The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Satur­day, 8.30pm, Univer­sal You know the baby boomers are age­ing when a road trip movie is about a woman and two fe­male friends driv­ing across the coun­try to scat­ter her hus­band’s ashes. And you know the boomers are not go­ing to give up any­thing when this film makes wid­owed sec­ond wife Arvilla (Jes­sica Lange) the hero­ine and step­daugh­ter Francine (Chris­tine Baranski) the vil­lain. (Baranski does a fine line in com­plete cow.)This is a movie that ticks all the boxes for women cop­ing, or won­der­ing how they will, with los­ing a hus­band and the se­cu­rity he pro­vided. But Arvilla does, tak­ing two friends off in her hus­band’s an­tique Bon­neville con­vert­ible and grad­u­ally re­al­is­ing she can man­age. Along the way they meet two men, one young, one old, one search­ing for his fa­ther and one mourn­ing a lost wife. Arvilla learns from them, they from her. The three friends fight and make up, re­dis­cov­er­ing why they love each other. Kathy Bates is fun as the ex­u­ber­ant Mor­mon Mar­gene and Joan Allen is OK as scaredy-cat Carol, the one with a hus­band and the weak­est and un­hap­pi­est of the trio, un­til she learns to make her own choices. For any­body other than the tar­get au­di­ence this is a sweet lit­tle film that stops short of sac­cha­rine. But it should be a joy for women who iden­tify with Arvilla, or who worry what they will do when it’s time to scat­ter hub­bie to the winds.

Look at the US orig­i­nal but it works bet­ter for an Aus­tralian au­di­ence. For a start the de­sign­ers are less ap­palling as peo­ple, prag­matic, re­al­is­tic and, with the ex­cep­tion of the des­ig­nated bad boy, just nicer than their coun­ter­parts on the Amer­i­can ver­sion. And typ­i­cally Aus­tralian, a fair swag of them are mi­grants. How their work rates as fash­ion I have no clue, ex­cept there are clothes I would look at ad­mir­ingly in the street. There is a sense these de­sign­ers are used to work­ing with tight bud­gets and small mar­kets and lack the self-in­dul­gent lux­ury that shapes the US ver­sion of the se­ries. As one of them says in episode one, ‘‘ It’s not fash­ion un­til it sells.’’ Worth watch­ing by any­body in­ter­ested in de­sign and char­ac­ter — watch what hap­pens to a de­signer who gets a tick­ing off and cops it sweet. And host Me­gan Gale looks fan­tas­tic. imag­ing how he would re­spond if these events hap­pened to him. It doesn’t mat­ter much which­ever it is. He presents as a com­pletely cred­i­ble, thor­oughly de­cent man deal­ing with what­ever life bowls up. While he knows a straight bat is the best de­fence against weird­ness he just can’t re­sist the flashy shots he never quite pulls off. A stand-out bite into a real slice of life.

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