I’ll have to say this about Chloe Sevigny: As an actress, she certainly has balls. Or, in the case of this unusual, surprisingly moving British series, a prosthetic penis.
Sevigny has never shied away from controversial roles. In 2003, she startled audiences by performing unsimulated fellatio on her director/co-star, Vincent Gallo, in The Brown Bunny (said the New York Times: “She [Sevigny] may be nuts, but she’s also unforgettable.”). More recently, she’s appeared as a legless amputee on American Horror Story and as one of three wives in a polygamist marriage on HBO’s Big Love. So I imagine that when Sevigny read the script for Hit & Miss, in which she would play a transgendered contract killer suddenly charged with raising four children, she didn’t blink.
The premise might sound outrageous, and it sort of is, but Hit & Miss is a fine example of what good writing, direction, and acting can accomplish. As a viewer, you don’t subject the plot to too much scrutiny because you are hooked on everything else.
Sevigny plays Mia, formerly Ryan, who learns after the death of a former lover that she (he) and the woman had conceived a son, now 11 years old. Mia returns to rural Yorkshire and, after an initial, hostile reception from the orphaned kids – especially teenagers Riley and Levi – the new-age clan learns that it’s easier to fight battles when family has your back. The kids’ problems include not just the loss of their mother but also a brutish neighbor who owns and plans to sell their house. Mia’s battles include … oh, where to begin? A budding romance with a local stud who doesn’t know whether his new love is a girlfriend or a boyfriend? An underworld boss who never runs out of candidates for Mia’s hit list, but who often runs out of patience? The inherent trauma of an ongoing sex change?
Hit & Miss, with its “Waltons Meet Carlos the Jackal” sensibility, at times stretches credulity, but it’s often suspenseful and never less than compelling. It is also, of all things, a touching family drama. Grade: A-
Cast: Chloe Sevigny, Jonas Armstrong, Karla Crome, Reece Noi, Jorden Bennie, Vincent Regan, Peter Wight, Ben Crompton Premiere: 2012
Editor’s Note: At press time, there were no plans for a second season of Hit & Miss. The first season can be found at Netflix.
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