Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I began watching Flesh & Bone. All I knew was that it was a new mini-series revolving around the cutthroat world of professional ballet and that it was created by Moira Walley-Beckett, a writer/producer who worked on the critically acclaimed series Breaking Bad. That was enough information for me to give this mini series a shot and I’m glad that I did, despite the mixed reviews that it has been receiving.
As soon as the first episode began, I instantly felt the tone that Flesh and Bone would take on. Right away, we learn that Claire, the lead character of the show, comes from a troubled home. Something is definitely off and you feel how desperate she is to escape whatever demons are haunting her. We soon learn that she has run away to New York City where she auditions to become a part of an elite ballet company, but even this might not be the right place for Claire to escape to.
Flesh and Bone immediately gives off the same tone and feel as Black Swan, the 2010 film starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. If this is any indication of what we can expect from Flesh and Bone, Claire’s life can only go downhill from here.
The dancing in the first episode alone is exquisite, as it should be during a series revolving around the competitive world of professional ballet and it only improves as the series continues. Sarah Hay, who portrays Claire, is a phenomenally beautiful dancer. Seriously. The creators and casting directors did a fantastic job casting this series by choosing phenomenal dancers that are also talented actors.
There are plenty of dark undertones within in the first episode alone, never mind the rest of the season. Things get intense and you slowly start to realize that things aren’t exactly as they seem.
Paul Grayson, portrayed by Ben Daniels, the director of the ballet company seriously gives me the creeps. There is something seriously off about him and I’m not sure all of the questions I had about him were answered by the end of the series. I got the gist of the story line regarding his partner (both professionally and romantically?), but I still feel as though too much was left for the audience to figure out on their own. The same goes for multiple questions I had throughout the series.
Throughout the first half of the series, Claire’s story slowly unravels and we learn more about why she has run away in the first place and her disturbing past involving her brother Bryan. As the show continues towards the later episodes though, something changes. We realize that maybe her brother isn’t the terrible person we are led to believe he is. When watching the first couple of episodes, I was disgusted by Bryan and what was implied about his relationship with Claire. I was not expecting to feel pity towards him as the series continued. It seems Bryan and Claire shared their terrible pasts. They both had to live without a mother and they both had to deal with a verbally/mentally and emotionally abusive father. My own personal prediction is that Bryan and Claire lived to protect one another and things started to get a little “Flowers In The Attic” as they grew up together. Like I said, that is my personal theory as this was yet another aspect to the story that wasn’t thoroughly detailed or explained.
Josh Helman portrayed Bryan perfectly and did a fantastic job in making the audience (or at least myself personally) feel pity for a character that I had no intention of feeling sorry for at the start of the series. Another character that I thought I would feel indifferent towards was Romeo, a homeless man who lives underneath the outer staircase/on top of the roof of the home that Claire is staying in. Romeo is portrayed by Damon Herriman who does an amazing job at creating a lovable eccentric, yet harmless man that spits actual truth. Romeo is always saying something inspiring or philosophical and he forms a fast friendship with Claire. At first, I figured he might just be a recurring character that pops up from time to time, but we soon learn that he plays a pivotal part in the story line.
It seems as though the reviews for Flesh & Bone are split right down the middle. You either love it or you hate it. As you all have probably come to learn, I love anything and everything dark, moody and unnerving. Flesh and Bone definitely falls right in to that category which makes me a part of the crowd that loved it. Sure, some questions could have probably been answered a little more clearly rather than just relying on the audience to figure out, but overall I think the writing, the dancing and the overall tone were all on pointe (haha). I recommend Flesh & Bone to those who like film & television that are dark in nature, especially those who enjoyed Black Swan.