Details

Produced by ITV in 2000. Directed by Danny Hiller, and co-starring Christine Tremarco as Maria (Judith), Marc Warren as Hugo and Polly Hemingway as Hugo's Mum. Nat plays James Lovell.

 

Plot Summary

Marc Warren's character Hugo is disgusting: He's living with a would-like-to-be-actress who is called Mary (Christine Tremarco), she will later gradually transform into "Judith". I really thought: "Oh my god, why is Mary doing all this for Hugo?" He's not even caring for her. He himself is a very weak person, having nightmares etc, being a gambler, selling his girlfriend to other men... But in the end it seems that he's the only person that - well to say the least - is somehow sane.

He's the only one who keeps his feet on the ground. He cannot bear losing his girlfriend to that other man James Lovell (Nathaniel Parker) who in his eyes is sick. Which by the way he is. But on the other hand, he's buying himself a fantasy. Obviously he needs more than a common "whore". He's trying to get to know Mary in order to make her play a role for him: His ex-girlfriend, that he says died. We will learn later that he hasn't done this "impersonation-game" once, but several times in order to make his "real" (and living) love - Judith - jealous, so she'll come back to him. A really sad character so far. Mary's making unbearable transitions for James, she has never made such efforts for Hugo. I think that is because she feels that Nat's character is even more desperate than Marc's. Besides, James is her dream come true, behaving politely and caring so for much for Judith's happiness.

She thinks, he's more vulnerable. I think that's why she's doing all this. It's all a big charade. Yet funny enough, Hugo never seems to ask himself why. Only when he loses her, he seems to realize that he missed her completely. It seems to be alright for him if she's feeling bad when she has to do want he wants her to do (selling herself to other men for his gambling), but as soon as she pushes off and does what she thinks is best for her, he's getting aggressive, hitting her, driving her from their home and finally he's the one that shatters her dream-world with THAT phone-call to James' would-like-to-be-girlfriend, the real Judith.

All this leads to Hugo's desolation and not to the things he thought he would regain, his girlfriend and his "happiness". Actually the twist in the whole story seems to be that everyone thinks at the beginning: OK both men are nuts, Mary's the one that's in danger, she the victim, where actually in the end you get to realize that she's the weirdo and now has the opportunity to search for another male victims for now she has found out that - obviously - every man wants to have his fantasy, not a real woman. And knowing that now, she's finally getting free from becoming a victim ever again. She's the one in control now. Besides she doesn't even have her "own self". She has become an "experienced actress", a toy for men who are willing to pay for her impersonations and she's getting happy, because she has fooled everyone, including herself.

General Review

Here's what I think about the movie Pretending to be Judith. Somehow each leading character seems to be weird in one way or the other, right? I mean the whole idea of that script is, well how shall I put this, quite artificial. But once you've bitten into that fact you'll find it quite fascinating to watch. And all three leads are doing their utmost to make it convincing. Well that's so far for "pretending to be...."

All the time you're thinking about the movie's general theme: pretending to... Everyone is pretending to... not Marc's character, well that's what I feel. And he does this very convincingly. At the end he's simply that frightened little boy he was when he had his nightmares and she had to comfort him. This is quite disturbing, him always talking about begin "pathetic", and at the end acting very pathetic... where he started off as being "cool", a guy that cannot be touched by anything. Yet I wonder, did he fell for her in the first place because she pretended to be something he wanted... or was she really herself in their relationship? And I have to say that the female lead has a hard ride in this one too! I think at times a little less would have been better, but having two very good male leads doesn't make it easy to counterpart correctly. It's hard to say what made her "tick". That question might be answered by the other storyline that's woven into the script: Her being sexually abused by two "father-figures". She's longing for a man who cares for her and she does anything to make herself feeling that she's cared for, even when she's putting on the identity of some other woman. That's - what I recall - being the definition of a psychopath. All in all I have to say that I will have to watch that film more than twice in order to get it all right. But I do understand that this is no usual TV stuff and I guess that's why it never has been shown much - no wonder to me!

Nat Review

Regarding Nat's performance I have to say that I'm always disturbed when I'm seeing him in "bad guy" roles, I stumbled over him in his "good guy" roles. But I think he is very convincing. His desperation is believable, even so his way of dumping Mary/Judith as soon as his real girlfriend comes back to him. He's able to play both parts: the needy and the beastie. Marc's character Hugo is even harder to play than Nat's James. I suppose, because Nat's character hasn't much development to do, he's always saying that he wants a fantasy, so you wouldn't be surprised to see him act like he does in the end. He's bought himself a fantasy and doesn't give a s**** about her as soon as Judith steps back into his life. Hugo does care in his own particular way, he seems to be a broken man in the end. Now that transition is hard to make, regarding the beginning of that film.


Status

Sad but true, this little psycho-gem is nowhere to be found on DVD nor VHS. Keep your eyes open for air-dates... it's worth it.

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