The Flatshare Review: This romantic comedy won’t save London’s flatshare market, but it might make you smile

At a time when it feels like we’ve seen every romcom premise under the sun, the concept of two complete strangers sharing a bed every night might be the first truly original idea I’ve heard in years have. No Wonder, Beth O’Leary’s debut novel The shared flat has been taped to the hands of train travelers and beach loungers since its release in 2019. And now, amid a sea of ​​romantic comedies determined to deconstruct the genre, the TV adaptation on Paramount+ is charmingly and tightly written — knowing but never scathing.

We open to the sight of Tiffany (Jessica Brown Findlay), streaked with mascara and recently thrown on the floor, while Paloma Faith sings about how “only love can hurt like this.” To take control after the breakup (and save money in the hellish London rental market), Tiffany will sublet a one-bedroom flat in south London. However, this is not your average SpareRoom arrangement. Her roommate Leon (Anthony Welsh) works night shifts at a hospice and has the apartment from 8am to 8pm when he strips and goes to work. From 8pm to 8am (plus weekends) Tiffany has the apartment to herself. The couple can never meet: “No Crossover” is an integral part of their agreement.

From the start, their lives play out in tandem, the screen splitting in half, signaling it’s not just their sleep schedules that are polar opposites. Tiffany works for an online youth culture magazine/content farm that looks and feels very similar Vice, and dreams of making a difference while churning out clickbait. Leon is the classic good guy, loved by sick kids and retirees. Tiffany throws back shot after shot at a bar. Leon’s patients swallow pills. You should be cheering for Leon, but it’s clear that he’s a terrible friend to the uptight Kay (Klariza Clayton) and hasn’t called his mother in a long time.

But those imperfections work for Tiffany and Leon rather than against them. They’re not a flawless, untrustworthy romcom couple – like their established comments on the murky rental landscape, their relationship is rooted in the reality that we’re all a little bit unbearable. They’re excellent individual performances at times, but there’s also an overwhelming chemistry between them that runs through the sticky notes they converse with. But it’s hard not to warm to them. Brown Findlay makes even Tiffany’s most annoying tendencies endearing, while Welsh brings Leon a surprising vulnerability. There’s also an overwhelming chemistry between them that even manages to permeate the sticky notes they send each other.

Anthony Welsh as Leon in The Flatshare

(Paramount Plus)

Because their lives are so different, the world surrounding our central couple is vast and diverse. There’s an engaging subplot featuring Leon’s imprisoned brother, Richie (Shaq B Grant), while Tiffany’s high-flying best friends, Maia (Shaniqua Okwok) and Mo (Disney’s future Prince Eric, Jonah Hauer-King) break out of their supportive stereotypes and, in turn, get some of the most tender moments of the series. As Tiffany’s boss Dustin Demri-Burns (Stath rents apartments, am i being unreasonable) once again proves to be a master at playing unbearable, oily types, here commissioned stories with the words: “Yes, that’s good. It’s fucked up, I like it.” I only wish the script had a little more depth for Leon’s long-suffering friend Kay, who lapses into cartoon villain territory.

In the end, however, it was the Post-Its that sold The shared flat me. These little paper messages are the perfect catalyst for romcom hijinks, missed meaning and manipulation, but they also point to a pre-internet era of dating when things were a little more romantic, dare I say it. After the couple finally comes face to face (or other body part to another body part), Tiffany has a sex dream in which a barrage of sticky squares of paper descends on her like an erotic blizzard. It’s a moment of joyful silliness, a welcome dash of positivity in a story that proves just how grim the housing crisis is. It might not be a realistic solution, but it might make you smile. The Flatshare Review: This romantic comedy won’t save London’s flatshare market, but it might make you smile


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