In Review

What’s on this weekend? From Betty to Frankenstein

Your guide to what’s worth seeing and reading this weekend

The Week’s best film, TV, book and live show on this weekend, with excerpts from the top reviews.

TELEVISION: Betty

Adrian Horton in The Guardian

“Betty, co-produced and written with Lesley Arfin (Netflix’s Love) and Patricia Breen, spins off from this absorbing world, a subculture gliding beneath New York’s expressways and through its tourist-saturated parks. It’s an even looser, more furtive version of the film, a beautifully shot extended hang with the same characters, though on an alternative timeline, with the sheerest of cable television gloss – organic inclusions of iPhones, Instagram DMs and ‘fuck yeah, dudes’, of joints passed around the back of a van, captured with a film-maker’s eye for emotion.”

On HBO from 26 April

MOVIE: The Assistant

Jeannette Catsoulis in The New York Times

“Unfolding over one acutely distressing workday, The Assistant is less a #MeToo story than a painstaking examination of the way individual slights can coalesce into a suffocating miasma of harassment. That funk is breathed by everyone in a movie that strikingly pairs the executive’s demeaning actions with the stifling moral vacancy of the power structure that shields him. In one virtuosic scene, Jane haltingly complains to a seemingly welcoming human resources representative (a marvellous Matthew Macfadyen). The turn taken by their conversation will hit you like velvet-covered shrapnel.”

UK on demand release 1 May

BOOK: Magic Mobile by Michael Frayn

Dominic Maxwell in The Times

“If you also flinch at the modish babble that keeps coming at you from adverts, telephone hotlines, online surveys, feedback forms, film credits, clickbait listicles, product labels and politicians’ mouths, Magic Mobile should really make you laugh. It certainly did me… Best of all is To Cut a Long Story Short, the longest piece here, a spot-on parody of turn-of-the-century fiction in which the stories within stories pile up with a supremely elegant absurdity.”

Out now

STAGE: Frankenstein

Time Out

“London’s National Theatre has been keeping audiences at home the world over on the edge of their sofas during lockdown by streaming plays from its archive on YouTube for free… The highlight is likely to be Danny Boyle’s take on ‘Frankenstein’ starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller – who famously alternated the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his creation when the play came to stage in 2011. National Theatre at Home audiences will be blessed with the opportunity to see them play both parts in this vision of Mary Shelley’s gothic tale, with the two versions airing on YouTube for free on consecutive nights.”

Broadcast on YouTube by National Theatre at Home on Thursday and Friday evening

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