After Life (2019) Review
About the series
Producer: Charlie Hanson
Director: Ricky Gervais
Distributed by: Netflix
Genre: Dark Comedy
About the series
Series 1 of After Life is a 6 part series that is streaming on Netflix. Starring Rickie Gervais, he plays a man called Tony who has recently lost his wife to cancer. He works as a writer for the local newspaper, and since the death of his wife, is struggling to come to terms with her death. He often contemplates suicide and often tells people. The people closest to him try to help him the best way they can, but Tony is finding it difficult to accept help. When asked why he didn't go through with suicide, he replies the dog needed feeding and walking.
At the start of the series we see how his wife has recorded a video for Tony to watch. This is mainly advice from her on what he should be doing with his life, both practically and on a personal level. She tells him little things like setting the alarm, where the dog likes being walked etc, and all these little things in life which she thinks he should know. We see clips of this video throughout the series.
Since her death, Tony has put on a front, as it were, and doesn't let people help him. His whole persona seems to change. He doesn't seem to care what he does, what he says or who he hurts. Whilst at work he tells people what he thinks and doesn't care how they feel in the process. On a personal level, his father is in a retirement home and visits him each day. He gets talking to the Nurse who cares for him. Their friendship is difficult in the beginning as he talks to her the same way he does his work colleagues. She doesn't mince her words and tells him in no uncertain terms she thinks how he is acting is wrong.
The series basically takes us through how Tony deals with the loss of his beloved wife and how he copes with it. I think Anne is quite an important character in the series. Anne's husband has passed away and she visits his grave. Tony's wife's grave is close to Anne's husbands, so they often get chatting while they are sitting on the bench. These two people that seem so different and worlds apart strike up a friendship and she is a listening ear for him, and also giving him much needed advice.
To be honest, I was in two minds of watching this. I have never been too keen on Ricky Gervais or his style of comedy. But I had seen previews of this show on TV before it was released on Netflix, and it looked interesting. I'm glad I watched it though. I have seen Ricky in a whole new light in this show. This is classed as a dark comedy and yes, there are some bits that made me laugh. Especially the scenes he has with the school bully. His dry sense of humour really comes through. The parts where he has to go and interview people in their own homes for the newspaper are comical. He doesn't hold back in saying what he really thinks - this also applies to people he works with. But there are also some heart warming scenes, especially when he's lying on the bed watching the video his wife has made for him. You can tell he loves his dog too and takes good care of him.
At the end of the day, the subject of death and losing a loved one is always going to be difficult to talk about, never mind making a programme about it. But I think this really highlights how people really feel and cope with death. I know from personal experience what it's like to lose a partner. After the death of my husband in 2014 I can relate to the feelings he had. Tony does, however, see light at the end of the tunnel. I found the ending to this really heart warming and nice. If you subscribe to Netflix, then I would highly recommend this series. I really enjoyed it.
© 2019 Louise Powles