At Netflix Drama family secretsalso known by its original Polish name Gris Rodzinne (family games), a young couple’s wedding day is played out in eight episodes full of flashbacks, family dramas, mixed romances and internecine friendly wars. Will Katarzyna go to the altar to marry Janek? And if it’s not his child she’s carrying, then whose?
Initial shot: A woman in full wedding attire runs through a busy pedestrian area in the city center, distracted and alone. She loses and regains her thin veil. She is also pregnant.
Essence: The crossroads to which Katarzyna (Eliza Rytsembel), also known as Kaska, ran? This is the place where, five years before her wedding day, she met Pavel (Petr Pacek) on the day she entered medical school. In the first-rate romantic comedy he saved her from being crushed by a streetcar, they danced like crazy to the scissor sisters and looked into each other’s eyes before laughing it off, thinking it was an accident. But Pavel is nowhere to be seen today, everyone is looking at her in her wedding dress, and her sister Alicia (Małgorzata Mikołajczak) begs her to pull herself together. The helmet definitely doesn’t shine like a bride.
In another flashback, seven months before the wedding. Casca, crying, is outside after her mother Malgosia (Isabela Kuna) kicked her out, but Alicia is happy to take her in. She also vomits somewhat uncontrollably. The next day, Kaska attends a skull dissection lecture given by Dorota (Edita Olszowka), whose husband Emil (Pavel Delag) runs a cosmetic surgery clinic along with their son Janek (Bartos Gelner), people we’ve already seen in the present, waiting in church until Casca appears.
Janek works as a surgeon at his father’s clinic, but they fight more than they do rhinoplasty. “You have to control your lust, daddy,” he spits. “You’re married” and who does Janek meet in Emil’s office besides Malgosia. Moreover, outside the clinic, you can see an elderly doctor who seems to be comforting the distraught Casca. The connections between these two families are constantly being revealed in the form of flashbacks, but there are still many mysteries about what exactly is going on. Imagine a few secondary characters – Alicia’s rich boyfriend who is also Janek’s best friend, Janek’s ex-model for whom Alicia works as a makeup artist, and David, everyone’s friend who moonlights as a drag queen – and there’s a lot to unpack. we are reunited with Casca in the present. Finally she agreed to be taken to church. But she didn’t come close to marrying Janek.
What series does this remind you of? Netflix also offers holiday secrets, a German limited series that explores family dynamics through the lens of the Christmas season. And Peacock includes both seasons of the amazing Irish drama. strangleabout the matriarch of the County Clare family, her developing relationship with each of her daughters, and the lengths she will go to protect them from a – wait – family secret.
Our opinion: In addition to its retrospective format, family secrets uses the type of handheld cameras, true close-ups and sudden zoom out that have been popularized in shows such as retarded development as well as modern family. It’s a purposeful aesthetic touch that immediately adds seriousness to the plot, which develops elliptical as it is influenced by different points of view. At present, in church on the day of Kaska and Janek’s wedding, we are immediately consumed by the barbs and direct verbal blows thrown between Dorota and Emil—husband and wife, both of whom were unfaithful—in the front row, even as we see how Janek is bustling about at the main entrance, and the guests are sweating and impatiently fidgeting on their benches. Not only that, but suddenly Dorota and Emil get into an argument with a nun singing religious hymns to cover up the ceremony’s delay. In several scenarios occurring at the same time in family secretsthere’s even drama with the clergy, and the choppy cameras and timelines capture it all.
Sex and skin: The first episode is nothing but a lot of talk about romances that have been and are, old and new romantic partners.
Parting Shot: Casca, finally arriving with Alicia at the church, joins Janek. But she only gets halfway through the passage before she hesitates again, stops, turns back and forth, and finally heads back the way she came.
Sleeping Star: In the beginning, Edita Olshovka is most impressive as Dorota, a woman who combines the icy awkwardness of her relationship with her depraved husband with the consequences of her own extramarital activities, the demands of her professional life in medical school, and the attempt to maintain the appearance of a wealthy family supposedly free of dysfunction. And although we don’t see him in the first episode family secretslook for Peter Pachek (sexify) to make a splash as Pavel as the show’s dramas unfold.
Most pilot line: “How about we end this farce,” Emile Dorote grumbles. – She won’t come. It is quite obvious that it would be very convenient for Emil if Casca canceled this. But Dorota wouldn’t let him off the hook so easily. You think you know her so well, but you don’t. You can have sex with someone 30 years old and not know anything about him.”
Our call: AFTER. family secrets seems very modern with its narrative twists and different levels of love life. It will be interesting to see who is with whom and what is finally said out loud when this wedding day is over eight episodes later.
Johnny Loftus is a freelance writer and editor based in Chicagoland. His work has been featured in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media and Nicki Swift. Follow him on Twitter: @glennganges