The Honourable Woman (DVD) – Series Review
Follow Genre: Thriller, Drama
Distributor: Just Entertainment
Episodes: 9
Duration: 50 min (per episode)

The Honourable Woman (DVD) – Series Review

Site Score
Good: Complex but interesting story, Maggie Gyllenhaal is great as Nessa
Bad: Kasim's abduction might feel a bit out of place at first, no extras
User Score
(5 votes)
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Rating: 4.6/10 (5 votes cast)

Seeing your own father getting murdered right before your eyes when you’re still just a child might leave some scars. Main character Nessa Stein has experienced how it’s like to lose a parent like that but she doesn’t become a desperate and unhappy grown up. Instead, she fights for peace between Israel and Palestina while carrying a huge secret with her. The Honourable Woman is not a series to watch when you have 10 minutes of spare time. Allow me to explain why.

Honourable woman logo

So the series starts off with Nessa (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and Ephra (Andrew Buchan) Stein witnessing how their father gets killed in cold blood in a restaurant. This immediately sets the rather dark tone for the rest of the series. The Honourable Woman is not really a feel good series, far from that actually. Expect a lot of plotting and intrigues here without a lot of real happy moments. More on this later but for now, let’s circle back to the actual plot. So with daddy dead, it’s up to Nessa and Ephra to make something of the name (and company) they inherited. They both fight for a permanent peace between Israel and Palestina but their plans don’t really work out like they would like. One of their most important contacts gets murdered (and the murder was executed like one would think of it as a suicide) so it’s quite the hard task to fulfill their duties. Meanwhile, all kinds of organizations going from terrorists to MI6 want to have a say in the matter and do their very best to put some pressure on the Stein siblings.

Besides the political issues, there’s still a lot more going on in the series. Quite in the beginning, Kasim (Oliver Bodur), a kid taken care after by the housekeeper of the Steins (which she later declares as her son), gets kidnapped. In the beginning, the whole Kasim situation might feel like it’s dragging a bit and makes the plot focus on a lesser problem but if you keep watching the series, you’ll notice you couldn’t be more wrong. The boy plays a major part in the whole story so if you feel annoyed by the kidnapping, be sure to keep watching as things will get a lot more interesting fast.

Programme Name: The Honourable Woman - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Monica Chatwin (Eve Best) and Nessa Stein (Maggie Gyllenhaal) in conversation at Stein contract announcement Nessa Stein (MAGGIE GYLLENHALL), Monica Chatwin (EVE BEST) - (C) Drama Republic - Photographer: Robert Viglasky

Generally, the series provides a fine storyline but not one you can follow while making dinner for the whole family. What I mean by that is that the plot is quite complicated and you really need to keep your attention at the highest level possible. The complexity might throw some people off as The Honourable Woman really asks its audience to keep the head clear and ready to receive as much information as possible and that doesn’t always feel as pleasant. Sometimes you just want to relax and don’t think too much while watching TV and this series isn’t really one to give you much of a breather. Still, this will mostly depend on what kind of a series watcher you are and can’t be hold against the series as truly something worth complaining about.

The acting in The Honourable Woman is mainly good without a lot of extra praise for certain actors or actresses. If one would be allowed in the spotlight, it’s certainly leading actress Maggie Gyllenhaal as she plays her character with such passion that it’s hard not to believe in the role. Andrew Buchan convinces a bit less as although his character can be quite strong at certain moments, the parts where he wasn’t as strong and Ephra Stein was starting to look like a yammering child were just not really pleasant to watch. Buchan just didn’t seem to pull off that change of character and eventually, it became a rather awkward situation to look at as a viewer.

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Other cast members include Igal Naor who plays an excellent Shlomo Zahary (an important business contact of the Steins), Lubna Azabal who plays the housekeeper I previously mentioned in this review, Stephen Rea (Sir Hugh Hayden-Hoyle), Katherine Parkinson (Rachel Stein) and so on. As said before, the acting is good and there aren’t many complaints about the performances of the cast but it’s just not amazing enough to really talk about an exquisite acting job. Luckily, not once does that disturb the fluency of the plot and the acting is certainly decent enough to make you believe in the characters. Whether you care much for their wellbeing is a topic for another discussion.

Unfortunately, the DVD box doesn’t come with any extras which feels a bit like a missed opportunity. Seeing a making of featurette where the audience gets to see a look behind the scenes would’ve been a nice addition, especially concerning geographic places (as a whole part of the story takes place in Gaza).

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The Honourable Woman is certainly a kind of series where you really need to pay attention. Political games, intrigues, betrayal and secrets are the key things you can expect to experience here. The acting is generally good with Gyllenhaal definitely on top, performance wise. The whole Kasim abduction in the beginning might feel a bit like it’s holding back the plot, but later, you notice that the whole plot revolves around that particular boy. All in all, if you want to watch a series where you really need to think for a change, The Honourable Woman is probably one of the best series to offer you such an experience.

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Rating: 4.6/10 (5 votes cast)
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The Honourable Woman (DVD) - Series Review, 4.6 out of 10 based on 5 ratings

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