This edition of Watch From Home brings to you 'F'. From geopolitics to history to personal life, everything gets a bit 'F'-ed up every once in a while. The watchlist of this weekend certainly is a case where this effing is indeed welcome.
What are families good for? Like, REALLY good for?
Simple, for making films and shows about how dysfunctional most of them are. Olivia Colman-starrer Flowers is one of the most exceptional explorations of a dysfunctional family that hits the viewer hard. If you think that the subject matter is heavy, come for the absolute joy of the quintessential British humour.
The show starts with a botched suicide attempt by the head of the family, Maurice (Julian Barratt). And what follows in the 12 episodes is a quirky depiction of the struggles of the Flowers family. Maurice's wife Deborah (Colman) is seen as struggling with keeping the family and her own person from collapsing. She's chipper, mostly, except when she's unable to get Maurice to be responsive toward her.
The younger Flowers—Donald and Amy—have their own issues and the arrival of Maurice's apprentice, Shun—played by director Will Sharpe—complicates matters even further.
The show is dark—with liberal splashes of psychedelia—and funny, but what makes it truly exceptional is Sharpe's visceral approach towards mental health. As the series progresses, one may realise that the Flower family is not an oddball despite being made up of caricature-like characters. Anyone can "lose it" anytime. The unravelling of a hitherto functional mind is not an extraordinary event.
Saying anything more about this show is useless. Just watch it over the weekend and come out of it with a simple lesson: life, however unbearable it may look, is still worth holding on to.
Where to Watch: Netflix
The Forgotten Battle (2021)
When in doubt, nothing works better than a war film. A big-budget war film at that! No, we are not talking about the jingoistic ones that Indian film industry churns out, often in a bid to establish itself as a 'nationalist' cohort.
The Forgotten Battle or De Slag om de Schelde is set in the Netherlands towards the end of the second World War. After the Normandy Landings, the German forces are holding on to Zeeland. Antwerp has already been freed the Allied forces. It is in this milieu that the three stories of Teuntje (Susan Radder)—a staff member of the Mayor's office; Marinus Van Stavern (Gijs Blom)—a wounded Dutch soldier of the Wehrmacht army; and Will Sinclair (Jamie Flatters)—an RAF paratrooper converge.
The Forgotten Battle is a fresh non-Hollywood representation of WWII and eschews any urge to indulge in either soppy nationalism or formulaic anti-war discourse. The film has a simple and clear agenda: to portray the big war as a messy affair where no drill can be conducted in a neat file.
As the US and Russia continue to be locked in a situation of hostilities over Ukraine, this film makes for an interesting watch about the consequences of unresolved geopolitical issues. The course of true love—and convenient hate—never did run smooth. The three protagonists make their own journeys towards truth, reconciliation, and finding real meaning of lofty ideals like bravery, loyalty, et al.
Where to Watch: Netflix
There is nothing like an origin story. Especially when it involves a historical character. Even better when the said character happens to be Sigmund Freud, a man whose explorations of the human mind changed the way the world was seen.
The German show Freud, in short, is a binge-worthy offering. In this fictional portrait of Freud as a young doctor in Vienna, all the possible elements of gothic come together: quaint locations, a femme fatale of a psychic, a political plot, a cult, a series of murders, and lots and lots of blood and gore.
A young Freud (Robert Finster) teams up with a troubled psychic Fleur Salomé (Ella Rumpf) and police officer Alfred Kiss to solve a criminal case and is led into the world of seances, murders, political intrigue, paranormal and supernatural activities. The good doctor tries to explain all the events with his new-found knowledge of psychology.
Freud is filmed in a breathtaking manner. A good thriller, it relies on a neat plot carried ably by rouge-noir cinematography. Finster as Freud is suave, and extremely handsome. Yes, it's important to note the sexual appeal of our protagonist.
The show is sure to leave one wondering whether Freud actually delved into hypnotherapy beyond the purview of the discipline of medicine.