⚠️ Contains spoilers
A couple of weekends ago was my birthday and I was indulged by my husband with an overnight stay in a hotel room. The best bit about all of it was, I got to go alone! It was so good for my mental health to get that time away in the height of PMDD turmoil. To entertain myself, I switched on the 50” plasma TV and signed into BBC iPlayer (yes I have a TV license) to watch the much anticipated Rain Dogs.
You may or may not already know that I am a big Daisy May Cooper fan! I know This Country was what javelined her into the spotlight, however it was reading her autobiography Don’t Laugh, It’ll Only Encourage Her which really cemented my fandom. Swiftly followed by her exquisite script and performance in Am I Being Unreasonable? Co written and also starring actress Selin Hizli.
Episode 1 sees Costello (Cooper) and Iris (Fleur Tashjian) fleeing their flat while bailiffs bang the door down. In the same episode they jump a black cab without paying in order to get Iris to school on time. It’s non stop action from the get go and the relationship played between mother and daughter is phenomenal.
Filmed across locations in Bristol, Somerset and London, Rain Dogs takes you on a journey of parenting, traumatic pasts and circumstance.
Costello is a troubled stripper, aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic. Iris is ten years old and fiercely defensive of her mother, but quite clearly also tired and embarrassed of Costello’s lifestyle. Quickly introduced to the show is Selby (played by Jack Farthing) is a posh, rich, and depicted as mentally unstable, family friend fresh out of prison. Together they make a remarkable trio.
The relationship between Costello and Selby is both toxic and fascinating. Both characters are swimming against a tide of childhood trauma, poor life choices and failing systems, but they are united in their adoration of Iris. Playing at being grownups and essentially doing their best at it, neither of them have support networks capable to offer them love and care so they try to heal each other. It’s obvious from the first scenes together that they have clung to each other in an attempt to fill emotional voids, with Iris flailing around between them.
While negative reviews are flooding IMDb harping on about how the show’s portrayal of parenting leaves a lot to be desired, I personally found the performance of motherhood, poverty, and mental health, to be stunningly relatable.
In later episodes you see Costello and Iris move to country with Selby. This in a desperate attempt to live as stable a life as possible for the sake of Iris. Some might argue with this but up until this point I found it quite unclear whether or not Selby is Iris’s father. What is glaringly obvious though, is both Costello and Selby each love her with ferocity and each have their own demons to admonish. Sadly, their effort at play-acting coparents turns sour extremely quickly.
Though the relationship between the two is unconventional at best and toxic at worst, it is also gut wrenchingly heart warming.
An eclectic group of characters join the cast on a wildly eye opening and at times laugh-out-loud funny, ride!
I found Rain Dogs relatable and heartbreaking, funny and raw, honest and crass! Everything I love in a good book displayed on screen. I’m gutted this isn’t a novel adaptation to be honest as I’d be downloading the kindle edition to read quick smart.