State of the Union directed by Stephen Frears [7/10]

Ten episodes, each only ten minutes long, is this a new trend for a TV/streaming season? Perhaps not, but the rather bold (at least in terms of presentation) “State of the Union” is intelligent and sharply focused. Brought to life by the brilliant Nick Hornby and steered by the equally capable Colin Frears, each snippet sees music critic Tom (wonderfully played by Chris O’Dowd) and doctor Louise (more than matched by Rosamund Pike), a modern couple going through marriage counselling, meet up in a bar just before a session. We never witness the therapist encounters, we just catch their talk about their attempts to restore their love, but somehow, due to the script or the thespian performances or the clever plot, we’re fully in the loop all the way. This is no high drama but it is pertinent, whipsaw smart, and ultimately moving. Call it a diversion perhaps, but it amounts to much more than that.

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