The miniseries adaptation of Edward St. Aubyn’s semi-autobiographical novels becomes a perfect vehicle for Benedict Cumberbatch as we follow his wealthy, drug-addicted character through several decades, including his childhood in the 1960s when he was sexually molested by his father (Hugo Weaving), which set him off on his long journey of misery. Sounds unrelentingly tough, but this is a darkly humorous take on the depraved lifestyle of the British upper class. The emotional portrait of Patrick and his struggle to survive his parents’ betrayal lends gravitas to the story. Hilariously acid-laced dialogue.
2018-Britain-U.S. Made for TV. 289 min. Color. Produced by Stephen Smallwood. Directed by Edward Berger. Teleplay: David Nicholls. Novels: Edward St. Aubyn. Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch (Patrick Melrose), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Eleanor Melrose), Hugo Weaving (David Melrose), Jessica Raine, Pip Torrens, Holliday Grainger… Blythe Danner, Celia Imrie.
Trivia: Originally shown in five episodes. Co-executive produced by Cumberbatch.
Last word: “We were very much advised by two people who were addicts as well as having been very honest about his own experiences. I didn’t want to alienate that world at all. I wanted them to feel, however, uncomfortable the watch might be, that we were being accurate. But also, I think that this is a story of salvation, so it’s universal. You don’t have to have experienced the trauma that he has on any level to go on the journey.” (Cumberbatch, Deadline)