The Honorable Woman

By TD411 contributor: Dorothy Humphrey


Maggie Gyllenhaal’s eight-part original mini – series The Honourable Woman premieres in the U.S. tonight on the Sundance channel. The show is very thrilling, with Middle Eastern espionage and captivating storylines. The actress portrays Baroness Nessa Stein, a very hard –to- read Anglo-Israeli executive who finds herself in the middle of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. Her goal to improve matters, by ways of achieving a final ceasefire, is to increase the Internet’s availability and to advance living conditions. Similar to Showtime’s Homeland there are strong elements of betrayal, corporate, and nationalism. The series, which was filmed last year in London and Morocco, includes an entire episode that take place under the Gaza strip, where many have been killed. This episode, which aired last Thursday in London, gives a depiction that has garnered emotions.

In one of the most recent reporting of casualties, at least 15 lives were lost and dozens more were seriously injured after Israeli artillery shells crashed into a school in Palestine. The school was filled with 3,300 people who had been evacuated from danger areas. Since the event Wednesday, the U.N has said that Israel “violated international law.” This incident adds to the death toll that now stands beyond 200, as well as the 1,400 injured due to the Gaza strikes in Palestine.

The show is very gripping, and features violence of a Game of Thrones-like caliber. Much like the situation that citizens are faced with in the conflict today, there are many killings and kidnappings that occur. The victims are quickly and brutally killed without preparation or reason.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Gyllenhaal told a reporter, “I’ve been compulsively reading the news about what’s happening in Gaza. Not just because obviously I’m being asked about it all the time and it’s my responsibility to know what’s going on, but also because in doing this show I learned so much about that region and now I have an emotional connection to it.”

The show is not only diplomatically involved, but it’s also very careful. It does not strongly support one side, nor does it point any fingers. Maggie Gyllenhaal said in her appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, “ I wanted to create a character that I hoped would speak to both sides. Now, maybe that’s a fantasy, but I do think it’s a fantasy that’s worth having…that’s worth exploring and considering.” She continued, “If it’s too scary to have a conversation with so many people, because people get so angry and stop listening, maybe something like this can make you feel about it in a way that makes you think.” Rather than being a vehicle for political commentary, The Honourable Woman remains a smart dramatization that asks its audience to think for themselves.

What do you think?

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