Let me start this review with this: I’m not a fashion fan. The names David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton meant nothing to me before I watched this the night after its original broadcast before. The key selling point was, of course, the appearance of Karen Gillan as the famous glamour model Jean Shrimpton. I was going to give it a miss: I never watched Matt Smith’s Christopher and His Kind nor did I ever go to see Darvill’s Doctor Fastus, (however that was all the way in London currently…) The story follows the protagonists as they revolutionise fashion, youth culture and the way photos were taken, (that’s what I got from it!) As they battle their way through “evil” other colleagues and much more, will they succeed? (To be honest, it’s not a spoiler: you just need to go and look on the internet…) And to conclude at an early stage: it was fantastic.
“Manhattan” is a perfectly acted, beautifully looking and brilliantly written drama which would make the least interested in fashion person interested in the story. The autobiographic piece was extremely well written giving the lead actors so much to work with. There was not one boring or slow moment at all- it was fast paced and perfect! On top of this, the directing and the photography were stunning. The camera work showcased the beautiful surroundings of New York and recreated the photographs perfectly, (almost exact!) One of my favourite bits was when Bailey was describing the photograph at the street, (which you can find by YouTubing “The Graham Norton Show We’ll Take Manhattan Clip- well a bit of it,) which cuts to everything Bailey says. The photography is just stunning!
It would be stupid not to mention the acting. Gillan was amazing: she expressed a strong range of emotions hitting the goals they needed to a perfect extent. Her accent was also very well put on and she looked stunning as the model! Also from the Whoniverse, it was a treat to see Frances Barber also donning a very amazing accent as well were all amazing! However- neither compare to Anuerin Bernard’s portrayal of David Bailey. He was brilliant. The young actor was clever, funny, dark, emotional and just perfect! I’m keeping my eye on him: he would make a great Doctor and this boy will go far- very far!
The costume and set design worked a treat as well. The look was authentic to 1960’s hiding out any symbols modern day society. The costumes matched Jean’s clothes from the photos and the sets looked like they had been plucked right out of history: from the diners to the hotel rooms and lobbies it was amazing!
Overall- if you are or are not a fan of fashion or the famous duo: watch this. It’s an absolutely perfect drama telling a very interesting tale. If this is a sign of what’s to come in terms of drama in 2012, we are in for a treat…