183 of 191 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2008
This is a powerful, deeply moving, intelligent, emotionally nuanced series. It consisting of nothing more than psychotherapy sessions between a cast of reoccuring characters, this show fills an important niche missing from most television -- the richness, complexity, and heartbreak of the "emotional life."
Are you tired of seeing thin, carbon-copied and cliched characters in movies and television shows? Then this is the perfect series for you, because here the whole point is to explore the inner lives of the characters.
Does the the fact that this series focuses a great deal on the emotions of the characters mean that there is no "action?" Only if you define "action" as soley encompassing explosions or giant robot attacks.
To me, however, there was more action in this show than almost any other I've seen: there was the complexity of coming to terms with the guilt of death, of a disintergrating marriage, of children torn between parents, of unrequieted love, of the intense pressures to be successful, of professional jealousy, of the quiet desperation of everyday life, and the pain and bravery of those trying to take control of their lives.
The writing is really quite incredible. I was time and again rivited by the ways in which the story tellers captured and traced the emotionally raw and complex workings of the human heart- the tangled web which constitutes human relationships.
Some detractors have said they find the characters "annoying:" these characters strike me as "real," for, in life, people are themselves complex and full of paradoxes, at times annoying but at others deeply sympathetic. I came to be involved with all the characters, and, in the end, they all suprised me, up until the very last episode.
The acting is also superb. Gabriel Byrne (as the therapist "Paul") gives the performance of his lifetime, and Mia Wasikowska gives a star making performance as "Sophie," a troubled gymnast.
This is a show for people who find themselves interested in the human mind and heart, particularly, in the complex ways in which we become entangled with our fellow human beings, and often punish ourselves, lie to ourselves, and hide from our own inner truths. What is the thrill of an asteroid threatening to destroy the Earth compared to the everyday struggle with such things as love, guilt, and the fear of facing another day on this planet.
Truly, one of the great shows I have seen- original, thought provoking, powerfully acted, intelligently written, and as deep and as rich a portrait of the human soul as we're likely to ever get on television.
92 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2008
As a psychiatrist, I firmly believe that this series is without equal in the history of film portrayal of the work of a therapist. Despite a few, trivial criticisms one could level at this production, the work as a whole transcends the limits of the therapeutic "hour" and just as vividly portrays our limitations while bringing absolute realism to what it is like to be "In Treatment" from a number of perspectives. Yes, therapy is a complex process fraught with pitfalls and misadventures, but it is also a process that can and often does liberate and free the human spirit from the chains and fetters of the dark forces and shadows that plague us all until the final release that occurs at journey's end for each of us. This is the most captivating and compelling series that I have ever seen on television. For anyone contemplating entering therapy or struggling while in therapy or has been in therapy or is thinking about becoming/already is a therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist, or any mental health professional, this series is an absolute must see.
120 of 129 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2008
The palette this series uses to paint emotive, empathic, and richly textured profiles of real problems with people has an alluring and self-therapeutic effect. This sounds cheesy, but after a few episodes you grow and feel a kinship with the characters.
I don't know how to describe how amazingly real this series is. As someone's not only studied therapy and psychology academically, but who has also been "in treatment" for over 100 hours, this is the closest thing to real thing. Byrne is exceptional. Wise, smooth, suave, composed, compassiaonte, and real. His supporting cast (the patients) are equally captivating.
110 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2008
For some reason I had some resistance to watching this new series from HBO. Was it going to be so-so like "Tell Me You Love Me"? Was it another "John From Cincinnati" that only 10% of it's viewing audience understood (or cared about)?
Where was the next "Soprano's", "Six Feet Under", "Sex in the City"? Why was I even getting HBO - I've seen their movies over and over and anything new was not anything I wanted to see so as a last ditch effort to convince myself that I "needed" HBO, one cold and rainy Saturday, I decided to give "In Treatment" a chance (I have onDemand and had access to 7 of the 9 weeks of "sessions" thus far).
The deal was I only had to watch one or two of the 30 minutes episodes. If I didn't like it, at least I could say that I gave it a chance. Okay, you already know the obvious based on my title of this review how much I liked it, but I need to state it again, GET TREATED! It's that great. Beyond great as a matter of fact.
We get to follow the week-to-week therapy sessions of 4 individuals (including the therapist) and one couple. If you've ever been to therapy, it's an instant recognition of the process. If you want to spend time with an incredible drama with the sharpest, most relatable writing and actors that can't convince me they aren't actors but real players for the entertainment of us "flies on the wall", then this might be a series for you. Gabriel Byrne, who portrays the therapist is phenomenal.
Does it sound normal that a person should get depressed and want to go into therapy to discuss why this season ending should affect me so? Call me crazy and make me an appointment!
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2008
I just want to add a few thoughts to the mostly glowing reviews here. Brilliant conception, astoundingly smart and believable writing, and most of all, microscopically brilliant acting. The reason this series is as great as the very best HBO shows - including Sopranos, the Wire, Deadwood,etc.-- the ones that have broad visual canvasses lacking on the mostly one-room IN TREATMENT--is that you see as much going on visually on the actors' faces as you did in the striking settings (New Jersey lanscapes, bada bing, dusty Western saloons, dark brothel rooms, etc.) of those other shows.
If Gabriel Byrne did not spend a decade in therapy it's hard to understand how he aced the mannerisms and expressions of psychotherapists. Byrne's face was as active just watching his patients talk as it was when he was talking and gesticulating. And oh, what gesticulating. Every single actor who played one of his patients was not just good but jaw-droppingly good. Layers and layers of thought and emotion, often ones contradicting each other at the same split second in time, can be gleaned off their faces. (All you have to do is watch them as closely as Byrne does.) Embeth Davidtz's arching eyebrows had so much attitude, her body language betrayed so much ache and anger beneath the words that were drenched in denial. Josh Charles peeled open his character over the eight weeks like delicate layers of onion. Blair Underwood's physical and attitudinal bluster was so believable that it was genuinely shocking when his confusion and heartbreak came pouring out toward the end. Michelle George as Laura was a revelation. Why isn't this woman a big-time movie star? As right for her character, the actress created a slippery sexuality at once seductive and suspicious; yet still, she managed to reveal a vulnerability perched right at the corner of manipulation and authentic pain. You could never make up your mind about her, which is exactly what was required by the story of this unnerving and unnervingly beautiful character. Dianne Weist couldn't have been more credible as a psychoanalyst if she herself had spent a decade in analytic training. But perhaps most astonishingly of all, Mia Wasikowska as Sophie, the teenage gymnast, created the most indelible of all the patient characters. Apparently without much prior acting experience, Wasikowska managed to embody all the contradictions of the most complexly written character on the show, and she brought dimensions beyond what was written. Her voice, her physicality, her minute facial expressions could not have been any more revealing even when her character was doing everything she could to hide her painful truths not only from Paul the therapist but from herself. How she pulled it off is a miracle of genius acting from a relative neophyte. The fact that she wasn't even nominated for an Emmy is bizarre. Who are these people doing the nominating? The NY TIMES did an article some weeks before announcement of the Emmy nominations calling for her nomination. You'd have to be blind, deaf, and certainly dumb not to have been dumbfounded by her performance. I guess she gets something of a last laugh; I just read that she was cast by Tim Burton as the lead in his upcoming version of "Alice in Wonderland." HE was certainly paying attention watching her perform IN TREATMENT.
The direction and everything else was perfect, and the script, transmogrified somewhat from the Israeli version, was as layered and brilliant as the acting that fleshed it all out. So I am thrilled to have also just read that the series has been renewed. It is being filmed now, it seems, and will be aired sometime in 2009. Maybe that's why they delayed the release of the DVD of season one - wanting it out just as the second season begins.
Don't miss this show; it's one for the ages, and I have a sense that it will become the humongous hit it deserves (I guess it was a moderate hit when first aired)when more people see the second season.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2008
Fine example of great television plot structure. You can follow the large story arch's of each individual character or drop in for a single episode and still be engrossed in the story. This show is made for television and not dvd like so many other tv shows today. Thoroughly enjoyable, relies on good acting and good writing, not on gimmicks.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2008
and if it gets 10 awards, then I won't be AT ALL shocked. very thoughtful. the cast is EXCELLENT. not one of the characters that has been "in treatment" lacked good acting skills.
the doctor is very intelligent and usually knows what he's after and how to get the current patients to open up...AND feel uncomfortable. he's on point with the questions and barely makes time to mess around.
to be honest when i first heard of it and saw it on many times over, i skipped right over it hoping it'd fade from existence. but i didn't know how well put together the show actually was! its excellence can be seen from the get go.
anyone who doesn't like this show is free to their opinion(s), but just so they know i'm -NOT- on their side!
end note: watch it and prepare to be glued on this jubilantly-addictive psychological drama.
32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
I can't say exactly when I stopped watching this series, though I know why, and my girlfriend is mildly cross that I don't share her enthusiasm. Despite its artistic integrity and psychological complexity, I just couldn't stand the characters anymore. This show outshines the quality of any six prime-time network dramas, yet as it stretched over forty-eight episodes, I reached the point where these characters resembled fingernails on the chalkboard.
Nearly every half-hour episode occurs in Dr. Paul Weston's office, or that of his mentor Gina. This confinement, and the remarkably small cast, force viewers into a claustrophobic relationship with an ensemble linked by the magnitude of their dysfunctions. We have to adjust our rhythms to those of the series, which is no small task. But this means that, despite its low-key demeanor, this show leaves us feeling remarkably purged.
But as the characters rabbit on, apparently reveling in misery and disturbance, they started to grate on me. I've undergone therapy, so I know the difficulty we face when we realize our need to change our most destructive habits, but these characters seemingly want to stay broken. Indeed, watching Paul lead Laura on, while Gina yanks Paul's leash, they seemingly want to spread their brokenness around to everyone else equally.
Which leaves me in the awkward position of recognizing the artistic accomplishment played out on my TV screen, while simultaneously wanting to rid myself of these characters and their misguided indiscretions. These characters need a good stern talking-to, but they take turns pushing each other's buttons or tiptoeing around the real issues. So as much as I appreciate the creative team's accomplishment, I just had to quit watching.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2009
I'm not one of those people who have the patience to watch something good week-by-week on TV. When something is as gripping as "In Treatment" I have to have all of a good thing. I devoured all 20 or so hours of Series 1 in two days - it's that good! After a slower than expected start, the characters very quickly began to reveal aspects of themselves which built and built, forming incredibly complex people and interpersonal situations. I liked all of the characters but found myself looking forward to each new instalment of Sophie, the teenager with a 30 year old head on her shoulders and a venomous tongue born of painful emotional baggage. I found the scenes featuring Sophie and her Mum hard to watch but I believed totally all that I was seeing. My only issue with the writers is that while they go to the trouble of explaining and demonstrating "transferrence", I think the protagonist, Paul - a highly skilled psychotherapist - demonstrates "counter transferrence" without much insight into his own practice and feelings, particularly with Sophie and to a lesser extent, Alex. As I heard one reviewer say "while it's brilliant television, it's not particularly brilliant psychotherapy"...but it is brilliant viewing. I'm licking my lips in anticipation of Series 2.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
As a psychotherapist myself, it is rare that I see an accurate portrayal of a therapy session on television or in a movie. 'In Treatment' is that rarest of shows, a very accurate portrayal of a therapist and his patients. The therapist (Gabriel Byrne) grapples with all types of personal issues of his own as he tries to help his patients who often struggle with similar issues. Concerns like boundaries, limit setting, clinical supervision and acting out during session are all dealt with.
Gabriel Byrne plays a very human and very caring therapist. The viewer is privy to his once a week sessions with 4 different patients plus his once a week session with his own therapist. We can see his emotional struggles as he tries to do the right thing in situations that are far from black and white. He seeks clinical supervision but his past baggage with his clinical supervisor, Gina, (Diane Wiest) often gets in the way.
I was riveted by this program. You can call it a busman's holiday but I call it a fascinating show with a high interest plot and fine acting.