geezer cinema: the good liar (bill condon, 2019)
tv in the 2010s: the half-hours, part one

film fatales #66: fleabag (tony grech-smith and vicky jones, 2019)

This is the National Theatre Live production, which is a straightforward filmed version of the play in its final run. It's a hybrid, offered solely because Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and her creation, Fleabag, have become iconic. (To avoid confusion for those who are unfamiliar with it, "Fleabag" refers to both the play/show and to the main character.) Fleabag was originally a one-woman stage show. Waller-Bridge converted it into a TV series of 12 episodes over two seasons, winning acclaim and lots of awards. She has a lot on her plate, and had moved on from Fleabag, but she completed the circle by returning to the stage for a brief run of the one-woman show. This was filmed and shown on movie theater screens ... like I said, it's a hybrid, part play, part movie.

Fleabag doesn't necessarily benefit from being stuffed into a genre, so I should just let it go and not worry if it's a Film Fatale or even if it's a film at all. It's Fleabag, most closely attached to the first season of the TV series, which was an expansion of the original play.

I don't have much to add to my earlier reactions to Fleabag the series. About the most distinctive aspect of the series, I wrote, "Fleabag makes frequent use of breaking the fourth wall. It works wonderfully, in part because Waller-Bridge has such an expressive face that she conveys multitudes even when she doesn't say anything. We become her partners in crime, so to speak, connecting to the character in much deeper ways than is usual for a 'comedy'." Seeing the stage play (via movie theater ... OK, I'll quit), I see why Waller-Bridge might have opted for breaking the fourth wall, for on the stage, Fleabag speaks directly to the audience pretty much non-stop. Waller-Bridge turns that direct speech into confidential connections that aren't non-stop but usually surprising, even when you expect them. The intimacy of the series is lessened a bit in the play with its constant narration. But Fleabag is out in the open in the play ... there's nowhere to hide.

It's all bare bones. I list two directors above, but I'm not sure even that is accurate. Vicky Jones directed the play, Tony Grech-Smith did the camera for the broadcast. I'll cheat, call this a movie, point us in the direction of Jones, and call this a Film Fatale.

(Explanation of the Film Fatales Series.)


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