Having written about ‘Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves’ I was reminded of an earlier television drama I watched many years ago. I went back to it and discovered that the same writer, Jonas Gardell, was responsible for creating what I considered to be a thought provoking and excellent work. Interestingly, the drama also includes an exploration of religion and sexuality.
‘The Half Hidden’ is a complex work, though. There are four episodes, each one traces the lives of four families but it is not as simple as a family per episode. Instead, we follow four separate stories over the course of many years and it is only towards the end of the final episode that we discover how the lives of all the people are connected.
The drama also shows us the complexity of human beings. The young skinhead who shows a violent side to the world is also a loving older brother and a frustrated son. The religious family follow Christian principles but struggle to show each other human love. The isolated boy, stuck in his bedroom, has an online life where he discovers the boy of his dreams and longs to meet up with him but he rejects the earnest efforts of his parents to accept him. Then there is the stressed couple trying to project a lifestyle that is beyond their means. All these stories intersect and inform each other so that when the drama reaches its denouement, we understand the jump between timescales and the connection between the themes.
Throughout it all, Jonas Gardell shows us that life is fragile and families can be broken at any moment. Those we have lost stay in the shadows and continue to affect the living.
It is well worth investing the time in ‘The Half Hidden’. It is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?