I have lived in Utah for five years, before that Argentina for 10. When I get yearnings for my British roots, I dig out my copy of Anthony Mingella's 'Truly, Madly, Deeply.'---
It's a simple film about grief and letting go, but it beautifully captures my memories of walking London's Hampstead Heath and sitting in cafes, smoking and reading Dostoyevsky. Ah, the dark passions of youth.
While not a fan of the late Minghella's later films, particularly the leaden 'English Patient,' I was intrigued by a Brit TV series his brother did on ITV which ran for five seasons called 'Doc Martin.' I only got a chance to catch up with it the other day and found a well crafted comedy-drama anchored by Martin 'Behaving Badly' Clunes' marvelously phlegmatic performance as a high-flying cardio-vascular surgeon who mysteriously forsakes wealth and fame for life as a general practitioner in a small Cornish seaside town.
I haven't been back to England in 15 years but the show's depiction of the Cornish seaside town surprised me with its genteel characters drawn out of the classic Ealing film comedies of the 1950s, such as "Passport to Pimlico". There's the irksome radio show announcer, the ponderously well meaning plumber and the blithely self-absorbed receptionist in Martin's clinic. All abrasive, but in the most disarming way.
While 'Doc Martin's pleasures lie primarily in its almost wincingly gentle affection for its characters, the gorgeous landscape of the small fishing town of Port Isaac, and the acerbic wit of Clune's performance provide a welcome balance.
Check it out tonight at 8 pm.