Compulsive shopping disorder is a form of obsessive, self-destructive behaviour only possible in the modern age: the cumbersomely titled 'Shiny Shiny Bright New Hole in my Heart' is a bleak, worthy drama constructed to illustrate this strange phenomenon. We're introduced to Nathalie, a lonely woman married to an uncommunicative husband (played by Stephen Mackintosh, giving his stock performance in this role). Living in a very material world, she puts high value on nice things; and gradually sinks into a deep depression from which only semi-permanent "retail therapy" can lift her. But we never really see what has led to her initial loneliness; nor do we see her really ever take pleasure in her purchases, even in the early days; nor even what she does with them (a serious point, buy a handbag a day and your cupboard is soon full). Instead, we have a drama consisting only of a sequence of miserable developments, which fails to portray the ordinary life that is eventually extinguished by Nathalie's growing addiction. In some ways, it reminded me of the work of Tony Marchant, cutting quickly between key scenes but lacking the rhythms of ordinary life; and it's hard anyway to feel that sympathetic for a rich couple who may lose some of their hard-earned gains, but who never face sleeping on the streets or going hungry. If the story had been more about Nathalie per se, and less about the particular way in which her unhappiness manifested itself, it might have been a warmer tale.
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