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Baby Reindeer is a disturbing series about a man who is the victim of stalking. And it's all true

In one of her best novels Claudia Durastanti said that her mother always hoped that the stories she saw on television and at the cinema were true because this would have allowed her to identify with those plots in a much more visceral way than she would have done if she had known which were the result of a fiction. Knowing, however, what a series like Baby Reindeer is inspired by a true eventand what's more experienced by the same protagonist we see on the scene, causes a certain discomfort because Baby Reindeer she managed to tell not just a story of reverse stalking but also a network of highly refined psychological frameworks that have their roots in trauma, abuse, redemption and salvation. Although Netflix has done nothing to promote it, this little gem written and performed by Richard Gadd he managed to make his way in America thanks to word of mouth, achieving success in Italy in the same way. What is it, though, that he has made Baby Reindeer an unmissable product for anyone looking for a good series to get passionate about in this ocean where the algorithm always seems to suggest the same old hackneyed and hit-and-run titles? Simple, the suffering and identification with a protagonist towards whom we feel contrasting feelings from the beginning: blame, pain, tenderness, anger, pain.

Richard Gadd in Baby Reindeer

This is a bartender named Donny Dunn, a skinny boy who holds the dream of becoming a successful stand up comedian whose life changes when an overweight girl enters his pub in a clear state of abandonment and desperation. Her name is Martha Scott (the formidable Jessica Gunning), she's crying, she's disoriented, so Donny approaches her and asks her if she wants something to drink only for her to admit that she doesn't have the money to pay, so he decides to offer her a cup of tea: it's the beginning of the nightmare. From that moment on, in fact, Martha transforms Donny into her Baby Reindeer, that is «little reindeer», starting to bombard him with emails in which she imagines their future together by making films that Donny seems to unconsciously encourage. The first short circuit that catches the viewer after the first three episodes is precisely this: because a guy who notices the discomfort of a woman who starts to get dangerously close to him doesn't distance himself from her but, indeed, decides to accept it on Facebook without actually closing that door before it's too late? We only understand it at fourth episode, the one that reveals to us with extreme crudeness what Donny had to suffer and endure in a moment of great emotional and professional fragility, when a successful screenwriter promised him sea and mountains when he was only interested in possessing it.

Baby Reindeer is a disturbing series about a man who is the victim of stalking.  And it's all true

From that moment on something in Donny is broken, and maybe that's why in everything Baby Reindeer he never really gets rid of Martha: it's as if recognizing a human being as broken as he is reassures him even if, at the same time, he fears for the safety of those close to him as well as for his own future. The reason why Baby Reindeer has managed to bewitch the world lies precisely in this very delicate balance between what we desire and what leads us to destruction, giving life to a register that is sometimes dramatic and sometimes grotesque which sucks the audience into a vortex from which it is almost impossible to break away. The abuse suffered by Donny, Martha's stalker past, the mean companions in the pub, his parents and the transsexual woman (Nava Mau) of whom Donny is initially ashamed: everything is part of a mosaic that allowed the screenwriter and leading actor Richard Gadd to share a very painful part of his life a partly analyzing himself and partly playing, careful to ensure that no one can trace the identity of the woman who stalked him. The result is a mesmerizing, disturbing, moving series that is, perhaps, the best thing Netflix has produced in a long time. See it and show it (“Sent by iPhone”whoever has seen it will understand).


Source: Vanity Fair

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