Interest | Art & Culture

Trauma Laid Bare: A Review of "Baby Reindeer"

Jumat, 03 May 2024 17:00 WIB
Trauma Laid Bare: A Review of
Baby Reindeer Foto: Netflix
Jakarta -

Nothing prepared me to experience the emotional turmoil that comes from watching Baby Reindeer. The first episode gave the impression that this was a dark comedy bordering on thriller. But once you get deeper into the story, it becomes really bleak and horrifying that you thought you could only watch this show once in your life. Baby Reindeer urged its audience to explore the complexity of abuse and the depth of trauma. It's brutally honest, nuanced, and beautifully written.

Review of Baby Reindeer

Baby Reindeer is an adaptation of Richard Gadd's one-man play about his experience being stalked by a middle-aged woman named Martha. The main character of this show, Donny Dunn (Richard Gadd), is a struggling comedian working at a pub. One day, Martha (Jessica Gunning) walked into the pub looking clueless and in tears. Feeling sympathy for her, Donny gave her a cup of tea. Little did he know, this little act of kindness turned out to be the beginning of his nightmare.

At first, Donny was intrigued by Martha and enjoyed the attention she gave him. But then Martha started to bombard him with hundreds of emails, filled with typos and misspelled words. Donny then found out that Martha is a serial stalker who has been sentenced to prison. Soon, Donny found himself unable to escape Martha. She is everywhere; at the pub where he works, in front of his house just sitting at the bus stop, and at his comedy show-singing and interrupting his setups.

But Donny is also incapable of setting boundaries and seems reluctant in taking real actions to stop Martha, even if her presence is ruining every aspect of his life. This is where the hardest part of the story begins to unfold   because this show is now not only about serial stalker, but also about one man's journey of trying to make sense of what the trauma of abuse did to him.

Confessing your trauma to other people will never be easy. But turning it into a work of art for millions to watch is another case. Gadd wrote this story with such sensitivity and care, that when the layers of trauma were being peeled off, you can't help but feel what he feels; the loneliness, the self-loathing, and the confusion about the person you have become.

Very carefully, Baby Reindeer exposed the bitter truth of trauma and abuse, that is how victims of abuse may become the abusers and thus the cycle never ends. At the end of the show, when Donny runs though Martha's voice messages, it becomes clear that Donny himself has become obsessed with her. But this obsession stems from empathy that resonates with his own experience, and in a way, his relentless effort of understanding why Martha did what she did is also an effort to make peace with himself.

Baby Reindeer is the kind of show that will leave you haunted for days. It's painful to watch, but definitely worth your time. Plus, you get to see the brilliant performance of Jessica Gunning as Martha.

Baby Reindeer is now streaming on Netflix.