‘Russian Doll’ Review: explores the human experience

‘Russian Doll’ is both grounded and insane, digging deeper into what it really means to be human.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced a bit of déjà vu in our busy lives, but for New York woman, Nadia Vulkovok (Natasha Lyonne) this is just a regular day in her life.

Like a broken record, Nadia is forced to repeat her 36th birthday party again and again, this may sound fun but actually borders insanity as you’ll discover over the eight compulsive episodes.

‘Russian Doll’ is the brainchild of Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler and Leslye Headland.

Nadia’s 36th birthday party starts off like any normal party, a packed house full of booze, music and meaningless birthday sex.

Later into the night, as she leaves the party in search for her beloved cat, she is struck by a car and suddenly dies.

But not quite… instead she’s thrown back into the incandescently lit bathroom followed by a sudden thudding door and Harry Nilsson’s ‘Gotta Get Up’ jolting us back to the party.

Confused to say the least, charismatic Nadia sets out to find the cause for her obscure episodes.

Was it the joint offered at the party by her party host (Greta Lee)?

Or, perhaps she has just simply lost her mind?

Standing in an elevator, she meets Alan (Charlie Bennett) who she soon and rather abruptly discovers is ironically stuck in the exact same predicament.

Except Alan is forced to repeat the night he proposes to his girlfriend, who turns him down by dropping news that she is actually cheating on him.

But it’s their differences that make them the perfect duo, with Nadia’s chirpy persona and Alan’s more downtempo persona brings them somewhat closer together.

Spending days on end searching the cavities of East Village for answers while trying to avoid resets, they soon realise they can only move forward once they have made peace with their past.

For Nadia, it means unloading herself of blame for the early death of her mentally-ill mother and the intimacy she lost.

For Alan, it means moving away from ‘perfectionism’ and his need to seek self-worth from an unhealthy relationship.

Although, both main characters lives seem to constantly spiral out of control, ‘Russian Doll’ remains grounded, fundamentally defining what it means to be human.

As the credits roll and the sound dissipates, two messages linger.

As Alan and Nadia uncover, healing is about making peace with your past to move forward and what we do, no matter how big or small, impacts those around us.

 

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