A four-part British miniseries aired in the USA in 1984, A Married Man seemed to me at first a usual treatise on the inner turmoil of a middle-aged man dissatisfied with married life and family.

What it became was a rather terrifying spiraling wreck of a narration, where title character Jim Strickland (Anthony Hopkins) lamentably pursues a young siren with disastrous results, and then is pursued by a rich, intelligent socialite that inspires him to pursue politics . . . with deadly results.

A Married Man represents two awesome things.  First, it exemplifies Anthony Hopkins Eighties British work, where his acting was truly inspired and he was taking difficult roles each and every time.  After the overwhelming success of The Silence of the Lambs in 1991, Hopkins’ roles, as he became more established, were considerably less gutsy. Second, A Married Man is a great British serial at the time of some rather drab soap-opera style stuff.  Nowadays the thought of a television miniseries brings to mind avoidable Lifetime Channel “The Woman Who Didn’t Know She Was Dead”- style garbage, but A Married Man brings politics, Thatcher-era social issues and the trauma of mid-life crises into a well-written, shocking drama fueled by great performances.

A Married Man is near-impossible to find on Region 2 (USA) DVD, and flies under the radar of anyone but the most avid Hopkins fans (guilty as charged); thus it is, truly, a hidden gem.

Don’t Miss: Ciaran Madden as the sublime, unfortunate Clare Strickland, who earns her stripes silently stomaching her husband’s silent happiness, and in one revealing scene in particular, reveals her own deep-hidden desires.  Unfortunately, nearly every one of the supporting actors’ careers died out after the decade, except for Julian Sands in a small role – stoically playing Clare’s younger brother, an underachiever who still yet finds the happiness in life that John searches vainly for.

-EB

A scene of immense shock and  horror that will take you by surprise.

 

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