God bless you please Mrs. Robinson?
Leaving has seen a forty-four-year-old frustrated married mother – Julie (Helen McCrory) suffering a passionless marriage and embarking on a steamy affair with 25-year-old Aaron ( newcomer Callum Turner). Episode two of this three-part drama I can’t say made much more of an impact, the whole thing just ticked along happily. Leaving does have a danger of becoming contrived; some scene sets ups just seem a little abnormal and unnatural in terms of real life polish.I can’t say it has been to my taste, Julie a little too matronly and Aaron a little too much of a drifter.
Written by Tony Marchant (Garrow’s Law) Leaving is not the most original premise but its roots are grown in a possible reality scenario, many I’m sure can relate to a drama involving powerful emotions and the bonds of love conquers all, relationships and family. We read about sensationalist court cases involving older ladies who should know better seducing young impressionable men nearly every month.
The plot is slightly predictable, although not every tale has a sordid twist. Perhaps Leaving is playing on a deep buried fantasy of older women and young men? Well, nothing is ever that black and white as this drama explores. The biggest cliché, but you really can’t foresee who you will fall in love with. Aaron is not a child of course; it would be outrageous and criminal if he was fifteen, but he’s twenty-five and old enough to understand who he likes. They become romantically involved and obviously like each other. She’s married, but extra marital affairs happen.
Many have made a comparison with the films The Graduate and The Good Girl, and rightly so. People will always view an older woman having sex with a younger man forbidden and sordid, I’m sure that it is difficult for a woman over forty to really enjoy such a narrative, when the drama itself sadly suggests that the age forty-four instantly gives you the title ‘over the hill’. A little contradiction in the fact Leaving is seemingly targeted to the female audience, moving away from the regular grim and gritty ‘Who Done Its?’ which are ten a penny on our televisions screens in recent years.
Overall you can’t fault the acting and writing calibre, stunning performances from all. The cast also includes Amelia Young (United), Sean Gallagher (Coronation Street), Gregg Chillin (Being Human) and Celyn Jones (Above Suspicion), Deborah Findlay (Cranford), Nick Dunning (The Iron Lady), Charity Wakefield (Casualty 1909) and Bart Edwards (EastEnders). As usual, ITV’s production qualities are top-notch, no expense spared.
For an autumn Monday night drama it serves its purpose extremely well. Next week we will see the last episode and the ultimate reveal, I can’t imagine anyone pondering wondering what’s going to happen.