movies and series really that far removed from reality? Well, yes of course they are, but does everyone carry a Zippo lighter in the back pocket of their jeans should the need arise to set something alight with gasoline?
There are dozens of water-related tropes but none of them explains why a glass of it is offered in every possible disaster, from a flat tyre to a tornado.
The first episode of Mrs Fletcher raises several good questions: why did she wait until her son left home for college to develop her sexual fantasies, cultivate a social life, and take up night classes (but mostly to develop her sexual fantasies)? Everyone is different, but there seems to be no clear evidence as to why Eve Fletcher of the title (Kathryn Hahn), 46 and attractive, had put everything on hold since her divorce to be a shabby, clingy mom.
The show deftly tackles an array of hot topics in a fairly subtle, and ultimately very real way.
Critics ask: can limited series deliver relatable characters?
This is where a bit of a problem comes in with this limited series of a mere seven half-hour episodes; there simply isn’t time for a reasonable building of foundations and backgrounds, and much has to be gleaned directly from what’s happening on-screen. I confess to sometimes losing concentration and picking up my phone, but I don’t think it’s all me here.
“Misuse of the episodic format is most common in serialized dramas that would have worked better as limited series. But in the case of HBO’s latest — the limited series Mrs Fletcher, which premiered Tuesday night at the Toronto International Film Festival — it’s hard not to imagine the whole thing working better if it could perhaps last longer and develop its characters more naturally, since the results of the three episodes shown at TIFF (and the whole season of seven that I saw for this review) felt truncated and underwhelming,” writes Tim Goodman, Hollywood Reporter.
That being said, the show does have its merits, as it deftly tackles an array of hot topics in a fairly subtle, and ultimately very real way. Otherness, check. Autism, check. Transgender, check. Lesbian, check. Consent, check. Adolescent sex, check. Extra-marital affairs, check. Internet porn and its unrealistic portrayals, check. Wildly inappropriate age differences, check. And of course, the sexual reawakening of the 40-something woman reclaiming her identity, check.
“[Writer] Perotta’s characters in the novel “are lonely, frustrated, dispirited fragments of suburban flotsam who keep bobbing up against one another, hoping to connect”, says Sophie Turner, The Atlantic.
Who is Mrs Fletcher?
In her balanced NY Times review, Margaret Lyon sums up the premise of the show: “Kathryn Hahn stars as Eve Fletcher, a divorced mom whose crummy son, Brendan (Jackson White), is heading off for college, leaving them both freer but more frightened. She works at a senior center and has one close friend (Casey Wilson) with whom she drinks wine, as required by television law. After her friend teasingly calls her a ‘skinny MILF goddess,’ Eve Googles and soon finds herself obsessed with internet pornography, even as she worries about its effect on her son, whom she overhears speaking quite pornily to his ex-girlfriend during a sex act.
“‘One of the most important things for you to always remember, especially now, in this day and age — in life, really — is that you have to be nice to women,’ Eve awkwardly tells Brendan later, during the drive to college.”
From the acclaimed creator of The Leftovers
Tom Perrotta has personally adapted his gently satiric novel, telling parallel “coming-of-age” stories about Eve and Brendan, and is the sole showrunner. Previous adaptations of his work have been met with near-universal acclaim, writes Ben Travers, Indie Wire.
“Little Children earned Perrotta (and co-writer and director Todd Field) an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay — on his first script. The Leftovers (also HBO, and on Showmax) landed him two nominations from the Writers Guild of America, as well as a share of the series’ Peabody Award, during his first stint as co-creator.”
Perotta’s characters in the novel “are lonely, frustrated, dispirited fragments of suburban flotsam who keep bobbing up against one another, hoping to connect”, says Sophie Turner, The Atlantic. This is the perfect description of the series, which never reaches a satisfactory resolution, much like real life. If HBO didn’t say it is a limited series, the closing scene sets it up for another season.
Mrs Fletcher has critics divided, so why not stream it to make up your own mind? It’s now on Showmax.