CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Zoom, man-buns and confinement hell with a partner you hate



Together

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Discover science fiction on film

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My iPhone condescendingly pinged this morning and said, “You have a new memory. I seem to be a dementia patient whose moments of lucidity occur once a fortnight.

The screen displayed a photo from a year ago. The first confinement was coming to an end but my hairdresser was always booked three weeks in advance. In the photo, my hair is curled over my ears and halfway up my chin, like the sideburns of a Wurzel.

Covid has done this to us all, on several occasions. It was one of the countless details captured and crystallized in writer Dennis Kelly’s two-handed play, Together (BBC2).

The obsession with obscure vegetable recipes, the way Zoom was the answer to everything from homework to singing services, the mind-blowing bonhomie on neighborhood WhatsApp groups, the buns wrapped in rubber bands – no one has. predicted these responses to the pandemic, but they were ubiquitous.

This dark, comedic lockdown drama reflected them all cleverly, without making it the point of the story. Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy played parents who heartily hated each other but stayed together for the sake of their son, Archie, a goofy and sensitive boy of around seven.

Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy played parents who heartily hated each other but stayed together for the sake of their son, Archie, a goofy and sensitive boy of around seven.

Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy played parents who heartily hated each other but stayed together for the sake of their son, Archie, a goofy and sensitive boy of around seven.

Their joking horror of having to spend weeks locked up with each other, in their spacious suburban home with its spacious kitchen, intensified into a series of rows as the year progressed.

Because they could barely speak to each other, most of the time they spoke to us instead. Sometimes they treated the camera like a guest, sometimes like a ghostly presence, sometimes like a mirror or a computer screen.

I was never quite sure what I was doing there, listening as they went wild – and that increased my unease, until it became embarrassing to watch them.

The cruelty of their mutual hatred could be hilarious and shocking. After Horgan admitted to trying to poison her partner with mushrooms, she downplayed her illness: “You were at death’s door, not at the scene!”

Their joking horror of having to spend weeks locked up with each other, in their spacious suburban home with its spacious kitchen, escalated into a series of rows as the year progressed.

Their joking horror of having to spend weeks locked up with each other, in their spacious suburban home with its spacious kitchen, escalated into a series of rows as the year progressed.

Both were torn by a middle class guilt that became boring towards the end of the 90 minutes. He recounted an unlikely conversation with a holy supermarket worker, she worried about whether she should skip the line for a vaccine. But the main theme of the play, on the heightened emotions of confinement, was deeply moving and wonderfully performed.

Horgan’s puzzled grief, as she described watching her mother die in a hospital bed via a video call, was overwhelming.

And although they both revealed the worst of their natures, they each won our compassion and sympathy.

The three Discovering Sci-Fi On Film (Sky Arts) critics appeared to have passed lockdown together. Each no longer had any ambition, beyond wanting to see the other two die first.

The three Discovering Sci-Fi On Film (Sky Arts) critics appeared to have passed lockdown together.  Everyone had no ambition, beyond wanting to see the other two die first

The three critics of Discovering Sci-Fi On Film (Sky Arts) appeared to have passed lockdown together. Everyone had no ambition, except wanting to see the other two die first

They sat at a dining table in a curtained room, dressed in gray suits, and listed their 25 best sci-fi movies – from Alexander Korda’s Things to Come in 1935 to Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. .

The trio – Stephen Armstrong, Neil Norman and Ian Nathan – recently covered westerns in the same format, but it was a lot more entertaining.

There was little feeling that they cared much about these films much. The lack of enthusiasm for The Matrix and Minority Report was deafening.

2001: Stanley Kubrick’s A Space Odyssey sparked a bit of excitement: “The only sci-fi movie that can be described as a work of art,” said Neil.

You can’t help but wonder why they bothered.


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