Sometimes, you need a good cry. Tear-jerkers are a much-maligned genre, and yet, they are an essential part of many people’s entertainment diets (mine included). And that’s why a thoroughly melodramatic – but ultimately optimistic – show like Dear Edward is such a welcome addition. Based on the 2020 novel by Ann Napolitano, this show will make you cry to the point of dehydration….
When This Is Us concluded in 2021, those who crave the catharsis of earnest pathos were bereft. Nothing Network TV has passed off as a suitable substitute actually soothes our cravings. But Apple TV+ latest drama has achieved that perfect balance of tragedy and hope that made This Is Us appointment viewing for so many.
Starring Colin O’Brien as the titular character, Dear Edward tells the story of a 12-year-old boy. One who becomes the sole survivor of a horrific plane crash – a crash that killed his parents and brother. Naturally, he becomes an object of public fascination, with some assuming God saved Edward on purpose. For his part, Edward seems more preoccupied with the trauma of surviving something that killed the people he loved most than divining his higher purpose.
The only family Edward appears to have left is his aunt, Lacey. Lacey’s 9-year struggle with infertility resulted in a string of pregnancy losses. When we meet Lacey (Taylor Schilling), she has a beautifully appointed nursery in her house and no baby. Lacey, however, is still determined to conceive, regardless of what toll it could take on her body or her mind. It’s a plan that caused friction in Lacey’s relationship with Edward’s mother. In fact, the sisters were not on speaking terms at the time of the plane crash. In Dear Edward, even the tragedies have tragedies…
Rounding out the cast are the relatives of other crash victims. One standout is the charming Anna Uzele who plays Adriana, an idealistic political aide whose grandmother, a famed Congresswoman, dies when the plane goes down.
Connie Briton also shines as the inverse of her White Lotus character. There she portrays a rich, overly privileged lady who refers to her husband as the family’s “provider” and has no clue about how to manage her finances. Here, she is a woman who we seek for inklings indicating that she may once have been capable. During the show’s present time, she awkwardly pesters her adolescent daughter into going for mother/daughter manicures she doesn’t have time for.
As over-the-top as a drama of a show that starts with a plane crash can be, it’s easy enough for you to invest in its stakes. The cast is appealing enough that you root for them to recover from their unfathomable loss. If you’re a fan of tear-jerkers, Dear Edward is top-shelf stuff.
- Rated: 18+
- Genre: Drama
- Release Date: 2/3/2023
- Directed by: Allison Liddi-Brown, Clement Virgo, David Boyd, Fisher Stevens, Jaffar Mahmood
- Starring: Anna Uzele, Colin O'Brien, Connie Briton, Taylor Schilling
- Written by: Ann Napolitano, Jason Katims, LaDarian Smith
- Studio: Apple Studios, True Jack Productions
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