The Undoing wasn’t created to be an announcement piece concerning the excessive privilege of upper-class society membership, however a lot of HBO’s tense and unnerving new mystery-drama exists inside a haves-versus-have-nots framework that comes via even clearer in an period of sustained unrest over the inequities of justice and financial disparity.
The restricted sequence, which David E. Kelley tailored from Jean Hanff Korelitz’s 2014 novel You Ought to Have Recognized, stars Nicole Kidman as Grace Fraser, a rich therapist and socialite whose idyllic Park Avenue way of life is upended when a vicious homicide leaves her questioning her husband Jonathan (Hugh Grant). From there, the present evolves right into a Big Little Lies-meets-The Night Of-style narrative, with Grace haphazardly stumbling upon one surprising revelation after the subsequent, together with some long-overdue publicity to the struggles of individuals exterior of her financial bubble.
“Once we first got down to make this, it was very a lot dedicated to being a form of thriller — hopefully, an addictive, compelling thriller,” Kidman instructed a choose group of reporters, together with TV Information. Nevertheless, she additionally conceded, “Every little thing that is occurred in 2020 has now put a unique lens on the sequence.”
Grace’s undoing first begins together with her introduction to Elena (Matilda de Angelis), a girl from Harlem whose son attends the identical elite personal faculty as Grace’s on a scholarship. Elena takes a particular — and, at instances, erotically charged — curiosity in Grace that each disturbs and delights her. Grace’s cozy, sheltered worldview is quickly shredded as darkish secrets and techniques are revealed about each Elena and Grace’s family members.
In one other local weather, Grace may be extra relatable as her picture-perfect world all of a sudden unravels; on this one, although, the breadth of her sheltered naïveté is exasperating — particularly when, with out spoiling something, she seizes on a possibility to throw cash at her issues as a result of that is simply how the world works for her. Whether or not or not Grace is simple to root for, although, The Undoing continues to be efficient in presenting a provocative and suspenseful sequence of occasions, which is precisely what director Susanne Bier got down to accomplish with it.
“I needed to do a very scrumptious present which was additionally claustrophobic and scary on the similar time. And I needed to depict that form of paranoia that comes with considering you already know somebody and you then actually do not know anybody,” Bier instructed TV Information.
Maybe probably the most intriguing character improvement of the sequence is that of Elena, who, for causes that grow to be clear within the early episodes, turns into one thing of a thriller to the viewers. What is clear about her from the beginning is that, although she doesn’t have Grace’s cash or entry, she does have a stronger sense of self-confidence and, as actress Matilda de Angelis described it, “an odd social intelligence.”
“Sure, she is poor. And naturally she struggles to be in [Grace’s] setting, [but] she is aware of how you can take care of individuals,” de Angelis stated of her function. “She is aware of that sexuality might help her in successful individuals over.” De Angelis stated she had the problem of making “a really advanced character, which is admittedly mysterious and reducing [but also] has this sweetness and loneliness that guides her in every part she does.”
Certainly, all through the sequence, Elena’s story turns into slowly however irrevocably intertwined with Grace’s, and their contrasts grow to be much more placing because the story progresses to what can solely be a bitter finish.
The Undoing premieres on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 9/8c on HBO.