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Friday, 28 September 2012

Television Review: Leaving

Leaving stars Helen McCrory as Julie, a married hotel events organiser, and Callum Turner as Aaron, an unemployed ex-student struggling to find his place in the world. They meet at Aaron's brother's wedding (to Aaron's ex-girlfriend) and then he comes back for a job. They grow closer as they work together, despite a twenty year age gap, and eventually an affair ensues. Julie is trying to get him out of her system but it could prove to be more than that in the end.

I was surprised by how emotional this three-parter was, given that the trailer had focused mainly on the sensational final episode and a half. In actual fact, the build up to the affair is realistically portrayed and the unlikely romance doesn't seem all that unlikely by the end of the first episode. Helen McCrory put in an excellent performance as Julie, as did Sean Gallagher as her husband, Michael. It was certainly an emotional rollercoaster and Julie's motives and reservations were clear throughout.

There were, however, a few bits that didn't work for me. Julie mouthing the words to the wedding vows seemed a contrived way of showing that her life was lacking romance and the piece is very cosy and middle-class. Michael's own attempt at a dalliance with a colleague demonstrates another side to the family situation but the first few scenes about it jar on the rest of the action which is solely focused on Julie and Aaron. Also, while the young daughter is given plenty to do, the son of the family is little more than an irritating stereotype. Much more could've been done with him. While I don't generally agree with stretching dramas out for the sake of it, I do think this could've done with another episode. The events of the final part seemed a little too rushed, hurtling to a climax that, yes, was emotive but could've been even more so.

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