Broadchurch

Have you heard of Broadchurch? It is a British crime drama set in a small coastal town of 15,000 residents and it is the best thing since sliced bread.

I watched this show when it first aired in North America a couple of years ago, but between moving and whatnot, I entirely missed the second season and now we are on the third. To catch up I decided to re-watch the entire first season. I was curious whether it would hold up now that I know what happens, and boy did it ever!

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Miller (l) and Hardy (r)

The pilot opens with the death of 11yo Danny Latimer. His death is quickly ruled suspicious and the entire first season (8 episodes, about 50 minutes apiece) is spent tracking down his murderer.

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Danny was survived by his Mom (Beth), sister (Chloe) and Dad (Mark).

This is something that I love about British dramas; they don’t feel as if they have to somehow wrap it up and finish the entire mystery in one episode. They have faith that their audience can carry forward interest from week to week. American crime dramas, like Law and Order, Blue Bloods, CSI, Bones … they all seem to have to solve a murder in 40 minutes, which leaves very little time for exploring the intense nuances of emotion behind every situation, and the complicated web of lies and secrets in every person’s life. Throughout the course of Broadchurch season one, we learn (presumably) all the secrets of the Latimer family and many of the other village residents as well as the investigators, DI Hardy and DI Miller (featured in the DVD cover photo above).

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Miller with her family at a memorial for Danny.

There aren’t too many shows that can make you cry multiple times in the pilot episode alone! Because you explore the mystery of Danny’s death over so many episodes, and over considerably more time in tv-land, you feel as if this is actually happening. I found it easy to process the evolution of events and emotions with the characters. Just look at the emotion on Mum’s face as she realizes that the body found on the beach is her son.

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Police trying to drag Beth away from her son’s body.

The show covers every aspect of real life for the family. The full emotional range that each person can feel – and how each person grieves differently – is depicted over the following weeks, along with the criminal investigation, the involvement of the press and the emotional toll it takes on the police officers leading the investigation.

I expected DI Miller to be emotional because she is a long-time friend to the family and knew Danny all his life, but Hardy was a newcomer to Broadchurch. He literally arrived the night before the murder. To see the deep emotional connection that develops between himself and Beth and Mark was … inspiring? to see. I don’t think that is the right word, but it surprised me to see this relationship develop and the show would have been missing something without it. While Hardy is never going to be a friend who pops round for dinner, a bond develops over the season that I suspect will always be there. It is a deeply personal thing I suppose, to accept someone into your home in your most vulnerable moments, to bare every secret and skeleton to him while he investigates the murder of your child. You have to trust him to find the right person, and put together a strong enough case to stand up in court.

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The investigators walking with the family and other villagers in a silent vigil.

I also found it surprising to see the humanity of some of the reporters reporting on Danny’s case. The locals who were a part of the village I expected tact and common decency from, but the female reporter from the Herald also show a surprising amount of compassion. Throughout the season I kept willing the family to lock her out, not give her any time, because I didn’t trust her from the start, but she gives them good advice from the heart and is sensitive in her reporting.

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It would have been easy to paint her – or any number of people on the show – as evil but the creators were careful to depict each characters as regular people who are made up of good and bad, each with skeletons in his or her closet.

I love Broadchurch and so do most of my family members. It is my favourite show currently and I can’t wait to binge watch the second and third seasons. If you are remotely interested in crime shows, drama, or British tv, you need to give it a try. I could feel the emotional tugs on my heart with every episode and was often reduced to tears.

Obviously this show deals with difficult subject matter but the violence and subject matter aren’t any worse than your typical American crime drama. Actually, I think there is probably less violence. The emotionalism is partially just me, but mostly a testament to how well done this show is.

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xx

 

The Grand Seduction film review

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The Grand Seduction is a 2013 Canadian film set in the small harbour of Tickle Head, Newfoundland. Like many communities on the East Coast, Tickle Head’s economy collapsed with the fish stocks their livelihoods were based on, and now the once proud town is disintegrating. Buildings have fallen into disrepair, long-time residents increasingly leave for cities and those few who stubbornly remain in the harbour scrape by on welfare and the feelings of shame that it comes with.

Enter Murray French. He is one of these welfare-dependent Tickle Heads who was born and raised in the Harbour; he misses his fed-up wife who left for a job in the City. An oil company is considering building a petro-chemical recycling plant that will provide enough jobs for everyone, if the town can meet a set of conditions, including procuring a full-time doctor. So Murray spearheads a campaign to seduce a visiting doctor (Paul Lewis) over the course of a month, convincing him that Tickle Head is the perfect place to settle down and sign a long-term contract.

Enter the comedy.

From pretending that the entire community is in love with cricket to pre-catching fish and planting them on the good doctor’s hook, the entire town is in on the charade to charm Dr. Lewis.

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I love the charm and character of this film. It is very Canadian and many things in the film seemed familiar to me. It was filmed in New Foundland and the music and scenery are absolutely beautiful. I’ve thought about moving out that way for a long time and this film just increases that longing in me.

download The Grand Seduction isn’t a film that relies on flashy special effects or scantily-clad, movie-perfect Hollywood youth. The majority of actors are middle-aged or older. And while the scenery is gorgeous, it is the writing that keeps pushing the plot along, and charming the audience. No crudeness required.

Gordon Pinsent, then age 83, won the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival where Monica Bartyzel of The Week wrote of the film: “The Grand Seduction is a super-sweet community tale sparked by the inclusion of McKellar’s wry humor [sic]. It’s a film overflowing with charm from end to end.”The-Grand-Seduction-Movie

NFL is the only eastern province that I have yet to visit and this film has me cruising the travel websites and packing a bag!

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