Behind Her Eyes Review: Distorted vision

What you see is not what you get in Behind Her Eyes — in the most twisted way possible


Sushmita Bose

Published: Thu 22 Apr 2021, 4:59 PM

Based on Sarah Pinborough’s book of the same name (which even the measured Guardian had called “fantastically creepy”), Behind Her Eyes is a slow-burn roller coaster, that peaks and troughs through the mindscape of cognitive surreality. Non-linear, cutting across different timelines, it starts off seemingly innocuously. You are led down suburban London’s Maddison Terrace garden path to believe this is going to be, at best, a voyeuristic and somewhat acute triangle: husband-wife, husband-girlfriend, wife-girlfriend, and the relationships/ties/bonds that are forged in its wake.

It all goes for a toss with the tentative introduction of the fourth protagonist, in snatches of living in the past. The paradigm shifts: the axis of convoluted love and need — sexual, platonic, philosophical, platonic, even metaphysical — gives way to distorted identities, subverted love, murder (or maybe murders), and a hint of the paranormal. Nothing is what it seems, no one is what they claim to be. Apparent victims may be killers, ingenuousness may actually be a façade for manipulation.

The best bits? I have a biased take on British serials, especially psychological thrillers — they do it so much better than their counterparts across the pond. The fallibilities are real and unapologetic, the politically correctitude is usually not as tame. This one’s no exception — in fact, it takes human plurality a step beyond the normally-admitted scope. And on a different note: nice to see Roshan Seth in a non-Nehru-like, non-‘Discovery of India’-type role, however small it may be.

The worst bits? I really cannot think of any. The non-linearity is unsettling, but you realise its potency as the story unfolds. Purists have been shabby with showering praise on this utterly bingeworthy mini-series — although it has caught everyone by the scruff of their necks on social media. So I’m going to stick my neck out and give it a near-perfect score.

The final plot twist is heart-stopping. There’s no way you will not be tearing your hair out or overdosing on chocolate (or whatever comfort food you are chomping on) and freezing the screen for at least a minute to ask yourself: “OMG, what just happened?”

It will take some time to recover from Behind Her Eyes and see the world again via vision 20:20. But the lopsided interpretation of an imperfect, eerie world will be totally worth your while.

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