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Ghost Canyon

[JUNE 29] Masterpiece: Us [2-Disc]

(Tom Hollander, Saskia Reeves, Tom Taylor, Gina Bramhill, Iain De Caestecker, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2021 / PBS)

Overview: Three weeks, six countries – and one divorce? Sometimes you need to spend time together to see why you are falling apart.<> What was supposed to be the holiday of a lifetime becomes a desperate quest for Douglas Petersen to save his marriage.

From the bestselling novel by David Nicholls, starring Tom Hollander, Saskia Reeves, and Tom Taylor.

DVD Verdict: Us is a four episode comedy/drama mini-series with a tremendous central performance from Tom Hollander, but with great work from the rest of the cast too.

We watched it all over one weekend and it sounds cliche to say, but it really spoke to me as a husband and father, about not taking my blessings for granted.

Douglas (Tom Hollander) desperately hopes that one final family holiday across Europe can put the spark back into his dwindling marriage to Connie (Saskia Reeves) and establish better lines of communication with his son, Albie (Tom Taylor).

Despite acknowledging the need for the holiday to be fun and for him to change, Douglas rigid agenda alienates his family, and an incident leads Albie to strike out on his own. Douglas tries to catch up with Albie and reminisces about the incidents in his life that have led to this moment.

Timing certainly does help with Us there is a romantic travelogue element as the family head from Paris, to Amsterdam, Venice and Barcelona, with a few other stops along the way.

In a year when I have gone more than an hours drive from my house only once, seeing what that unbounded freedom for exploration was like seems a long, long time ago. I am looking forward to getting back to it when we can.

As I say, it is Hollanders performance that is the real reason to come to the show. Douglas is, at times, an unappealing character. His heart is often in the right place, but he is shy and rigid and has assumed that his relationships will work out despite never really working on them.

The end of the relationship is juxtaposed with the beginning of it, with Iain De Caestecker and Gina Bramhill playing younger versions of Douglas and Connie.

This element, though well done, jarred for me a little bit as it should have taken place in the late 90s but often felt, from the cars and clothes that it was happening in the 1970s.

In closing, Us is certainly not for everyone, it is a very grown up show dealing with a reality that can happen for all of us, if you do not work at it. A funny, droll, uplifting but also sad and sobering experience. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

From Book to Screen: The Us team explore the process of adapting David Nichollss bestselling novel for the screen. The cast delves into how they approached characters who were already beloved by readers, David Nicholls discusses the process of adaptation, and the crew explains how they struck the fine balance of remaining faithful to the book but also bringing new life to the story for the screen.

A Holiday Romance: Cast members Tom Taylor (Albie), Thaddea Graham (Kat) and Saskia Reeves (Connie) explore their character history and the relationship dynamics in Us. Alongside their one-to-one interviews the cast reveal some exclusive Behind the Scenes footage from their time filming on location - including Tom Taylors guitar lessons.

Official PBS Purchase Link