OH, how I enjoyed it. Along with the laughs, I suddenly burst into tears at Kelly’s mum’s behaviour, and Kelly’s reaction. That struck a chord. Have bossed my Facebook friends into watching MUM at the soonest opportunity. I congratulate everyone involved. Thank You.
The pacing is excellent and the characters are so wonderfully realised. Casting is top notch and Kelly is equally one of the most endearing and irritating characters I’ve ever watched.
So surprised by how much I enjoyed this show, everything about it was enjoyable, including the soundtrack. S2E6 just made me cry and cheer, out loud, like a freakin’ crazy person. you have to give props to a show that balances bitter/sweet so well.
Watch this. You won’t regret it.
Season one starts with the funeral of Cathy’s husband and each of the first six episodes are scattered through the next year at Cathy’s house and follow her and her family. The relationships are beautifully observed with delicate writing and fine acting.
At the centre is Cathy (Lesley Manville) and Michael (Peter Mullan) whose will it/won’t it relationship is developed with aching slowness and the depth of emotion is so contained that it’s almost all in the smallest detail of the performance – glances and smiles, hope and frustration. There’s a temptation to seek Cathy as passive and put-upon, but she has the measure of all the people around her and she deals with them on her own terms. She’s no one’s fool. Michael, meanwhile, is totally lovelorn but incapable of action.
Then there’s Kelly. Kelly is brilliant. She’s totally, hopelessly daft but as the show unrolls she’s the one who deepens most – her relationship with her mother (in episode 3) and her conversation with foxes (episode 5) are some of the show’s highlights. There’s a bit in episode five where she asks Cathy if she’s laughing at her or with her and, while we might have laughed at Kelly earlier in the series, there’s no doubt we’re laughing with her now – it’s a very nice piece of writing and performance. Lisa McGrillis manages to be both maddeningly irritating and sweetly innocent in the same moment.
The supporting characters are also excellent – Pauline is tooth- achingly annoying and yet believably damaged, Derek is hopeless, Jason is useless and Maureen and Reg – Cathy’s parents-in-law – are fantastically dysfunctional and grumpy.
Normally I like my comedy a bit more in your face than Mum but the quality of the performance and writing really raises this to another level. It’s a show I find myself grinning broadly at from the opening scenes to the closing credits. I hope there’ll be more.
I’m familiar with both lead actors Peter Mullan and Lesley Manville and they bring heavyweight class ability to the rolls of divorcée and widow respectively. Now add in some younger talent, great writing, direction and production values and you know you’re in the for a treat. While “Mum” is often dry and wryly observed, it’s equally laugh-out-loud funny.
TL;DR version (there are lots of long reviews) if you like beautifully-observed, family dynamic comedy of the type only the Brits are good at, this is a a delight. With a colourful cast of larger-than-life oddballs, Manville and Mullan lead us through a year in the life of the world’s most tolerant widow.
Just be thankful you’re not there and please, do make your tea in a pot!
Cathy is recently widowed and just trying to get on with life, but it’s the others around that keep throwing her curve balls, whether it’s her well meaning son Jason, who perpetually walks around the house in his pants, his well meaning if absent minded girlfriend Kelly, or considerate brother Derek and his social climbing girlfriend Pauline. Cathy is the one who’s world should have fallen apart, but instead is a level headed, strong woman, who is basically just a delightful woman.
Lesley Manville, an actress I’ve always loved shows that comedy is as easy for her as drama, she is superb. I’m hooked on Kelly’s character, Lisa McGrillis is a delight with great comedy timing. The whole cast are great, the parents in law always cause a few laughs, so realistic.
I’m reminded of Grandma’s House from a few years back, it’s a suburban comedy, nothing slapstick or outrageous, just great character play, coupled with top notch scripts.
A joy. 9/10 Roll on Series 2 and 3.
This is a TV sitcom / drama that is a joy to behold. The exquisite and nuanced characterisation, mellow pace across differing sinusoidal melancholic – comedic storylines and superb acting (Lesley Manville is derserving of all nominations!) makes for very special television.
The plot revolves around the death of the husband of the central character (i.e ‘Mum’) and in the aftermath of that awful event the personalities that inhabit her house and life.
In short (and having only watched the first 3 episodes of Series 1) I would recommend this if you like intelligent, nuanced screenplay, great acting and an all round wry look at the everyday lives of us.
Lesley Manville and Peter Mullen are out of this world brilliant. The slow-burn romance between them is the thread that keeps the show moving forward, month by month and giving us all larger and larger glimpses into their story. You will not be disappointed.
Not knowing what to expect (but encouraged by the rating), I binged- watched all 6 episodes and found myself genuinely dismayed that it was over!
As for some of the characters–well…the actors play their parts so well and it is written SO WELL that I cry every time someone is mean to Kelly (She’s just dumb, and doesn’t know any better. Last I checked that wasn’t a crime, or a reason to be mean to someone), and frankly, the character of her mother, and the way she treated Kelly (who isn’t SO dumb that she doesn’t realize her mom is a mean snake), just makes me want to four-five her. I guess that’s because I’ve known real people like that. Mean people suck. The fact that Cathy (the Mum) puts up with Kelly’s numerous verbal faux pas is really endearing. She seems to understand, and empathizes with her. Just what a Mum ought to do! I know a lot of people that lack the internal “filter,” so I guess I’m used to this, too!
Anytime something makes the viewer “feel” something (besides disgust!), it’s a GOOD thing. Some of the characters are awkward with each other, but I think this would happen in real life, too.
I sincerely hope they do a second season. I know that BBC sometimes does these little half-shows like this (Fleabag was another), but I hope there is a chance to develop this into something long term.
Well written, not a single wasted word in the script, brilliantly observed and all the parts played to perfection by the cast.
Reminiscent of the Detectorists in that the comedy is subtle and underplayed. The characters are well written and the acting is top-notch. You really feel as though you’re eavesdropping on a real suburban set-up in Chingford.
Would recommend to any fan of Damned or Detectorists.
Three generations of misfits plodding along in an English and Scottish miasma of restrained emotions, mostly unspoken feelings and self-obsessed selfish insouciance.
This is a satisfying production, all three series hit the spot, anthough not necessarily binge worthy. By which I mean: Some things are better savoured over time. It is a slow burner with a strong emotional impact, English style.
The writing and acting is focussed and sharp lines trigger laughter at times. From the start, it managed to make me care about the characters, and that is is an ever more rare skill in these times of endless entertainment. The characters also seem relatable at different levels.
This is why Brits pay the TV licence fee, because it delivers a mirror for a certain strand of British society, that skewers so much with such economy. Wonderful usage of silence, along with the sensitive acting by Leslie Manville and all the supporting cast.
I want more from this writer Stefan Golaszewski, and his previous work “Him and Her” was also delightful. So I hope his muse(s) continue to trigger such output.
The characters are amusing on the surface but each has depth and a set of feelings that belies their seeming shallow behaviour.
There is also plenty of feelings you get of frustration and embarrassment that make for such good observational comedy.
Lesley Manville is perfectly cast as Mum. She portrays Cathy delicately, as in many ways, Cathy is the straight-person to the other characters’ peculiarities. The rest of the cast is excellent too. Cathy’s son, Jason, his sweet and often (but unintentionally) insulting girlfriend, Kelly, Cathy’s in-laws, her brother (Derek) and his uptight, status-conscious girlfriend (Pauline), and a family friend Michael round out the core cast. I love the characters; I love how they interrelate. There is something realistic about this show even though no one in the world has the presence of mind to be like Cathy, have her patience, and accept everyone and their eccentricities in the manner Lesley Manville portrays. Still, it’s beautiful to watch. All of its brilliance would likely be lost were this to be a Hollywood production. In most American productions, characters are largely caricatures, which makes the shows fundamentally uninteresting, as they are plot-driven rather than character-driven. In Mum, the characters are what drives the show – their perceptions, their wants, their insecurities, their personalities. Again, each episode occurs only on one day and always at Cathy’s home. In a sense, “nothing” happens. There is no forced narrative device to manipulate the characters to do something; there doesn’t need to be.
There are presently two seasons; the third and final season has completed filming and is supposed to air sometime in 2019. I understand narratively why the third season will be the last, but I am sorry to see it go. Mum is a near-perfect character-driven show with outstanding writing.
I love this show. I wish there were more like it.
It is not the most polished of shows and the direction could be a bit more speedy and the children a little less idiotic however it has had me close to tears on occasion which for a 6’3 male is a hard thing to do.
Kudos to the team, I hope they continue to bring this different comedic performance into future series
Once you get used to the characters and over the shock of the truly appalling things that most of them say to one another, you can start to appreciate the subtlety of the acting by Lesley Manville as ‘Mum’ and Peter Mullan as ‘Michael’ – the only two ‘normal’ characters. The other ‘comic’ characters are painful to watch and to listen to. But there are some laugh out loud moments and while they are extreme examples, most of us know people who do sometimes say similar appalling things. The careless indifference of young people and the way they take so much for granted is very familiar.
The use of silence also takes a lot of getting used to. I’ve never felt to uncomfortable watching a pause taken to such extremes.
Ultimately it probably does make you ponder your own relationships – and perhaps makes you give a second thought before saying something hurtful to someone else.
Is it supposed to be funny that people are always standing awkwardly in the front hallway saying nothing? Or did I just drop a spoiler? Maybe I should have written a SPOILER ALERT – People stand around doing and saying nothing. A lot. Is this meant to be endearing? Who knows? Who cares? “Look how annoying my family is and I am powerless. I cannot tell them they must behave appropriately in my house or leave it. Woe is me.”
I guess this is what passes for “gentle comedy.”
None of these people were even believable, except for the family friend Michael…but even his performance was wearisome with all this longing for Cathy and he was constantly belittled – even by her.
After watching 2 seasons hoping for a different opinion I would have to be on pain meds to watch Season 3. I can safely assume the little boy of the household will wreck his mother and Michael’s chances of happily ever after. Thank goodness there’s no more.
I don’t understand why the writers didn’t finish the story. I read the explanation for why it ended so soon and it just doesn’t stand to reason. That’s why I gave it a 9/10 instead of 10/10. Having said that…WELL DONE!
I have fallen in love with Lesley Manville and Lisa McGrillis. And Peter Mullan as well.
Wish there were more seasons!
Great entertainment. Two thumbs way UP.
Source: Mum (TV Series 2016–2019) – IMDb