You might've been wondering — okay, the schlocky and ridiculous Songbird notwithstanding — when we'd get our first humanist drama centered on the COVID-19 pandemic. It's felt inevitable since the first day of the first lockdown, after all: we've effectively been living through the plotline of a particularly bleak Hollywood picture, so why wouldn't there be a movie or two?
Well, wait no longer. Acorn TV has unveiled the North American cut of their trailer for Help, written by Jack Thorne and starring the presently hot Jodie Comer. Comer plays Sarah, a care worker caught up in the first wave of the Coronavirus crisis, with Stephen Graham stepping into the shoes of Tony, one of her patients, who has early-onset dementia. Set in England's northern working town of Liverpool, Sarah finds herself battling alone — without now known-to-be vital PPE, and indeed assistance from Her Majesty's government — to save the residents of the care home. (It's implied, even, that the UK's first Coronavirus death is of a 70-year-old patient at the home. Talk about high drama.)
Help is directed by Marc Munden, and won the Rose d'Or Award for best drama in November last year. Thorne had this to say about his pandemic piece:
"Help was written in extreme anger about the state of care – not just in the U.K. but around the world – and the lack of priority it was given around the world. Too many disabled people died in the pandemic because their needs weren’t prioritized ... It was also written as a love song to the care industry. My mom was a carer and I saw firsthand the beautiful effort she put in to looking after her clients and residents. An underpaid job, that is vital in our times, and those that kept going into those homes, despite the risk to themselves, and despite the poor pay, are our true heroes."
He goes on the describe the research process on the film as "unlike any other," noting that while his previous stories have been simillarly bleak, none have struck when the iron has been so hot. The Coronavirus pandemic is ongoing worldwide, after all, with new pressures being levied on states across the globe by the rising tide of the Omicron variant. "There is no doubt that many carers and residents are still struggling with shielding and with PTSD and I do think TV - that vital empathy box in the corner of the room - can help to shed light on this, and hopefully lead to an increased focus on the needs of the care home," Thorne offered.
Help premieres on Monday, January 31 on Acorn TV. Check out the trailer below.
Including a luxury shopping experience at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City.