Pros: Wonderful actors; great dialogues; unusual format Cons: Unusual format of State of the Union / “State of the Union”
Genre family drama, comedy
Creator Nick Hornby
Starring Rosamund Pike (Louise), Chris O’Dowd (Tom)
Year of release 2019
State of the Union is a very unusual series. In ten ten-minute episodes, which can be watched like a short film in one sitting, practically nothing happens. Just two people talking about a variety of topics, trying to understand whether anything else connects them and whether there is at least a slight chance of saving their marriage.
Louise and Tom are very different. She is a gerontologist, serious, sensual, very beautiful. He is a former music critic who is now unemployed, somewhat awkward and impractical. They have been married for 15 years, they have two children, they are both not old at all, full of strength, but now there has been a breakdown in their family life. Every week, before going to see a family therapist, they meet in a pub across the road from the doctor’s office and try to discuss what they will talk about during the consultation. And it seems that these short conversations help them understand more about each other than visits to a specialist.
State of the Union is an intimate, exclusively dialogue series. There is no action here, for most of the episode Tom and Louise just sit at the table, drink beer and wine and talk. Then they get up and cross the street to see a psychologist. The same scenery, almost the same costumes, everything here rests on the actors and the text – this series is very easy to adapt for the stage.
As usual, in films with an emphasis on dialogue, State of the Union is worth watching in the original language. Firstly, because of the wonderful voices of the leading actors, and secondly, because of the multi-layered nature of some passages. Sex, adultery, crosswords, music, unemployment, events in Syria, Brexit, fear of loneliness, sex again. The characters talk about anything, but gradually come closer to understanding what happened between them.
State of the Union stars Rosamund Pike (Pride & Prejudice, Gone Girl and the recent A Private War) and Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd, Loving Vincent, Molly’s Game) – the authors seem to have deliberately tried to create the most insane screen a couple. Well, both Pike and O’Dowd are great actors with a lot of experience, including theater, which definitely came in handy when working on State of the Union. Despite the overall low-key tone of the series, despite the lack of any explosive scenes, the actors managed to perfectly show the development of the characters and their relationships from episode to episode. You couldn’t ask for better performers for these roles.
State of the Union is a complete story, to which, if desired, you can add a continuation. It seems to me that this is not worth doing. This is a pleasant one-night series with good actors, excellent dialogue and a light, despite the seriousness of the topics discussed, atmosphere. It is highly recommended for people who have been married for more than 5 years, however, no one, of course, forbids others from watching it.
An interesting series with only two actors and an emphasis on dialogue