parental guidance

Total Film|May 2020

parental guidance
RAFE SPALL AND ESTHER SMITH DISCUSS ADOPTION SITCOM TRYING…
Gabriel Tate

Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories. M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant. Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon in The Morning Show. Apple TV+ launched its streaming service with some of Hollywood’s biggest hitters, although critical appraisals have suggested that all the star power in the world doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. So how is the tech behemoth kicking off its slate of British-made programming? With a low-key, eight-part comedy-drama from an up-and-coming writer and a rock-solid cast of actors who have, historically, tended to favour quality over scale.

In Trying, Rafe Spall and Esther Smith star as north Londoners Jason (TEFL teacher) and Nikki (call-centre worker for a car-rental company), a couple in their mid-thirties who learn that they cannot have children. After a period of devastated soul-searching – “How can I miss something I’ve never had?” – they decide to adopt, only to discover that the process is more complex than they imagined.

“They’ve bumbled through their twenties and decided they want to have children,” explains Smith in a pub close to Jason and Nikki’s Camden flat. “They really love each other, but their decision to adopt throws up struggles in their relationship. If you can get pregnant, no one discusses whether you should be a parent or not, but people judge you constantly with adoption. That’s a really hard thing to come to terms with.”

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May 2020