Am I unreasonable? review – Daisy May Cooper is absurdly brilliant | Daisy MayCooper

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AFirst, it seems Daisy May Cooper hasn’t strayed from the role that made her famous – the fabulously brooding Kerry Mucklowe in This Country, the bittersweet comedy she co-wrote and starred in with her brother. Charlie.

His new venture is the comedy-thriller Am I Unreasonable? (BBC One), co-written with her real-life BFF Selin Hizli (who also stars), in which she stars as secretly grieving mother Nic whom we first meet lying on the sofa with her son Ollie (Lenny Rush), eating cereal and watching shitty TV until he insists on being taken to school on time.

But, while the Mucklowe shade is never quite banished, Nic has more going for her. She struggles – again in secret – with her marriage and tries to recover from the sudden death of her lover. We see in flashback that he was killed as they were saying goodbye at a train station and his coat got stuck in the doors. As the six episodes progress, the line between her memories, reality, and other people’s versions becomes increasingly porous. Things take on a slightly hallucinatory edge that adds both interest and frustration.

Apparently kindred spirits… Daisy May Cooper and Selin Hizli in Am I Unreasonable? Photography: Alistair Heap / Boffola Pictures

Nic lacks friendship as well as love. The other mothers at Ollie’s school didn’t like her, nor did she like them. Although, as anyone who has found their mental age reduced to single digits at the school gates will recognize, it is complicated. “I don’t like Lucy,” Nic tells her hubby of the most unofficial of moms. “But I want her to love me.” The title of the show is taken from the (very) famous section of the Mumsnet website where people will ask the question in relation to a huge or tiny problem and are bombarded with answers that boil down to “Yes, you are. !” and “No, you’re not!” in roughly equal measure, regardless of the subject. Once you’ve practiced there for a few months, you’re ready to get down to the absolute madness that is Am I Reddit’s asshole? and – well, fair winds.

So when a seemingly related spirit – Jen, played by Hizli – shows up, with emergency canned gins in her purse, they quickly bond. Jen tells Nic about disastrous dates on Tinder (“He said, ‘Good night – sweet dreams, little girl’. I felt the disgust well up in my vagina”) and Nic shares her secret affair and grief with Jen. She doesn’t notice Jen recording everything on her phone.

Am I unreasonable? has many points in its favour. Cooper remains an absurdly brilliant comedic performer who is capable of harrowing moments of vulnerability, as she showed in This Country. Hizli is an equally fine actor and does particularly well in dramatic scenes, where Cooper seems less comfortable. And what a gift they have in 13-year-old Rush, who has the comedic chops and emotional range of an actor twice his age and the kind of chemistry with Cooper that’s an absolute joy to watch.

But he suffers from the difficult syndrome of the second album. It tries to be funny enough to satisfy This Country’s fanbase, while moving enough into the thriller realm to allow Cooper to stand out in another area; explore the loneliness of motherhood, a loveless marriage, adulthood and grief; and provide a thriller. None of this is entirely consistent. You can applaud the ambition while wishing they’d limited themselves a bit more and made sure the set was properly fit for purpose – and the showcase that Cooper and Hizli certainly deserve.

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