mon 10/08/2020

This Is Our Family, Sky Atlantic review - can Emma and Tony live happily ever after? | reviews, news & interviews

This Is Our Family, Sky Atlantic review - can Emma and Tony live happily ever after?

This Is Our Family, Sky Atlantic review - can Emma and Tony live happily ever after?

New documentary series digs deep into the lives of its subjects

Emma and Tony, with picture of Emma's daughter Xana

Sky Atlantic is usually where you go for big-hitting dramas, so this quartet of observational documentaries is an unexpected development. Each film follows a single family over three years, and each family faces particular challenges.

In this opener, director Clare Richards went to Newport in south Wales to follow the progress of Tony Borg and his wife-to-be Emma, due to marry in May 2018. Both of them had a fair amount of baggage to bring to the party. Tony, an ex-boxer turned successful boxing coach, had eight children, and Emma had four. Indeed, by the end of the film, Tony had acknowledged paternity of yet another daughter. Emma was well aware of Tony’s reputation as “a bit of a ladies’ man”, but though his difficult, fatherless upbringing had left him almost incapable of expressing emotion – he reckons he’s never said “I love you” to anybody – something was telling her he was the right guy.

Richards carefully shepherded us towards the great day, her camera moving unobtrusively among friends and family as she pieced together the emotional undercurrents and life histories which had brought the protagonists to this point. Occasionally the director’s voice would be heard posing an artfully-shaped question to push the narrative forwards. "What do your kids think about that, then?" she queried, of Tony's remarkable tally of children by different mothers. "I'm not proud of it but I'm not ashamed of it either," he responded.

Gradually, the concealed chunk of the iceberg began to take shape. It became clear that Emma was grievously scarred by the death of her daughter Xana in a road accident in 2015, and was fighting a desperate battle to keep her head above water. She was flaying herself with guilt that she hadn’t given Xana a lift home on the fateful night. The prospect of the two boys convicted of the dangerous driving which killed her daughter being released from prison filled her with anger and dread. Emma is strong, said Tony, “but the strongest things break. She doesn’t break in front of people.”

You just had to cross your fingers and wish them well, and the way the couple kept bursting into laughter during their wedding vows seemed like a good omen. “I’m proud of her, yeah,” said Tony, smiling. “Don’t tell her that though.”

By the end of the film, Tony had acknowledged paternity of yet another daughter

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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Well done to Emma she was so brave. Xana would have been proud of you

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