The mini-series is a popular format these days, since the length makes it possible for complex and interwoven plots to unfold, with enough time for detailed character development. And the separation of episodes is designed to give us the pleasure of anticipating the denouement.
It is a shame that so many efforts in the genre disappoint, but 'Plastic Man' gives us everything we need.
This is an intelligently scripted and crafted piece with almost flawless performances by the substantial cast of significant characters. So many of the situations and dilemmas of modern life are illustrated here that it is an almost uncomfortable parade of insights into the human condition.
We get the full gamut of marital and family complications - power and respectability, an affair, death of a loved one, expectation, disillusion and disappointment, boredom with the familiar, betrayal, enlightened lust, the wilful outcast, insecurity, uncertainty, the bold but fearful step in a new direction, acceptance, forgiveness - enough for a whole season of soap episodes, but delivered here in a 3 hour package. But unlike the tawdry amateur dramatics of most soaps, the tightness of script and plausibility of the characters gives us a satisfying snapshot of many of the issues confronting two whole generations and reminds us of the near-impossibility of living a fulfilling but uncomplicated life. It is always illuminating (if slightly disappointing) to see that no-one should be envied for apparently 'having it all'.
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