In films inspiration review

Why You Need to Watch This Is Us

Many of my friends have had to put up with me banging on about This Is Us for a while (though none of them have watched it yet and, to answer their previous questions, no, it is not the One Direction film!) and, as the series is drawing to a close (next Tuesday marks the end of series 1 in the UK), I thought I would share my ravings with you guys (if you haven't seen my Twitter feed gradually become a TIU fan account).

This Is Us is, in short, the best thing I have seen on television. Ever. In my whole life. If that doesn’t make you want to watch it, I don’t know what will.

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The show begins with 4 different storylines: Rebecca and Jack, the couple celebrating a 36th birthday whilst also managing a ready-to-pop pregnancy; Randall, a rich black man living in a rich and very white area of New York meeting the father who abandoned him on the doorstep of a fire station as a baby, also celebrating his 36th birthday; Kate, the woman in LA struggling with her weight and mental health, also her 36th birthday; and finally, Kevin, the actor given fame through the sitcom ‘The Man-ny’ who desperately wants to branch out and be seen as something more serious, and, you guessed it, it’s his 36th birthday.

These are the characters, seemingly unconnected apart from their collective birthday. Throughout the series, each character gets major developments so that they actually feel real – the characters are no longer caricatures, they become people. Each is flawed and struggling and trying to do their best at life but still managing to screw up no matter how hard they try.

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Nearly every episode of this show has made me cry. And if it hasn’t achieved that, then it’s probably managed to make another member of my family cry. The troubles of each individual character all are so different, but can often be seen as stemming from the same or similar places and are actually realistic troubles. For example, one of the characters suffers from stress due to taking on too much work as well as coping with other personal struggles, and I for one could relate to this a lot as I think we have similar natures in that respect: always wanting to do more, never feeling like you’ve done enough or good enough, wanting to please everyone, cause other people as little stress as possible, all culminating in a little bit of a breakdown (granted, mine isn’t as extreme as theirs, but you get the gist).

This show portrays humanity at its most vulnerable and raw as well as the moments that seem perfect and never-ending. It shows how people react to people and can have permanent change due to one person being in their life for even a short amount of time. For that’s what life is really, isn’t it? People reacting to people.

This Is Us exposes all the vulnerabilities, insecurities and faults that come packaged up in human nature whilst also celebrating humanity for all the same reasons that it is faulted.

But whilst This Is Us is an amazing telling of humanity, it is also one of the most well-crafted pieces of film I have ever seen. Each sequence is shot with such care you can see the effort and love put into it, but each shot and the arrangement of each scene and set (mise-en-scène to all you film nerds) also adds something to the overall meaning and story, giving away twists with subtle moves and little references to previous episodes or earlier in the same episode that gives you deeper heartache or changes the way you view something so that it could mean something entirely different with perhaps even the same words. That. That is when you know you have a masterpiece.



If you liked this post you might like: Why I Love About Time

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