Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac dazzle in commendable but not very genuine HBO update

Personally, I really wanted to see ‘Secrets of a marriage‘(‘ Scenes From a Marriage ‘), the remake of the classic Ingmar Bergman series. HBO’s bet promised a first-rate job from the hand of Hagai Levi (‘The Affair’) con Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain embodying this couple in crisis.

An ambitious project because it is not easy to get hold of such influential material in the history of cinema and television. From Woody Allen to, most recently Noah Baumbach, through Aziz Ansari and ‘Master of None: Moments of Love’ which seems like an unofficial version of the 1973 miniseries.

Composed of five episodes, ‘Secrets of a marriage’ tells the story of Jonathan (Isaac) and Mira (Chastain). He a professor of philosophy at the university; she, an ambitious executive of a technology company; it will be a vital decision (which we will not reveal) that dynamites the deterioration of their relationship.

Thus, throughout the series we we will put in complete task in a deep exploration of this couple. His strengths and weaknesses, his obsessions and, above all, his intimacies. The hidden comes to light, his desires and his repressed things overflow the screen.

A series that falls short

We could simply say that ‘Secrets of a Marriage’ is pretentious in the sense that fails to prove that this remake was necessary. While it is something we could say about so many works today, Bergman’s series has been so influential and remains so devastatingly current and realistic that seeing Hagai Levi’s version feels weird. Little genuine.

And beware, Levi is not easy. The Israeli screenwriter reimagine this deteriorating couple with contemporary optics. We are no longer in those 70s in which the voice of the man was the dominant one. Relationships have changed in these 50 years and it shows in how they talk. Look and

The artistic decision of Hagai Levi of start episodes from offstage, with the camera following either Jessica Chastain (in the first) or Oscar Isaac (in the second, for example) as they enter the stage, the last details of their characters are put on and they transform themselves into them. that the director yells action.

The Fable of Marriage

Chastain Secretos

The showrunner he justifies that decision as a warning to the viewer that what he is going to see (or what he has finished seeing, because the end of the fifth is the actors going to the dressing room after a magnificent job) it’s more of a fable than something about a specific couple. An unnecessary last minute addition and that says a lot about the little confidence that Levi has in the viewer.

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Unnecessary because the script of ‘Secrets of a marriage’ (both the original and this remake) is clear in its ambition to tell a story that, being Mira and Jonathan’s specific, the themes, the character design are completely recognizable and any he is able to identify with them. It is a mirror, a window in which to look at ourselves and reflect ourselves.

This artifice takes away a layer of realism to the rush of emotions, of situations, springs and mechanisms that occurs between this couple. The excellent work of Chastain and Isaac as they fight in a loving and sentimental interpretive duel is thus tarnished.

In short, ‘Secrets of a marriage’ it’s a commendable update of the Bergman miniseries that shines thanks to those two stars of acting that are Chastain and Isaac, who are the ones who manage to move fiction forward.

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Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac dazzle in commendable but not very genuine HBO update