This Notre Dame review is spoiler-free.
Realized by Herve Hadmar and based on the book The Night of Notre Damewritten by the Paris Fire Brigade and Romain GubertNetflix’s new limited series Our Lady is another example of trying to turn a real-life disaster — in this case, the iconic Parisian Notre-Dame cathedral which caught fire in April 2019 — into prestige television. It’s an admirable attempt, capturing the importance of saving not just a landmark, but a slice of history, and shaking it with the headwinds of human emotion and experience.
Notre Dame, you see, isn’t just a building – it’s a totem, and has meant so much to so many people over the years that to see it burn was to see all it stood for. collapse with him. Putting it out before the damage got too bad was a big undertaking, a coordination of effort and expertise worthy of the structure’s rich history. Our Ladythe show is good for getting that across.
In the lives licked by the flames, we see a range of experiences, influences and motivations – the sense of duty embodied by a fire chief, the personal challenge of a grieving lover, the ambition of a journalist responsible for documenting the affair, the divine inspiration, the family bond and the joy of unexpected and unlikely friendships. The event was not just a threat to a national monument but, in its own way, the first thread in a tapestry of human connection, skillfully woven across six episodes.
In this human bond, Our Lady finds a lot of emotion. The varied perspectives help address multiple driving themes and objectives, and the overall effect, especially when the stories begin to intertwine, is pleasing. The theme of preservation, as obvious as it is, arises relatively well. But the predictable genre beats and compressed structure mean that so many characters and perspectives feel like they’re jostling for equal treatment, leading to a lack of depth and a frustrating adherence to cliche.
Like the recent high wateralso on netflix, Our Lady is a factual account with accurate descriptions of the processes surrounding a famous real-life situation, but it requires a degree of artistic license with its characters and storylines. It does not always succeed in mixing the two. It works like a Paris firefighters endorsement more, I think, than a drama, where despite the game’s performance, it can sometimes feel crippled by its familiarity and predictability. (And no, I don’t mean if the cathedral burns, but in terms of the outcome of more personal stories.)
All that said, there’s something to be said for the sense of importance Our Lady is able to create; his sincere appreciation for those who helped prevent the cathedral from burning down, not to mention his respect for the cathedral itself and his understanding of what it means to Parisians and the world.
You can stream Notre Dame exclusively on Netflix.
- Our Lady ending explained.
- East Our Lady based on a true story?
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