Arts and Culture

TV Review: “Bloom” by Lisa Harper Campbell

Posted on: Sat 19 Jan 2019

By Lisa Harper Campbell

With a strong marketing campaign behind it (every second bus stop featuring a poster it would seem), Stan has released a new Australian drama series with heavy hitters Jacki Weaver and Bryan Brown leading a talented cast including Phoebe Tonkin and Ryan Corr.

In a rural Victorian town still recovering from a devastating flood, a mysterious plant offers restored youth to anyone who consumes its glowing flowers. It grows wherever someone who died in the flood lost their life; under a tree, above a buried car and in a caravan, a confessional booth and a toilet. A solid premise prompting us to question what we would do if given the chance to inhabit our younger and (one would assume) healthier bodies.

This premise however is not given the chance to reach its full potential as the script spends little to no time developing an understanding of these characters and why they may have such significant regrets, instead opting for an overbearing soundtrack and extended shots of people looking miserable in silence.

What could have been an interesting series of character studies instead becomes a boring melodrama rife with narcissism where you find yourself rooting against most of the protagonists. I say most but if you do decide to watch the series, keep an eye out for Farida (played by Usha Cornish and Amali Golden) who provides a somewhat ridiculous but I would argue the most engaging storyline.

Loose ends abound and you’re left bemused by what motivates the actions of these characters. Take Gwen, played in her old age by Jacki Weaver and in her youth by Phoebe Tonkin. Suffering from dementia, the murkiness of her memory and the question of how she might be impacted in a different way by the plant is left largely untouched – a disappointing miss. The series seems more intent on exploring the rekindling of lost libido with plenty of sex scenes serving as filler.

Ryan Corr and Bryan Brown do their best to salvage some interest but it is not enough to overcome the ultimately superficial engagement with the very interesting themes of regret, grief and redemption.

Bloom is now available to stream on Stan. 

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