Therapist Soledad Laforet has brought together a group of four people who share the recent loss of their partner and the fact of remaining as the only parent
Better Days’ is the story of a grief therapy group made up of four people who have recently lost their partner and find themselves unable to take flight, to quickly become a mosaic of small experiences and costumbrista stories, strung together as if they were a piece of luxury goldsmith, thanks to a magnificent work both at the level of interpretation and writing and direction.
The end result is a wonderful Spanish series that has gone largely unnoticed until now, due to the strange promotional circumstances it has had and that deserves much better luck.
The plot: ‘Better Days’ is designed with a structure that skilfully plays with the number five that corresponds to that of the series’ main characters.
The series is divided into two halves, with two chapters focusing on each of the five main protagonists (a doctor, a musician, an aggressive executive, a student, and the therapist) following the order 1-6, 2-7, leaving the 5 and 10 for the personal mourning of the therapist herself.
The personal episode of the first half is used to introduce the character and to show the circumstances of his loss from his personal point of view, while the one in the second half is used to show the circumstances from the perspective of the deceased person, to leave to put it on an altar, as an efficient method to continue with their lives.
Little by little, what may initially seem like a meeting of five people in a room to hold dialogues and discussions among themselves while they recount their misfortunes, leads to a host of micro-stories involving all the main characters and their respective environments, within and outside the group.
These microplots alternate funny moments with more dramatic ones but maintaining an enormous balance and above all without loading the ink on the most tearful aspects that is usually the easy way out of this type of story.
The brilliance of the proposal lies in the fact that it envelops us little by little, showing us imperfect characters full of defects, but who try to overcome themselves to get out of their personal abyss. That path develops its own efforts as well as its own group dynamics that makes four strangers end up forming another support family, in a positive and feeling good tone.
Amazon Prime (E)
abr 2022 10+ ep. 50 min
Cristobal Garrido, Adolfo Valor
Blanca Portillo, Francesc Orella, Marta Hazas.
An important point is the intergenerational aspect of the group with three generations involved, which makes it possible to send the message that everyone can learn from everyone and apply group experiences shared with younger or older people to better understand their respective parents or children, in the perfect translation of that therapy.
Creators: Cristóbal Garrido and Adolfo Valor are one of the most brilliant couples of Spanish screenwriters after being one of the essential pillars in many of the series created by the Bambú production company such as ‘Gran Reserva’, ‘Velvet’ or ‘Bajo Suspecha’, until becoming independent a few years ago few years.
The germ of ‘Better Days’ was born when they were both working at Bambú and a colleague told them the story of a friend of hers who went to a grief therapy group to overcome the loss of a loved one. Both took it as a kind of personal challenge, being a type of series far from their usual coordinates of comedies with a high density of gags per minute or intense family dramas or police thrillers, with which they had cemented their careers.
Protagonists: The five leading performers perform at an impressive height, all complementing each other perfectly, thanks to those two fixed masts that are two greats of the Spanish scene like Blanca Portillo, as the therapist, and Francesc Orella, as the aggressive executive, who force that the rest of the main cast (Marta Hazas, Alba Planas and Erick Elias) rise to their level, instead of lowering themselves to that of the possible weakest link, with a magnificent final result that will continue in a 2T.