Parents' Guide to

This Way Up

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Strong family love, great characters in low-key UK import.

TV Hulu Drama 2019
This Way Up Poster Image

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Low-key, and endearing, this humble series alternately charms and devastates viewers with painfully realistic plotting and characters you'll instantly root for. So often scripted series rely on gimmicky premises, unrealistically quirky characters, and heightened reality to draw in an audience and keep them watching; This Way Up is so different that careless viewers might be forgiven for passing over it in the long columns of Hulu content. No famous stars, a rather staid setup, it's from the UK, you say? But in Bea's inspired grasp, what could be humdrum is instead so very real, relatable, and emotionally engrossing.

Aine and Shona are just a pair of ordinary sisters; a teacher and working in finance, respectively, living average lives of work and errands and quiet time at home. But their bond with each other is clear from the very first episode, when Shona lingers in the mental health facility Aine's checking out of to ask the staff plaintively "Is she fixed?" She worries over her sister, begging her not to walk aimlessly around the park at night alone, to spend time with other people. Meanwhile, we watch the clearly desperately lonely and lost Aine on her wanderings, trying to make connections with other people and sometimes failing miserably, sometimes succeeding beautifully. It's funny, and sad, and sometimes enthralling, and sometimes a little boring. Just like life.

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