The Undoing is a 2020 HBO series.
3 out of 10 stars. Very disappointing. All of the characters were unlikable from the pompous wife and murdering husband to the spoiled child who runs the murder weapon through the dishwasher twice so his dad won’t go to prison, I was frankly appalled by everyone in this film. The rich really do live a different life. One in which they can kill whom they please.
Grace Fraser is a rich psychiatrist in New York City living with her oncologist husband Jonathan and their teenage son Henry. Grace’s father is a millionaire and extremely wealthy (probably more like a billionaire) so she’s led an opulent lifestyle and has very prominent and wealthy friends. Her life is the typical life of a rich socialite, filled with committee meetings, board meetings, luncheons, school functions, and parties (usually fundraisers). At a committee meeting for her son’s private school she meets Elena Alves, a young mother from Harlem whose son got into the school on scholarship (tuition is $50,000). Elena takes a special interest in Grace and seeks her out repeatedly at school functions. That’s because she’s having an affair with Jonathan and he’s the one who got her son Miguel the scholarship. But this special interest makes Grace uncomfortable (as she should be).
Grace and Jonathan attend a school fundraiser and Elena shows up and becomes hysterical, running to the bathroom. Grace is the only one who cares enough to follow her and try to console her. Elena leaves anyway and the next morning is found dead in her art studio by her son Miguel. She was hit in the head with a hammer 36 times. That takes a great deal of rage. Jonathan becomes the prime suspect when their affair is quickly revealed along with the fact that she got him fired from his job at the hospital six months ago and her newborn girl is his. Those are plenty of reasons to murder someone. Jonathan almost immediately disappears.
The story itself isn’t horrendous, but the acting by Nicole Kidman and Noah Jupe was so stiff in places it’s hard to watch. Maybe the director made them do the scene one too many times? Noah Jupe’s teenage outbursts are especially over the top. Hugh Grant is uber creepy as the husband Jonathan and both he and Nicole look like they’re in their 80s not their 40s. Frankly, that’s laughable. I could totally see Jonathan killing Elena and at the end you see exactly how he did it.
So by the end of the series, the story is that Jonathan began an affair with Elena while he was treating her son Miguel for cancer. He got her son a scholarship to his own son’s private school for Miguel to have a better future rather than going to the neighborhood school in Harlem where they live. But Elena’s sole purpose in getting Miguel the scholarship was to force Jonathan into a divorce. She’s hounding Grace because she wants to tell her about the affair and that her baby daughter is Jonathan’s. When Jonathan confronts her, she really pushes his buttons and tells him he’ll never leave her no matter what she does. Then she attacks him with one of the hammers in her studio as he’s walking away. He grabs it from her and bludgeons her to death.
It’s hard to feel any empathy for Elena. She cheated on her husband for a year and gave birth to another man’s child, putting him and Miguel through even more hell in addition to Miguel’s cancer treatment. That’s really unforgivable. But she goes further and gets Jonathan fired then starts stalking his wife and son. She really did go too far. That doesn’t make what Jonathan did okay by any means. But there are no likable characters here. None.
So here are my gripes and plot holes.
- How is a NYC oncologist so broke he has a public defender? Especially since before the murder he’d asked and received $500,000 from Grace’s dad.
- Elena’s complaints to the hospital spanned a year. Jonathan continued seeing her and sleeping with her. Really? That’s self-destructive. He chose this path. Not very likely.
- Henry finds the murder weapon at his grandfather’s beach house and runs it through the dishwasher twice to dispose of any evidence that could incriminate his father. Then he hangs onto it and gets caught with it. Dude, just having it is incriminating. Really?
3 out of 10 stars. There were parts of the plot I liked, but not many. Most of it was stupid. There was nothing new or meaningful in this series. It’s like every other husband murders the mistress plot.