Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Kim Cattrall Has SENSITIVE SKIN

I have been a Kim Cattrall fan since the 80s.  She is a good actress who has paid her dues and totally deserved the stardom she won on HBO's SEX AND THE CITY.  She was my favorite member of the Sex and the City quartet.  The talented Cattrall stars in a new series on Netflix called SENSITIVE SKIN.  This skin is smooth and appealing.
I watched the first three episodes of this hour-long show and intend to watch more.  Wow.  Cattrall is so good in this new role.  Not only is it different from her most famous TV role, it shows how she's matured as an actress and how gifted an actress she is.  This character, Davina Jackson is in her 50s.  When first we see her, she's in a drugstore and looks like a dwarf in a land of pharmaceuticals.  Davina wants something for her hormones.  She has a rather bookish husband ("I prefer John Updike to sex").  They're in Toronto and they've been married to for 30 years and they have a grown son.  The husband writes a popular humor column.  She's a former model who acted occasionally but was mostly a model.  Sensitive Skin shows Kim Cattrall in fantastic form.  She shines in this role of a woman find a new meaningful path in her life as she navigates through menopause.  The humor is smart, mature and insightful.  There's a touch of the James Thurber in the scripts.  In the first episode, Davina has a conversation with herself.  She's at a function and sees herself.  The two Davinas have a conversation that no one else can hear.  Or see.  This adaptation is based on a British series that starred Joanna Lumley, the actress who played tall, blonde Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous.  This Sensitive Skin is a perfect fit for Kim Cattrall.  She makes a mid-life crisis look good.  Here's a trailer.

Kim Cattrall's Sensitive Skin deserves a better trailer and more publicity than it's getting.  I love the tone, writing and the freshness of this comedy/drama.  Davina's son is the kind of pretentious hipster that colonized and drove up rents in the once-afford sections of Brooklyn.  He asks his parents to watch his little dog while he's gone.  Of course, his upscale dog can't eat Alpo and Milk-Bone doggie treats.  He eats prey.  The son tells dad that the dog will need "guinea fowl or rabbit" to eat.  Dad is Al Jackson, played nimbly by Don McKellar.  McKellar and Cattrall are also executive producers of the show.  Al has a touch of hypochondria about him.  Don McKellar has the hairiest chest this side of Alec Baldwin.  You could comb McKellar's chest and probably find loose change.
At first sight,  these two married people seem to be an odd couple.  But as the episodes progress, we see how they do complement and love each other.  We see how they deal when approached by outside sexual temptation.
I love the occasional James Thurber-like delusional moments.  The theater scene at the Chekhov play is priceless.  I've seen some 2-hour movies that weren't as good as that female-driven theater scene.  I also love how the show honors women and women's self-images.  Notice the interaction when Davina runs into a woman who was a high school classmate and followed Davina's career as a supermodel.  Sensitive Skin is a blessing for middle-aged and senior age actresses because it gives them work and meaty material to play.  Notice the hospital scene where Davina visits her elderly and ailing mother.  There's a great scene with the mother's also elderly roommate.

My Sex and the City interest started to wane after a couple of seasons because I really knew nothing about the characters' background and I couldn't really believe Carrie as a writer  About the characters on Sex and the City...yes, they had boyfriends and lovers.  But did the have families?  Did they have parents and siblings? Grandparents, aunt and uncles?  They never talked about their families.  In that sense, they seemed so rootless.  As for Carrie Bradshaw -- I've had a number of women friends in New York City who were magazine columnists, newspaper reporter and published authors.  We'd make plans.  Inevitably, one of our dates would have to be canceled and rescheduled because they were on deadline, they had to do last-minutes or some critical research.  That was understandable.  Carrie would relax on her cute bed and knock out a column in one draft as easily as if she was writing a postcard to a friend while on vacation.  I've seen high schoolers put more toil and research into a writing a term paper than Carrie Bradshaw did her columns.  But that's just me.

Cattrall's character here has family, family members that she loves keeps in her life.  These family members have helped form her current life, a life that needs to expand, a life that needs to find new meaning.

I mentioned that Kim Cattrall has paid her dues.  Remember the bawdy 1982 loss-of-virginity comedy called Porky's?  It was cheesy fun and a big box office hit.  Cattrall played the babe who howled like a collie during sex.  She was also in 1987's romantic comedy Mannequin.  She played the mannequin.  Ah....the 80s.

There was a excellent series on NBC in the late 1980s called The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd.  If you remember and liked that show, I think you'll dig Kim Cattrall in Sensitive Skin.  Elliott Gould plays Al's doctor and Joanna Gleason is her usual fabulous self as Davina's older sister.  The sister is married and has a financially comfortable life.  However, she's been disappointed by life.  She's angry because she's heartbroken.  Season One has six episodes.  The depth and wit of Cattrall's performance hooked me right away.  Check out Sensitive Skin on Netflix.





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