(Directed by Erik Richter Strand, Netflix, UK, 6-part series)
The only thing behind the eyes of any of the actors in Behind Her Eyes is the sad realisation that life has come to this.
Adam (Tyler Howitt, below) is a sassy-but-melancholy, innocent-but-knowing, big-framed-glasses-wearing dumpling of a kid. The kind of kid that the writers of chick-flicks give a single mother when they want the audience to like her.
The single mother in this chick-flick is Louise Barnsely (Simona Brown) who has the type of job that only those same kind of writers could think we’ll believe. Louise is a part-time receptionist in a private psychiatric clinic (Oh! A psychiatric clinic. That’ll be a plot point). There Louise does nothing all day but eat and listen to private phone conversations. Just so that we know that Louise, although appropriately poor, is funky too, she dresses like a colour-blind gypsy from the 1950s (which will in fact be appropriate later, as will her frequent and risible wide-eyed looks of amazement and horror).
Louise has a really bad and embarrassing day in her spiffy office when the new psychiatrist, Dr. David Ferguson (Tom Bateman) starts work. O no! she and he shared a kiss the night before, not knowing that they would be working together! But he’s married! And he’s irresistible. (Apparently. Miscast, if you ask us). What a unique situation. Never before heard of in the annals of bad TV. Naturally Dr. F and Louise hurl themselves at each other. Louise “knows it’s wrong”, but by then she’s seen his massive house.
Meanwhile, we know that there is something wrong with Dr. F’s wife Adele (Eve Hewson, below) who wears silky pyjamas day and night. She befriends Louise, but neither of them tell Dr. F. Louise seems to think that this is a fun secret. During the flashbacks to her troubled youth (in a castle, in the woods), Adele stumps about in stumpy floral playsuits, although it’s freezing in the castle in the woods. Eve Hewson does what little she is given to do well. But then, her hair does most of it. Long and down indicates wild loony young Adele. Psychotically neat bob equals modern-day Stepford wife.
To emphasise the gap between the Haves and the Have Nots, those ingenious writers introduce Adele’s unlikely friend Robert Hoyle (an excellent performance by Robert Aromayo), a Glaswegian loser.
The whole silly chick-flick triangle thing then degenerates into supernatural mumbo-jumbo worthy of a C-grade 1950s or 60’s schlock movie. Those dated clothes and eye-rolling come in useful now.
No, we didn’t see the twist coming because even Ed Wood wouldn’t buy it. But it made the double-twist inevitable, if idiotic.[Editor’s note: C’mon Netflix! Your stock and ratings are tanking; how about screening some old movies or making some sensible drama? You could plunder a thousand decent out-of-copyright novels, for starters.]