TV review: Why everyone is watching The Beautiful Lie.

A Beautiful Lie, ABCTV, Sundays 8:30pm. 

It’s been a long time since a TV show has grabbed me.

I can’t remember a time when I was this captivated by the screen in my lounge room. But this show. THIS SHOW. This Australian show screening right now has turned me into a clock-watching, compulsive-Googling, Russian novel fan girl.

The Beautiful Lie.

This is the kind of Australian drama that will leave you wondering why you ever wasted your life watching The Block’s room reveals. It’s love, sex, infidelity, jealousy, passion, death and the most sublime Australian cast in roles that are so rich you’ll wonder if you could serve them up for dessert.

This six part series, I’ve since learned, is an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel, Anna Karenina. Which I have never read. Widely regarded as one of the greatest novels of all time, this show transports the Russian classic smack bang into modern day Melbourne.

This version centers around Anna, a beautiful former tennis champion, whose married to another beautiful former tennis champion, and who lives this happy, affluent life. Seemingly.

But she tells us at the beginning, in her dreamy, poetic narration: “By the time my son is seven, I will be dead.”

DEAD I tell you.

So already, I'm in.

I don't want to give away what happens because you ought to watch it.  But basically the tranquility of her perfect post-tennis life is thrown into disarray when she meets this European rock god Jesus and has passionate sex with him against a pole of someone's front porch.

Anna and the European rock god Jesus.


It's just a stunning production.  Amazingly gifted cast, beautifully shot, a poetic feel to it, like nothing I've seen before.

The standout performance is Sarah Snook as Anna. She is divine. The actual script is pretty sparse but the tension she builds, and the words that are left unsaid are what's so captivating. There are so many close up shots of her face for a reason: It can say a million things without uttering a single word.

And then there's the outstanding line-up of other stars: Rodger Corser, Sophie Lowe, Benedict Samuel, Gina Riley, Celia Pacquola and Catherine McClements.

A powerhouse cast. A poetic story. Beautiful people having mad sex on a porch. It's spectacular, beautifully done Australian drama.

See it.

The Beautiful Lie is on Sundays at 8.30pm on ABC1 or on iView. 

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