Wednesday, December 2, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 39
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
BEST WISHES, WARMEST REGARDS: A SCHITT’S CREEK FAREWELL
BINGABLE: ABANDONED (2016)
BINGEABLE: Barry
BINGEABLE: CASA DE LAS FLORES
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG
BINGEABLE: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARIES
BINGEABLE: OUTLANDER (2014-present)
BINGEABLE: STRANGER THINGS 3
BINGEABLE: THE SINNER (SEASON 2)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: COOL RUNNINGS (1993)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: FISH TANK (2009)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: HOUSE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: OLDBOY
BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART (1990)
BLOW THE MAN DOWN
BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM
DA 5 BLOODS
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: A LIFE ON OUR PLANET
FIRST COW
GREYHOUND
GUILTY PLEASURES: CHEER (2020)
HAPPIEST SEASON
HAVE A GOOD TRIP: ADVENTURES IN PSYCHEDELICS
HE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
LYING AND STEALING
SHUT UP LITTLE MAN! AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE (2011)
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
THE OPERATIVE
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO SEVEN
THE VAST OF NIGHT
TREAD
TV REVIEW: BOSCH
TV REVIEW: COBRA KAI
TV REVIEW: DEFENDING JACOB
TV REVIEW: EVIL
TV REVIEW: FEAR CITY
TV REVIEW: GENERATION KILL (2008)
TV REVIEW: HANNIBAL (2013-2015)
TV REVIEW: HELL ON WHEELS (2011-2016)
TV REVIEW: HOMECOMING
TV REVIEW: I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE
TV REVIEW: I MAY DESTROY YOU
TV REVIEW: I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK
TV REVIEW: JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS
TV REVIEW: LENOX HILL
TV REVIEW: LITTLE AMERICA
TV REVIEW: LOVECRAFT COUNTRY
TV REVIEW: MRS. AMERICA
TV REVIEW: PANDEMIC: HOW TO PREVENT AN OUTBREAK (2020)
TV REVIEW: RAISED BY WOLVES
TV REVIEW: RAMY
TV REVIEW: RUN
TV REVIEW: SPACE FORCE
TV REVIEW: TABOO
TV REVIEW: THE BOYS
TV REVIEW: THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD
TV REVIEW: THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR
TV REVIEW: THE LAST KINGDOM
TV REVIEW: THE MIDNIGHT GOSPEL
TV REVIEW: THE MORNING SHOW
TV REVIEW: THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL OF ALL
TV REVIEW: THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA
TV REVIEW: THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT
TV REVIEW: THE THIRD DAY
TV REVIEW: THE VOW
TV REVIEW: TREADSTONE (2019)
TV REVIEW: TRIAL 4 (2020)
TV REVIEW: UNDONE
TV REVIEW: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
TV REVIEW: ZEROZEROZERO
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
VINYL NATION

I May Destroy You examines the complexities of sexual consent

TV REVIEW: I MAY DESTROY YOU

PHOTO BY , COURTESY OF THE BBC AND HBO

TV REVIEW: I MAY DESTROY YOU


Where is it playing?: HBO

What's it rated?: TV-MA

What's it worth?: $Full price (Anna Starkey)

What's it worth?: $Full price (Glen Starkey)

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Series creator, writer, and co-director Michaela Coel stars as Arabella, a Twitter star and budding author living a hard-partying lifestyle in London with besties Terry (Weruche Opia), a wannabe actress, and Kwame (Paapa Essiedu), a gay physical trainer. The evocative series examines the complexities of sexual consent, drug culture, race, and social media. (12 30-min. episodes)

Glen: I found the series’ first episode confusing. I wasn’t sure what it was about. It felt like a comedy, but there was something dark about it too—maybe due to the recklessness with which the characters lived their lives. By the second episode the premise was clear. During a night out with friends, Arabella got roofied in a bar and raped, but her memory is shattered. Slowly over the series, she begins to piece together what happened with the help of her friends Terry and Kwame. To complicate matters, after the success of her first book, Chronicles of a Fed-Up Millennial, she’s struggling to finish her second manuscript. The money from the advance is running out and she’s suffering writer’s block. She’s also hung up on Italian drug dealer Biagio (Marouane Zotti), who she met and hooked up with during a supposed writing getaway. The series really digs into what constitutes rape, what it means to consent to intimacy, and what the limitations of consent are. This is a challenging, disturbing, and difficult TV series, but also an important one. It examines the more commonplace side of the #MeToo movement.

Anna: Arabella is a complicated character. The success of her first book gained her some notoriety, but she’s flailing both in her professional and personal life now. She’s a bit of a whirling dervish, always down for a hard party session despite the consequences. This is a portrait of imperfection, Arabella destroys herself just as much as she does anyone else, and after a public callout accusing her writing assistant of rape, she gains enough attention to let it all go to her head. Soon she’s not just an advocate but a warrior, and sometimes she’s making war just for the fight of it and not looking around herself at the bigger picture. The audience is piecing together Arabella’s lost night along with her, and it’s soon evident it isn’t as simple as a random roofie at the local bar. People are hiding things, either out of self-protection or guilt, but as her memory slowly starts to piece together the evening, she gets some answers—and they aren’t always easy to hear.

Glen: Just like in real life, every character is flawed, some to greater degrees than others, but most of the characters—despite their flaws—are capable of good, too. Likewise, the various characters are both victims of sexual assault and to one degree or another facilitators if not perpetrators of it. The series moves back and forth in time, not only right before Arabella’s rape but even back to her childhood and adolescence with bestie Terry. There’s also a side plot about Arabella’s semi-estranged relationship with her father. The series has remarkable scope for what amounts to six hours of runtime, and there’s so much nuance to the relationships that repeated viewing may be necessary to fully unpack all that Coel has loaded into the story. The book she’s working on is the story we watch unfolding, so this is a piece of art about the process of creating a piece of art. Very meta. Everything about it feels surprising, and Coel walks the razor-thin tightrope separating liberation and exploitation. Tackling this topic so frankly is an act of bravery.

Anna: Coel isn’t afraid to make her audience feel uncomfortable and to make her characters grounded in the reality of their flaws. All of them, Arabella especially, are prone to self-obsession and ego while just below the surface their insecurity boils. She can’t seem to piece together her next book, and she has isolated herself from many people who are just plain over her antics and the drama that seems to follow in her wake. She’s got her tried-and-true friend Terry, but even that relationship starts to show cracks under pressure. This is a bold and brilliant series, delving into the meat of what the ripples of trauma cause well after the initial event. It’s a blend of really small, intimate moments in the lives of these characters and a much bigger story and message. This one is totally worth a watch.

New Times Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Sun Screen. Glen compiles streaming listings. Comment at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.










Weekly Poll
Would a second stay-at-home order be effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19?

No, pandemic fatigue is too high to get people to follow a stay-at-home order.
Yes, we need it, otherwise our hospitals will be in rough shape.
Local governments should get a say—not all purple tier counties are the same.
It would be bad news for the economy.

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