In Good Hands on Netflix is a watchable attempt at melodrama
The world around us took no time to get back to “normal” or whatever second hand, pale version of normalcy we are down to accepting today. Educational institutions are back to conducting classes on the ground, the kids are making merry in college lawns (so what if it’s 40 degrees out there?) and the OTT platforms have gone back to snooze mode sooner than we could anticipate.
For what it’s worth, this coming down to a slow-release online would only translate to better things for international and regional Indian content available on streaming sites. I make no promises but for the better part of April, I intend to stream content that I don’t typically write about. This week’s special is a heartwarming Turkish film on Netflix titled In Good Hands. It’s been on my list for a long time and not wanting to invest time in a long series, this was a perfect mid-day stream.
In full disclosure, this is my first Turkish film/media streaming experience on Netflix so I am not too sure if I should be harder than ever or soft like melted butter, but I am being led by my initial feelings on this, take or leave it.
This melodrama plays out a popular trope- a single mom discovers she has five months to live (are you sure it’s not three?) and that ticking time bomb to her terminal illness is a reminder for her to find a suitable guardian to entrust her son’s responsibilities with. While this bit may be simple, the approach that In Good Hands takes to weave a story around this might be a tad bit convoluted.
Melissa’s (Aslı Enver) back story to her 6-year-old son Can (Mert Ege Ak) and everyone else is the same- her husband left home to buy supplies and died in an accident en route. He never returned home and that has positively shattered both the mother and the son, leaving their relationship highly co-dependent and a tad concerning, as an outsider. They seemingly have no other family or relatives and rely on Melissa’s colleague Fatoş (Ezgi Şenler), her sole friend throughout the film.
In the process of trying to find a caretaker for her son, Melissa and Can encounter Firat (Kaan Urgancıoğlu), a local business tycoon (?) who’s made it big in bike and finance (subtitles and my memory are both vague). She stitches together a meet-cute after their first chance encounter and somehow zeroes in on him being the baby’s daddy in her absence. The only problem? He doesn’t know this and the kid can’t stand the idea of anyone coming between his mom and him. While the film tries to tie these situations into understanding closures of rational explanation, you wonder if serendipity is being stretched thin? There is a lot to say but spoilers at large so it’s recommended you watch the film and return to this space to understand these conclusions better.
The relationships in the film are eye-grabbing and the way they roll can make you question, “What?”. I understand Can and Firat’s tumultuous relationship from the former’s side but the whole weaving of Melissa and Can, even in the light of the big reveal towards the end is unconvincing. Most relationships concerning Melissa in the film are odd, the audience is informed via odd actions as opposed to establishing a certain comfort level shared between two adults who make it work together. I wouldn’t say these are dysfunctional but surely friendships have a way of being warmer than they were in the film for the most part. This includes Melissa’s relationship with Firat and Fatoş.
While the film as a whole is warm and makes you fuzzy, it doesn’t leave a lot of outlets for critical thinking or questioning. I don’t suppose the problem is with fleshing out the characters; for they move and act as how normal individuals would when a scenario is presented. However, my concern comes from when relationships are forged without as much a reason.
From a technical standpoint, In Good Hands leads with a balance of evocative soft shots- of the water body, the beach and the good times and mulls over the grief and the other heavyweight emotions with the same. In the absence of Melissa’s caregiver in her terminal illness, there’s a connection forged between herself and the passions as well as the nature around her. While the larger premise on the immediate is to find Can a guardian in her absence, the filmmaker Ketche and writer Hakan Bonomo don’t take away from the fact that this is Melissa’s story as much as it is about her relationship with her son.
Overall, it’s a decent mid-day watch if work from the office isn’t titillating you. All you need are frequent washroom breaks and a will to watch something that will thaw the cold heart of yours that is the doing of the old office aircon. The melodrama is just enough to keep you out of a siesta and get away from being fired from work.
The film is available for streaming on Netflix in India.
(If you liked this piece, please consider buying me a coffee or three. It doesn’t cost to hit the like and the follow button either.)