Watch The Line of Beauty
- 1 Season
The Line of Beauty is a compelling and strikingly evocative television drama adapted from the Booker-prize-winning novel of the same name by Alan Hollinghurst. It was first broadcast by the BBC Two in 2006, presenting audiences with a three-part miniseries that beautifully illustrates the social, political, and cultural vicissitudes of 1980s Britain against a backdrop of human narratives and colourful characters.
The narrative traces the story of the main protagonist, Nick Guest, who is played by Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame. The character of Nick is multi-faceted, complex and intriguing. He is a postgraduate student at Oxford, whose life undergoes a dramatic transformation when he moves into the Notting Hill home of his Oxford mate, Toby Fedden. The Feddens are a wealthy and influential family with deep connections to Britain's political establishment, and here Nick becomes a live-in friend rather than a conventional lodger.
In the opulently decorated rooms of the Fedden house, Nick finds himself navigating the corridors of power and wealth, affording viewers a rare glimpse into the glitz, glamour, and excesses of the Thatcher era upper classes. But this is not merely a tale of 80s extravagance, for underneath the facade of elegance and glamour, The Line of Beauty weaves together stories of personal and political maneuvering, complex romantic entanglements, and the poignant reality of the burgeoning AIDS crisis.
Filled with nuanced performances from a diverse and skilled ensemble of actors like Tim McInnerny and Hayley Atwell, The Line of Beauty delivers a sophisticated blend of social commentary, emotional depth, and dramatic tension. The series also explores issues of sexuality as it charts Nick's exploration of his gay identity in a time of social conservatism, providing a sensitive and profound perspective on queer narratives during this period.
The visual aesthetics of the series are also noteworthy. The BBC’s production team has done an exquisite job of bringing the opulence of the 80s to life on screen, depicted in the high-end fashion, lavishly decorated homes, and the vibrant London nightlife. The series beautifully mirrors its title’s reference to a theory from Hogarth on the serpentine 'S' curve's aesthetic beauty, as it gracefully traces the ebbs and flows of Nick's life as well as the socio-economic landscape of the times.
As a study of British high society, it touches upon the contradictions of wealth, privilege, and power. At the heart of the series is a meditation on beautiful things and their inherently transient nature. The 'Line of Beauty,' Nick learns, is often etched into fleeting moments and ephemeral experiences.
Deftly directed by Saul Dibb and intricately scripted by Andrew Davies, the viewers are taken on an introspective journey through societal expectations and personal desires, amid a world on the brink of profound change. The nuanced examination of class, politics, love, and loss set this series apart, engaging viewers with its richness in emotion and captivating storytelling.
One last noteworthy aspect of The Line of Beauty is its evocative score. Utilizing music from the period, it perfectly encapsulates the essence of the time, enhancing the narrative by creating a sense of place and evoking an array of emotions. This clever musical curation complements the show’s overall production.
In conclusion, The Line of Beauty is a powerful and remarkably perceptive miniseries. It succeeds in capturing a distinctive socio-cultural period in British history while exploring the universal human stories of love, identity, and loss that reside within it. Its thoughtful depiction of the personal narratives of its characters, the unfolding drama of British high society, and the cultural shifts of the 1980s offers audiences a compelling viewing experience imbued with both charm and thoughtful insight. An absolute must-watch for fans of finely crafted drama, history, and literature alike.
The Line of Beauty is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (3 episodes). The series first aired on May 17, 2006.