TV Review – Bloom: Season One

TL;DR – This series explores the temptation and addiction that we can have with capturing the past. However, while it introduces a lot of important themes, it does not really have the space to digest them all.   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Bloom. Image Credit: Stan.

Review

If you could be young again for a day or so, would you take that opportunity, would you try to fix some part of your life? However, what would you do to keep staying young, would you hurt people, would you kill, what if going back meant losing who you were? These are all really deep questions and I don’t know how I myself would answer, but today we are looking at a show that posits these exact questions and more.

So to set the scene, late one night Ray Reed (Bryan Brown) comes home in the middle of a thunderstorm to find the neighbour had thankfully brought his wife Gwen (Jacki Weaver) home because she had wondered due to her dementia. Just as everyone leaves, Ray notices water is coming under the door and looks up to see a wall of water heading for his house and the town. A year later people are still picking up from the flood that devastated the town and killed five people, however, in all this a stranger Sam (Ryan Corr) comes to town and decides to do a nudie run down the main street. Whether he meant to or not, this sets in motion a chain of events, as unstoppable as the flood, where there was once death, now new life can be found. Now we will be looking at the series as a whole and as such there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

Ryan Corr in Bloom. Image Credit: Stan.
You will get to see a whole different side to Ryan Corr in Bloom. Image Credit: Stan.

The one thing that the series is based on is a really interesting concept, what if there was a plant that grew fruit that if you ate it, you would be brought back to your youth. However, like most of life there is a catch, it does not last forever, so you need to keep eating the fruit if you want to stay young. Also, it only grows on the spot where someone died in the floods and if you try to move it the whole plant dies. This gives the series the drive it needs, the conflict that moves the narrative, and the inevitable endpoint due to the scarcity.

As well as this, it opens the door for you to really explore some interesting themes. One of the key themes permeating throughout the series is how we treat the elderly and in many cases Bloom is a damming indictment of aged care in Australia. It is underfunded, under-resourced, and filled with staff that seem more concerned with power plays than helping their clients. It is the kind of situation that hits you at the core of your being, especially when it is placed in context of Gwen’s illness that has removed so much of who she is. Jacki Weaver’s performance cuts at your soul and for anyone who has watched a family member slip away like, look it is just really hard to watch. It also then feeds into that desire than many people have to be young again, as they say ‘youth is wasted on the young’ but more importantly, what would you do if you could bring a loved one back from the brink? Would you kill someone to get one more day with your love? What would you do if you suddenly found yourself thirty years younger? Would becoming young again bring wisdom, or bring out our worst tendencies. Would you go back to being old once you have had the chance of being young again? 

Bloom. Image Credit: Stan.
The show is really ambitious with the themes it is explore. Image Credit: Stan.

While these are all important themes, I’m not sure that Bloom quite has enough time to really give them all the justice they need. You are juggling religious guilt, a son looking for his missing mother, misplaced father/son dynamics, shifting societal norms, unhappy marriages, a love triangle, jealousy, consent, addiction, abuse, and more. Unfortunately, trying to hit so many different notes and themes dilutes the narrative as you are trying to do so much. This is all wrapped around a premise that is not given any explanation why exists at the start and by the end we are none the better as too why this plant grows and does what it does. There are also plot points that just feel out of place, like how did Farida (Amali Golden) know that Griffo (Daniel Henshall) had Sam/Tommy (Rod Mullinar) tied up by the river so he could capture the transformation. It is one of those reveals that actually asks more questions than it answers, like if Farida wants to go back to India, why is she staying in town. All of this combines to make the ending of the series feel like it is missing something, which undercuts some of the key plot points like assisted suicide that they were introducing.

However, while there are some issues with the themes and how they are integrated into the story. The fact that the cast is game for everything that is thrown at them really helps sell everything that is going on. I mean you get to see a whole other side of Ryan Corr in this film, to the point that I think there is a reasonable chance that I could pick his bottom out of a line up. However, there is a lot of range he has to cover as the guy with a dark past, who is not really sure what his future lies. Which makes it more fascinating when the police circle in on him. Tessa Rose has one of the more quiet performances as Isaac’s (Thomas Fisher) mother Vivian, however, I was always captivated when she was on the screen. I really liked Thomas Fisher’s portrayal of Isaac, of the kid still struggling with the fact that his mother is missing as her body was never found, and what that does to you. Anne Charleston plays the heck out of the local busybody that has doubts about everything, also we should be casting Genevieve Morris in more things.   

Bloom. Image Credit: Stan.
Where Bloom shines is that it is beautifully filmed, with some superb acting. Image Credit: Stan.

Finally, there is Bryan Brown and Phoebe Tonkin who are the main focus of the season. There is that deep love that you see in their performance, but also the need for one to hold onto something that does not exist anymore. Phoebe Tonkin brings this wonderful joy to the role, but then also has the range when things go very wrong. She is a wonderful counterpoint to Jacki Weaver’s haunting performance, which makes it really difficult to watch when things go bad with her. Also, Bryan Brown at his best as the exasperated husband trying to do what is best, even when everyone, including his wife, suggests that he should just cut and run. He does not want to let go, even though he probably should and he has to discover that some things do have to come to an end.  

In the end, do we recommend Bloom? Yes, with some reservations. To begin with, there is a lot of sex and language, so if that is not your bag, then this is not going to be the series for you. However, while I don’t think they quite got the balance of themes and story, there is an interesting nugget of an idea here, that is beautifully filmed, with some superb acting. At the end of the day, I will take something shooting for the stars and not quite getting there, to something playing it safe any day of the week.       

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you seen Bloom yet ?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.    


Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Bloom
Directed by
– John Curran & Mat King
Written by – Adam Dolman, Matt Cameron & Alison Nisselle 
Created by – Adam Dolman
Starring – Bryan Brown, Phoebe Tonkin, Ryan Corr, Anne Charleston, Thomas Fisher, Daniel Henshall, Rod Mullinar, Terry Norris, Tessa Rose, Nikki Shiels, John Stanton, Genevieve Morris, Amali Golden, Usha Cornish, Sam Reid, Tom Budge, Jacob Collins-Levy & Jacki Weaver with Nellie, Queenie & Mia      

1 thought on “TV Review – Bloom: Season One

  1. I really enjoyed reading your review. I watched Bloom over the last 2 nights and like you reflected on the absorbing questions around youth, ageing and what we regret or miss out on in life. My only gripe was that Gwen is obviously small and young Gwen so beautiful and willowy. Ryan Carr was just stunning and captured the emotional complexity of a tough guy who through Isaac, redeemed his lost son Sam. I was very touched by many aspects of this series and have thought about it heaps since. We

    Liked by 1 person

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