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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

very 2003

7/10
Author: paul2001sw-1 (paul2001sw@yahoo.co.uk) from Saffron Walden, UK
10 April 2003

"40" is a very modern multi-perspective television drama, with plenty of hand-held camera work and rapid cross-cutting between scenes, telling its story in the minimalist fashion favoured by writers such as Tony Marchant (the stylistic resemblances to "Holding On", in particular, are clear). It features one neat trick that takes advantage of its economical style, in that it's actually slightly less compact than it seems: having been shown one selection of scenes, we subsequently return to the same events and see a slightly, but revealingly, different selection. At one level this is entirely bogus: as the different versions of the story do not correspond with the viewpoints of any particular character, the choice of what to show where is arbitrary and contrived. But it feels "natural" while you are watching it; at least, the handling of the plot is in keeping with the overall form of the work. In that sense, "40" can be considered a qualified success.

But ultimately the tale, though neatly done, falls slightly flat. Crucially, a lot of things happen but to little greater purpose: the particular details of each incident, even the showpiece school reunion, tend to feel little more than purely incidental. The lives of the characters are too disconnected to make a really satisfying whole: there's no real focus here, simply events. The actual story of each individual, meanwhile, doesn't really add up to much; and whole it is nice to see Joanne Whalley back on British television, her character, Jess, remains a mystery to us. Ultimately, a more traditional drama, with a closer affinity to fewer characters, and a less trendily efficient style, might have allowed a deeper story to emerge.

"40" isn't bad, but it seems to fit a paradigm for how to make television in 2003, namely, sketch several stories in outline only, then mix up their pieces and hide the thin treatment of each behind the breadth of the whole. This can work, as "Holding On" showed; but that serial had more depth and a unifying mood. "40" has neither. In a few years time, it will surely show it's age.

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Awesome

10/10
Author: justiceforall from United Kingdom
20 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I remember watching this brilliant mini-series around Easter 2003, and even though Channel 4 have never been decent enough to release it on video/DVD, or even re-show it, I can still remember what a moving experience it was. The story- of people turning 40, with a vague edge of mid-life crisis creeping in, and a school reunion (I seem to remember)- should mean little to me, as i was only 15 when it was on, yet the power of the acting and the great script made the show transcend age, and become truly special. I'd love to see this again some day, and relive another great C4 production.

On a side note, I must warn you that you do get to see Eddie Izzard stark-bollock naked at one point. Not a pretty sight.

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very entertaining and well made miniseries

8/10
Author: agata-3 from Amsterdam
2 September 2005

a very pleasant surprise. once u start watching you're hooked. well filmed, good plot. very well acted and superb casting. each episode works as a separate story told from a different perspective. it's more like a thriller or a detective miniseries, but much more entertaining and glamorous. editing is fragmentary which is a bonus. all the separate life stories fit in perfectly together as a beautiful puzzle. quite a of cliché's used but that doesn't flatten the plot. some stunningly beautiful people performs a lot of stunningly beautiful dialogues. an overall thumbs up and more! hope they will do a rerun of it on the BBC. as of august 2005 it is still commercially unavailable.

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Spoiler alert

9/10
Author: Paula Blair (f_ckinguptakespractise@hotmail.com) from Belfast, N.Ireland
12 April 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really enjoyed watching 40, well most of it! I started wondering whether it was a reaction to anything or a working out of something. Maybe it's just a general consideration of 'life beginning at 40'. I certainly got a sense of new beginnings, particularly at the end of the last episode. It was as if the whole event of the reunion party was the pinnacle or pivot of the central characters' lives (except Rob for obvious reasons if you've seen it). New life is symbolized/personified in Anita's unborn child.

There were so many themes tackled in this series: love, sex, sexuality, drugs, careers, and life and death in general. It even tackled illegal immigration briefly. I like the way the two daughters of two of the main characters are complete contrasts. the youngest is sensible and kind and the makers of the programme deliberately show her wearing a crucifix and a white nightdress. the older one rebels against her parents, mostly her father. although, it becomes clear that she loves him and misses him, she resents him because of what she finds out about him. Her reaction is to apparently impose herself on the sex industry as a release, which doubles as a reaction to the things we know her father does.

I think the programme lacked slightly because it never fully explained the mysterious Jess. I didn't like this character, she was a good character, I just didn't like her personally, but I was glad when she got her own back on Rob, even in the most extreme of ways. I would have liked to know more about her and why she was as manipulative as she was. I want to know why she ever had a family because she really doesn't seem to care about her two young children.

The illegal immigrant, Christina, was a very interesting ingredient to the mixture. I loved it when she too got payback on Rob because he was no better than the ones who had tortured her in her own country. The way it was revealed that she was actually a doctor even though we'd seen her working in the lowest of low jobs earlier on brought a slight bit of reality into the series. I thought it was very skillfully done.

There is so much to go into with this series and I would definitely watch it again. I absolutely loved the format of the episodes. I liked the way everything was revealed in stages, it keeps you hanging on and wanting to know more. However, it was sometimes easy to forget important thing that happened at the very start when it was all over. The different viewpoints of each character were shown in an interesting way. It didn't really matter to me that not all of the characters connected. That wasn't the point. I think the point of it was that people don't change as they grow older - they simply become who they are.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Good piece of TV

Author: Mike Farrow (mfkickabout@yahoo.com) from London, England
11 April 2003

I found `40' to be a very interesting piece of television. Maybe a tad too deliberately calculating in the way it was written, it kept me hooked all the way along. Excitingly directed, well photographed and brilliantly acted. Superb all round.

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2 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

"what's that funny smell?"

1/10
Author: simonrosenbaum from New Malden, England
23 April 2003

Reading the comments written so far I must have missed something as I found "40" to be one of the worst channel four programmes I've ever seen. The story was incomprehensible and totally unbelievable. As for some of the acting and dialogue, I couldn't believe what I was hearing, it was pitiful. It made "Neighbours" seem like Shakespeare! I know we're a bit spoilt with brilliant shows like "The Sopranos", "Six Feet Under" and "The West Wing" but this was not up to broadcasting standards and should have been left well on the shelf. (0/10)

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