How crazier can the world really get? Doesn’t it feel like things are more obscure by the day? Two different pieces address these and other questions and put a human face on the hastening of our times.

The Laundromat: vague, but effective

The Laundromat is a slightly unfocused, kaleidoscopic take on the Panama Papers – the scandal that brought down heads of government and shook the foundations of our financial system. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, it stars Meryl Streep as a widow decided to dive deep into the corruption, bribery and endless list of scams and frauds imposed on the meek. It’s far from a perfect movie (one can get the feeling that Soderbergh has squeezed five different films into a single one) and comparisons to The Big Short seem inevitable. Yet one must applaud the movie’s audacity, its playfulness, its terrific ensemble cast and, above all, the roaring final monologue, which absolutely anyone could mistake for Queen Meryl’s presidential campaign launch.

Sure to be divisive (some will be put off by its lighthearted, at times surreal and unpredictable structure), this is ultimately an important piece at a moment when the truth seems amorphous and difficult to nail down. Despite the film’s flaws, this piece got me to care about bringing down corrupt elites. It felt like a cry for reform – one I welcome with open arms.

 

‘Years and Years’ bursts with authenticity – and triumphs 

On the TV side, the show that has kept me busy these days has been Years and Years. It is, quite simply, perfect.

The way it manages to depict the sheer acceleration of our lives stirs a sense of disarray and alienation so captivating, it becomes impossible not to question the pace and commonality of our time on this planet. The key to the show’s effectiveness is the extent to which the Lyons feel like a relatable pack: their worries and aspirations, their fears about a world getting crazier and crazier, are universal; and force us to evaluate whether finding true meaning is a tangible possibility any longer. 

The writing here is particularly brilliant. Social and political critiques are never too on-the-nose and manage to make us care profoundly about the characters. The heartbreaking turn of events, the absurdity of some of the family occurrences, their sharpness and rebellion against global madness… it all just makes perfect sense. 

Witnessing the Lyons’ insurrection makes you long for true silence – and that’s quite a statement to make when set against such a strident state of affairs.

The Laundromat is streaming on Netflix.

Years and Years is streaming on HBO.

 

Image Laundromat from Polygon

Image Years and Years from Sin embargo

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