By Eric Khodorenko
Graphic from HBO
The Undoing, HBO’s new murder mystery starring Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman, follows Grace Fraser, (Kidman) a therapist living a privileged, wealthy, and seemingly perfect life in New York City with her husband Jonathan Fraser (Grant). However, the murder of a mother at her son’s rich and exclusive private school upsets the peace and her life begins unraveling as the police become increasingly suspicious of her husband as the murderer.
To say that The Undoing is a whirlwind of emotions is an understatement, every episode there is a new cliffhanger leaving you drastically rethinking your conclusions on who the murder is, and seemingly putting doubt on the most obvious suspects, as your generic whodunit tends to do. The constant reassessment of characters had me on the edge of my seat; once I started The Undoing I couldn’t stop and I was always left considering my own wild theories at night on the outcome of the show. The acting performances of both Kidman and Grant are spectacular, but Grant in particular comes out of his 2000’s rom-com identity and becomes a properly convincing actor. Grant’s charm oozes in every scene he is in and he convincingly begs Grace to trust that he could not have been the murderer, and Grant consistently hits the mark every time. Kidman also portrayed a struggling wife well, but the consistent “shocked and terrified” face became a bit stale towards the end.
The most important part of The Undoing is its ability to recognize the force of privilege and wealth. It showcases how the rich control the world; when much of the evidence leads to Jonathan, he is able to fight the case with staggering ability, and it becomes apparently obvious that if they weren’t a rich, white family living in New York City, there would be no doubt in keeping Grant in jail and quickly moving to conviction. That’s the beauty of The Undoing, it’s an exciting mystery story that keeps you thinking, but it also has a powerful message that emphasizes the power of privilege and wealth.