“Thirteen”—An Unlucky Life

 

Thirteen BBC America
Thirteen BBC America

The BBC mini-series Thirteen (available online) follows 26-year-old Ivy Moxam, who was held captive in a cellar for thirteen years. After escaping from her attacker’s prison, she returns to her family home outside of London, but struggles to put her life back together. There is an uncanny resemblance to the story in the American television series, The Family. (See July 3, 2016 review)

Thirteen presents the police investigation as a secondary plot and focuses on the victim’s situation and psychology, touching upon the Stockholm syndrome and the fragility and unreliability of memory. Everyone closely associated with the crime is also, in some way, a victim. With a steady, stark stream of plot twists we see the kidnapped woman (Ivy), try to adjust from being the thirteen year old abductee to a 26-year old woman trying to catch up to a world that has changed radically. It is a sensitive interpretation of an outlier—not unlike an alien from another planet–with memorable impact on the viewer. In some ways, she is a thirteen-year old pubescent girl trapped in a young woman’s body.

What happens once survivors return to their previous homes? Like oreign residents reentering their homeland, Ivy suffers from culture shock. How does a victim begin to return to their previous life? In Thirteen Ivy’s family attempts to turn back the clock with serious consequences. Things remain unsaid, and secrets and lies unravel.

Thirteen is fiction depicting a grisly reality only truly conveyed by dramatic plot twists allowing the viewer into that world. While the ending for this viewer did not have the tension I expected, never the less Thirteen is gripping and unforgettable television at its best!

 

“The Family”—A Plot of the Broken-Hearted

 

Guest blogger: Emily Lewis, founder of MrsMommyBookNerdsBookReviews.com, a fantastic blog reviewing novels focusing on the themes of  family and parenting, as well as children’s books.  Go check it out!

The Family
The Family

The ABC drama– THE FAMILY— is a psychological thriller that showcases a family trying to recover from a tragedy that occurred a decade before.  The politician’s young son disappears when she is campaigning near their home and presumed dead.  None of the family members have recovered from the loss and all are fighting their own demons.

This television series follows a broken family. A local politician, the mayor of a small Maine town, (played by the incomparable Joan Allen) is trying to move up the ladder to governor. An older son struggles with alcohol and guilt, and a driven daughter (Alison Pill), who is also her mother’s campaign manager, has secrets of her own.   The father (a very subtle performance by Rupert Everett) strives to rebuild his unhappy marriage that was shattered when their son disappeared.  Out of nowhere a mysterious young man, suspected to be the missing younger son, reappears and things get turned upside down.

So many secrets are slowly revealed through flashbacks and present day encounters.  It is very compelling TV!  I could not help but to put myself in each of the character’s shoes and wonder how I would feel and react to each of their circumstances. This is a story about family dysfunction, a mix of secrets and lies with a dash of suspense.  THE FAMILY is, most of all, about the strange and complex bonds that families have: the fierce loyalty and the unwavering connection that a family shares despite all the heartbreak and tragedy.  I truly loved this show and unfortunately this show was not renewed by ABC, but I have hopes that another outlet will pick it up.  It will soon be available on Netflix.