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Perfect Strangers

Starring Michael Gambon and Lindsay Duncan. Directed by Stephen Poliakoff

The best video I've seen in months!

A hauntingly magical television Drama

Perfect Strangers

A young man comes face to face with his large family - and they all have secrets from the past...

Perfect Strangers, Stephen Poliakoff's TV drama, depicts an upper-class English family where distrust, dysfunction and despair are guests at the party. "As you know, in all families, things happen", says the cool Lindsay Duncan. That's the premise: things happen, some of them nasty. The family, once "mini-Rothchilds" and still "drowning in money", are gathered together in an opulent hotel for a grand reunion; the only thing wrong with the idea is that many of them are perfect strangers and the event begins to look more like a conference than an event with heart. Into the blend of well-heeled guests comes the Hillingdon contingent led by Raymond (Michael Gambon), the black ram of the family. His son, Daniel, is a surveyor and true to his profession sets about assessing the fault lines running through the family. Underlying it all is a sense of unease so that even pleasantries come across as deeply unpleasant. Raymond warns us that: "Everybody always lies".

Drama arises from the emergence of truth and buried bits of the past, as old photographs are screened to family members provoking curiosity about what lies behind the images. Scratch a surface and everywhere there's pain and mystery. Filmed in lavish London settings where everything is clean and sleek, Perfect Strangers makes for slick visual entertainment. Although the dialogue is stilted and at times surreal, the music by Adrian Johnston cannot be faulted.


Matthew MacFadyen shines as Daniel, once again showing his talent as a gifted classical actor. Michael Gambon and Lindsey Duncan are both well-cast also. I watched the whole four hours in one sitting and was sad when the story ended! Stephen really has a knack of story-telling, keeping it simple yet intriguing, serious yet with humour at the right times.

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