This is a second season of Dominic Savage’s I Am, two years after the first three episodes landed. And the first of this current iteration is as good as contemporary drama ever gets, starring Must favourite Suranne Jones.
Jones plays Victoria, a mother of two striving for an unreachable perfection, balancing her work as a property developer with marriage, financial insecurities, lifestyle and domestic duties. She is a woman on the edge of a crisis and across the episode she approaches the brink. It’s unsettling, cutting and truthful, with a central brilliant performance from Jones and strong support from Ashley Walters as the husband and Alice Feetham as her sister.
The nerves throughout are raw and they are struck ruthlessly by both the writing and acting. It’s uncomfortable viewing, and indeed it is not so much a portrait of a woman on the edge, but of a life sliding over and down a cliff in dreadful peril, all whilst maintaining glossy hair and perfect make-up.
Lucy Mangan in The Guardian thinks it is brilliant: “Savage’s script and Jones’s performance – not just in the silent screams but in the gulps of air out of the cracked window, her hand catching at the breeze – captures it all so exquisitely it’s painful.” Writing in The Telegraph Benji Wilson praised the film for having the “courage to show how what are derided as “first world problems” can still seem insurmountable to those suffering from them.” And he reckons: “Jones can go straight to the Baftas without passing Go – it was an extraordinary, deeply personal piece of self-flagellation.”